Penn State [Media] Monster

(Guest post written by Juliette Quinn, law clerk for Attorney Brian McLaughlin)

On November 5, 2011 former Penn State assistant coach Gerald A. Sandusky was arrested following a Grand Jury indictment identifying eight victims of sexual abuse.

The news is all over the sports stratosphere—turn on ESPN and you are bound to see up to the minute updates on Penn State, Joe Paterno, or Sandusky streaming along the bottom of your screen. As analytical consumers of the media monster, we must not allow the constant attention given to the football side of the story overshadow the impact of child sexual abuse on its victims.

Every year, there are more than 80,000 reports of child sexual abuse. [1] In a kindergarten class, four of every twenty students are likely to be sexually abused before they graduate from high school.[2] The actual number of instances may be even greater, given children are often afraid to report the abuse and the legal procedures confirming the occurrence of an event may be difficult to overcome.

Statistics aside, the psychological effects of sexual abuse of any one child last for a lifetime. Victims of child sexual abuse often are caught between feelings affection and loyalty for their adult abuser who gives them attention and shame stemming from the sexual activities. Child victims may experience “fear, anxiety, depression, anger and hostility, aggression, and sexually inappropriate behavior”.[3] As adults, victims of sexual abuse may experience reactions relating to their ability to set boundaries, anger, flashbacks, grief, guilt, trust issues, coping skills, self-esteem, and sexuality.[4]

Here are some more articles taking a child-centric view of the Penn State scandal:

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