An Open Letter to the Mothers of the Boys Assaulted by Jerry Sandusky *
To the mothers of the boys assaulted by Jerry Sandusky,
First, I want to say I'm so sorry that your sons were used as entertainment for a sick man. I'm sorry for the pain they have suffered, and I'm sorry that it took so long for this situation to come to light. I'm sorry for all your pain and sadness, too. Sadly, I know your struggle. But I assure you that facing the devil and exposing this coverup will save other children and give you a strength you've never known was inside you.
You join a sisterhood of women who believed the words of their child and sought to find justice and give them a voice that others want to silence. It is a sisterhood no mother wants to be part of, but offers an understanding many will never know. You are not alone in this, and I assure you that your tenacity and courage will continue to be an asset.
The road ahead is long and bumpy, I won't lie about that. The defense will try to make this about you and how you've failed as a mother. Don't believe them and don't question how you raised your sons. Every mom has challenges with their children, but entrusting them with a man who is supposed to teach and guide and be a positive role model is not a lapse in judgment or a parenting failure.
I urge you to ignore the defense and their tactics of making this about you and your sons. The defense will not do anything different than the thousands of other defense attorneys who have represented pedophiles. It's part of the formula for the defense to blame everyone else. And when they can't get it to stick with you and your sons, they'll turn to the detectives, investigators and mental health professionals who all support your sons.
After the defenses tries to blame everyone else, they'll then try to paint the perpetrator as a hero. Someone who was the safe person who protected your child because it was someone else committing these crimes. Stand strong and don't be part of their charade. Continue to believe your children and understand that the defense is grasping at straws.
The sad reality is that you will now be subjected to the worse kind of bullying there is -- legally sanctioned bullying that allows the defense to intrude upon you and your family all in the name of the defendant's constitutional rights. Don't do this alone! There is help for your family to ensure that your and your sons' rights are protected too. Victims rights may not be as strong, but they exist only if you fight for them and insist upon being treated with dignity and within the bounds of the law.
Why do I tell you this? Because I know first hand what you are facing. I fought to get my daughter her day in court. To tell the truth about what happened. And I was the one who the defense tried to put on trial. Your situation is bigger and more public, but never question if you did the right thing. Never let your sons believe it would have been better to stay silent.
For now I wish you calm and peace, knowing that what happened to your sons was not your fault or theirs. You are heroes, even though it doesn't feel like it. Keep fighting even when it seems too hard. And don't feel too proud to ask for help. There are thousands of people supporting you. Don't let the naysayers voices into your head. And never give up, because this is a battle worth fighting!
With support and sisterhood,
Note: as of 11/10/11 (the date of this post) Sandusky has been indicted on multiple charges, including sexual misconduct with minors. I don't use the word 'alleged' because this is about the survivors and their families and is not a legal commentary.
Photo Credit: paalia.