UofL to present play, panel discussion about child sexual abuse


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville and the Signature Partnership will present a program on child sexual abuse Saturday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m., at Lyman T. Johnson Traditional Middle School, 2509 Wilson Ave.

    This unique program includes a play, “Family Tracks,” and a discussion about how to recognize behaviors of sexually-abused children, where to find help and how to promote healing Experts from UofL Pediatric Forensic Medicine and several community agencies that serve women and families will lead the discussion.

    Information will be collected from the audience to evaluate this method of teaching about child sexual abuse. The play and panel discussion will be videotaped. The information gained and the videotaped materials will form the foundation for efforts to teach parents, physicians and other healthcare providers about child sexual abuse.

    “Education is key to helping parents provide our children with safe environments. This program provides a forum to encourage parents to discuss and learn about a very difficult topic, which is made more difficult by the fact that approximately 80 percent of the cases involve perpetrators that have an established relationship with the child and/or family,” said Deborah Winders Davis, Ph.D., professor, UofL Pediatrics Child Development Unit, and principal investigator of the study.

    “Family Tracks” is the first act of a full-length play about a woman’s struggles as a survivor of child sexual abuse. Gloria Pressley-McGruder, Ed.D., whose work was supported by a Kentucky Foundation for Women artist enrichment award, wrote the play with an educational conference in mind. “I am committed to using art as a tool for social change. In today’s society, you must embrace many tools,” she explained.

    The play is directed by Laura Early, who teaches theatre at the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University. She also is a graduate of the Brandeis School of Law. In her previous career as a lawyer, Early represented the commonwealth of Kentucky in several appeals of child sexual abuse convictions.

    The Signature Partnership is a university effort to enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of West Louisville. The goal is to work with various community partners to improve the educational, health, economic and social status of individuals and families who live in our urban core.

    This program is free and open to the public. Childcare will be provided because adult themes make it inappropriate for children.