USA Gymnasts Sarah Klein and Jessica Howard to Join Other Sexual Abuse Survivors in First “All Survivors Day” Event in Philadelphia Nov. 3
CHILD USA, SNAP invite public to support survivors of sexual assault at worldwide gatherings
Philadelphia, Pa. – Oct. 30, 2018 - Survivors of sexual assault, including two gymnasts who were survivors of USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, are among those who will speak at an event in Philadelphia on Nov. 3 for the first “All Survivors Day,” an international day to recognize survivors of sexual abuse. Gatherings are being held in several U.S. cities and throughout the world.
Survivors of sexual abuse and leading advocates will speak at the outdoor rally on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Speakers include former gymnasts and survivors Sarah Klein and Jessica Howard; Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse whose advocacy led to an organized movement that compelled the pope to apologize and remove five bishops in Chile; and author Patricia Cahill, survivor of clergy and nun sexual abuse and member of the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA).
“CHILD USA supports this historic day where we come together to fight sex abuse and assault,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO of CHILD USA and University of Pennsylvania law professor. CHILD USA is a think tank focused on children’s rights and statute of limitations reform.
“On All Survivors Day, we honor all victims of sex abuse and assault by expressing our support and respect. It’s time for justice for all survivors and recognition of the millions who have not yet come forward. The justice system needs to become victim-centered and serve their needs, no longer the needs of the perpetrator and the institutions that cover them up,” Hamilton said.
CHILD USA is co-sponsoring the Philadelphia event with SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).
“All Survivors Day is a call to action to all citizens to come together and help change the culture that surrounds sexual abuse and assault,” said Tim Lennon, president of SNAP. “By stepping into the light and telling our stories, we are hoping to motivate others to join us as we seek to prevent future cases of sexual abuse and show others what they can do to get involved in their own communities and institutions to ensure this never happens again.”
Gatherings around the country and world for “All Survivors Day” are being supported by GRACE, The Joyful Heart Foundation, The Angel Heart Foundation, Ending Clergy Abuse, Families Against Cult Teachings and Abuse, Childhelp, Darkness to Light, The Army of Survivors, Stop Child Predators, Together We Heal, EmpowerSurvivors, Protect LDS Children, Courage Conference, Sound Choices Coalition, Stop the Silence, Freedom of Mind, Always a Voice, Together We Heal, NAASCA and The Amends Project.
Lennon and Hamilton said they hope that each year, the first Saturday in November will be designated All Survivors Day worldwide to honor survivors of sexual abuse, raise awareness of the widespread nature of the issue and organize for change in the culture that allows sexual abuse to continue.
The media coverage of the Bill Cosby and Larry Nassar trials, the recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury report covering clergy sex abuse, the U.S. Department of Justice investigations, #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #WhyIDidntReport victims has brought into light the glaring prevalence of a once-silent and hidden culture that enables sexual abuse. Tragically, the epidemic is bigger than can be quantified as the nature of sexual abuse is too painful for many victims to come forward, much less identify and hold accountable their abusers.
All Survivors Day honors those who bravely share their stories and who speak for those who can’t. It is a day to bring awareness, healing and hope for survivors that their pain may lead to preventing future abuse.
All Survivors Day is led by organizations that are spotlighting the scourge of sexual abuse, whether at home, schools, churches, military bases, college campuses, sports or elsewhere. The groups are uniting to call attention to the barriers survivors face when coming forward, finding support, and fighting to hold perpetrators accountable. To learn more about the sponsoring organizations, visit AllSurvivorsDay.org or post to #AllSurvivorsDay.
CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to ending child abuse and neglect through research-based public policy advocacy. CHILD USA is the nation’s leading organization that tracks and advocates for access to justice for child sex abuse victims, including child sex abuse statutes of limitations in the United States and internationally. Sexual abuse and the maltreatment of children often occur in secret, behind closed doors, but have public consequences. Victims, their families, and the public pay a high price even decades after the violence ends. CHILD USA draws on the combined expertise of the nation’s leading medical and legal academics to reach evidence-based solutions to persistent and widespread child abuse and neglect. For more information, visit https://www.childusa.org.
SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org