Penn State Report: A Case Study in Rape Culture

[Content Note: Rape culture; sexual violence; abetting abuse.]

Ken Belson in the New York TimesAbuse Inquiry Faults Paterno and Others at Penn State:
The most senior officials at Penn State University failed for more than a decade to take any steps to protect the children victimized by Jerry Sandusky, the longtime lieutenant to head football coach Joe Paterno, according to an independent investigation of the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the university last fall.

"Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims," said Louis J. Freeh, the former federal judge and director of the F.B.I. who oversaw the investigation. "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized."

Freeh's investigation — which took seven months and involved more than 400 interviews and the review of more than 3.5 million documents — accuses Paterno, the university's former president and others of deliberately hiding facts about Sandusky's sexually predatory behavior over the years.

One new and central finding of the Freeh investigation is that Paterno knew as far back as 1998 that there were concerns Sandusky might be behaving inappropriately with children. It was then that the campus police investigated a claim by a mother that her son had been molested by Sandusky in a shower at Penn State.

...The investigation also presented evidence that in the wake of the 1998 case, top university officials contemplated the possibility that Sandusky could be a serial pedophile. A university vice president, Gary Schultz, took notes related to that case and ended them with the questions: "Is this opening of Pandora's box? Other children?"

"In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity," the most powerful leaders of Penn State University, Freeh's group said, "repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, the board of trustees, the Penn State community and the public at large."
There is much more at the link, including the report that, after Sandusky sexually abused a 10-year-old boy in the shower at the football facility, the university's president, Graham Spanier, and athletic director, Tim Curley, decided that "the 'humane' thing to do would be to speak to Sandusky and warn him not to bring children on campus any longer."

The "humane" thing was to not report Sandusky, whose humanity and dignity and safety was of prime importance. What was "humane" for his victims, past and future, was not even worthy of consideration.

That, right there, is the central and defining feature of the rape culture: It caters to rapists, at the expense of their victims.

[H/T to Jessica.]

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