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Holding Sexual Assault Enablers Responsible

The Bystander Initiative And Legal Reform

Amy Sterling Casil
7 min readJan 20

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Thanks to Selena Routley, I read Armies of Enablers by Prof. Amos Guiora of the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney School of Law.

This book was far from an easy read. It documents the shameful, immoral reality of our culture’s most-respected institutions: major universities including Penn State, Michigan State, and Ohio State, USA Gymnastics, and the Catholic Church. These institutions, just like my undergraduate school, one of the most expensive and ‘elite’ private womens’ colleges in the nation, all nurtured, protected, and supported sexual predators who targeted children, teens, and young adults — for decades.

For many years, I thought that being raped 11 days after my 21st birthday, and the prior sexual grooming and exploitation I had also endured, was an isolated instance. I thought these incidents were my fault, and inside, I even thought that I, in some way, caused these predations.

I was privileged to speak with Prof. Guiora last week. He is leading the Bystander Initiative, which is dedicated to research, analysis, and legislative action on bystander and enabler liability in cases of institutionalized sexual predation and assault.

I told Amos, “I didn’t realize the pattern until I was asked to write about the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State.” Much of the controversial case revolved around the callous and unconcerned response of famous, lauded, worshipped coach Joe Paterno in 2002, when assistant Mike McQueary — after much soul-searching and waiting — told Paterno he had seen and heard Jerry Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in the Penn State locker room. Although there were many “excuses” for Paterno’s inaction and lack of interest which amounted to years of sponsoring Class 1 felonies in the school’s locker room, Sandusky continued to rape young, economically disadvantaged boys recruited through his false-front charity at Penn State and in his home for another decade.

“Knowing what I now know,” I told Amos, and I could tell I shocked him, “Sandusky wasn’t that good a coach and they kept protecting him after he was ‘retired,’” —

“I think the most obvious explanation for Paterno’s protection…

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Amy Sterling Casil

Over 500 million views and 5 million published words, top writer in health and social media. Author of 50 books, former exec, Nebula nominee.