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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dorothy Sandusky Interview

Warning: this post might be triggering.

I watched Dorothy Sandusky's interview with Matt Lauer last night.  It wasn't triggering for me (I experienced both childhood and adult sexual abuse), but it did create a sense of enormous sadness for her, as well as a tandem sense of total disgust at Jerry Sandusky and the fact that he obviously (like most sex offenders) blew smoke up her ass, deceived her, and manipulated her throughout their marriage. He obviously chose someone who is kind and clueless, and who found it difficult if not impossible to question the actions of someone she obviously loves.  Sandusky also put on the facade of being a loving, goofy teddy bear sort of guy, so that no one would see what he was.  Anyways, Matt Lauer asks some intense questions of her, and she truly reveals the depth of her denial when answering them.  I figure it would take a skilled therapist and years of work to undo the layers of denial this poor woman has, especially concerning the way she enabled her husband and covered up for him, however unwittingly.  Sandusky has been recently proclaiming from his prison cell that he is innocent too.

One of the reasons I am so harsh when it comes to people who prey on kids is because, as someone who has been teaching for 36 years now, I have seen (every single year I've taught) the direct result of damage this behavior causes in young people.  I began working with sex offenders (specifically pedophiles who have acted on their urges) when I was 22 years old, working with students and their families.  These kids were so utterly traumatized, and many times, the offender was still living in the home and in total denial of the harm they had done.  I finally told the teacher I was working with that I could not stand it anymore, and she let me do other things for the class.  It really forced my eyes open, sadly enough.  The perpetrators obviously needed help, but they didn't think what they did was harmful or morally reprehensible.  It was like trying to catch a tsunami in a teacup...all those broken children.

Once I got to San Jose State, I began to read essays about the worst abuse and betrayals I had ever witnessed, even when I was a young woman. These young people were only 18 or 19 years old. Some of them had gone to foster care because the mother would not let go of the abusive husband or partner and still lived with them. There were at least three essays a semester about it, in every class, and I wondered how many went unwritten.  I could not fathom it and I was in awe of what it took for these students to strive and get to a university.  Sometimes they really screwed up and dropped out--the destruction of self-esteem and the ability to accomplish things was so damaged.

Anyways, if you can stomach it, here is Dorothy Sandusky's interview.  I hope one day that she finds an excellent therapist who can get through the layers of denial. It would be hard as hell for her, but perhaps she could find some measure o insight into her role as an enabler.  It can be triggering, so please do not watch if you feel it might do so: