Seeing Through a Different Lens
An exciting idea was hatched at the FCASV 2014 Training Summit in St. Pete Beach—Gretchen Casey of the 8th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office and Robin Graber of the Women’s Center of Jacksonville are launching the No Shame Campaign. The message is simple: there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence. The two anti-sexual violence advocates are building a platform to engage not just survivors but anyone who wants to support victims and survivors of rape—whether the rape happened to their family member, partner, friend, classmate or even someone they read about in the media.
The No Shame Campaign is just one new effort that was sparked at the summit, fueled by the synergy between the attendees, the presenters and the mission to end sexual violence. Summit goers attested to how their interactions with colleagues from around the state and the country and the varied content of the event energized them to approach their work back home in a new way. Attendees like Robin and Gretchen took to heart the message from keynote speakers Choton Basu and Heather Imrie that we must find a fresh way to engage individuals in not only joining but shaping the movement against sexual assault. Choton urged people to go beyond the prepared text and preset messages of tools like brochures to build dynamic platforms that allow communities to inform the work of rape crisis centers and criminal and social justice professionals. Likewise, Heather Imrie’s hilarious address challenged activists to step up their game when it comes to educating audiences on sexual violence. She gave pointers on how to build credibility with populations like law enforcement, military and youth, emphasizing the importance of using new methods to reach learners. Heather insisted it’s not enough to raise awareness about rape, we must compel people to action.
Juli Alvarado’s series on trauma informed care also struck a chord with summit attendees. Her first workshop, Neuroscience Made Simple, focused on the brain and its response to trauma. In her second presentation, From Chaos to Calm: Finding Calm in our Chaotic Work and World, Juli taught practical strategies to maintain inner peace in the frenzied atmosphere of victim services. She ended with Organizational Stress: Nurturing a Trauma Informed Workplace, in which she underscored that advocates, clinicians, social service workers cannot give to their clients what they do not have, and that a workplace that is not emotionally safe for its staff will not be emotionally safe for the people it serves. Attendees commented that Juli Alvarado’s approach left them with a renewed commitment to examine how their own agencies’ climate affects staff and to ensure that they are truly trauma informed.
Presenters offered impressive workshops on a wide range of topics that were well received by summit goers. From Nicole Daley’s workshop on reaching youth through pop culture to Ráchel Powers’ discussion on University of South Florida’s innovative work to turn bar staff in the Tampa area into change agents, the prevention track garnered high praise. Maren Villavisanis’ workshop, Yoga: An Innovative Approach to Working Through Trauma, and Rachel Ebeling’s talk, Music as Mission: Creating a Catalyst for Change and Promoting Healing for Victims of Sexual Violence, were very favorably rated for their exploration of alternatives to talk therapies.
FCASV staff members are excited to move forward with our own ideas generated by the presentations we attended at the summit and the incredible conversations we engaged in with our sisters and brothers in the anti-sexual violence movement.
And stay tuned regarding the No Shame Campaign—you are vital to its launch, and you will be called upon.