I've been thinking about the Penn State scandal (who the hell in the States hasn't), and I'm still astounded and appalled that it could have gone on for so long, and to have victimized so many children. I don't know what sort of mindset would allow such a series of occurrences to take place, but I'd guess that it the corrupting influence of money takes center stage. The Penn State football program is a multimillion dollar enterprise, which may explain why nobody wanted to rock the boat skippered by Joe Paterno. "Hey, the kids who were victimized were disadvantaged, and Sandusky delivers the goods on the gridiron... why jeopardize Lions football?" Of course, this is merely a symptom of a whole culture poisoned by greed, authoritarianism, and unaccountability.
Another thing which has had me scratching my bald pate in puzzlement is the "Don't talk to strangers!" injunction. All too often, abusers are trusted individuals- clergymen, close friends or family members, authority figures all. Often, it takes an outsider's perspective to suss out that abuse is occurring. The abusers are able to cloak themselves in the mantle of respectability, so other members of the community are unable to call their actions or intentions into question. Hell, in the Penn State case, one has to wonder whether Jerry Sandusky founded his charity largely as a "spiderweb" to entrap vulnerable children. How does one educate one's children to be skeptical enough of authority to never kowtow to the predator's "classic" veiled threat: "Don't tell anybody! Who would believe you anyway?" How does one convince a kid not to be afraid to shine a spotlight on a "trusted" member of the community who is doing evil under the noses of the populace? I know the schools typically don't teach kids to question authority, but I'd tell any parent that it's crucial to do so.