Posts tagged ‘child sexual abuse’

Blue Out Again Raising Awareness of Child Sex Abuse

TSBLUEOUT2013!000-18205_dWhen student Grant Brown began thinking about designing the T-shirt for the third Blue Out at Beaver Stadium, hosted Saturday during the Kent State game by both One Heart: Students Against the Sexual Abuse of Children and the Blue Out committee, he considered two goals: keeping a sense of continuity and connecting with the previous years’ designs.

The result: The slogan on the back of the shirt is “One team, One school, One heart, One promise.” It plays off the “We Are” chant.

Victoria Smith, the director of the Blue Out, says wearing blue to the game is the most important factor in their effort to raise awareness, but also mentioned that another huge goal is to help raise money, which is done primarily through T-shirt sales. The T-shirts are available at the Family Clothesline and the Penn State Bookstore; all proceeds from the $15 cost will go toward the Pennsylvania Coalition against Rape‘s Vision of Hope fund.

Last year, more than $74,000 was raised through T-shirt sales, canning outside Beaver Stadium, and other smaller fundraisers.

Student volunteers will be canning again Saturday morning before the Kent State game, and those who sign up and specify that they would like a student ticket can qualify for one. Which is a pretty sweet deal. They must register on by 2 p.m. Friday to qualify. (Students can continue to volunteer to can on Saturday here.)

What’s most impressive about this effort: The Blue Out committee is made up of only four students: Director Tori Smith, Logistics Chair Emily Waschenko, Social Media Chair Sean Osgood and Brown, the merchandising chair.

You can learn more about the Blue Out by clicking here on their website and watching the video below.

Maggie McGlinchy, intern


September 20, 2013 at 11:29 am 1 comment

The O’Brien Era Starts with a Loss

The Blue Band formed this “one” formation during its halftime show. Click on the photo, from Penn State Live, for a larger view.

The first game of the Bill O’Brien era, a 24-14 loss to Ohio, was, in many ways, an odd game.

Players’ names were on the jerseys for the first time ever. The plain white helmets had a small blue ribbon to honor victims of child sexual abuse. Lots of fans wore T-shirts proclaiming “We are STILL Penn State,” and I saw at least one man wearing a shirt that proclaimed, simply, 409. It was the first home opener without Joe Paterno as a coach since 1949, and he wasn’t specifically mentioned or honored during the game. (Unofficially, one of the suites had a cardboard Stand-Up Joe in the window; it appeared to be Franco Harris’ box.)

There was a moment of silence before the game, with special mention of victims of child sexual abuse and “those who have endured suffering and loss.” Students also formed a ring around the stadium before the game to bring awareness to child sexual abuse, and athletes from Penn State’s other sports teams joined the Blue Band, cheerleaders, and national champion Lionettes on the field as the team ran out.

The Nittany Lions played a solid first half, taking a 14-3 lead, but then failed to score in the second half. And the defense gave up 21 second-half points. That’s not the kind of season opener Penn State is used to, of course. Big Ten teams don’t usually lose—at home—to teams from the Mid-American Conference, although by all accounts, the Bobcats are a strong team this season.

So the post-game mood was terse. O’Brien answered several questions with one word—no—and actually, dare I say it, sounded much like Paterno at times, insisting that he needed to watch film before he could answer questions about specific plays or what went wrong, and being unable to provide any updates on injuries. Even quarterback Matt McGloin, normally talkative win or lose, lapsed into clichés.

Redshirt freshman tight end Kyle Carter puts a move on an Ohio defender. Photo from Penn State Live.

Not tight end Kyle Carter, who had a solid first game, catching five passes for 74 yards as the “F” tight end in O’Brien’s pro-style, two-tight end offense. (That’s the position that’s more of a wide receiver; the “Y” tight end is more of a blocker.) He wasn’t happy, but he was chatty.

The mood in the locker room was angry, he said. “We felt bad,” he said. “We should have won the game. We were playing for a whole lot of people, and it felt like we let a lot of people down.”

Someone in the scrum of reporters asked whether that wasn’t an awful lot of pressure. Carter dismissed that.

“We want to play for something,” he said. “Since we can’t play for bowl games, we’re playing for a whole university—and even more than that. We welcome that, and I just wish we would have won the game.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

September 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

Beginning to Talk About Child Sexual Abuse

Not long after he became president in the wake of the Sandusky scandal last November, President Erickson vowed that Penn State would eventually become a national leader in the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.

That idea resonates with me, and I hope with lots of other people, because it seems like an ideal way to atone for what went wrong here. It takes the thing we’re now known for in the worst possible way, and makes it the thing we’re forever known for in the best possible way.

As one initial step in that process, Penn State announced Wednesday that it’s hosting a national conference Oct. 29-30 on the topic of child sexual abuse. Organizers have lined up two prominent abuse survivors as keynote speakers: boxing champion and TV broadcaster Sugar Ray Leonard, and Elizabeth Smart, who as a 12-year-old was abducted from her home in Utah in 2002 and found nine months later (she’s now a student at Brigham Young University).

In between the keynoters are seven sessions with respected academics and practitioners from across the country who, according to co-organizer Kate Staley, “know how to translate their knowledge for the general public.” That’s worth noting about the conference: It’s aimed not at scholars, but at laypeople.

Registration cost is $145 for the general public and $45 for students. You can see the full conference schedule and register online at the conference Web site

Tina Hay, editor

August 16, 2012 at 6:23 am 2 comments

The NCAA Ruling and the Victims

Kristen Houser of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

With the flurry of emotions and opinions surrounding Monday’s NCAA announcement, PCAR’s Kristen Eisenbraun Houser ’93 is focused on the victims’ perspective. The sanctions, says Houser, will be a “catalyst for change not just at Penn State, but nationwide.” She talked with us about the NCAA’s ruling and what it means for all victims of child sexual abuse.

What message does the NCAA send to survivors of child sexual abuse with the sanctions against Penn State?

There are several important messages. First off, using the $60 million fine to endow services is the most appropriate thing that could have been done. It’s a phenomenal gesture to begin an endowment of that size, and that speaks volumes. The NCAA is recognizing a national problem of great scope, and the need for victims’ services should be first and foremost.

Dr. [Mark] Emmert’s statements were very much on target with conversations we’ve been having in the PCAR office. The sanctions send a strong message that protecting human dignity and safety trumps sport, period.

I’ve been very frustrated that the recent conversation has (more…)

July 24, 2012 at 9:15 am 15 comments

Sandusky Verdict: Guilty on 45 Counts

(Courtroom sketch by Art Lien)

After seven days of testimony and about 20 hours of deliberation, a Centre County jury has found Jerry Sandusky guilt on all but three of 48 criminal charges related to sexually abusing young boys.

Barring appeals, it seems almost certain that Sandusky, who is 68, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Court officials announced at about 9:30 p.m. that the jury had reached a verdict and that court would convene in 20 minutes to receive the verdict. An order from Judge John Cleland barred reporters inside the courtroom from tweeting or sending electronic communications of any kind until court had adjourned, so it wasn’t until 10:10  p.m. that the news finally came.

Reports said that Sandusky was taken into custody immediately, pending sentencing.

Prosecutors initially charged Sandusky ’66, ’71g, the longtime Nittany Lion defensive coordinator and founder of the Second Mile charity, last November with 40 counts involving eight accusers. A month later they added 12 more counts and expanded the list of alleged victims to 10. Over the course of the trial this month, four counts were dropped.

In a surprising twist on Thursday, while the jury was deliberating, two new alleged victims surfaced: A man in Ohio told NBC’s Rock Center that Sandusky abused him more than 100 times; and one of Sandusky’s adopted sons, Matt Sandusky, said through his attorneys that he was prepared to testify that Sandusky had abused him as well. The jury presumably knew nothing about these new accusers, as they were sequestered at the time.

The case had its bizarre touches, such as the day when someone dressed as Pedobear showed up outside the courthouse and gave interviews to the media. And then there was defense attorney Karl Rominger ’98g tweeting trivia questions while the jurors deliberated. (One sample tweet: “This NSAID drug, a COX-2 inhibitor was linked to heart damage and withdrawn from the market.. What is?”)

Those of us who have watched the trial closely have found the coverage of the Citizens Voice in Wilkes-Barre and the Harrisburg Patriot-News worth following; there’s also been extensive coverage by the Centre Daily Times,, and the Daily Collegian, as well as the live blog at Onward State, among many other media outlets.

Beyond the straight reporting of the news, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports has had some very good insights and analysis along the way.

There is still so much more to come: the trials (not yet scheduled) of Gary Schultz ’71, ’75g and Tim Curley ’76, ’78g, accused of perjury and failure to report; the Freeh Group’s report to the trustees (coming perhaps as soon as next month); the results of a U.S. Justice Department investigation; and the possibility of civil suits against Sandusky and/or Penn State; among many other potential developments. In short, this story will be a part of our lives for some time to come.

Tina Hay, editor

June 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm 2 comments

How Can We Support Sex Abuse Victims? A SOC 119 Perspective

Early in the second class he devoted to the Sandusky scandal and its aftermath, Sam Richards asked his SOC 119 students to react to this statement: I am feeling exhausted talking about this issue.

This was Nov. 15, only 12 days after the grand jury presentation was released. Less than a week after Joe Paterno had been fired and Graham Spanier had resigned, and nine days since the national media began to arrive on campus. Almost all of the 700 students, voting anonymously with clickers, chose “strongly agree” or “agree.” Imagine what the percentage would be now, with the TV trucks no longer parked on College Avenue and the football team’s regular season over.

Richards then asked students to pair off and kick around solutions to this question: What would it mean to support the victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse? The most common answers: donating money to organizations that support victims, and listening to anyone who wanted to talk about a similar experience.

And then Richards tied the two questions together: “What would it mean to support the victims? No. 1, it would probably not mean being tired of talking about it. After nine days. What is that? We have done a whole semester on race, and we’re not really tired of talking about race, but we’re tired talking about this issue after nine days.”

The way Richards sees it, (more…)

November 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm 5 comments

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