Public panel discussion Oct. 28 examines surviving child sexual abuse

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A free public panel at Penn State, held on the eve of Penn State's Child Sexual Abuse Conference, aims to initiate the conference conversation about surviving child sexual abuse, learning more about the issue and moving forward in a constructive way.

The panel, titled "Moving Forward: A Public Conversation on Surviving Child Sexual Abuse," is hosted by the Office of the President and the Penn State Justice Center for Research and is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

All members of the public are encouraged to attend; registered conference attendees will be automatically registered for panel attendance.

Four invited panelists will share personal experiences in the multiple roles they have -- as survivors, as professionals who help children and families who are victims of abuse, and as advocates for children and better child protection laws.

-- Margaret Hoelzer is a two-time Olympic swimmer, winning two silver medals and a bronze medal during the 2008 Games in Beijing, China. At the age of 5, she was sexually abused by a friend’s father; she is now a national spokesperson for the National Children's Advocacy Center.

-- Rep. Louise Williams Bishop represents the 192nd Legislative District, Philadelphia, in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Sexually abused at the age of 12 by her stepfather, she is an advocate against child sexual abuse as the House Democratic Chair of the Children and Youth Committee.

-- Christopher Anderson is the executive director of MaleSurvivor, a 501(3) organization that is committed to preventing, healing and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men. A passionate advocate for the rights of survivors of sexual abuse, Anderson joined the organization in 2007 after coming to understand the extent to which the sexual abuse and trauma he suffered as a child profoundly affected his life.

-- Cindy Christian is a nationally recognized expert on child abuse. She serves as the director of Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and was earlier this year named to Pennsylvania's Task Force on Child Protection, a group created by the state’s General Assembly to thoroughly review state laws and procedures governing child protection and the reporting of child abuse.

Christian also will serve as the panel's moderator. Through an extended question-and-answer period, the community event is intended to encourage a wider community dialogue about this national problem and next steps that can be taken to move forward with more informed minds and fully engaged hearts.

General admission tickets with open seating will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets will be available beginning Monday, Oct. 1, at the following locations: Eisenhower Auditorium box office, 8 a.m.-5 pm Monday-Friday; HUB ticket outlet,11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; Penn State Tickets Downtown, 9 a.m.-4 pm Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; Bryce Jordan Center: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. There is a limit of two tickets per person. Additional information about the panel is online at  

For more information about the Child Sexual Abuse Conference: Traumatic Impact, Prevention, and Intervention, visit For more information about the Penn State Justice Center for Research, go to online. 

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Last Updated October 22, 2012