Jerry Sandusky & Sexual Abuse

By Mallika Chopra

I was on a panel last year with four amazing women — women who were entrepreneurs, leaders, change makers for good in their communities. I was in awe of each one as they spoke about their commitment to help others and their incredible accomplishments.

The last question of the panel came from a young woman in the audience: What motivates you and gives you strength to do what you do? Since I sat at the end of the table, I was the last one to answer.

The first one told us that she had been raped as a younger woman.

The second one had been sexually molested, admitting it for the first time on the panel. Her mom, who was in the audience and already knew about her daughter’s trauma, sobbed with pride as she listened to her daughter say that she refused to be a victim.

The third one also had been sexually molested by a family member.

The fourth one, too, had been raped.

Each one spoke about how they had been forced to find light in a dark, very dark, world. That often it was tempting to live in darkness — and some had for lengths of time. But those glimpses of light kept them going. They cried. They laughed. They shared their stories with a desire to help others heal.

I was in awe.

When it came to my turn to speak, I couldn’t at first. I held back tears. Unlike each of the incredible women before me, I had not been abused. In fact, I had grown up surrounded by love and support. It was my good fortune, my gratitude for so many gifts that inspired me. How crazy that I had a moment of unworthiness sitting next to these women who had been abused and overcome such obstacles to achieve the things they did. Shouldn’t it be a basic right that every child is loved, given security, opportunity? How could it be that I was the only one?

One of the moms of the victims in the Jerry Sandusky trial pointed out that everyone had lost in this trial. The victims, the families, the communities, Jerry Sandusky himself. His psychosis, now so obvious, brings up questions about morality, personal and social responsibility.

My experience on the panel blatantly reminded me that we live in a world that is fighting many demons. There is a lot of real pain, a lot of gut wrenching trauma that innocent children, that good people, are faced with every day. And while it’s easy to think of Jerry Sandusky as a monster — because what he did disgusts me to my core — I feel that there is a sickness, an imbalance at its very core, that runs deep not only in him, but in our society.

I think about a similar situation where someone I know was caught doing something that disturbed me in the same way, something that I thought should be punished. Something I didn’t want to accept that person could ever do. I fidget as I realize that this person’s actions were a coping reaction to a deep trauma, abuse, from the past. My head spins as I think about another friend who was abused by her father. I still cannot come to terms with it and am in awe with how she copes every day. I realize she copes because she has to. She had to heal.

I avoided the daily news about Jerry Sandusky. I avoided it, not because I was protesting the media hype, but because it made me sick and emotional. But, I know that avoiding darkness does not make it go away. It does not help people heal.

I read this article about Sandusky’s pastor’s words to his congregation last Sunday. He told of how Jesus was awoken on a rocking boat as a storm raged around them. He responded with the words: Peace. Be Still.

“Sure, the darkness is deep and the waves are powerful, but this is the time to engage the world, not run from it,” he said from the pulpit. “This is the day of our saving. God always speaks the loudest when the waves are the highest. Peace! Be still!”

Those women on my panel, they did not run from their pasts. They are the victims who will not be held back — who can inspire others to heal and not continue cycles of abuse. They are the light bearers for the future. The ones who share the stories so that we can let the tears flow freely in pain. So that we can release, and then find the inner stillness and strength to move on.

More from Mallika’s Mindful Mom Series:
Mommy, Why Did 9/11 Happen?
Mommy Guilt: How Do You Deal With It?
How Do I Explain to My Kids That the Government Deems Gay People’s Love Wrong?
Mommy Days – Balancing Work and Kids

A Mother’s Open Letter to Jerry Sandusky
Penn State Scandal: Can You Imagine?
For Victims of Sexual Abuse

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Dale Overall

Stories of courage here from people sexually abused and not validated, so very tragic. If validated one can heal far more easily but when a child is scorned and disbelieved it must be horrific, tearing at the very fabric of the soul.

I was sexually abused by two brothers and have found solace from the book The Courage To Heal along with a lot of counselling and healing has been fraught with depression and difficulties. The dark chasm and abyss one is tossed down into is a never ending struggle.

Climbing up towards the light at the top one often falls back downwards, bloodied and morose to try and grab at a vine or rock to scrabble back upwards towards the top, often taking years. Some do not even make it while many of us see and reach the light, be it of caring people, councillors or a pet that brings us the only comfort. My life now sees rainbows but there will always be a piece of the leaden blanket that holds part of me back as well.

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.3 years ago


Heather Marvin
Heather Marv3 years ago

I know women who are close to me, who have been sexually abused by predators. One who has suffered greatly mentally has a cocktail of drugs which she takes daily,to block out the pain. They are never the same after they have been abused as children. They pay the price daily for the callousness of evil minds and evil actions.

Lika S.
Lika S.3 years ago

This is a good start to ensure that those who abuse our men and boys will have justice served upon them. To ensure that the men have a place to go, please sign Sean's Voice, a petition to ensure that abused men and boys have equal access to emergency shelter, support, and services to ensure the best potential outcome. This is dedicated to baby Sean, whose life was taken by the hands of his mother.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.3 years ago


Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

Thanks for sharing your point of view regarding this horrific man.

Chad A.
Chad Anderson3 years ago

Thanks for the thoughts on a tough subject.

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad3 years ago

Jerry is right where he belongs and since he has a pension for anal sex....He's right at home!

Tom Rose
Thomas Rose3 years ago

Thanks for the insights.

Lynn L.
Lynn L.3 years ago

A good article.Dottie is as guilty as Jerry is. Don't tell me the wife didn't know. Pathetic enabler with blinders on. Probably justified it to herself that she didn't want to give us her nice lifestyle so she let him do anything he wanted to those young boys. Shame on you Dottie ! May you both experience the Karma you deserve.