‘Happy Valley’ – One Story Among Millions

Categories: Misc, Other

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to participate in a special screening of ‘Happy Valley’, a documentary about the aftermath of the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. Matt Sandusky, who was also abused by his adoptive father, is an inspiring central figure in the film. Mike Tollin, Co-Chairman of Mandalay Sports Media (MSM) and founding member of Philanthropy and Community Engagement Foundation (PACE), facilitated a Q&A after the film that Matt Sandusky and I participated in.

The documentary originally premiered at the Sundance film festival this year. The film examines Joe Paterno’s role in the case and the scandal’s effect on State College. Director Amir Bar-Lev believes the documentary provides a “prism of different perspectives…the reason it is an interesting story is because it is a universal story.”

The truth behind that is shocking. The Sandusky tragedy is just one among countless stories. Matt Sandusky represents 42 million people who have gone through similar experiences. The statistics are outrageous.

What is fantastic about this film is that it is raising awareness and keeping child sexual abuse a part of the national discourse – but it is only the beginning. It is essential we stay focused on preventing stories like Happy Valley from ever happening. And the good news is that we DO have the ability to prevent child sexual abuse. As a result of Happy Valley and Matt’s establishment of the Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Matt’s voice has given hope to other survivors and brought the issue to the forefront. Through Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children program, adults and communities can learn the facts, minimize opportunity, talk about it, recognize the signs and react responsibly. Not only do we have the tools to stop child sexual abuse, we have the moral imperative to do so.

Happy Valley is an unflinching portrayal of something that can happen in any community. We must take the lessons of this heartbreaking incident and use it to make our communities better places for children to grow and thrive.

To find out what you can do to end childhood sexual abuse JOIN THE MOVEMENT, or support the cause by GIVING TODAY.

View the Happy Valley trailer, find out more about the film and read other press on the event.
Yahoo Sports
Yahoo Sports
Happy Valley Trailer
Happy Valley Trailer
LA Observed
LA Observed Happy Valley
Jeff Pearlman Blog
Jeff Pearlman Blog

5 responses to “‘Happy Valley’ – One Story Among Millions

  1. Matt and Jolie,
    I commend both of you for the essential work that you are doing for awareness, prevention and support on this difficult issue of child abuse. In July 2013, I completed a 60 hour training program at Victims Services Center in Montgomery Co., Pa. that allows me to present awareness and prevention programs. I am a retired educator with 33 years experience in organizing and presenting information to an audience in a manner that will move them to action. There is also a personal story to my involvement in this issue as I am also a survivor of child molestation at age 7 by a relative. I was one of the brave children who immediately told an adult and then received a closed door. I am offering my help to both of you in this endeavor in any appropriate role.
    Thank you both for all your excellent work.
    Louisa Abney-Babcock

  2. My heart goes out to this young man. One Sexual abuser, affects so many people. In fact there is no way to tell how many victims there really are. Blessings to you on your endeavors to help alleviate this problem. The problem is happening all too often.

  3. In many regards, that’s bravery. Matt and the groups that are working to unbury and heal are brave.

  4. Ms Logan. This is essentially a male driven issue. Sports are pivotal in most mens lives. I happen to know something of the sports culture at PS

    I was brought up in South Africa and even at a young age was astonished at the capacity of sport to obscure the real issues in our society. Am over generalising here but as long as our rugby team was beating the New Zealand All Blacks then things were ok.

    Trust me …a sporting culture is staggeringly powerful( though clearly not an issue in most sexual abuse cases

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