The Mark McGwire Foundation for Children Begins Production On Child Abuse Documentary

LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BW SportsWire)--Jan. 11, 2000--One in four children are sexually abused before the age of 18.

The Mark McGwire Foundation for Children has joined forces with award winning documentarian Vanessa Roth, MSW in the creation of ``Disclosure: To Tell or Not to Tell'' -- a feature length documentary presenting the many complexities involved in disclosing child sexual abuse.

Roth will co-direct, co-write and co-produce the film along with Alexandra Dickson, executive director of the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children. Roth and Dickson are working with acclaimed documentary Director of Photography Shana Hagan. Hagan shot the Academy Award winning documentary ``Breathing Lessons.'' Production on the film, which will include stories from across the country, began in October in Portland, Ore. and Seattle, Wash.

Funded by the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children, the documentary will follow a family currently going through a sexual abuse trial. It will also feature testimonies from a diverse group of children and adults who have endured ongoing sexual abuse from family members and so called family friends or trusted caregivers. These survivors are of different ages and at different stages of disclosure in their lives. Other groups featured are field experts (e.g. FBI, doctors, child advocates, therapists, etc.), offenders, non-offending parents and individuals who have been the support system for those who have been abused and members of the community.

``The documentary will give you insight on the lifelong ramifications of disclosing and not disclosing sexual abuse,'' said baseball great and chairman of the foundation Mark McGwire who will narrate the film. ``I am positive that the documentary will give America's 60 million plus sexual abuse survivors and the community at large a different outlook on disclosure.''

``By talking to offenders, victims and their support systems, we hope to understand what inspires children to tell and what keeps them silent,'' said Roth. ``We are also encouraging members of the community to explore what they think they would do if faced with sexual abuse of themselves or someone they love.''

Roth comes to this project after working as a child advocate for victims of sexual abuse at the Stuart House in Santa Monica. In January 1999, she was honored with the prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for her PBS prime time documentary film, ``TAKEN IN: The Lives of America's Foster Children.''

``We consider ourselves fortunate to be in the position to use the power of film to raise awareness of the crisis in disclosing sexual abuse'', said Dickson.

Dickson worked as an assistant to directors Brian Gibson (``What's Love Got To Do With It'') and Tom Decerchio (``Celtic Pride'') prior to branching off to form the foundation with longtime friend Mark McGwire. It was here where she produced and co-wrote two acclaimed Public Service Announcements, ``Think Again'' and ``Help.''

Her public service announcements are currently running nationally.

The Mark McGwire Foundation for Children is a private foundation with a mission to raise awareness for physically and sexually abused children. The foundation researches homes and shelters that have a good reputation for treating abused children. Once identified, the foundation allocates funds to each of these groups. For more information on the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children contact executive director Alexandra Dickson at 562/430-6575.

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