Kristen L. Houser joined the Pennsylvania Coalition
Against Rape (PCAR) in 2010 as Vice President of
Communications and Development. Kristen is a native of
State College, PA and began her career in the sexual
assault prevention movement in 1992 as a student
activist during her undergraduate years at Penn State.
Kristen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human
Development and Family Studies from Penn State in 1993
and holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
For more than 20 years, Kristen has worked for social change on the local, state and national levels as an
educator, victim advocate, program administrator, policy specialist, community activist and author. She
has served as president of the board of directors of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, was an
appointed a member of both the Nebraska Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force and the
Nebraska Governor’s Working Group on the Management of Sex Offenders.
Kristen has been recognized for her work to end sexual violence by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
which awarded her the Melba Cope Community Associate Award. She was the recipient of the Penn
State Alumni Association’s 2006 Alumni Achievement Award to honor her career of activism to end
Kristen’s hometown roots and professional experience proved serendipitous in the face of tragedy in
2012. The State College native dedicated countless hours in her role as Vice President of
Communications and Development providing facts, context and expert opinion to regional, national and
international media covering the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial including NBC Nightly News,
CNN, HLN, TruTV’s In Session and BBC. She spent three weeks on site at the Centre County Courthouse
in Bellefonte, PA talking with the press about victim privacy issues; the need for expert witness
testimony in sexual assault cases; barriers faced by child and male victims; recognizing sex offender
grooming behaviors; shared adult responsibility for preventing sexual abuse of all children; reluctance of
sexual assault victims to report to police; and providing resources for preventing sexual violence,
changing community norms and support for victims. The YWCA of Greater Harrisburg honored Kristen
with the Tribute to Women of Excellence Award in 2013 for her work with the media during the
In addition to providing more than 120 interviews with media, Kristen served as a liaison between PCAR
and Penn State’s administration after the university awarded a $1.5 million grant to PCAR to assist the
university in improving its ability to prevent, identify and respond to sexual assault.
Kristen has worked tirelessly to educate the Commonwealth of PA and the nation about sexual assault.
She has been instrumental in illuminating the devastation of sexual violence, the hope for healing, the
need for policies to support victim and community safety, and reminding us all that prevention is