More Than One Sandusky

Every night in my lengthy personal chat with God, I pray for both my husband and me to have a spirit of discernment, to keep people that may molest or touch our children inappropriately at bay. When stories like Jerry Sandusky unfold, I am reminded of just how scary child predators can be. They come in all shades, sizes and professions. Some court their prey like Sandusky. They gain their trust, they spend time, and they buy them things. Some have a family friend connection and they rely on that relationship to get them what they want. Others assault strangers; children they have never seen before and don’t plan to see again.

In middle school I befriended a Caucasian male teacher. I joined a handful of students that spent our lunch hours and after school time with him chatting about everything from family life to schoolwork. He taught me how to carve wood, how to play guitar, how to dissolve childhood drama. He was more than a teacher; he was a friend. He was married. He was kind. My parents were divorced and mom was worked a lot, but she watched this relationship very carefully. I remember her response when he asked if I could go fishing with him. “Oh, hell naw,” she said. I begged and begged and he agreed to come by our apartment to talk with her. After their meeting, she reluctantly agreed. We went fishing and I had nothing inappropriate to report. For years, our relationship remained the same.

When I was in college and home on summer vacation. He asked me to his family’s camp to “catch up.” He picked me up one early Friday morning in his blue pick up truck. It was good to see him. I missed him. He had a cooler full of snacks and lengthy conversation. When we arrived he offered me marijuana. I declined, but was shocked; he had never done that before. He proceeded to tell me that he and his wife were having sexual issues. He said following the birth of their children, she was no longer attracted to him and gave him “permission” to have sex with me. Lucky me. I declined his offer and was lucky he was at least decent enough to bring me home without further incident. But the betrayal stuck with me for years and I cried at the loss of a friend, at the fool I had been for years. It’s the shame associated with these types of events that keep you from talking. It took a long time to trust again.

Although his attempt to kiss me on the mouth was the height of his inappropriate touch, a friend of my grandmother’s took it a step further. I won’t bore you with all my personal stories with child predators, but suffice it to say I am well aware of the baggage it leaves victims to deal with. One in four African American children are sexually assaulted, molested or touched inappropriately.

Sandusky’s 45 guilty child sexual offenses are considered a victory for child advocates, but it’s a scary reminder to parents. Sandusky may be locked up, but there are so many more like him walking our streets, attending our church and teaching and coaching in our schools. So when a grown up creates situations to spend alone time with your child, pay attention. Single parent households, broken parental relationships are always a target, so be aware. Communicate with your child about inappropriate touch as early and often as possible.

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4 thoughts on “More Than One Sandusky

  1. Good Morning Diane,
    As always, thank you for your candor in talking about this taboo subject, especially in our community…I know people probably talk about how my husband and I don’t allow alot of people in our home, or how our kids don’t spend a lot of time with other kids or at other kids’ houses, but that’s ok….I, too, know what it’s like to be put in an inappropriate situation and I don’t want that to happen to my children. Couple that with being a therapist and having a special needs child, I know that my awareness is heightened and that I may seem extreme to people. I feel that as parents it is our responsibility to keep our kids safe and prepare them for life without us. Keep sharing, you are blessing…how is your week going? Take care…

    Keischa

    • Hey ladybug. This one was tough to post, but I am committed to sharing and letting God use me. Let’s keep our babies safe! Having a good week so far, lots of water and lots of exercise, hope the scale sees things my way.

  2. As an adult, I’ve noticed that I am blessed in more ways than I even realize. Many of the adult females I hold close today were the unfortunate victims of this crime. I’m sure there are so many unreported claims but 1:4 seems so high already. I can’t even begin to imagine all the emotions involved in such an experience for all affected parties.

    The experience you had with your teacher made me think of the relationship my oldest daughter had with her 7th grade science teacher. In her eyes he was great. It seemed like every other day she was coming home telling me about how he maintained “coolest teacher ever” status.

    Between my husband and I, I’m probably the more trusting one but even this caught my attention. I hate that we have to be so leery of teachers (in my opinion especially male teachers, at least in my case). I’d love to think all teachers have nothing but good intentions but that has proven to NOT be the case. If it ever goes that far I’ll definitely be taking a page from your mother’s book… perhaps a different choice of words but the same principle. ; ) prayerfully that page and my continued prayers will keep three more children out of the hands of predators.

  3. Hello cousin and chocolate mother family. I’m happy to say I cant add much to this topic. I can say this: Of all of the women I have um…….encountered in my lifetime, at the very least it’s been 3 out of 4 that have told me theyve experienced some form of molestation during their childhood. Ive heard “yes” so much that I’ve come to expect yes and now find “no” to be odd. Anyway, I’ve always wondered how those statistics measured up against other countries. Personally, I think Americans have some issues with sex when compared with other nations.

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