“As someone who works for a sexual assault crisis center, my feelings on the Sandusky ruling were conflicted. While I was greatly appreciative that the jury was going to hold this man accountable for his crimes against humanity, my empathy for what it meant to those he abused was much stronger,” Community Educator Justine Jarvie said.
Our experience tells us that for the victims, this is a hollow victory. The thoughts of why it was allowed to happen in the first place and what it was like to live with such a secret; to have no way of healing or relieving their anguish, no way to process the truth of what was done to them; to have no one stand up on their behalf, and no one to believe them or in them that they could bring this wrong to a right.
Now, as Jerry Sandusky heads to the jail cell where he will spend the end of his days, away from the innocence that he stole, it is the victims who must find a way to carry on. In coming forward, whatever bandage was on their wounds was torn off and reopened. As a center, our thoughts are with the victims as they begin their healing process all over again, patching the holes of their faith in our justice system, and filling their hollow centers with day by day healing. There’s so much more than achieving the conviction, there’s the rebuilding of lives from scratch.
We are happy that the Penn State community is now supporting and applauding the young men who came forward. We have heard many robust statements that this type of abuse will not be tolerated in their community. The reality, however, is that this abuse was tolerated. Even with mandated reporting requirements, numerous people chose to turn the other way. We were made to be concerned about the players on the field having lost their revered coach. People were outraged. There were tears and jeers, student rallies and letters to the editor. But unfortunately, not in support of the victims.
The mission of the Rape Crisis Center of Milford, Inc. serving Ansonia, Derby, Milford, Orange, Seymour, Shelton, and West Haven is “to eliminate violence and sexual assault through education and prevention and to empower victims to regain control of their lives.” It is our hope that the victims of the Sandusky trial are receiving the support and services they need, albeit late. It is our further hope that the next time this happens, and it will, that the community will believe, assist and support, not because it’s the popular thing to do, but because it’s the right thing to do.
If you need to talk, we are here to listen.
Rape Crisis Center of Milford