MADISON —Several Wisconsin organizations have partnered to put together a one-day conference on surviving childhood sex abuse that will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Madison on Thursday, June 20.
Sponsored by Solidarity with Child Sex Abuse Victims/Survivors, Rape Crisis Center, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA), OutReach Inc., Family Sexual Abuse Treatment, Canopy Center, Proud Theater, and Friends of the State Street Family the day-long conference will focus on healing and survival, particularly among male victims, an often underserved population in the sexual assault advocacy community.
The conference will start with an introduction by Kelly Anderson, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center at 10 a.m. on June 20 and will culminate at 6 p.m. with "Dare to Dream,” a program of MaleSurvivor that includes the film "Boys and Men Healing,” followed by a panel discussion led by MaleSurvivor's Executive Director Christopher Anderson. MaleSurvivor is a nationwide organization based in New York City that is committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men.
In the morning there will be a breakout discussion for survivors facilitated by two survivors and an introduction to survivorship led by Stephen Montagna of WCASA. The afternoon will close with a community discussion on responses and ways to help Wisconsin survivors that will be led by Kelly Anderson, executive director of Rape Crisis Center; Jude Edmonds, Oasis Clinical Director; Chuck Stonecipher, executive director of Family Sexual Abuse Treatment; Pennie Meyers, executive director of WCASA, and Nic Dibble, education consultant with the Department of Public Instruction. There may be a couple more panelists added at a later date.
Afternoon breakout sessions include:
• "Ten Things You Should Know About Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse", by Christopher Anderson, Executive Director of MaleSurvivor.
•"Healing Families: When Sexual Abuse Hits Home", by Chris Wirth, LMFT and Rainbow Marifrog, LMFT, therapists at Canopy Center's Oasis program for the treatment of sexual abuse.
•"Choose Your Difficulty: Survivor Activism as a Path to Justice and Healing", by Peter Isely, Midwest Director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
•"Healing through Creative Expression,” by playwright and Proud Theater/Milwaukee Artistic Director Callen Harty.
Harty initially decided he wanted to bring "Dare to Dream" to Madison after seeing an e-mail about it from MaleSurvivor. He approached Anderson at the Rape Crisis Center and together they decided to expand that idea into a mini-conference on survival. He then contacted other organizations for sponsorship and support and several decided to partner to put on this important event. Harty, Stephen Montagna of WCASA, and an adult survivor who prefers to remain anonymous comprised the planning committee.
A benefit concert was held in March to help raise funds to pay for the conference and individual donations were also sought. All the involved organizations are non-profit so funding is still needed to ensure it is all covered. Donations may be mailed to OutReach, Inc., 600 Williamson Street, Madison, WI 53703. Checks should be made out to OutReach but must be marked for Paths to Healing to ensure the funds go to the right program.
Cost of the conference is $30 in advance or $40 at the door and covers all of the sessions and lunch. For more information on the conference go to the Facebook page "Paths to Healing: Conference on Child Sex Abuse Survival" or to the WCASA website (www.wcasa.org), and click on the events link. From the Paths to Healing page click the link for registration to sign up for the event in advance. A limited number of scholarships are available and can be applied for at the time of registration.
For additional information or questions contact Callen Harty at (608) 469-6686.