Sunday, November 13, 2011

Penn State Wears Blue

All colors influence mood, and blue is the one that carries most significance during this painful time. The color of assured calm and serenity also induces hopeless sorrow and bruised pain. The ambiguity of blue is felt among those who wear it in State College.

The students and fans struggle with the love and pride they have for their staff and administrators juxtaposed upon the heavy sense of disappointment and disgust for all that was left undone. These conflicting feelings are deepened when the actions of those they have idealized are incongruent with the character of the men they knew.

For the parents of victims, many are often trapped between knowing there was nothing they could have done and feeling that they should have known. Parents revisit the past filling in the gaps with the new knowledge of the crime against their children. Sequences of events are now clear, areas of confusion are focused and hindsight is filled with the despair of “what ifs” when it is 20/20.

The children subjected to sexual abuse and a system that utterly failed them, are placed in an adult world without the vocabulary to make sense of the sexual violence that they were forced to endure. They too are left with unresolved confusion surrounding the man who gave them gifts, provided guidance, and showed them “love” while using this seductive practice to sexually abuse, physical harm and emotionally damage them.

The success of a child sexual predator is determined by his/her ability to create an idealized version of the self that masks true evil intent. When the truth emerges, the community, parents, and victims are left confused. Unresolved feelings of ambiguity emerge, and these feelings are a normal part of the process.

For those who are newly aware of the incidences at Penn State, there is no need to find resolution to conflicting feelings. The color worn on the backs of the community need only symbolize the hope of blue skies ahead.