Speaking Ill of the Dead...
This blog will touch on the Penn State child rape crisis, and rant and rave about the ineffectual actions of a dead man, and the entire board. It will also be dripping, drowning in sarcasm and profanity.
If you've been hurt, are being abused, or know someone who is being abused, please, call SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) or 1.877.SNAPHEALS , or RAINN(Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) or 1.800.656.HOPE; The Trevor Project is also a beautiful resource for LGBTQI teens, 1.866.488.7386
There are people out there who care; we care so much! And we want to help. So please, don't feel alone. We are out there.
Today, I'm going to speak ill of the dead. I'm going to rant and rave against the evil behaviour of a dead man. I'm not afraid of his ghost coming after me. Fuck him, and his ghost.
Joe Paterno died today. He was 85 years old. The CNN article about it, says, “[his] tenure as the most successful coach in major college football history ended abruptly in November amid allegations that he failed to respond forcefully enough to a sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant, died Sunday.”
There is not one sorry bone in my body, that he is dead. Not one.
Usually I feel sadness for families of people who have died. The younger the person, the more sad for their families I feel. But this time, I feel nothing but “whatever, he's fucking dead,” and that ought to disturb me.
I should mention before I really get into this blog, that university football mean less than nothing to me. I see it as a waste of money, talent and time. The money would be better served poured back into the school-- so that maybe those “athletes” might graduate with more than a certificate in gym/PE. Yeah, yeah, I'm sure it's absolutely fucking riveting to see a bunch of 20 year old sack the fuck out of each other, and pretending how meaningful that game is, in the scheme of things. I'm sure it's entertainment, and all that rot.
I don't even watch college hockey-- and you know how much I love hockey. If I'm going to watch anything other than the NHL, I watch the farm teams, the AHL/ECHL, and I love to watch the World Juniors. I still know it doesn't mean a damned thing, and won't pretend that the games are anything other than “practice 'til they all grow up and play professionally.”
However, millions of people pretend that college football is important to the world. Maybe they figure it creates peace, or feeds the hungry, or even is helping slow down global warming.
I don't know.
I do know, that the Penn State fans have given all university football fans a bad name, and given truth and justice black eyes, over the past few months. Even if I wanted to like football at a “less than pro, we're still practising” level, I would have to pass.
By now, the entire world knows that Penn State modelled itself after the Roman Catholic Church, and fed boys through a charity and right onto the erect penis of one, Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was Paterno's assistant for many years, they worked together, and from what I've read, they were friends off the astroturf, too.
Paterno was a teacher as well as a coach, and his former players loved him. Evidently all of fucking Pennsylvania loved him. They loved him so much, that the moment his actions were called into question, the moment those raped boys were brave and stepped forward, those fans started tipping cars, rioting and setting shit on fire! Because, Football!
Holy shit! That's a lot of love to have for someone, that you protest them doing Evil, with a big E, by setting shit on fire! I'd hope my kids would love me that much if I was accused of murder or something, I mean, fuck! I don't think Pol Pot's kids did that, no kids from that Jefferies motherfucker who's in prison for fucking little girls either... Damn, they just weren't loved enough. I bet you, though, Benedict XVI's kids and Cardinals would totally set shit on fire for him. Ahh, the love of blind support and being good at football.
Paterno was supposed to be a teacher, supposed to lead by example, teaching those football players how to grow up and navigate the world. That's what you learn in University-- who you are, and how you got there, and how to get where you're going.
He may very well have done that.
He and his wife (who is still alive) poured millions, yes, millions, of their own dollars into the school. They worked to raise money for the school, too. He was praised by President Reagan, for crying out loud! Got awarded the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Distinguished American Award (CNN article). You'd think a dude given a coaching award would be a stand up guy!
The family even wants you to donate to the Special Olympics, or some marathon-dance off charity, instead of sending flowers to the funeral. They should have set up a fund for the victims of his silence. But, Football!
Of course, all his fans, all his co-workers thought he was the fucking bee's knees! I've heard of a lot of Universities calling themselves “football country”, and when I was living in Texas, I swear I lived in the Land Of University Football Worship! However, that does not negate the demands that society places on educators, and other people in authority to report wrong doing. “Because, Football!!” is never a real reason for inaction. Never!
Sandusky raped little boys. He was walked in on, for fuck's sake! And when that little assistant coach saw that, he turned around, and walked out. Then he tattled to Joe Paterno. Yes, I said tattled, because not once did that man call the cops. He told the campus police-- and anyone who's ever seen those rent-a-cops knows that's like telling the fucking paper boy, for all the shit they'll do.
Besides, Football! Gotta protect those coaches, so they raise more money for the school, so we can all continue our worship at the football stadium.
What did Paterno do?
Did he do what most people would have done? Pick up the phone, and call the cops? Even if he was sick to death, vomiting with shock, telling them what he'd been told.
Nope. He told the fucking board. Yet another passed buck.
What the fuck is up with that? Can you play Hot Potato, or “Not It” with child rape?
Here, I thought teachers, professors, coaches, they were mandated reporters like fire fighters and doctors, who have to report suspicion of child abuse. You'd think so, wouldn't you? I mean, even if you weren't being forced to by law, that you'd open your fucking fat mouth and yell it from the rooftops, “Help! Someone please look into this, Kids are being Raped!” Anything to get the cops to look into it.
I know what I would have done. I know, because I did it when I was only 17 years old. I'd do it again, over and over. There was a girl, I'll call her B. She was good friends with my sister, although she was a year older than me. She was developmentally disabled, what we called at the time, slightly retarded, maybe three years behind where she should have been, but highly functioning. Some things she didn't understand, and sarcasm went over her head, but she was a nice kid. One weekend, she spent the night. We were sitting at the kitchen table, chatting and drinking coffee (tea for me) with my mother. Nothing serious, I think we were talking about school or something.
Then she asked us how babies were made, because she was afraid she was at risk to get pregnant. Now, this kinda freaked us all out, for different reasons. I was freaked that she was having sex, without knowing exactly what she was getting in to. So, my mother asked her why she thought she was at risk.
B. shrugged, and told us about how her father touched her. He used to just fondle her, but lately he had been making her fellate him. She wasn't sure if she was safe, or if his penis touching her would make her pregnant. Yes, she actually thought the sperm could travel through her stomach and fertilise her ovum. If that wasn't reason to be freaked out, I don't know if there is one.
This man, he was a regular at my mother's church. He creeped me the fuck out every time I saw him. Every single time. But I thought it was because he was just one of those weird old guys-- you know the ones I mean, the ones that look like frogs, and have no social graces at all. It never occurred to me that my guts were screaming at me to avoid him because he was a rapist.
We told B. that she was safe from pregnancy; my mother, sister and I fell over ourselves explaining that she was being abused, and we would help her get help. No one should do that to another person, we explained. No one should touch her without her permission. Not Ever! It was a fucking heart breaking conversation.
She and my sister went to my sister's room later, and I turned to my mother and told her we had to call the cops. She agreed, and so we called the night desk. I had no idea what to say to them, I'd never spoken to cops to report something before! They asked us to come in the next morning, and bring B. if we thought she'd talk to them.
I stopped in on my way home from work the next morning; my mother had been in already, taking my sister and B with her. B. did make a statement. I made mine, sick and shaky-- I had been all morning. Do you know how hard it is to bus tables while you're shaking like a leaf? I'm surprised I didn't break every glass in the café.
We risked big, to be honest; her father was considered a “member in good standing” at that church; I wasn't. I was a kid, a female, garbage. B. was mentally disabled, so no one wanted to believe her-- it was an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church-- Men are gods, and women are shit. The hypocrites who ran the place loved that bastard. But we talked, and we told, and we helped B. get some help. Unfortunately her father never did do time for what he did... he was considered unable to understand what he'd done was wrong-- he was retarded, too, or so he claimed.
In reality, he knew, and that makes him a rapist.
But you see, as much as it was scary, we talked. We called the cops, got social workers in there, and wanted to make a difference to help this girl. She had trusted us enough to confide that to us, the least we could do was help her.
Wouldn't Paterno, a man several times my age, older, supposed to be wiser, know how to do that, too? Wouldn't he have known what to do? Even my seven-year-old knows if he sees something bad to tell a grown up, and not be afraid to tell the police, or a fire fighter! He's seven (eight next month) and knows if he sees a grown up hurting a little kid he needs to tell everyone! To not stop talking until someone comes to help... so Paterno had no fucking excuse.
He was wrong in so many ways. Joe Paterno's silence was his assent. The silence of the University board was their assent. They gave Sandusky an all-you-can-rape buffet of little boys, knowing, and not caring. Because, Football!
When we are silent, we lend our permission. When we are silent, we are helping... and that means for good or evil. Paterno might not have physically raped those kids-- but he helped rape them. He might as well have dropped his pants and raped them himself.
That's some powerful shit, if you think about it. What he did was as bad as raping them, himself. And now he's being lauded as such a good man, and isn't it a shame he's gone, and how we'll miss him.
He wasn't the Creator, for fuck's sake; not the second coming of Jesus, or Gandhi, or Muhammed or Krishna or Buddha. And he was Eight-Five-Fucking years old! I think he had a decently long life. It's just a damned shame that for so many decades of it he closed his eyes to the rape and suffering, the sexual torture of those boys.
We're not supposed to speak ill of the dead. We're supposed to pretend that we believe their spirits really will be all vengeful and angry if we're anything except sad and broken up when they die. We're supposed to pretend that dying, a natural act, washes away all evil we've ever done, and makes us innocent as a baby born yesterday. Some how breathing out for the last time makes even the most heinous of people all perfect and lovely. You can abuse, use, manipulate and murder, but when you die, no one will say anything except how kind you were.
I say fuck him.
Joe Paterno was a man who had a lot of power, and may have done many good things. But he was a very bad man. He stood by and let unspeakable evil take place. Pretending he'd done enough, because he told the board, or something, right? I mean, let's start a whispering campaign to get the town drunk the mental help he needs, right? Oh, I know! When we learn about kids being beaten and starved, let's leave a note letting our mail-carriers know! Then we don't have to worry about it ever again.
That way, we did our part, we told someone.
He put football ahead of children.
He placed Football, a fucking sport, ahead of the protection of little boys!
He sacrificed those boys on the altar of university football.
He was an absolute bastard, and now he's dead. Lucky for him, he won't have to testify against his buddy, Sandusky. He can't be called to account for what he did to help torture those boys. Because he's fucking dead. Isn't that lovely?
I believe I have every right to be angry. Any time there is systematic abuse of children I am outraged, and I don't even fucking like children!
[Note: No, I don't like them. I never have liked children; I don't think they're cute, or adorable, or anything like that. Yes, I love my children. But chances are, I can't stand yours. The list of “Kids who are All Right” is pretty short, so please don't ask me if your baby is adorable, or what I think of your kid getting some award. I don't care. If your kid is on my list, you know, because I ask you about them.]
See, kids are smaller than we adults are, right? And it's our jobs to teach them and protect them as they grow-- so they grow into intelligent, curious, science-loving adults who will make the world better. If we stand by, “Because Football!” or any other reason, while they're being raped, while their spirits are being killed, then we helped rape them. We helped kill them. Not what they signed up for, let me tell you... and we adults need to call those who do that to account. They need to be punished just like the fuckers who actively rape kids.
You notice, too, I've used the word rape over and over and over.
I did this on purpose. Rape is what happened. Those boys were forcibly sodomised-- that'd be sexual intercourse of any kind that can't lead to procreation-- they couldn't give consent. That is rape. They were also assaulted-- which means being touched without their permission. I am using those words, because boys and men can be raped, and it's not fucking funny.
[I'll talk more about how rape is triggering for me, actually, later. One thing that always sets me off is jokes about rape, they're not funny at all.]
Today I just want to leave you with the thought, that dead or alive, Paterno helped ruin those lives. He helped ruin the lives of the boys as they grew into me; he ruined the lives of their families, and he's ruined the lives of his own family.
If he'd made one phone call to the cops all those years ago, how many kids would not have been raped? His family could have been silent, “Shocked! I tell you!” and co-operated with the investigation. They never would have been accused of anything. Instead he kept silent, and now the victims have every right to demand reparation from him, as well as Sandusky and the University.
I hope they get it.
So, what do we do about it?
We speak out, we work the hot-lines, we send money, and we make sure the kids in our lives know they have a safe place with us. Let them know they can tell you if they're being abused-- or if someone they know is. Pick up the telephone, call the police and never once think, “I don't want to get involved.” Be involved!
And never stop until you're dead. You never know what life you save, being brave enough to get involved.