The news of the past week has churned up a past memory that I had already processed and laid to rest. Like a stubborn hemorrhoid, it emerged again with the breaking story of Sandusky, the Penn State coach. There was a huge uproar when the University Board fired the President on down to the famed Joe Paterno (although not the actual Grad Asst. who witnessed the rape of a 10 year old boy).
When I was 11 years old, I was the victim of inappropriate touching, groping, if you will, by a man 6 times my age. My grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in Coronado, CA where they had retired from a Naval career; my grandfather a naval Captain. There were many people at this party, many in dress uniform and I knew none of them. Dressed for the event, my little sister and I were tucked away in the den with the television, coming out for snacks and drinks. On one such foray into the party, I made a stop in the bedroom to grab my book, Nancy Drew, and that's when I heard the door close. An older man, in a suit, entered the room, making small talk. He asked me my name, whose child I was, how old I was. He asked me if I had started menstruating yet, his eyes on my chest. I don't remember if I answered him because he had gotten so close to me, first grasping my arm before helping himself to my emerging breasts. I know I pulled back. I remember he quickly calmed me by letting go and backing up. I don't remember who left the room first because I know I just wanted to get out of there. I know I didn't tell anyone until much later, it might have been after we returned to Michigan. My mother was mortified. I don't know what she did about it, I do remember she wanted to report it and I begged her not to but I answered her questions anyway. She made some phone calls. I just wanted it over with. I do know that it scared me. I do know that I was embarrassed, I do know it had a profound effect on how I looked at myself, carried myself. It wasn't a rape, it was a grope. I tell this story because it is an example of how quickly it happens, how intimidating it is, how close it may be to all of us.
I imagine the victims of Sandusky and it makes me sick. No one took this to police. As an adult, I say screw protocol, this was an emergency that should have been reported immediately to the police. That NO ONE saw to it was a failure to that child, and any other child Sandusky violated. And that child takes precedence over any person, their position or their fame.