The sentencing of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky is scheduled for Tuesday. The next step in the high-profile case will undoubtedly bring a new flurry of media coverage to the Penn State child sexual abuse scandal and the predator.
A Philadelphia film screening and panel discussion bring attention to the long-term plight of abuse victims.
“Boys and Men Healing”presents the stories of three men, who were sexually abused as boys, as they try to reclaim their lives and come to terms with what has happened to them.
New Jersey resident Mark Crawford, one of the men featured in the documentary, was abused by a priest in his childhood. It took him decades to disclose that he was molested.
“It wasn’t till I was 36 years old that I ever first began to speak publicly about my abuse,” said Crawford. “Even then it was extraordinarily difficult. I certainly know that it’s something I want to do, that has to be done.”
Crawford says people are far more aware of the issue of child sexual abuse than when he was a boy, but too many misconceptions remain.
He says he’s attended several screenings of “Boys and Men Healing,” which have sparked open and honest conversations about this difficult issue.
“What’s more important is when individuals, young individuals who are sitting in the audience, are empowered to disclose their own abuse history,” said Crawford. ” That’s incredible, because I know how hard and how difficult that was for me. “
Crawford has suffered anxiety and depression as he has struggled with the past.
The screening takes place Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Free Library. It’s hosted by the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance and the advocacy organization Male Survivor.