I heard comments on TV after the sentencing of Jerry Sandusky for sexually molesting ten boys—and most people know there were far, far more. At his sentencing, one of the survivors said "You had the chance to plead guilty and spare us the testimony. Rather than take the accountability, you decided to try to attack us as if we had done something wrong."
As I listened to that statement and the rest of the report, two words hit me: Victimized again.
To his great credit, Judge Cleland said to Sandusky, "The crime is not only what you did to their bodies but to their psyches and their souls and the assault to the well-being of the larger community in which we all live."
Sexual molestation shatters our lives. Even after we begin to heal, we still face being misunderstood, questioned, and even contradicted. That victimizes us again. Cleland and the jurors understood; the "larger community" doesn't seem to grasp the meaning—or perhaps they're too uncomfortable to ponder the message.
When we need compassion, we feel accused; when we speak, others tell us to be quiet; when we need to be believed, they question our integrity.
I doubt that any of us expected an apology from Sandusky. But he not only maintained his innocence and made a horrible statement, "I would cherish the opportunity to be a little candle for others as my life goes on as they have been a huge light to me."
(This post first appeared at Joyful Heart Foundation.)