The National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) is relieved that Jerry Sandusky and the children who survived his repeated assaults have received a measure of justice. Sandusky will never harm a child again, but his prior acts will continue to cause unspeakable pain and damage as long as these children are remembered by friends and family. There is no reason to celebrate the successful conclusion of a case involving ten or more children when millions of other children in the United States continue to be victims of sexual abuse.
The Sandusky case can only be considered successful if it leads to the reforms necessary to protect all children.
By the time children reach their 18th birthday, one-third of the girls and one-sixth of the boys have been sexually abused. The stereotypical abuser is a stranger in a raincoat, but 83% of rapists and child predators, like Sandusky, are known to their victims. The inexcusable delay in responding to the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, Penn State and the custody court system were caused, in part by the false assumption that someone successful in other parts of their lives would not do something so heinous. The U. S. Department of Justice recently released a study that found evaluators and other court professionals without the specific training they need were more likely to believe the myth that women and children frequently make false allegations of abuse and therefore make decisions that place children in jeopardy. If the authorities and the media believed children they could have taken action to save many of the children whose lives were later ruined by these tragedies.
NOMAS believes that however satisfying it may be to criticize Sandusky and the other individuals directly responsible, we must all accept some of the blame for a society that continues to tolerate the widespread abuse of children. In thesame week that Sandusky was convicted for his crimes and a Catholic Church official was convicted of covering-up for pedophile priests, one thousand other children were sent for custody or unprotected visitation with dangerous abusers and two childrenwere murdered by fathers involved in contested custody, probably with the unwitting assistance of the custody courts.
The U. S. Department of Justice study led by Dr. Daniel Saunders of the University of Michigan establishes that custody courts cannot safely respond to domestic violence cases with the standard outdated and discredited practices. The study describes the reforms that must be implemented if the custody courts are going to start providing safety for the children’s whose lives they impact. Barry Goldstein, co-chair of the NOMAS Child Custody Task Force and co-editor of Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody said, “We know how to prevent the vast majority of child abuse and domestic violence. The cost of doing so is a small fraction of the over one trillion dollars we spend annually by tolerating it.” NOMAS asks the public and the media to use their outrage over the tragedies at Penn State to make sure we create the reforms needed to protect all children. The next victim is on us.
when millions of other children in the United States continue to be victims of sexual abuse.