Home > College football > Penn State: What if the victims were girls?

Penn State: What if the victims were girls?

I can’t help but wonder if the student response at Penn State might be different if the victims were female.We as a society are programmed to automatically assume that grown men who hang out with little girls are creepy, although this is definitely NOT always the case. In the same vein, we’re also programmed to look at a grown man who hangs out with young boys as a mentor and a role model. This is likely why Jerry Sandusky was allowed such unlimited access to the young boys he victimized- he started a charity to help young boys, and was looked at as a wonderful mentor.Someone should have questioned many of his actions, like going down to the basement of his house when the boys would stay overnight.

Why didn’t anyone think it was strange? Or, more importantly, why didn’t they act on their suspicions?

Imagine, if you will, a man Sandusky’s age starting a charity to help young girls. Are your eyebrows raised? Imagine him spending time with them at night, staying with them on road trips. Are they raised now? Imagine him showering with the little girls. Are your eyebrows raised yet?

What disturbs me is that almost anyone who saw a grown man raping a young girl in a shower would intervene, call the cops, etc. Yet nobody attempted any of those interventions for the young male victims. Is that because we assume boys can take care of themselves, that they don’t need our help?

In the aftermath of this tragedy, we must pause and assess ourselves as a society. It goes without saying that we have to strengthen the system that failed so miserably, but we also have to consider our own perceptions, and the adjustments they may need.

I can understand not wanting to believe that an idol of yours is an actual monster. But when you are confronted with undeniable evidence, you have to step up and take action. Anyone who doesn’t is a coward, which makes every single person involved in the cover-up a coward. And that includes Joe Paterno.

Kelly B
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  1. November 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    This post is so true- I definitely think that the situation would have been handled differently if there were young girls involved. It really is sad that our society is so hard-wired into thinking this way.

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