Nov 102011
 


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing. – Edmund Burke





Dear America,

We should not rest until there is a full accounting of what took place at Penn State from 1977 to today. We need a full investigation of Sandusky’s “charity,” The Second Mile. We need to know exactly what officials at Penn State and The Second Mile knew and when they knew it. We need to know who took action and who took none. We need to hold people who have chosen public lives of service to youth responsible for allowing children to be raped.


We need to care enough. America needs to care about its children. If we do not protect our children . . . who are we?


While we’re (rightfully) lashing out at the group of men at Penn State who allowed children to be raped – let us also look within. We can learn from this disaster. We can remember what is so obvious but seems to be forgotten so easily – that we should place NO priority above the well-being of our fellow human beings. No institution, no ideology, no career, no amount of money, no damn iconic reputation should ever take priority over the health and safety of a single human being.


We need to put first things first, for God’s sake.


In honor of all of Sandusky’s rape victims, I make the following solemn pledge:

If I ever witness a child being abused – or hear about a child being abused – first, second, or third hand – I will report it immediately to police and follow up every single day until the case has been thoroughly investigated. If it is not investigated to my satisfaction, I’ll go to the media.


I pledge to do this because NOTHING is more important than the body and soul of a child.


Love, G





Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  45 Responses to “Pledge”

  1. @ Arial – Thank you for the GREAT quote. It fits this situation perfectly. Love you!

  2. Glennon – I pledge too. I want to love all my neighbors.
    Bubba – Thank you for that perspective. We all fall. . .
    XoXo Susie

  3. Glennon, Thank you for your honesty and ability to present the complexities, subtleties, and layers. Thank you for tackling this horrific subject. I pledge with you and so many others.

  4. Oh one more thing — I heard a story on NPR the other day about a political action committee being re-energized in San Francisco on behalf of dogs. They called it dog-pac (get it?).

    At any rate, in the story they stated that the census shows there are more dogs than children in SF now, so the dogs need a "voice." I'm all for taking care of animals, but it made me think — when will people think children are important enough to need a voice too? (Not picking on SF – that's just where the story came out of in case people want to google for more info on the dog-pac)

    KID-PAC?
    MONKEE-KID-PAC?
    MONKID-PAC?

  5. G – how can anyone say anything mean to Bubba? Actually, because Monkees love him, he gives a human face to the bewilderment that good people feel when someone they looked up to and trusted to do "the right thing" stumbles.

    The answer to that:
    All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.

    We all need to watch out for, and advocate on behalf of, the most vulnerable in our society. They may be infants or grown adults or anything in between.

    A dear young friend of mine is working with International Justice Mission right now trying to stop the horrific problem of sex trafficking in young people. May the work of their hands and hearts be multiplied and blessed and may the people of God cry out against those who would harm the innocent.

    For more:
    Mark 10:14 Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

    Mt 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    Mt 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

    Mt 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

    Mr 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

    Lu 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

    And yes, I pledge.

  6. Bubba, thank you for saying exactly what I've been feeling about this whole thing.

    I've been a Penn State fan since… infancy, really. Joe Paterno was a football coach, and yes, it's JUST football. But for a lot of students, football is their ticket to an education and a better life. Joe helped his students above and beyond just coaching them on the field. He helped set them up for the rest of their lives. That isn't nothing. A mountain can be dwarfed by a bigger sky, but that doesn't mean the mountain doesn't exist at all.

    He made a monumental mistake. There's no question but that he was part of an spontaneously-concocted conspiracy to sweep abuse under the rug. I get that. And it IS hard to understand. I've given up trying to. I just think, maybe there is middle ground between idealizing him in our minds as less than a god but more than a man, and public lynching.

  7. Also, if anyone says anything mean to Bubba I'll turn this blog around.

  8. It's all gut wrenching.

    My heart is heavy today for all Penn State fans. They're right, they ARE Penn State. Penn State is/was never only a football program.

    I am sure that this must be a tragically confusing time for alumni.

    I know that Paterno was the personal hero of my dad, Bubba. He's having a hard time this week. He wrote this to me yesterday:

    As Dustin Hoffman said in the movie Little Big Man…”sometimes the world is just too crazy to continue to live in it.” It is unfortunate that an entire life of good work, giving, loving, caring, and sacrifice can be wiped out in such a horrifying stroke. Joe Paterno spent his life giving himself to young men, to a university and to others in need. He rejected millions of dollars to stay at that university to be with those players and made an indelible impact on most of them. We all fall from grace at some point but Joe’s fall seems to much to bare. I worry about how he will live the remainder of his life.

    Who else handwrites a return letter to an unknown person on the day after Christmas thanking him for some kind words. JoPa did that for me and I’ll never forget that he did so. He was a great man who was not able live out that greatness. All he did before his tragic mistake does not mean nothing, does not disappear in our disappointment and sadness, rage, desire for revenge or for some the perversity of taking joy in the fall of a hero. Everyone stumbles. JoPa stumbled off a cliff. It happens. But don’t tell me that the meteor did not fly just because it burned out on entry.

    ********

    I know that'll make some of you angry. But it's just a reminder that for some, this is a very confusing time. And maybe it's a call for mercy, I don't know. I don't know much.

    It's a tragedy. Yesterday I felt full of rage. Today I feel broken. For the children and for all Penn State Alum and for the folks around the globe who considered JoPa a hero.

    Let us NOT let this go wasted. Let us learn to listen to our inner voice and not the voices of the world. Let us do the right thing, do hard things, and damn the worldly consequences.

    Love,
    G

  9. Amen! We need to start putting people as our number one priority–not the newest gadget, the most zeros in a bank book, or being famous. We need to go back to the days where morals and values and caring about our neighbors was the highest regard. We need to be brave and protect those who are vulnerable and not be afraid to stand tall against things or those we see doing wrong. I pray for those boys and theirs families–God alone knows what they will have to deal with the rest of their lives. I also pray for all those at Penn State, esp those who were involved in whatever coverup or "investigation" failure. This will follow them and with God's help, perhaps help them find a way to be a better person in the future. As for those students who miss the point–I hope God helps them realize the true victims. It's not the admin or the coaches or the school. It's the innocent children who trusted a "nice" guy, a "hero", who will forever be changed because of this.
    I am so heartsick about this and cannot read the grand jury stuff-I know that it would tear me up and I just can't do that to myself.
    Hopefully this will help shine a light on how those in power positions need accountability and training–and that people NEED to speak up and fight to the do the right thing, even if it's difficult.
    There was a great article in the Washingonpost today about how we as a country need to do the right thing, no matter if we have to go against our boss, our hero, or family–we have to stand for right.

  10. http://www.psupride.com/

    thought you might like to see what some of the alumni and community are doing.

  11. @Marley: When people say that he's a great man and that excuses his actions, I like to use this quote from the BBC 2010 series "Sherlock":

    "Sherlock Holmes is a great man. And if we're very, very lucky… maybe someday he'll be a good one."

    A good man and a great man are not necessarily the same thing. It's really sad when people don't recognize that.

    Ariel

  12. I went back and forth with a Penn State alumni and this was his response. I was truly speechless: "With all due respect, Marley. You don't know the whole story. You didn't go to Penn State and you'll never understand what we are all going through right now. You can read or watch all the stories you want on what could have been done or what wasn't done, but I find the rush to judgement just as appauling. Joe Paterno IS a great man. Perhaps you should spend more of your time reading about all the great things he's done before you condemn him to the dust heap of bad people based on an alleged error in judgement. History and God will be the final judge. Not you or anyone else. WE ARE … PENN STATE."

    I was sick to my stomach. …"You'll never understand what we are going through?!" Ummm, what are YOU the victim now? Disgusting!

  13. Thank you so very, very much. I was starting to think I was alone in how I felt about this whole thing.

  14. The story, the ACTUAL STORY of what happened and was WITNESSED and REPORTED is so horrific, I honestly wonder how the graduate student who SAW this all happen (and the janitor) can sleep at night. I can't sleep having just READ what happened the boy who was raped in the shower (I am not being vague so you will be intrigued….if you don't know the details, and are faint of heart, stay away).

    AND THE STUDENTS WHO RIOTED? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I am all for our young adults going to college and deciding that meat is murder, or they want to save the whales, or support amnesty international…but anyone who thinks being a football coach is a more important role than being a human being who protects children, needs their frickin' head checked. I am embarrassed for this kids who rioted, and I bet their parents are too.

    My brother went to a college where a "fraternity prank" involved a group of men kidnapping, stripping, assaulting and intimidating (and leaving naked in the woods miles outside of a major city) a member of another fraternity. That offending fraternity was disbanded, members criminally charged etc. The university has still more than 20 years later refused to allow them back on campus.

    I keep thinking about that…somehow, I keeping thinking "ok, is this enough…" I know I am just angry, but there is part of me that thinks that the university needs further punishing….

    I used to work in DC, where the Child Welfare system was monitored by outside parties, with extensive supervision and oversight on account of a lawsuit (Marisol) brought on behalf of one child who died while in foster care. The ENTIRE CHILD WELFARE system was "watched" for at least 5 years, likely longer…(yes, I know their job was to care for children…) I just think Penn State should have something like that…a bunch of outsiders watching their every move, and that EVERY single STAFF member of the university should be made to "retrain" like the CPS staff did, every month OVER and OVER, just in case common humanity doesn't apply to athletic departments.

    Okay, I need to STOP reading, writing and ranting. I work with sex abuse survivors, and ALREADY they have always feared no one could help them. What must it be like for them to read this story and know that people COULD HAVE, DID KNOW, and just apparently didn't care enough. I guess Its hard for me to know I live in that world…but they already know it.

  15. YES.

    And, it's a sober reminder to talk to my boys constantly and ALWAYS that their bodies are sacrosanct. Period. No matter with who or "how nice" they are no matter whether they say not to tell.

    It's a scary world. I'm glad we have a community of people who will vow to look out for each other.

    - L

  16. Let me add my YES, I PLEDGE to the rest. If we don't protect the innocent, who are we?!?

  17. amen sister and g. i am sick to my stomach to think of how these children were raped and taken advantage of. it's not sad, it's criminal and it's disgusting. ignoring criminal behavior and harm to children is unconscionable.

  18. once again in a "MAN's" world of wars and sports and corporate greed – all that matters to the "old school" of thought in a man's world is winning teams, greed and money and winning wars…. God forbid Penn State tarnish their college ball by letting go of their so called golden coach back when this happened. Ladies, sorry, it's a man's world and that is why no one spoke up. PLEASE No offense to any men fans here of this era. Those old FARTS/jerks at Penn State are from a different time and would rather sweep it under the rug than face the music and lose their job. Jerks. I hope I am not offending anyone because I do not intend that. I am not a man hater but you have to admit it was and is a man's world back in the day. I look at these perverts and I begin to spew. I should just be quiet. I am with you 100%.
    Terri

  19. I pledge.

    I posted this link (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/sports/ncaafootball/penn-state-students-in-clashes-after-joe-paterno-is-ousted.html?_r=1) on my Facebook along with this comment, which I would like to share here as well.

    “'This is devastating for us.' No. NO. Do you know what IS devastating? It is devastating that decades of sexual abuse went unnoticed in this place so many thought safe. It is devastating that Joe Paterno's colleagues covered up, actively and passively, these abuses for years. It is devastating that when Joe Paterno had the opportunity to stop these abuses, he didn't. Perhaps the students are right, perhaps he did do "what was required of him." But that is not enough. When we see or hear of the abuse of a child, we do not do "what is required." We do not do the minimum. We do EVERYTHING WE CAN to help these children. We do not REST until we know the abusers have faced justice.

    Joe Paterno (and his colleagues, and everyone involved in this case) had the opportunity to become a hero in everyone's eyes. He had the opportunity to reveal a serial child predator to the police. He had the power and the recognition to be listened to, for his concerns to be taken seriously and for his voice to be heard. He had the trust of the entire student body and administration. There was so much he could have done. He might have done something truly, TRULY heroic with his life. He would have really earned and deserved the love and loyalty he is getting now from his students.

    But he didn't. And that, my friends, is criminal."

    I think this is something really important that we need to remember. We need to eliminate the stigma of "guilt by association" for those who report these crimes. We need to make sure that no one ever, ever, EVER thinks for an instant that reporting abuse is in any way bad, shameful, embarrassing, or harmful. We need make sure that every person in the world knows that speaking up, speaking out, and following through on your promises to protect the children in your care is one of the hardest and most HEROIC things you can do. That's the truth.

    Ariel

  20. The saddest part is this is just one web of abuse…imagine how many go on and we never know. I think so many times the victims think there might be a "gay" stigma and they are even more reluctant to come forward. (I have no basis for this, I just know boys and at that tender age, being called gay is not a compliment.)

    I pledge too!

  21. I pledge…

  22. I pledge!

  23. Anonymous at 1:25 – I didn't mean to offend! I have Mormon friends and know that pedophilia isn't part of the religion and certainly didn't mean to lump innocent people into Warren Jeff's camp. None of my Catholic friends support sex abuse by priests and I definitely didn't mean to suggest that either! Those cases have just been in the media in recent memory, which is why I gave those examples. My intended point (perhaps poorly made) was that people in power will continue to abuse if those around them don't act. That's all. I'm so sorry if I offended you!

  24. "Consensus may be hard to come by in our nation, but this seems like something we can agree on as a people. If you see a child being raped, you should call the police."

    http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/2011/11/7/2543948/penn-state-jerry-sandusky-joe-paterno-sex-abuse-case

  25. i make the pledge. the innocent need people rallying behind them in full force!

    check this article out that came out in April, before the indictment: http://www.timesonline.com/columnists/sports/mark_madden/madden-sandusky-a-state-secret/article_863d3c82-5e6f-11e0-9ae5-001a4bcf6878.html

    And if you have the stomach for it, you can read the 23 page Grand Jury report here. be warned it is disgusting: http://cbschicago.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/sandusky-grand-jury-presentment.pdf

    these brave young men are in their 20s now… still babies. if there was no outrage on their behalf; I would surely lose every ounce of hope for humanity.

    "Remember your humanity and forget the rest."
    "We can only be human together"

  26. And let's remember and advocate with/for the survivors of sexual assaults of all kinds…those that go on in our own homes and communities and those that go on far across the world and those that go on in our jails and those that go on in our college campuses and… Let's stand up to any people who (mis)use others' bodies to try to show their own power. Let's raise men and women to reject violence and embrace love and speak up for themselves and for others.

    We can do hard things. We have to.

  27. G,

    I make the pledge.

    @MK Gregory, Warren Jeffs is not a Mormon leader or even a Mormon. He belongs to a group that broke off from the Mormon Church in the early 1900s. As a Mormon I want you to know we neither believe nor condone his teachings or practices.

  28. I second Sisters response. Absolutely disgusting that these people who are by all practical purposes accomplices, considered their status and football, for goodness sakes, FOOTBALL people, FOOTBALL, of higher value than the precious souls of these children. It truly makes me say Seriously? Seriously? Completely shameful.

  29. Amen! I was a victim beginning at age 6. I survived and put together a good life. Still, it takes me back. Witnessing the passion that is expressed in your words, and the comments above, makes the vulnerable 6-year old that remains in me feel cared for.

  30. I pledge…

  31. Please please please hold true to this pledge. I am a therapist at a rape crisis center and I work all day with survivors of sexual assault. The youngest child I am currently seeing is three years old…and that is only because I am not trained in seeing younger children…there are many, many victims much younger. I cannot begin to explain the whirlwind of anguish, confusion, and pain that these babies are thrown into because of these crimes. Please speak up if you are concerned about a child, or an adult for that matter. This particular cycle of violence and crime DOES NOT WORK if people do not participate in denying its existence. Sexual crimes are difficult to discuss, uncomfortable to think about, and painful to accept, but if we do not acknowledge what is happening to so many people every single minute of every single day, we can not help the ones who need us. Praying for all of these survivors and their families.
    Julia

  32. I am furious, outraged,physically ill!!!! How can this happen ??? I don't understand. I pledge one billion percent to be a whistle blower. I just pray that I don't take matters into my own hands if I ever learn about child abuse . I tuck my children in bed and try to not have total anxiety about every minute they are out of my sight. I truly CAN NOT have forgiveness for these sex offenders. It is true Evil and Hell on Earth. We can NEVER stop fighting this fight . I would gladly give up blogging and Pinterest if we could banish child porn ( any porn) on the Internet. It feeds the sick hunger and sends these creeps out looking for the real deal. SHAMEFUL!!!

  33. I pledge as well. And will do my part to gain awareness and visibility.

  34. When I was in Africa, the morning after my 'night of terror' the police were called into investigate. They did not want to take a statement from me, or even cared what happened to me. I demanded my story listened too. The police officer responded with 'I'm sorry this unfortunate thing has happened.'

    I just about spit in his face. I would have if someone hadn't taken me away.

    My prayer is that the truth will prevail and that the stories get to be told and honored.

    It isn't sad. It's horrific. I'm with Sister. I call bull shit.

  35. Amen Sister and amen Glennon!

  36. From Sister:

    AMEN SISTER.

    I am so sick of hearing people say they are so “sad” for “this sad situation” – about how “sad it is for everyone.” I call B.S.

    This is not a "sad situation." The situation is as follows: a coward witnessed the rape of a ten year old boy and ran away to leave the child to continue to be brutalized that day and for years to come. And countless others decided that protecting the bodies souls and innocence of children was not worth the cost of "getting involved." They did the calculus and decided that the ongoing rape of children was acceptable if it meant that they could maintain their status quo. THAT is the situation that people are calling "so sad for everyone." B.S.

    My immense sadness and righteousness on behalf of the child victims and their families leaves no extra room to feel one iota of sadness for those cowards who failed to protect them.

    It is a baseline human responsibility to stop the rape of a child that is happening in front of you or on your watch. To the extent that we are confused about that – and about for whom we should feel sad in this tragedy – is the extent to we have lost touch with the essence of what it means to have the privilege and responsibility of living on this planet.

    Sister

  37. ‎"The world is a dangerous place. Not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." -Einstein

  38. MK- I love you maybe ESPECIALLY the way you are today.
    :)

  39. Amen, again. I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about what was allowed to transpire….

  40. I'm in 100% as well.

    Husband

  41. Amen again. Horrifying and sad.

    I make the pledge.

  42. Amen. I'm so angry I could spit. If it were the first time I'd heard of such a thing I'd be shocked, but there are repeated priest scandals, the Jeff-Whatshisface (Mormon leader) scandal and lots of other small ones that keep crossing our radar. And what happens? Who boycotts? ARGH. I'll make the pledge, and so will the rest of us, but we're not the ones who need to be making it!

    Sorry to be negative and angry, but that's how I'm feeling. Take me as I am today, please, ladies.

    MK

  43. I stand with that cause 100%.

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