Monday, June 25, 2012

Did Sandusky's Wife Know?

How much do members of an immediate family know about child abuse taking place under the same roof?  This is a very good question.  Now that Sandusky has been found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child abuse and molestation, people are beginning to wonder how much his wife, Dottie Sandusky knew.  Some people feel she should have known what was going on and is trying to hide what happened, but I'm not sure I would agree with that analysis.

Please don't get me wrong as I'm not endorsing or supporting Dottie Sandusky in any way.  I'm sure there had to be signs that something was up, but of course all of us only see what we want to see.  If we don't want to see something, we put blinders on and act as if never happened.  Does that excuse this behavior?  Absolutely NOT in my mind.  Does everyone put blinders on?  Absolutely, yes they do!

In my own house growing up, I still question to this day what my mom knew about what was going on in the bedrooms or the barn or the vehicles or the semi-truck.  I remember at one point she was trying to hug me and I was so startled that I immediately pulled back.  It surprised her and myself.  Of course, no one thought any further about it.  I remember one time when one of my abusers was having a session with me and as we heard my mom come up the stairs, he demanded that we get dressed quickly.  When she walked in the room, I was zipping up my pants and buckling my belt.  It would have been hard for her NOT to see what was going on, but in my house you just went on as if all this was normal.  There were other things that would indicate something was going on, but it would take much more time than I have here to write it on this blog.


Just a couple of years ago, I found out for the first time that when I went to college, my brother experienced some of the same things that I did growing up.  Here I had been thinking that he escaped the worst of what happened to us.  I had no idea what he was going through.  While you could excuse my ignorance because I was away at college, you would have thought I could have read the signs.  I feel bad that this happened to my younger brother and while he is quite angry with me for not stopping it, I am sickened that I missed the signs and had no idea it was going on.

The picture at the top of this post has been blurred out so it was appropiate for all ages.  It is a painting that Dr. Julia Burns did based upon my story.  In the picture, it shows my father in the bathtub with me washing his back (which is one of the ways things started).  We're all naked of course, but here's my mom in the forefront of the picture with a mixing bowl on her head as if nothing is going on.  The painting gives me chills to this day looking at it.  My mom is no longer alive, so I never got the moment to find out what she knew.  The only statement she ever made to me was that "we all have skeletons in the closet".

So, is it right that Dottie Sandusky didn't do something to stop this abuse?  This is a difficult quiestion to answer because she may very likely be like my mom who didn't see anything, but saw everything.  She may have her own past of abuse she has tried to numb and block which allows her to hide what Jerry Sandusky did in their own home.  I can only speculate.  Is she just as guilty?  Is my mom just as guilty?  Those are questions I can't answer.  The question with my mom haunts me to this day and yet I love and miss my mom.

Child abuse happens in secrecy.  It happens in the walls of a home, in the basement of a church, in an abandoned old building or in the seclusion of a car or truck.  Child abuse happens in a hospital on an unsuspecting child, or by people who others revere as being outstanding, God-fearing people of the community.  It isn't just by priests, but ministers and church-goers far and wide.  It isn't just by the evil and dark figures hiding in the bushess that abuse and molest children.   The majority of child abuse cases are done by people the child knows, not by strangers.

We all need to open our eyes up in this society because if we see things happening and we don't stop it, aren't we just as guilty as the child molester?  Think of how many people could have spoken up sooner and stopped what Jerry Sandusky was doing, yet they remained silent.  Why did it have to take a trial for this to come out?  The answer lies in the fact that we put on blinders in our day and we see only what we want to see.  It is time we wake up and open our eyes.



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 Blog Post And Images (c) 6/24/12 Don Shetterly - use and reprint by permission only http://www.donshetterly.com You are welcomed to share the link to this blog post, but ask for for permission before reprinting this article. Thanks!
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