By Sara LaJeunesse, Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK – Kristen Eisenbraun Houser, vice president of communications and development for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, will present a talk at 6 p.m. Oct. 25, in the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is titled “Protecting Our Communities: Understanding Offender Behavior.” A reception with refreshments will follow the presentation.
In her talk, Houser, who is an alumnus of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, will discuss the latest research on people who commit sexual offenses and will challenge some of the ideas commonly held in communities regarding sexual offenders. The lecture is the first in a new series that is supported by the de Lissovoy Program Support Endowment for the Protection of Children in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and the Human Development and Family Studies Undergraduate Student Organization.
“People who commit sex offenses invoke incredible fear among communities and are often used as political hot-topics, particularly when children are victims,” Houser said. “The words ‘pedophile’ and ‘predator’ often are used haphazardly and incorrectly to describe anyone who sexually abuses children. By better understanding the people who commit sex offenses we can learn how to prevent and intervene in sexual abuse cases and ultimately enhance community safety.”
Houser has been the vice president of communications and development for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape since 2010. She serves as the organization’s spokesperson, manages its fundraising and public relations activities, oversees the production of its publications, and, recently, serves as a liaison to administrators at Penn State regarding the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Prior to working for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, Houser was the executive director of Centre Volunteers in Medicine, a non-profit corporation whose primary mission is to understand and serve the health and wellness needs of uninsured individuals who live in Centre County. She also worked as a co-director for Community Alliance Rehabilitation Center Services in Omaha, Neb., and as the owner of Moxie Resources LLC, in which she provided consulting, training and public speaking on issues related to sexual violence and prostitution.
In 2005, Houser worked to redraft and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 as a member of the National Alliance to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. The redrafted act of 2005 was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Jan. 5, 2006.
Houser has been recognized for her work to end sexual violence by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with the Melba Cope Community Associate Award and by Penn State with the Penn State Alumni Achievement Award. She earned a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies at Penn State in 1993 and a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2005.