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Roxine (Benton) Behrens
Class of 1986
For many survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) however, the events at Penn State did not come as a surprise. In fact, the failure of Penn State to protect vulnerable children paralleled their own experiences. Reading of the atrocities and subsequent cover-up brought back painful memoriesâ€¦ memories of teachers, parents, medical professionals, and other trusted adults who knew or suspected that children were being abused but failed to act. For CSA survivors, the answer to the question of â€œhow?â€ seemed obvious. The victims of Penn State were not only victims of Jerry Sandusky-they were victims of the same culture of silence and shame that had allowed their own abuse to occur.
Roxine Behrens (1986 alum) is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse from age 5 to 13. Roxine was a small business owner, a wife and mother when the Penn State Scandal broke. For decades she had been living with the secret of horrific child sexual abuse cover up within her own family. When Roxine heard about the children at Penn State, she was so outraged that she decided to take a bold step-she spoke out, publicly. She made two appearances on Dr. Lauraâ€™s radio program, and became a very public face and voice of Childhood Sexual abuse.
(Link to Dr Laura Interview http://www.drlaura.com/pg/jsp/charts/audioMaster.jsp?dispid=306&pid=85793 )
Co-founded with fellow survivor Rebecca Berry, Roxine now serves as President of Tree-Climbers.org, whose mission is to support survivors of child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation. The acronym TREE stands for Tell, Recover, Educate and Empower. (Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(Link to Tree-Climbers.org http://tree-climbers.org)
In June, 2012, when the trial of Jerry Sandusky began, Roxine and Rebecca took it upon themselves to attend every day of trial â€“ starting with Jury Selection. Roxine was selected by Judge Cleland to view Phase III of jury selection and sat 10 feet away from Jerry Sandusky for two days, witnessing every juror's interview and selection. They chronicled every day of the trial in a diary series which is currently being finalized into a book entitled Bearing Witness: The Jerry Sandusky Trial. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to support the charity.
In August of this year, Roxine was invited to write a guest column for The Daily Collegian, the student-run Penn State University Newspaper, reflecing on her past abuse.
(Link to article) http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2012/08/03/survivor_advocate_reflects_on_past_abuse.aspx
Roxine and Rebecca have dedicated their careers and lives to helping other CSA survivors, and preventing future children from suffering their same fate. From the ashes of a scandal that horrified the nation, and their own broken childhoods, Tree Climbers has arisen.
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