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Matthew  Sandusky

Matthew Sandusky

Founder of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Child Sexual Abuse Survivor & Author


Matthew Sandusky, Founder and Executive Director of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse from the age of 8 to 17 at the hands of his adopted father, Jerry Sandusky. Matthew is working to turn his traumatic personal experience into a mechanism to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal. Read More >

Through his work with Peaceful Hearts, Matthew, raises awareness around child sexual abuse in local communities, supports the life-saving work of children's advocacy and sexual assault treatment centers, and advocates for legislative changes. Matthew works with researchers, clinicians, the media, politicians, social workers, and child protection professionals to raise awareness and improve the quality and availability of services to survivors nationwide.

In addition to his advocacy work, Matthew is committed to empowering and educating children to use their voices and help protect them against abuse. He is working with other advocates to implement an in-school curriculum to empower children to use their voices as a first line of defense, along with parents and teachers.

Matthew is also an accomplished author, chronicling his years of abuse in his memoir, Undaunted: Breaking My Silence to Overcome the Trauma of Child Sexual Abuse, which sheds light on the truth about abuse and the healing journey that a victim goes through to become a survivor.

As an internationally recognized spokesperson, on the topic of child sexual abuse, Matthew regularly comments on breaking news. He has done a one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey, been featured in two documentaries, Happy Valley and Invisible Scars, and is regularly published in major newspapers across the country.

Matthew attended Penn State University, studying Business. He along with his wife and children currently reside in State College, PA. Through his work with Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Matthew Sandusky has moved from victim to survivor of child sexual abuse. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Hope & Healing

Matthew talks about life after sexual abuse sharing his journey of healing to encourage hope and empowerment for other sexual abuse survivors.

The Resilient Soul

Matthew shares his personal and powerful story of overcoming sexual abuse as a child. This program will empower the audience with knowledge about the grooming process as well as telltale signs of abusers and those being abused.

The Deafening Silence

In this presentation, Matthew discusses the reasons children who are sexually victimized sometimes recant or never tell. Along with his personal story he also uses the real stories of survivors he has met to help the audience gain a better understanding of why it is so hard for children to report their own abuse. Topics covered in this presentation include: “Nice-guy offenders, Compliant Victimization, Grooming, Investigative Challenges, Perpetrator Defenses, and Societal Attitudes.

When Males Have Been Sexually Victimized as Children

In this presentation, Matthew discusses child sexual victimization of boys. He uses his personal story of victimization as a guide to discuss topics such as: why males find it difficult to report, myths about being abused as a boy, shame, how sexual victimization can affect adult relationships, and how therapy can aide in the recovery process. This presentation is great for any male who was sexually victimized as a child as well as any loved one of those survivors.

Exploring Sex Offender Grooming

This presentation is aimed at gaining a more complete understanding of grooming. The goal of this presentation is to have the audience establish a more complete understanding of the process and elements of victim and environmental grooming. Matthew uses his own personal story of sexual victimization by his adopted father to show the audience how these techniques are implemented.