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I don't watch TV, so sometimes I'm a bit behind on my current events.  I just heard about Jerry Sandusky, formerly assistant coach at Penn State.  As I understand it, the man was found guilty of sexually abusing 8 boys over a period of 15 years.  Apparently, since it has been discovered that the head coach (Joe Paterno) knew about this but did not report anything to the authorities, he has also been fired.  I find this whole story to be rather tragic.

Should the head coach have been fired?  I really don't know.  But, what I do know is that knowing about someone who abuses someone else and not doing anything about it is a dishonorable thing to do.  Sexual abuse is a serious thing, and I think that all too often we take it lightly in our society.  If he had it in his power to stop Sandusky from ruining more boys' lives, he should have done it.  Not snitching on your friend when you find out they smoke pot and not reporting someone who you know is sexually abusing children are two completely different things.  In the latter case, innocent people are being hurt by your apathy.  So, I say shame on Paterno, and anyone else that knew something and said/did nothing.

There are those who are trying to use this tragedy to continue to push the propaganda that homosexuals are evil, that gay people make bad role models/parents for children, etc.  To me, this says exactly the opposite.  To me, this shows the necessity of allowing gay people to be recognized as equal with straight people and giving us equal status in society.  Why?  Think about it.  Obviously, Sandusky is a gay man (or perhaps bisexual).  He has a wife.  The society he lives in does not like homosexuals, so he marries a woman to blend in and to avoid the disapproval of his society.  But, he really wants to be with guys because he's gay.  So, what does he do?  He engages in sexual conduct with boys.  Think how it would be different if he grew up in a society that treated him equal with others--where he would be allowed to marry the man of his dreams and not have to keep secret the fact that he's attracted to people of the same sex.

Don't mistake me.  I don't mean to set up Sandusky as a victim.  He is not a victim in any way at all.  He is the perpetrator.  He chose his own actions and needs to be responsible for them.  What he did was completely inexcusable.  No one should ever be forced or coerced into sexual conduct with any other person--this is something that should only be done between consenting persons.  Being sexually abused is a serious thing, and it can be extremely difficult for the victim of a sexual abuse/assault to recover from the psychological and emotional damage that is caused by such an event.  The life of these 8 boys may never be the same simply because of the despicable actions on the part of Sandusky.  Shame on Sandusky for not being in control of his own emotions and for taking advantage of those who are younger and more impressionable.  I believe in a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse/assault.  It is never okay, and it is never the victim's fault.

I also don't mean to say that sexual urges are impossible to control, or that they shouldn't be controlled.  I think that they can and should be controlled.  All too often people say that the urges are too strong to control.  I disagree.  I think there's danger in ignoring those feelings or trying to suppress them altogether, but I think that it's quite possible to have sexual relations only with people who consent to such.  What I'm saying is that everyone should feel free to have a positive outlet for their sexual feelings (that is, be able to be in a relationship with a person they're attracted to) and not be ashamed to let the public know about their relationships.

All I mean to say is that if our society were more accepting of people who wanted to marry someone of the same sex, there would be fewer stories like this.  People would be better able to release their sexual energy in positive, uplifting ways--with a partner that they love and commit themselves to--rather than in secretive, coercive ways such as abusing a child.  I mean, just think how high rape rates would soar if everyone in society felt like straight sex was immoral (so, the only way for reproducing would be artificial insemination).  People who had no other outlet for releasing their sexual energy would just find some unsuspecting teen somewhere and assault them.  They'd have to do it in privacy and secrecy because if they did so openly they'd be shunned by society.  So, I think anyone who is interested in stopping sexual abuse, allowing gays to be treated equally is one step in the right direction.  No, it won't solve the problem altogether, but I think it will help.

Also, if gay people feel comfortable being open about who they are, then we can have more gay role models step up to the plate.  There are wonderful gay men and women out there who are excellent role models, but are closeted.  They are afraid to come out, for whatever reason, but are great people and contribute well to society.  They make wonderful role models to the youth.  And, if they were out and allowed to be themselves, then they would become good role models of what a great gay person can be.  They could show gay youth how to be a good gay.  Think how Sandusky's life may have been different if he had positive gay role models to look up to when he was young and learned from them how to be good.  Perhaps then he wouldn't have grown up to be the kind of guy that would sexually abuse boys.  Again, I'm not setting up Sandusky as a victim, I'm merely trying to point out ways in which our future might be brighter if we achieve a greater level of acceptance for gay people and a greater level of encouragement for us all to be more respectful of others and their feelings.

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