Rest in Peace Paterno??? Really?
This is what I see people posting on Facebook right now, as Paterno has passed, but not his lovely legacy of little boy rape.
Forgive me…no wait, I’m not going to start this out apologetically, because I am NOT sorry and do NOT feel badly about what I am going to say. I am going to warn you though; this will be raw. There may be swearing. And there will likely be grammatical errors. I am writing out of pure, raw, emotional anger and this likely will not live up to my usual writing or writing style.
Right now I’m going to say the same thing I said to the adults who turned their heads when I was being raped repeatedly as a child……FUCK Paterno, and may he rest in TURMOIL, like the turmoil he contributed to in the lives of those little boys his colleague raped while he turned his head and purposely looked away.
Yah, yah, that’s not very nice of me. But, unfortunately, the internal damage I have suffered as a result of years of childhood sexual and physical abuse at the hands of adults has had such a dire effect on me that it interferes with my ability to forgive and release that anger. That is how damaging it is for the child who goes through this….maybe those who have never suffered through it can keep that in mind before they speak about Paterno so lovingly.
One of my friends put it perfectly: Mr Paterno, your accomplishments in sports pale in comparison to your biggest mistake in life. I give so much thanks to my friend for posting that. His status and the resounding discord for Paterno in the comments by his friends gave me some warmth and hope.
But I opened up Facebook this morning to read other statuses by my “friends” wishing Paterno peace, saying that we should remember all the good things he did and not concentrate on the bad.
FFS, really? REALLY?!!
As I read these things, I started to shake. I started to cry. Because when you are a child and you are raped by an adult, you go through a tremendous amount of pain. When other adults KNOW about it and do nothing, things slide even further downhill. You start to believe that YOU must have done something to cause this, that you must have deserved this pain and degradation, because adults know and are doing nothing….it must not be wrong enough to warrant any help.
That flood of self-blame turns your outlook on the world completely dark. You live inside a dark cloud of shame that rests heavy on your shoulders, always there to remind you that you are a grievously horrible person who does not deserve respect, kindness or love. You can’t move on from that, and that belief tears down any walls of protection you may have had against further predators who move in to take further advantage of your body, mind and spirit.
I worked very hard in my adult life to rid myself of these demons. I worked every day, and still do, to tell myself that I am worthy of love, that I am a good person who deserves to love myself. I had no part in what happened to me; it was neither my fault nor caused by anything I did or didn’t do. But what happened has affected my WHOLE LIFE. I have not had a day of peace from the memories of what happened. Each day I live my life those memories are inside my head; blocking them out completely results in even more self-damage, and so I have learned to tame them; but they linger, and will forever, floating on the top of my mind like oil shimmering on top of a pot of water, never blending in and never sinking to the bottom of the pot.
THAT is what an abused child faces. Then to read that people prefer to remember a man’s gift to football over the damage he did to children….well, all that shame and blame bubbled up anew.
Who are we as a society when we put the merits of a sport above the well being of a CHILD?
It is a sad day for me today. Not the worse of which is that I am forced to break off “friendships” with people I thought I knew, because this is just too close to home for me to blame it on simple differences of opinion. It is still too raw for me. And it always will be. My life has been affected by abuse in too many ways to even count on my fingers. My children’s lives have been affected in the run-off of my own resulting issues. My husband’s also. My heart and blood races and my body aches with the pain still; it just isn’t something I can shut down and calm, it is like a rabid dog, uncontrollable.
I know I can’t change minds or views. And unless this topic touches you personally or someone very close to you, you will never understand the full body of emotion and pain that is involved. I get that. But perhaps I have at least helped you understand a little about how damaged these young men must be, and that Paterno had a hand in that damage.
I wish condolences to his family, of course. They had no hand in it, and I’m sure they knew a different man; he was their husband, father, brother. I am sorry for their loss and wish them no disrespect. But I wish no rest and no peace for Paterno. After all, the victims will never have any.