Since the Jerry Sandusky case came to light, university officials have made it their goal to emphasize how Penn State can be a pioneer in prevention and intervention of child sex abuse and today a conference taking place on campus will start that discussion.
“The Child Sexual Abuse Conference: Traumatic Impact, Prevention and Intervention” will take place today and Tuesday at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.
The conference is sold out; however, a few seats will be available since some had to cancel their reservations due to the threat of dangerous weather conditions brought about by Hurricane Sandy, Kate Staley, a researcher at the Penn State Justice Center for Research, and a co-organizer of the event, said. Further, students who wish to attend the conference may be allowed into the conference center on a first come, first served basis, she said.
Staley said those who organized the event have three goals in terms of the result of the conference: to raise awareness about the prevalence of sex abuse in all societies, to educate people about sex abuse and to inspire people to be more engaged and informed about making a difference for those affected by sex abuse in their communities.
A variety of speakers and experts will present the opportunity for the audience to learn more about the subject and each person to find a person whose speech really “speaks to their heart,” Staley said.
Highlighted speakers Sugar Ray Leonard and Elizabeth Smart will both speak, Staley said.
Leonard, a famous boxer, and Smart, who was abducted in 2002, will both share their stories about being abused when they were children.
Vice President of Communications and Development for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape Kristen Houser said the focus of the conference is on intervention and informing the community on how to best help those affected by sexual abuse.
She said the event could eventually lead to more people reporting when they are sexually abused. People who are abused tend to keep it to themselves if they feel they live in a hostile community, so by educating people on how to help those that have been abused, it could improve reporting rates, Houser said.
Members of the audience will be able to ask questions, according to the website. Questions can be sent via email and Twitter. To email questions for the experts to answer, send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org and tweet questions to @JusticePSU using the hashtag #CSAC12.
The conference was organized by the Penn State Justice Center for Research and Penn State Outreach.
For more information on speakers, topics and events being held, visit the event’s website.
Dr. Bruce Perry, senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas and adjunct faculty at Northwestern University Medical School is the only speaker as of press time Sunday that has canceled his speech.
To email reporter: email@example.com.