By Steve Arterburn
One moment in last week's sentencing of Penn State pedophile Jerry Sandusky stood out as both painful and redemptive, not only for the victims of the disgraced assistant coach, but for the universe of sex abuse victims.
Addressing the unidentified victims, Judge John Cleland spoke words of wisdom I urge these young men, now struggling to begin a healthy life, not to overlook. "The fact that you were assaulted is no cause for shame," he said. "It is for your courage that you will be remembered."
Those of us who have lived with such traumatic memories -- both of my brothers were molested -- applaud Judge Cleland for including such a thoughtful remark. Sandusky's victims must embrace it.
Their courageous story-sharing has taken a remorseless predator off the streets. If they are like so many other victims, they have worn the shame of their abuser far too long. They must hold to the truth that it is not their shame.
Each one must do whatever it takes to shed that shame and rise above it. They, not the predator, were the victims. He, not they, took over their lives like a monster and robbed them of their youthful innocence. And they did not possess the power to stop him.
Now they must find knowledge of their renewed power. They must understand, as all potential victims must, that enjoying the attention of elders is not the same as inviting abuse. They can, and must, put the shame back on their abuser, who has taken up a large and forbidding presence in their minds.
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