Guilford Co., NC -- The justice system eventually caught up with Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach convicted Friday of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, but as we've seen, even the law isn't enough to protect all children, especially the most vulnerable.
News 2 sat down with a counselor who says the good news is parents don't have to put their children under lock and key to protect them. But they do have to be vigilant.
When the Sandusky jury read 45 guilty verdicts Friday night, Nannette Funderburk says it served as a sense of satisfaction for victims, even those far removed from the case. That's because for some of those victims it also helped start the healing process.
"That can help victims who are watching to say, 'maybe I can say something. Maybe I can speak up and be heard'," Funderburk, a counselor with The Social and Emotional Group, said. "It's scary for adults so it's really, really scary for children."
The licensed professional says child sex abuse is much more common than many of us would like to believe. And in her experience, when victims finally do come forward many have already lived with it late into adulthood.
"Even though they have done nothing wrong, they are not to blame, there's a shame that's associated with it," she said.
The healing process could be a series of steps which begin with the abused deciding to talk.
"When they do finally tell someone, it really helps that that person that they tell, believes them and supports them."
Funderburk says if the victim is still a child, remove them from the situation and make them feel safe. And most importantly, take action!
Of course, as a parent, you're probably hoping it never gets to that point.
So, what can you do?
Funderburk explains that protecting your child starts young.
"You want them to know that walking with your posture straight, shoulders upright, making eye contact, that sends a non-verbal message of, 'hey, I know who I am, I'm confident, don't mess with me'," she added.
Also, ask questions but don't be overly emotional - it could scare the child into silence if something serious ever happens.
In addition, you have to make the child feel that you're present and ready to help; especially when they feel scared, sad, or confused.
We also asked Funderburk about the people who witness abuse but never come forward. In the Sandusky case, we saw people who appeared to be protecting institutions over victims. Funderburk told us that for these people, protecting the child means admitting that something horrible has happened.
So they'd rather deny it than acknowledge the horror.
The hope is that we've all learned that ignoring it can do just as much damage as the act, when it comes to a victim's recovery.