Today I'm reposting a comment by IIRP professor Alia Sheety in response to Lisa Rea's commentary (read the original post here) regarding the ongoing Penn State sexual abuse story.

I totally agree with the need to ask different questions. I also believe that through the media we could bring others to the awareness of asking different questions.

As we witness in this case, a punitive approach was adopted. Still, what bothered me most is ignoring the needs of the victims. Thanks for remembering the victims' needs and for bringing this forward. It is time to respond to those needs – even 15 years later.

Along these lines, I want to point people to an article titled When a Football Coach Does the Right Thing that I found at Daily Kos posted semi-anonymously by an abuse victim. She writes:

With all the talk about Joe Paterno, and all the stories of childhood sexual trauma being shared on this board and others, it seems a good time to tell a different story. I wanted to share a story about what happens when adults do the right thing. Nobody reported my situation to the police but this one football coach refused to let me drown in a sea of shame.

The writer goes on to describe the stigmata attached to her as a victim for being abused, as if she had done something wrong. We don't usually think about "separating the deed from the doer" when it comes to victims, but here I think is an interesting case where an adult, a high school football coach in fact, did just that: affirmed the inherent worth of this individual regardless of events that happened - not by her but to her. While this coach may never even have heard the term "restorative," I have to believe the effect of his behavior was in fact restorative for the woman writing.

Read the full story here.

 

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