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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Maureen Dowd, "American Horror Story": Reawakening the Trauma

As I noted in my prior blog entry, shit happens; however, we are not always prepared for it. And when shit happens, we are sometimes left with wounds that don't heal even over the course of a lifetime.

More than a decade ago, one of my children, then 10-years-old, limped home from school. He explained that two older boys had grabbed him and a friend, and had tried, over the course of an hour, to force them to engage in indecent acts. Fortunately, my son had the good sense and courage to refuse, and he was beaten mercilessly.

I came to the school the next day to express my outrage, and the offenders were sent home for a week, but attitudes at the school soon changed: "This couldn't possibly happen here." Next came the explanation, "It was all a game."

When a third child came forward and said that he had been raped by the same older boys, there were those at the school who said that this child was a liar. And so began my war with the school board, which ultimately ended in new regulations for the treatment of victims of assault in the school system, but left me with nightmares and anger that won't go away.

In her latest New York Times op-ed, "American Horror Story" (, Maureen Dowd describes the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive football coach at Penn State, who is accused of molesting young boys from disadvantaged homes. Dowd writes:

"Standing a few feet away from Jerry Sandusky, as he laughed and reminisced with friends in the front row of the courtroom, made me want to take a shower.

Just not in the Penn State locker room."

Sadly, there is much in a lifetime that cannot be washed away with a shower.

I have witnessed several wars from up close, and I have seen much unspeakable savagery, but until this day, I am more shaken by the indifferent response of my school system to the violent sexual molestation of its children than any of these other horrors.


  1. Jeff, Have you published the names of the boys involved? 10 years ago, there was no Facebook or Twitter, no Internet sites dedicated to exposing these kind of crimes. The world is a different place today and although the pain you and your son suffered from the attack won't go away, at least you have an opportunity to warn others.

  2. Thanks, anonymous. Criminal charges were filed with the police, and the trial ultimately ended with a plea bargain. The matter received extensive coverage by the media, and there are repercussions until today.

  3. One of the darkest clouds on so called civilization is how we care for our children,the behaviour of "authority".
    I brings me to tears when they run exposees of children,in fact some still babies,who are victimized in Asia,sold by pimps,exploited by pedofiles,etc.In many cases,this can exist because the police are being paid off.
    I am not so naive to think that this is exclusive to this region,variations of the theme exist worldwide.What kind of ugly souls feel the need to demean fellow human beings? Monsters do walk the planet in deguise.