2009 Award Recipients

The NSVRC is pleased to announce the 2009 Visionary Voice Award Winners. The following individuals are recognized for their dedication and commitment to ending sexual violence in their local communities. To view the 2009 Press Release, please click here.

Jeffrey Barrows, MD
Sara Benitez
Jackie Biskupski
Tillie Black Bear
Jennifer Carlson
Mary Grissim
Stephen Haas, PhD
Clema S. Lewis
Katherine Little, MD
Cristina Perez
Steven Rowe
Kristy M. Stewart


Jeffrey Barrows, MD
Dr. Jeffrey Barrows is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist in central Ohio. In 2005, Dr. Barrows was asked by the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) to research the health consequences of human trafficking. Since then, Dr. Barrows has submitted an annual report on the health consequences of human trafficking to the Director of G/TIP. This research resulted in the publication of an article entitled, "Human Trafficking and the Healthcare Professional" in the May 2008 issue of the Southern Medical Journal. His work has also included teaching healthcare professionals to recognize potential human trafficking victims by producing the first online Continuing Medical Education (CME) program on human trafficking. In 2006 he completed a consultation on the health needs of trafficking victims in Sierra Leone and Liberia for the State Department. He also serves as Founder and Executive Director of Gracehaven, a non-profit organization working to build a shelter for adolescent girls who have been commercially sexually exploited in central Ohio.

Sara Benitez
Sara is a feminist, sociologist, and professor committed to the eradication of violence against women. From April 2008 to January 2009 she was the Assistant Advocate of the Office of the Women Advocate (OWA) of Puerto Rico, where she was responsible for developing Project RURAL, a rural women’s group leadership development project with a community-based focus.  In this role she also worked directly on the development of Women’s Agenda 2015 for Puerto Rico. She is the founder and first Director of the first Violence Against Women Prevention Program at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Humacao, a program that has been replicated in the other UPR campuses throughout the Island.  She belongs to the Advisory Committee for “Project Campus” of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.  Sara is also a Board Member for the Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA) organization.
 
Jackie Biskupski
Jackie Biskupski is a member of the Utah House of Representatives, representing the 30th District in Salt Lake County since 1999. As a legislator, businesswoman, and activist she is known for her courageous work on equal rights and civil justice issues. During Utah’s 2009 Legislative Session, Representative Biskupski sponsored House Bill 132: Sexual Assault Victim Protocols. Advocating successfully for victims’ rights, she was able to rally unanimous bi-partisan support for the measure, which will help ensure that rape victims are provided with timely information and access to emergency contraception when they seek medical care.
 
Tillie Black Bear
Tillie is a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation/Rosebud Sioux Tribe. She is presently the Executive Director of the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society Shelter (Rosebud Sioux Nation), the oldest shelter on an Indian reservation in the United States and the first shelter for women of color still in existence in the United States (founded in 1977).  She is a founding mother of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and of the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. She is the first Native Woman to chair the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Ms. Black Bear has worked as a therapist, school counselor, administrator, and a college instructor. She holds a MA/ARD from the University of South Dakota.
 
Jennifer Carlson
Jen has been with the Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Agency (SARPA) in Arkansas since August 2005. She began as a victim advocate and later became the Director of Programs due to her intense involvement with the agency and the community involving sexual assault issues. Jen has accomplished the following at SARPA: increased outreach to appropriate agencies (medical, law enforcement, human services) to assist with SART and increase number of crisis and follow-up calls by primary and secondary survivors, increased one-on-one and support group advocacy, developed and implemented a support group curriculum, increased the number of volunteer advocates, collaborated with agencies to respond to the media about sexual assault issues to increase community awareness, increased number of agencies that are receiving sexual assault information on a consistent basis, increased the number of survivors who contact our agency either for the first time or as follow up, increased number of prevention education seminars and trainings to professionals in the community, and implemented SARPA’s SANE clinic in the area.
 
Mary Grissim
Mary Grissim’s experience in working with non-profits and community organizations for more than 20 years has prepared her for the work she does at the Sexual Assault Center (SAC) in Tennessee. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Florida State University, and was Director of Education at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art for nine years before coming to the Center in 2006. She is a community organizer and prides herself on developing a plan and watching it materialize. Her extensive experience in community education and the implementation of non-profit curriculum in schools made her a perfect match for growing SAC’s school-based personal safety curriculum Safe@Last (K-6th grade) and the teen curriculum Be. Promoting Healthy Relationships (7th, 9th and 11th grades). Since coming to SAC, Mary has focused on moving the focus of educational programs from risk reduction and intervention to primary prevention. The curricula have been rewritten to include primary prevention strategies to stop sexual assault. Her life’s work in community organization and advocating for a cause has helped her to bring that same passion to the mission of stopping sexual violence through prevention education.
 
Stephen Haas, PhD
Since coming to the West Virginia's Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) in 2003, Dr. Haas has become increasingly involved in working with the state coalition on several research projects, in providing statistics and technical assistance, and in serving on three statewide committees facilitated by the coalition.  Dr. Haas has worked with the sexual assault coalition on numerous projects, including a victim-service satisfaction survey. He serves on the state SANE Advisory Board, which is working to evaluate the collection of sexual assault evidence; the Key Players in Rape Prevention Committee, where he serves on the data committee; and the recently formed West Virginia Sexual Assault Response Technical Team, for which he is assisting in developing a modified safety audit. Dr. Haas lends much-needed expertise to professionals in our field. The area of evaluation is a very technical one and he graciously offers his time to assist the coalition, rape crisis centers, and allied professionals in creating methods to collect and analyze data.
 
Clema S. Lewis
Ms. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Counselor’s Education. She is a nationally certified counselor. Clema Lewis has devoted 27 years of her life to helping sexual assault victims. She started with the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands as a dedicated volunteer and has served as the Co-Director since 1991. She provides direct support, counseling, and advocacy to victims on a daily basis, in addition to a multitude of administrative tasks in running the only victim services agency on the island of St. Croix. Ms. Lewis also co-facilitates a group for adult survivors of incest, provides numerous community and national educational presentations on the topics of domestic violence and sexual assault, and tackles policy-related sexual assault issues through her leadership and participation in numerous boards and task forces. She serves on the Virgin Islands Sex Offenders Registry Board and the National Sexual Violence Resources Center’s Advisory Council, the St. Croix Child Abuse and Neglect Task Force, Juvenile Justice Supervisory Advisory Board, and the Virgin Islands Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Council.
 
Katherine Little, MD,
Dr. Little is a recently retired emergency room physician at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in NH and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. She chaired the Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force at DHMC where institution-wide protocols and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program were established. She was an active member of the NH Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Advisory Board, and the NH Healthcare Committee. Dr. Little has been a stalwart advocate for victims of sexual violence and during her many years working to strengthen the healthcare field’s response to victims.
Dr. Little has served on the NH Governor's Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Healthcare Committee, the NH SANE Program Advisory Board, the NH Victim's Compensation Commission Board, the NH Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee, and Chaired the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force. Dr. Little has trained hundreds of healthcare professionals in the state on the impact of domestic and sexual violence on patients and the need for comprehensive screening and care of victims within the medical setting. Dr. Little was also instrumental in instituting a SANE Program at DHMC.
 
Cristina Perez
Cristina Perez has been Women Organized Against Rape’s (WOAR) Community Outreach Counselor since May 1998. She provides comprehensive support services to survivors of sexual violence, provides outreach to the Latino community in and around Phildelphia, PA, and recruits, trains, and manages 40 Spanish-speaking volunteers. Cristina has received multiple awards in recognition of her work, including Outstanding Advocate from the Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy and Mujeres Organizada en Contra de la Violacion. Cristina’s goal is to help women and children who have experience violence gain self esteem and begin to build a new life for themselves everywhere. When no one else was particularly concerned about the plight of Latino immigrant women and their families Cristina saw their needs and began doing outreach single handedly. She organized a community coalition; she went door-to-door to educate the community and gain the confidence of victims/survivors to come to WOAR for help.
 
Steven Rowe
Rowe holds a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law, a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Utah, and a bachelor's from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Steve Rowe served as Maine’s Attorney General from 2001 until 2009. Prior to taking office, he served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives, serving as Speaker of the House in his last term. As Attorney General, Rowe was instrumental in working to address and prevent stalking as well as violence against women and children through the development of task forces, conference sponsorship, and contributing his voice to efforts to engage men in the movement. Rowe emphasized issues related to children and families, health care, civil rights, consumer protection, and domestic, sexual, and elder abuse. Some highlights of his commitment to these issues include working to ensure that stalking safety kits are available for all sexual assault and domestic violence projects in Maine and that law enforcement is better prepared to respond to issues of stalking.  
 
Kristy M. Stewart
Kristy Stewart has been Coordinator of Crisis Services at Women’s Resource Center in Norman, OK, since 2002, having served as a women’s advocate since 1984. She quickly advanced from Intake Worker to Women’s Advocate to Supervisor to her current position.  Kristy is actively involved in the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, especially in the area of legislative initiative and technology development. Kristy led her agency’s efforts in developing a model rape crisis center on the campus of Women’s Resource Center that has set the standard for sexual assault services in Oklahoma.
 

Many thanks to the state and territory coalitions who participated in the selection process. For information about the 2010 Visionary Voice Award process, please click here, or email resources@nsvrc.org.

 

 
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