Experiences of Sandusky victim should not have a price

Justin Marinelli

Just when the most optimistic of us were thinking that society was moving on to more important things, the news came out that “Victim 1” of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal will have a book detailing his experiences hit stores next month. The question on many people’s minds is if this is too soon for such intimate details about the scandal to arise. While this is a normal reaction, it also decisively reveals a lack of priorities and perspective on the entire affair.

The real question we should be asking ourselves is not whether this is too soon, but why we should even care. The Sandusky trial is over and done; the man was convicted and justice was served. Any further action serves no purpose other than to manipulate our sense of horror at the event for personal gain. We collectively need to move on, for it reflects poorly on us if we don’t.

There is no justifiable reason for this to ever be published. Sure, it’ll make for tawdry entertainment for whoever chooses to purchase it, but such action only serves to cheapen the events that unfolded. It puts a price on the suffering endured, which is in and of itself a despicable act. Sexual assault is a horrifying act that should happen to no one; making money off of being a victim assigns such a heinous act with a monetary value.

However, no money can be made unless we choose to buy the book. Anyone who buys it becomes complicit in this monetization of horror. No matter what your intent in buying it may be, purchasing a copy essentially says that you are perfectly okay with sexual assault, as long as the victim receives adequate financial compensation.

I have no problem with using writing as a method to achieve catharsis. If documenting your experience helps you get over the psychological scars, then there’s no reason not to do it. It is making money off of your own suffering and putting a price on the horrors you went through that I find detestable. It makes sexual assault less shocking and less horrific. If we want to think of ourselves as living in an evolved society, that is one thing we should never do.

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