Penn State, Secrets, and How I Startled the Family Dog {Five Minute Friday}

It’s Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday! Time to write for five minutes (although I took me a little longer today…I needed italics and points of emphasis) and not care if it’s written right. Today’s prompt: Unexpected.


Thump. Thump. Thump. Oh my goodness, I can hear my heart beating, almost racing as if it has an urgent errand to run. Palms are sweaty. My face flushing, turning red with heat.

What is this? What is happening to me?

All I was doing was sitting and listening to the news, with the daily paper in my lap. The media frenzy was/is all about the allegations emerging out of Penn State. It is scrape-your-chin-off-the-cement stunning. Disgusting. Outrageous.

Outrageous on so many levels.

Who rapes children?

Who knows about it and remains silent?

Who could actually witness it and returns to work the next day like he’s some Don Draper. “It never happened. It never happened. It never happened.” How many times do you have to repeat that to make it okay?

I’m the person who keeps people’s secrets. I was 12 years old the first time my neighbor friend revealed her secret of shame. I barely knew anything about sex then. I had know idea that this *thing we giggled and snickered about possessed such a dark and disgusting and disfiguring shadow. Since then, I’ve heard so too many more secrets; secrets barely whispered for fear that in the speaking they would be given new life for their torments.

Every time I hear a secret my heart drops to its knees.  It wallows in compassion, mercy, and tender kindness. Every time I grieve for the secret speaker.

Yesterday’s thumping of my heart was not of the grieving variety. Yes, I feel bad for the victims, but I feel a greater truth: Anger. OutRAGE; blood boiling anger. Anger that some deviant created new secrets. Anger that there are now precious, image-bearing boys who will have that secret follow them around for the rest of their lives, taunting them like some schoolyard bully. Anger that those who had the power to stop it, did not. Anger that there are people making excuses and still doing!

“Damn it! When will WE start protecting our children?!!” I shouted. And the dog stared, caught off guard and startled with concern, surprised as me by my cursing. 

The anger was unexpected. Oh, but I am so glad I feel it. Pity the person who hears the secrets and doesn’t.

Stop. {Okay, I’ve stopped writing, but I’m not going to stop being angry about this. Not today. Not ever.}

Did you have something unexpected happen this week? Why don’t you tell you story and join the others over at Lisa Jo’s site.

10 thoughts on “Penn State, Secrets, and How I Startled the Family Dog {Five Minute Friday}

  1. You write so well and poignantly. And I feel every word you have said. This whole thing sickens me. I’ve seen a lot of people on FB posting how sad they are that JoePa is forced to leave Penn State after so many years of undying devotion, yet no one is crying over these children that could have been saved if those who saw and/or knew would have spoken up. It’s a shame, it’s devastating, nothing they do, not firing the athletic professionals, not charging the assailant, not even saying “I’m sorry” to these kids will make up for it. It’s heartbreaking. 😦

    • It’s says a lot about what we value when we forget the children. This story highlights it so painfully. Thanks for caring for them!

  2. It is so tragically sad… those of us who know, KNOW. It makes me sick…

    Ironically, I really identified with your words because, at 12 years old I was the one sharing that ugly secret to my best friend. Thankfully, she told her daddy and he saved my life.

    Obviously, from the news, not everyone acts as honorably- and without reservation- as an 11 year old girl.

    • Misty, I am sorry for what you have been through…and I am so grateful for your brave and bold 11 year old friend. May you continue to find other brave and bold people in your life to walk with you and love you.

  3. word sista.
    I am right there with you.
    Why didn’t someone… whomever witnessed this not walk right back into the room and knock the monsters block off….
    Oh girl… where are all the men?

    • Right? Where are the men??? So McQueary witnesses Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy (WITNESSES IT) and thinks it’s heroic to simply mention it to the head coach. (Who, it appears, did nothing.) Come on. I wonder how that 10 year old boy feels today knowing that someone saw and did nothing to restore his dignity and worth. Any mom walking in on that scene would have made good sure that didn’t happen again… Honestly, this is the part of the story that I find most egregious. Now that I think about it–I always find the “doing nothing about it” despicable and cowardly. So much for football being the “man’s man” sport.

  4. Brenda, I agree, we need to start protecting the children. It makes me very sad that they are the ones that suffer in situations like this. Your post is written really well, your emotion comes across so clearly.

    • Janelle, Thanks for your visit. It is a sad situation and I’m glad to learn that there are so many others who are concerned about protecting children.

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