Award Recipients

Award Recipients

2016   ∗   2015   ∗   2014   ∗   2013   ∗   2012   ∗   2011   ∗   2010   ∗   2009   ∗   2008   ∗   2007   ∗   2003-2006

2016 Visionary Voice Award Recipients

Matthew Smith
Nominated by the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Matthew Smith and his brother, Dr. Marc Smith selflessly and courageously spearheaded a change in Arkansas state law to eliminate the statute of limitations on prosecution of child sex offenders. This extraordinary piece of legislation removed an obstacle to prosecution of those who abuse kids and makes the legal landscape more victim friendly for future generations of Arkansans.

The Smith brothers had been serially abused by a coach in their childhood. In 2012, Dr. Smith encountered the perpetrator working with youth at a local baseball field. Dr. Smith contacted law enforcement, which led to an investigation in which more than ten adult men were identified as victims of the coach. The state statute of limitations at that time precluded prosecution of the coach for crimes committed when the men were minors in the 1980s and 1990s. Because of the efforts of Matthew and his brother the statute of limitations on prosecution of people who sexually abuse children has been eliminated in the state of Arkansas.

Matthew grew up in Texarkana, Arkansas. He earned his BS in Political Science from the University of Central Arkansas and went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. His practice focuses on creditors’ rights in foreclosure and bankruptcy matters. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Pulaski County Court Appointed Special Advocates and the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault. He is a member of the State Bar of Arkansas, Arkansas Bar Association, and Pulaski County Bar Association.


Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans
Nominated by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans has been a pioneer in the anti-violence against women movement for over three decades. She has provided leadership to the Los Angeles community, the state of California, and the nation through her steadfast commitment to ending sexual and domestic violence. Under her leadership, Peace Over Violence (formerly the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women) has grown into a well-respected and innovative multi-service organization dedicated to ending interpersonal violence.

Patti has consulted with the entertainment industry on scripts and/or storylines about sexual assault. She has also served as a trainer, public speaker, conference keynote speaker, and workshop facilitator for statewide and national organizations and conferences on issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and youth violence. She also served as master self-defense trainer, training self-defense instructors regionally, statewide, and nationally. 

As early as 1979, Patti was the co-founder and chief instructor of women's and children's classes in martial arts and self-defense at Karatewomen School of Movement & Martial Arts, Los Angeles, the first women's martial arts school in Southern California. In 1999, Patti founded Denim Day in LA and USA, a rape prevention education campaign that has grown to have participation in 110 countries annually. She spearheaded the creation of several violence prevention curricula including In Touch With Teens and Women’s Self-Defense: An Empowerment and Resiliency Model.

Patti has been Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, formerly the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (LACAAW), since 1985. She has held numerous statewide and national leadership positions in the sexual assault arena, including board Vice-President of 1in6 and former President of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA).


Carmen Murillo Stevens
Nominated by the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Carmen Murillo Stevens has been working in the sexual assault/domestic violence field since 2008. While she is passionate about helping all survivors, Carmen is committed to advocating for underserved communities, especially when she is able to help them in Spanish, her native language. Presently, Carmen is the Immigrant Advocate and Coordinator for the “Por Ti Misma” program at the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center (SLVIRC), providing outreach and immigration legal assistance to battered immigrants and crime victims in the San Luis Valley and beyond. She is in the process of becoming a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative. Carmen also serves on the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault's Inclusiveness Team and as a board member for Arte Sana.

Prior to joining SLVIRC, Carmen worked for Tu Casa, Inc., a community-based domestic and sexual violence advocacy organization, as the Lead Bilingual Victim Advocate and 24-hour Crisis Hotline Coordinator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Sociology with an emphasis in Social Welfare. Carmen is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico and is bilingual in both English and Spanish.

Linda J. Cimino
Nominated by Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence (formerly CONNSACS)

Linda J. Cimino is an effective collaborator and champion of victim-centered service models. Under her leadership she has implemented the CT Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (CT SAVIN) system, and worked in coalition with sexual assault victim advocates to develop and expand the State’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Program. Additionally she has ensured advocate support for victims seeking new Sexual Assault Civil Protective Orders and paved the way for survivors of sexual violence to have greater access to crime victim compensation.

Linda has served as the Director of the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, Office of Victim Services since 2000. 


Terri Poore
Nominated by the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence

Over the last twenty years, Terri Poore has worked at the community, regional, state, and national levels to improve the response to victims of sexual violence and ensure that rape crisis/sexual assault programs have the resources necessary to provide confidential, victim-centered services. Terri was an integral part of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence's growth and development, leading certification standards development and implementation processes and using her considerable advocacy skills to secure state funding for certified programs. Her tireless and skillful advocacy at the national level has ensured that crimes of sexual violence will always be on the public agenda, and her communication skills have seen to it that coalitions have the information and tools necessary to advocate for victims and rape crisis programs at the state and local levels.

Terri has been the Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) Technical Assistance Specialist with the National Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project, a project of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, over the last three years. She is also a public policy consultant with the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) and previously served on the NAESV board from 2005-2011. She has 20 years of experience working to end sexual violence and support survivors. For 13 years, Terri worked with the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence in a variety of capacities, including Director of Training & Technical Assistance and Public Policy Director. She worked at a dual rape crisis and domestic violence program in North Florida in the early 90s as a volunteer, advocate, and program coordinator. She also worked as a victim advocate in a prosecutor’s office. Terri received her MSW from FSU and works remotely from her home in Tallahassee, Florida.

Sen. Benjamin J.F. Cruz
Nominated by the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence

Benjamin J.F. Cruz, currently Vice Speaker of the 33rd Guam Legislature, has served as a legislator for 11 years. Vice Speaker Cruz is an ardent advocate and has championed for the rights of sexual assault victims to improve systems’ responses to victims and survivors. His key legislative initiatives, now public laws, include: establishing a task force through the LaniKate Protehi Y Famagu’on-ta Act on the prevention of child sexual abuse; creating a category of privileged communication between victim and victim advocate; and ending the statute of limitations on the prosecution of first or second-degree criminal sexual conduct crimes and sex crimes involving child abuse, allowing victims to take civil action against their abusers.

Vice Speaker J.F. Cruz, an attorney by profession, has been a Guam Bar Association member for over forty years, a judge with the Judiciary of Guam for seventeen years, and a legislator for over a decade. He has held key positions in all three branches of the government of Guam. Cruz has always been actively involved in civic/community organizations focused on youth services, cultural preservation, and justice issues. Cruz received his Juris Doctor from the University of Santa Clara Law School and his Bachelor’s in Political Science and Economics from Claremont Men’s College.

TSgt. Marquetta Wines
Nominated by Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Technical Sergeant Marquetta Wines briefed over 250 college-aged enlisted Air Force members on dating and sexual assault prevention. She also helped two assault victims through their traumatic event and interviews with law enforcement. She has accomplished 30 hours of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) continuing education units to stay proficient in her volunteer duties.

Marquetta is a Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force. She has been enlisted for over 10 years. In addition to her cybersecurity and system security responsibilities, she has volunteered additional time to learning and helping Air Force members work through traumatic events. She has received nationally recognized crisis intervention training, which she has used to help build a more tolerant and resilient working environment for Air Force members.

Laura Patzner
Nominated by the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Laura Patzner has worked as an advocate, allied professional, executive director, and coalition board member for 25 years. Her current work has made her a leader in developing and providing advocacy services and responses for adult and child victims of sexual assault. Laura is the Executive Director of a program that provides sexual violence advocacy services, a child advocacy center, and much more in a large rural area of Kansas. Through her work with the coalition, she helped actualize core services definitions and accreditation standards for sexual assault services in Kansas. Her leadership has made the goal that great services be provided to “Every Victim Every Time” a reality.

Laura has provided direct services for victims since her mother opened the sexual assault and domestic violence program in Great Bend many years ago. Throughout her career, she has served as an Economic Justice Advocate in the local TANF office, a Victim-Witness Coordinator in the prosecutor's office, and the Executive Director of Family Crisis Center, Inc. At the same time, Laura also served on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Laura has also worked closely with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, acting at various times as the president of the board, chair of the Advocacy Committee, and chair of the Accreditation Committee. Through her work with the Advocacy and Accreditation Committees, Laura worked with other programs to develop core services and standards for sexual assault services in Kansas and implement those standards throughout the state.  


Daniella Cameron
Nominated by the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault

While MECASA staff engages with Preble Street Anti-Trafficking Coalition (PSATC) Manager Daniella Cameron the most, the whole team has been a true partner in anti-trafficking efforts. As the first human trafficking-specific low-barrier program in the state, the team is on the ground, figuring out how to deliver services, serve on a multidisciplinary team, and work alongside the criminal justice system. It is hard work and it's messy, but they are utterly committed to making it happen.

All the while, they are sharing what they learn with all the local anti-trafficking teams and MECASA to help build capacity to respond to trafficking in a victim-centered way. Additionally, their expertise in both sex and labor trafficking informed MECASA’s Training-of-Trainers curriculum, a project that is used statewide to train other anti-trafficking teams.

Established in 2014 as a program of the Preble Street Resource Center under a federal Office of Victims of Crime grant, the Preble Street Anti-Trafficking Coalition is a multi-agency collaboration that provides intensive case management, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and legal services to victims/survivors of labor and sex trafficking in York and Cumberland Counties, Maine. Their work includes developing protocols and housing resources for a multidisciplinary team.

Meg Stone
Nominated by Jane Doe, Inc

For over 22 years, Meg Stone has been a leading advocate, educator, community organizer, collaborator, and thought leader in the work to prevent and end sexual violence. In her words, she is committed "to prevent violence and abuse by giving people the tools to defend themselves against imminent violence and the bravery and skills to create cultural change by advocating for healthy relationships and sexual respect in their communities." She is constantly looking for new ways to break down the barriers for survivors, especially those who are in marginalized communities such as people with disabilities, people who are homeless, and those who identify as LGBQ/T. Her writing often appears in Huffington Post, Cognoscenti (the opinion page of the Boston NPR station), Ms. Magazine, and elsewhere. Meg is respected by her peers both here in Massachusetts and around the world, especially for her leadership in creating trauma-informed services including self-defense programs.

Meg began working with survivors of domestic violence in 1993, and since that time, has served as a legal advocate, hotline counselor, overnight shelter worker, trainer of health care providers, research assistant, qualitative evaluator, event planner, and program manager. Meg earned her Master of Public Health degree from Boston University with a concentration in long-term health effects of abuse and abuse prevention. Meg created the Take Your Power and Peer IMPACT curricula. As Director of IMPACT, Meg oversees training and prevention programs in schools, businesses, and community organizations. She also developed and coordinates the Project SAFE internship program for homeless parents. Meg enjoys hiking, creative writing, and seeing New England in the fall.

Suzanne Coats
Nominated by the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Suzanne Coats founded Turning Point’s Sexual Assault Program in 1986 and later joined the organization as the Program Director of Sexual Assault Services in 1990. As the Program Director, she grew a program that includes starting the first Forensic Nurse Examiners Program in southeast Michigan. Suzanne is considered an expert in the field of sexual assault service delivery and prevention. She was promoted to CEO in 2001 and has grown the operating budget by over 1.5 million. During her tenure, the dual domestic and sexual violence organization has grown in both scope and influence.

Suzanne has co-authored several publications on sexual assault prevention and evaluation, is the past President of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Board of Directors, and has chaired the Survivor’s Advisory Committee. She also led a 3 million dollar campaign that resulted in a new state-of-the-art 52-bed shelter facility that opened in Macomb County in 2013.


Patty Wetterling
Nominated by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Patty Wetterling has been a source of hope and inspiration to victims and parents of children who have been sexually abused. Her tireless advocacy for primary prevention of sexual violence and rationale sex offender management policies has made an indelible impact on the state and the nation. Through her many years as the Director of Sexual Violence Prevention for the Minnesota Department of Health, Patty advanced programming and policy in support of primary prevention in Minnesota. Her national efforts through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation have helped shape policies and organizational practices to end child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center founded by Patty and her husband Jerry continues to provide crisis response and advocacy to families of missing children and advises and promotes primary prevention programming in Minnesota. Patty has been a beacon of hope to many in the struggle to end child sexual abuse and exploitation. She reaches out with authenticity and compassion to all those affected by child sexual abuse and families of missing children.

Patty has been a long-time community organizer, advocate for rationale sex offender policies, and prevention activist. In 1989, Patty and her husband Jerry's son Jacob was abducted by a stranger outside of St. Joseph, Minnesota. Sadly, neither Jacob nor his abductor have been found. Patty and Jerry founded the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center shortly after Jacob's abduction. The Center, now a program of Gunderson Hospital, continues to provide services to families of missing children and support for prevention programming throughout Minnesota. Patty is the outgoing board chair for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and served as the Director of Sexual Violence Prevention for the Minnesota Department of Health until her retirement in 2015.  

Julie Donelon
Nominated by the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

In 2014, Julie Donelon initiated discussions with staff, board, and external stakeholders to learn more about the history and familiarity of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault’s (MOCSA) mission and vision. Because of Julie’s efforts, a new vision and mission statement were created that more accurately reflect the direction of the organization. Then in 2015, Julie initiated conversations with MOCSA’s staff and board on the organization’s strategic plan. The most important aspect of the new strategic plan is the emphasis on preventing sexual violence in their community. Julie had the vision to expand prevention efforts and challenge staff to develop strategies that focus on community-level prevention. Under Julie’s leadership, MOCSA recently expanded the services they can provide. She was able to leverage public and private funding in order to expand staff and services focusing on the areas of prevention, campus-based sexual violence, engagement of men and boys, and expansion of legal advocacy services.

Julie supported the continuation of MOCSA’s OVW Disabilities Project, a collaborative project working to ensure accessibility and responsiveness to survivors with disabilities. She also took the lead in establishing a multidisciplinary team in Jackson County to work on issues regarding youth with sexual behavior problems. Historically, this was a population that fell through the cracks due to a lack of jurisdiction over youth sexually acting out on other youth. Julie and her team have worked to close this gap. Ever mindful of effective strategic collaborations that enhance service to victims, Julie recently reached out to a local domestic violence shelter about co-locating sexual assault counseling services at the shelter.

Julie is the President and CEO of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault located in Kansas City, Missouri. Having worked in both government and nonprofit sectors, Julie has extensive clinical and administrative skills that she has developed in the fields of child abuse and domestic and sexual violence. Julie serves on several regional and statewide boards, including the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence Membership Committee and Board of Directors, the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence Program Committee and Accreditation Committee, and the Missouri Governor’s Task Force to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse.

Christina Powell
Nominated by the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Christina Powell has tirelessly advocated on behalf of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking for nearly 40 years, first by creating programming that provided access to help for victims through reproductive health facilities. For the last 25 years, Christina has advocated through the programs of Help Center, Inc., which provides crisis intervention services to 13 counties in Montana. Working with the infrastructure provided by Help Center, Christina is the founder and Program Director of the Sexual Assault Counseling Center (SACC), Montana’s only designated sexual assault center.

SACC was the first program or center in Montana to implement sexual violence-specific trauma-based services and is known for its cutting-edge advocacy and counseling practices. Christina’s research from her early days working on victim issues in the mid-70s was incorporated into the trauma approaches used in the center since 1996. Under Christina’s leadership and expertise, all services of SACC were trauma informed years before the rest of the country implemented trauma-informed practices as best practice. Recognizing the critical importance of trauma-based therapeutic practices to victims of sexual violence, SACC implemented the practice of “trauma recovery” models of therapy in the unique, integrated staff position of counselor/advocate created to minimize the traumatic exposure to victims found in the multiple retellings of their story. The impact of Christina’s work is felt daily in the collaborative structures and programs she helped to build, as well as in the lives of victims of sexual and domestic violence who go on to rebuild happy, healthy lives.

Christina sits on multiple teams and committees working in issues of concern to survivors of sexual assault, including 20 years on Montana Board of Crime Control’s VAWA. Christina's work includes her tireless efforts at building trauma-informed collaborations between systems and community-based agencies to ensure victims are treated with dignity and respect and offenders are held accountable. She helped start and currently chairs both the Gallatin County Sexual Assault Response Team and the Gallatin County Multi-Disciplinary Team (GCMDT) for Child Abuse. She also coordinated the efforts to found the Gallatin County Child Advocacy Center, which opened on March 30th, 2015, and currently works with the GCMDT on not only fulfilling national accreditation standards but also creating protocols that are trauma-informed — a complex endeavor when working on the broad issue of child abuse response.  

Jamie Manzer
Nominated by the Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

Jamie Manzer is Executive Director of the Spouse Abuse Sexual Assault (SASA) Crisis Center, a rural program providing services to survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and human trafficking. As an executive director of a rural program, Jamie fills many roles, from administrator and grant manager to supervisor to victim advocate. As an administrator, Jamie has made sexual assault services a priority. She continues to find innovative ways to use available funds to expand or implement services for sexual assault survivors in her service area. She understands the importance of implementing sexual violence prevention efforts in her community and has made this a priority for her program as well. Jamie provides mentoring and role modeling as well as opportunities for reflection, ensuring that advocates feel challenged yet supported and have opportunities to grow. Providing this kind of guidance and support to staff is important to ensure advocates are providing competent and appropriate services to survivors.

Finally, Jamie has made great efforts to implement trauma-informed principles at every level of her agency. Not only does she emphasize advocate self-care, but she also emphasizes the importance of addressing the holistic needs of survivors, including their physical and mental health needs. With this in mind, Jamie has expanded services and forged collaborations in her community in order to provide more comprehensive services to survivors. When providing direct services, Jamie does not hesitate to give her full attention and energy to every survivor, no matter how complex their needs. When a survivor’s needs exceed what the agency can provide, Jamie seeks out and provides referrals, but she also then works to improve her program’s capacity to meet those needs in the future.

Jamie is the Executive Director for SASA Crisis Center in Hastings, NE. Prior to joining SASA in 2013, Jamie was the Program Manager for a community-based care agency in Key West, FL, specializing in child abuse prevention, domestic violence, missing children, and human sex trafficking. Jamie holds a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis on Social Policy and an MA in Public Policy with concentrations in Economics and Public Management.

Detective Julie Curtin
Nominated by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Detective Julie Curtin has spent her career seeking justice for victims of crime. She is a tireless advocate for justice and a voice for those who may not otherwise be heard.

Her dedication and commitment were put to the test during a recent case involving two teens at a local school. With the media glare focused on the case her investigation and integrity withstood many challenges and the case ended in a conviction.  For the victim her journey did not end there. She and her family faced online harassment and attacks on several anonymous websites in the wake of the trial. Detective Curtin once again went to work, contacting state and federal agencies, corporations, colleges, and agencies outside of the continental United States to advocate for this victim and her family.  Detective Curtin was able to succeed where many would have failed in getting these websites taken down. Detective Curtin never lost sight of the most important part of this criminal investigation: justice for the victim. 

This is the type of work her peers, victims, prosecutors, and advocates are accustomed to seeing day in and day out from Detective Curtin as a member of the Criminal Division’s Youth Services Unit.

After completing her Criminal Justice degree at Marist College in New York, Detective Curtin began her career at the Concord Police Department in June of 1999. While assigned to the Patrol Division, Detective Curtin went on to receive her Master of Arts in Community and Social Psychology from the University of Massachusetts. In December 2004, she was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Division as a member of the Youth Services Unit (Juvenile). Detective Curtin has received specialized training in forensic interviewing and advanced forensic interviewing. Among Detective Curtin’s many duties, her primary responsibilities are cases involving children and adults who have experienced domestic and sexual violence.  Detective Curtin currently sits on the NH Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) advisory board, The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) Advisory Board and the Merrimack County Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART).

Emmeline May​
Nominated by the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc.

Emmeline May writes a blog under the name “Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess.” She wrote a post in March 2015 called “Consent: Not Actually That Complicated,” which compared the question of consent and sex with forcing someone to have tea when they don't want it. Rachel Brian of Blue Seat Studios in Providence, Rhode Island read the blog post when it went viral and thought it would make an excellent animation. Rachel emailed Emmeline, who agreed to the video and the idea of the male voiceover, done by Graham Wheller, also of Blue Seat Studios. None of the three were funded at all. This blog went from 14 hits a day to 30,000 daily after word spread about the tea and consent post. Once the video was added, the blog continued to get steady high numbers of hits afterwards — peaking at just over 500,000 hits in one day! The video itself has also gone viral and has been translated into at least 10 languages.

The video has also been used (with permission) in official campaigns in the UK by the Crown Prosecution Service and a number of police forces. It is now used in high schools and colleges and other presentations throughout the world. The original version includes “offensive” language (quite suitable for college-aged students). Several individuals requested a “clean” version — Rachel and Graham, again voluntarily and without funding, created a version without the offensive language. They all remarked that they did this to add to the social justice conversation about ending sexual violence against others. They chose to do the video in stick figures in order to be inclusive to all genders and sexual relationships. This simple video has been viewed worldwide over 30 million times — and has become a free curriculum tool in primary prevention programs.

Emmeline blogs as RockstarDinosaurPiratePrincess. She's from London, UK and started her blog by accident. She blogs about feminism, body positivity, alcohol, and whatever happens to come into her brain.

Rachel Brian​
Nominated by the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc.

Rachel (Owner, Animator, Blue Seat Studios) has been drawing and coming up with harebrained schemes since age one. She made her first whiteboard video for the book Leaving to Learn, written by her longtime colleagues Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski. The combination of art, technology, and humor to convey important ideas was irresistible, and Rachel became hooked on animation.

Since that first collaboration, Blue Seat Studios has produced videos and graphic recordings for the Buck Institute of Education, Scholastic, and the Hewlett Foundation, along with many schools, districts, and start-up companies. Though she still teaches a couple of college courses a year, Rachel can most likely be found working in the studio, sketching wildly, eating beans and rice, playing guitar while videos are rendering, or exploring Narragansett Bay in her kayak.

Graham Wheeler is co-owner of Blue Seat Studios, providing voiceovers and artwork for the animations.

Farah Tanis
Nominated by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Farah Tanis launched and chairs the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the U.S. ever to focus on Black women and their historical and contemporary experiences with sexual assault. Her national and transnational efforts to end racial-sexual violence denounce the war on Black women's bodies from a grassroots level. Farah’s work began in 1995 with refugees living with HIV/AIDS and women in the New York City shelter system who had been victims of domestic and sexual violence. Farah is a movement maker who has led Black women from the U.S. to Geneva to speak to the United Nations CERD committee regarding the pervasive rape of Black women. Farah also led a Justice Ride to Oklahoma City that brought activists around the country to stand with the 13 Black women survivors of former police officer Daniel Holtzclaw's victimization during his sentencing at the Oklahoma courthouse.

Farah has been published through multiple feminist outlets speaking out on the issue of sexual violence and continues to truth-tell and inspire others to speak their truths. She runs an organization that provides direct services to survivors of sexual violence through healing and counseling services, sister circles, and an open-door policy that invites communities of survivors into the space for sacred refuge and restoration. Farah’s work complicates the issue of sexual violence by looking at issues of race and economic injustice as they impact Black women and girls.

Farah contributes to ending sexual violence through other movements like Black Lives Matter and the fight for economic justice. She has used art as a vehicle for ending rape and sexual violence within communities through Mother Tongue Monologues, an original idea and concept that she herself conceived of and developed to begin intracommunal dialogue. Farah worked domestically to galvanize support in the Diaspora communities and raised funds to support human rights defenders in Haiti who fought to implement legislation against sexual violence, making rape a crime in Haiti for the first time in 2006. She also worked with the V-Day movement to bring the Vagina Monologues in Creole to Haiti and to the Haitian immigrant communities of NYC for the first time in 2007.

Farah is Lead Faculty for the Institute for Gender and Cultural Competence. She is co-founder and Executive Director of Black Women’s Blueprint, working at the grassroots and institutional levels to address the spectrum of gender violence against women and girls in Black/African American communities and other communities of color. Her work includes the development of curricula, policy, technical assistance, and training focused on an intersection of social justice issues facing women and LGBTQ communities of color on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as mainstream campuses and communities.

She is founder and lead curator at the Museum of Women's Resistance (MoWRe), which in 2013 became internationally recognized as a Site of Conscience. Farah also created Mother Tongue Monologues, a theatrical and multimedia art vehicle for teaching Black and Queer sexual politics in communities across the nation. She is a 2012 U.S. Human Rights Institute Fellow and is a member of the Task Force on the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She is a 2014 Feminist Majority Foundation "Ms. Wonder" Honoree for her work to address gender violence on the nation's college campuses. Farah is a graduate of Columbia University's School of Business, Institute for Executive Management, and possesses a BA in Science from NYU and an MA in Social Work from Fordham University.

Angélica Reza Wind
Nominated by the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Angélica Reza Wind has been involved in several social justice movements that include immigrant rights, women’s reproductive rights, and gender equality. Prior to joining Our VOICE, Angélica worked at the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence as their Immigrant Outreach Specialist and Pisgah Legal Services as their Bilingual Court Advocate. During her time as Executive Director of Our VOICE, she has led the agency through considerable growth. In preparation for Buncombe County’s formation of a Family Justice Center (FJC), Angélica has played an integral part in inter-agency and multidisciplinary collaborations to create best practice services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As a result of Our VOICE’s move to the FJC, the agency staff has grown by 133%. This has included specialization of counseling for under-resourced populations including Latin@ and African American communities, males, faith-based communities, people who are homeless, and members of the LGBTQIA community.

Angélica leverages community relationships in ways that foster non-traditional projects to support the intervention and prevention of sexual violence. For example, Angélica has positioned Our VOICE to provide drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) training to all establishments that seek food and beverage safety certification from the Buncombe County Health Department. Similarly, Angélica has brokered conversations that will allow Our VOICE to lead locally owned restaurants in developing and implementing protocols and procedures that keep both patrons and staff safe from sexual violence. Angélica has been successful in expanding the budget to meet the agency’s and clients’ needs and in growing a dynamic board that is uniquely positioned to sustain our growth into the future. Through all these things, Angélica has led the agency with a passion that ignites and supports each staff person in their individual roles.

Angélica was born to migrant farm workers who settled in North Carolina. From a young age, she witnessed injustices in this community that instilled in her a sense of commitment to the struggle for social justice. Angélica has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Social Science from St. Andrews Presbyterian College (now St. Andrews University) in Laurinburg, NC and a Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University in Durham. She has been the Executive Director of Our VOICE, Buncombe County’s Rape Crisis and Prevention Center, for nearly four years. She currently lives in Asheville with her husband, daughter, and dog (and Our VOICE mascot) Snuggles.

Kirsti Mouncey
Nominated by the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence

Kirsti Mouncey has extensive experience in the victim services and advocacy arena, having worked directly with hundreds of survivors of sexual violence, and has developed effective education and outreach programs that reflect best practices. Kirsti has provided national training, consultation, and supervision to many others in the field and has spoken to a wide variety of audiences regarding the impact of sexual violence and sexual exploitation on survivors, trauma-informed care, trauma and addictions, and best-practice service-delivery models. She was part of a statewide committee that developed the Core Standards for Rape Crisis Programs in Ohio.

As Chief Program Officer at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Kirsti provides leadership and supervision for the organization’s program directors, leads systems change efforts to ensure comprehensive services for survivors of sexual violence, and develops innovative programming for the expansion of rape crisis services in Northeast Ohio. Kirsti successfully led Cleveland Rape Crisis Center’s first CARF Accreditation and has transformed the organization’s clinical services into a national model program for trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment. Under her direction, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center opened its first satellite offices in Lake, Geauga, and Ashtabula counties, as well as on the near west side of Cleveland to serve Hispanic/Latin@ survivors.

Kirsti has worked at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center for over 10 years and previously served as Trauma and Addictions Therapist and Vice President of Programs and Clinical Services. Kirsti is an adjunct instructor for Case Western Reserve University’s School of Social Work and a trainer/consultant for the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. She serves as an expert witness locally and statewide. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Cleveland State University and is a Licensed Independent Social Work Supervisor and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in the state of Ohio.

Dawn N. Rowe
Nominated by the Native Alliance Against Violence

Dawn N. Rowe is the Tribal Government Grants Coordinator and Advocate at the Kaw Nation's Domestic Violence Program. Dawn has been instrumental in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault in Northern Oklahoma. Dawn's most recent contribution in this field is the development and integration of SAFESTARs into five tribes in this area. Kaw Nation is fourth in the nation to be trained and first in the state of Oklahoma. Dawn worked with Southwest Center for Law and Policy out of Tucson, Arizona to certify 10 SAFESTARS in northern Oklahoma. A SAFESTAR is someone who is trained to provide Sexual Assault Forensic Examinations, Support, Training, Access & Resources to a victim.

Dawn has also been active in the collaboration of the Six Nations and represents the Kaw Nation in the capacity of program coordinator. The Six Nations is a group of Tribal domestic violence program coordinators that come together several times annually for the planning of the Six Nations walk each October. These programs are able to combine their resources and work together for the common goal of providing domestic violence awareness to tribal communities in north central Oklahoma.

Dawn is extremely passionate about her position at Kaw Nation and has developed a tribal domestic violence traveling court. Dawn is a member of the Kaw Nation Domestic Violence Coalition and develops program policies, procedures, and protocols. Dawn is also currently working with Native Alliance Against Violence to review and update the Kaw Nation's Domestic Violence Codes to comply with the provisions of the Tribal Law & Order Act and VAWA 2013.

Dawn never takes no for an answer, particularly when she knows the needs and safety of a survivor are at stake. When she encounters barriers to services and issues that might jeopardize the safety of Native women and their children, Dawn suggests solutions and then works tirelessly to see them come to fruition. Further, Dawn's work knows no boundaries, as she consistently reaches out to Tribal leaders, council members, judges, prosecutors, advocates, law enforcement, health care providers, and others to ensure that her program is offering the best possible services to survivors and their families.  Dawn is an asset to her community, the Six Nations, the state of Oklahoma, and all of Indian Country.

Dawn is currently a Program Coordinator for the Kaw Nation's Domestic Violence Program. Dawn attended Northern Oklahoma College and has over seven years of experience working in the field of domestic violence in Tribal Governments. Dawn also completed her Federal Certification for Law Enforcement and received the Commendation of Valor while working for the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Police Department. Dawn holds special certifications in the following areas: Principals of Advocacy; Testifying as a Witness and Expert on Domestic Violence in Tribal, State, and Federal Courts; Developing a Tribal SART Response; and Tribal Court Legal Advocate.

Rep. Mark Rozzi
Nominated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

Representative Mark Rozzi has been leading the charge to reform the statutes of limitations that limit the time survivors of child sexual abuse have to bring civil actions against those who abused them and institutions that may have acted to hide the abuse. In fact, he was inspired to run for office by his personal quest to address the trauma he endured when he was raped by his priest at age 13 and the barriers he encountered. Rozzi aims to bring a voice to thousands of survivors who currently don’t have a legal remedy to their pain. At 44, he still struggles — both mentally and physically. “I will think about this for every single day of my life, whether I’m talking about it or not,” Rozzi said. “… Every day, I relive it. I keep playing it in my head. What could I have done differently? I’m still looking for that answer and I still can’t find it. I’m 44 and I can’t get past it. You see this [surface], but you don’t see the scars that come along with this where it is non-stop. That’s what I want people to understand. On the face, it is good. But I hurt just like anyone else. Part of the healing process is being heard.”

Multiple bills idling in the committee — including Rep. Rozzi’s HB 661 — could improve the options available to victims of child sexual abuse, ranging from an extension of the statute for civil claims to creating a two-year window for survivors whose statute of limitations has expired to come forward and file a civil suit. But none are moving forward. Rozzi is calling for the proposed bills to move from committee to be voted on. Additionally, Rozzi's advocacy for survivors of child sexual abuse has led to recognition for compassion and action on all forms of sexual violence. He regularly receives phone calls from survivors who know his name from the papers and reach out for help — and he regularly calls PCAR for assistance. Rep. Rozzi is a champion for reforming how colleges and universities prevent and respond to sexual violence on campuses, a fabulous spokesperson, and a passionate advocate. It is wonderful to see someone turn their personal painful experience into a catalyst for providing leadership in government to benefit all citizens of our commonwealth.

Representative Rozzi was elected to office in November 2012 and is a lifelong resident of the 126th legislative district. He graduated in 1989 from Muhlenberg High School, where he was a member of the Political Science Club and Model UN. Rozzi received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Kutztown University with a concentration in Pre-Law and Constitutional Law. Rozzi, his wife Jacklyn, daughter McKenna, and dogs Cali and Aspen reside in Muhlenberg Township, where he remains active in the community. His legislative priorities include education, property tax relief, improvement of the commonwealth's infrastructure system, and the protection of children from predators.

Mary Anne Maldonado
Nominated by Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer

Mary Anne Maldonado has been an important contributor for the creation of agencies focused on sexual violence in Puerto Rico. She was the Director of the first rape crisis center on the island. She has become a mentor for many current organizations and service providers who work with sexual assault, prevention, and education for survivors. She was the first person to take a radical stand by publicly confronting the police department and judicial system in the 1970s. Mary Anne made public and political discussions with the main media by publishing articles on a daily basis for newspapers to make visible the negligence, errors, and violation of rights experienced by victims of sexual assault.

As the director of the first rape crisis center, Mary Anne assisted counselors to create the first emergency crisis line. She was sometimes called late at night for advice and was always available to attend homes to assist victims of sexual assault. According to Dr. Mercedes Rodríguez-López, a psychologist and workshop consultant, “[Mary Anne] accompanied and intervened in cases for victims of all ages. She was especially patient with victims and survivors. She looked at the survivors of rape with compassion, understanding their silence at times.” Mary Anne began to facilitate trainings at courthouses, police barracks, and the Department of Health. She also became a police watcher, a constant vigilante, and an advocate at hospitals and courthouses. Her activism was so progressive and revolutionary that she is a role model for many of us to follow.

Linda Laras, MD, Director of Puerto Rico Health Justice Center and a forensic gynecologist, recounts a moment with Mary Anne after conducting her first sexual assault examination. “I went to the rape crisis center and met Mary Anne Maldonado. I told her what had happened and asked her what I could do. She said I did the right thing by coming and wanting to do better. I told her it wasn’t enough; I felt like I had hurt the victim worse. She gave me a book and told me it will never happen again and because of it, I would do right by any victim that comes my way…. Mary Anne opened a road for me to follow. Thank you, Mary Anne: You gave me in one talk what my residency and profession never gave me.”

Mary Ann was born in the United States on November 18, 1936. She studied nursing at Georgetown University. For many years, she was the Director of the first and only rape crisis center in Puerto Rico. Before becoming director, she was a very committed volunteer. She was also co-founder of Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos, the first women's shelter in Puerto Rico. She is an active member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW ). Mary Ann is a dedicated mother and grandmother as well as a generous, sensitive, caring, and compassionate activist and friend.

Jane Johnson
Nominated by Day One

Jane Johnson is the group leader of One Voice, Day One’s survivor advocacy group dedicated to using advocacy and public speaking as a vehicle to end sexual violence. Through education, awareness, empowerment, and service, One Voice is bringing survivors together to educate the community and work as one voice aligned to end sexual violence. By sharing our personal stories, we hope to give strength to survivors of sexual assault and show that you can heal and lead a happy, productive life after sexual assault.

One Voice members have reached thousands of people through speaking engagements and presentations throughout the Rhode Island and Massachusetts area, including:

  • Speaking at area colleges and universities
  • Presenting at the Rhode Island State House as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • Testifying at the Rhode Island State House as part of a Special Commission Studying Sexual Assault on College Campuses
  • Presenting at Day One-sponsored conferences and workshops
  • Giving media interviews

One Voice began in 2010 with just a few survivors and has since grown to involve over a dozen women and men who all share the same goal: raising public awareness of sexual assault and encouraging other survivors to seek their own healing.

Sgt. Ouita Knowlton
Nominated by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Memphis Police Sergeant Ouita Knowlton has been involved with the Memphis Police Department's DNA Unit since its inception. This unit investigates cases developed from DNA evidence that has been recently tested although the assault happened years ago. Sgt. Knowlton has stressed the importance of victim-centered work to the detectives she supervises. She requires that they do in-person victim notification when the testing of an older rape kit yields DNA evidence. She also insists that the detectives take an advocate and/or a counselor from the rape crisis center with them for the notification to attend to the victim's emotional needs during this very stressful time. The RCC staff then stays in touch with the victim until the case is adjudicated and beyond.

This notification process has become a best practice across the country as more communities begin to test their older rape kits and proceed with prosecution. Sgt. Knowlton was the primary organizer of a recent summit in Memphis for cities addressing their rape kit backlogs. She was committed to making sure police who work with this population know the advantages of including advocates and counselors in this work.

Sgt. Knowlton supports victim-centered policing on these cases in her talk and action, even when she has received pushback from officers. Her commitment to these victims and our community is extraordinary. At a point in her career when many officers are looking for a comfortable assignment, she continues to dedicate her energies to making sure that victims of rape receive professional services and kindness.

Sgt. Knowlton has been an officer since August of 1993. She has worked in sex crimes since 2012 and with the DNA Unit since its inception.  While working in that unit, she has helped to develop victim-centered protocols, trained officers to interact more compassionately with victims, and provided superb supervision. Having her voice and support within the police department has helped to bring about meaningful partnerships to support victims of sexual assault.

Crystal Garcia-Ward
Nominated by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

Crystal Garcia-Ward is the Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center in San Angelo, TX. She is positive, dedicated, and unwavering in her quest to create a more just world, free of sexual violence. Crystal, through a “yes, and…” mindset and approach, consistently finds creative and impactful ways to engage and inspire her community in prevention and social justice work to create an environment where sexual violence is less likely to occur. She is a staunch advocate for social justice and for the rights of survivors, giving herself tirelessly to the work. Her dedication is as contagious as her optimism.

A wonderful example of Crystal’s innovative work is that she organized a week-long “camp” for youth in her community called “Break the Box Week,” which took place in November 2015.  Crystal developed a series of community-based events designed to engage San Angelo youth in the difficult work of challenging gender stereotypes that limit people and create problematic and harmful social dynamics. She had the vision to take the project from just an idea to a very successful event with loads of community support. Youth and their parents turned out every single night for the camp to explore the ways in which narrow gender roles create an environment where sexual violence is more likely to happen and to identify strategies to create change. 

Perhaps the greatest testament to Crystal’s work is that she is able to demonstrate success in a part of Texas that is very traditional and socially conservative — where it might seem to others that prevention is not possible. Luckily, “not possible” is not in Crystal’s vocabulary.

Crystal is the Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center. Crystal helps co-chair the Diversity Task Force for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. She also serves on the steering committee for Concho Valley Cares Coalition and the Board of Directors for the Concho Valley Health and Social Resources Coalition, as well as being active in many groups in town. She is the current President of the Tom Green County Coalition Against Violence. She received a Bachelor of Science in Health from Texas Tech University.


Capt. Angelo P. Espinosa
Nominated by the Virgin Islands Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Council

Captain Angelo P. Espinosa has dedicated much of his efforts to supporting the VI Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council (DVSAC) as a volunteer, partner, and presenter at a number of anti-sexual assault activities. As a representative of the Virgin Islands National Guard (VING), he provides resources to assist active and retired military personnel, their family members, and civilians who have been affected by sexual assault. He has also partnered with DVSAC at the Annual “Speak Out” workshop, which is held on the campus of the University of the Virgin Islands during SAAM. That time is spent engaging students and helping them recognize behaviors that can be misinterpreted and invariably lead down a painful path.

In addition, he has conducted a suicide prevention training using the ASIST curriculum. Some of the conversations held at these forums uncover the traumatic experiences, like a sexual assault, that may prompt suicidal behaviors. Capt. Espinosa continues to marvel the DVSAC staff with his experience and willingness to support our mission to reach those living in fear, guilt, and silence.

Captain Espinosa was born on the island of St. Croix in Christiansted, January 22, 1965. He attended St. Mary's Catholic school from first grade to junior high and St. Croix Central High in ninth and tenth grades, transferring to Lake Placid High School in Lake Placid, Florida and graduating in 1983. He moved back to St. Croix, attending the University of the Virgin Islands from 1983 to 1984. There, he read Susan Brownmiller's comprehensive breakthrough book Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape for a research paper on castration as punishment for this terrible crime, which gave him a life-changing perspective on the subject.

From 1994 to 1995, he received a graduate assistance scholarship to study Library Science and Information Studies at Clark Atlanta University. Following CAU library studies, he worked for about a year as a live-in Behavioral Specialist at Hillside Hospital for children with behavior problems, primarily in the cottage for children dealing with issues related to sexual assault. In the last three years, Capt. Espinosa has served the VING full time as the joint force headquarters Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, or SARC. He works closely and collaboratively with military and civilian community agencies such as the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Council and the Women's Coalition of St. Croix in the prevention, education, victim advocacy, and eradication areas of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and assault. He is father to two bright and wonderful teenagers, Noa and Asa of Washington, DC.

Dilsa Capdeville
Nominated by the Virgin Islands Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Council

Dilsa Capdeville has been instrumental in creating a Virgin Islands publication (Kidscope) that provides vital statistics outlining the atrocities that affect children, including sexual abuse. Over the years, the information has become a reliable resource and model for many service providers and practitioners in identifying child sexual abuse, which may be attributed to other deficits when untreated.

Dilsa has been practicing social work in the Virgin Islands for the last 51 years. She started working with the Department of Social Welfare, now the Department of Human Services, in 1965 as a student caseworker. When she graduated from Saint Peter and Paul High School in 1967, the Department of Social Welfare sent her away on scholarship to Wagner College on Staten Island, NY, where she received a BA degree in Social Work and Sociology in 1972. She then attended New York University and received a Master’s degree in Social Work in 1974. She returned to the Virgin Islands and resumed employment at the Department of Social Welfare in 1975. In 1978, she became the Child Abuse Specialist for the Virgin Islands.

During that time, she developed task forces and worked with judges and attorneys as well as task force members in developing laws pertaining to child abuse and neglect between 1980 and 1993. 35 years ago, she — along with Attorney Edith Bornn and Dr. Alice Hamilton — met with Governor Alex Farrelly and obtained start-up monies for the Women's Resource Center in St. Thomas and the Women's Coalition on St. Croix. In 1990, prior to leaving the Department of Human Services to work at the Woman's Resource Center, Dilsa wrote the grant and secured the monies to start the Nana Baby Home, an emergency child care facility on St. Thomas. In 1997, as a result of her belief that children were falling through the cracks and innovative services were needed for them, Dilsa started Kidscope, the first and only child advocacy center in the territory. In addition to crisis intervention services and multidisciplinary team approaches, Kidscope also specializes in forensic interviews of children. Holistic healing services are also provided to persons being served.

Gina Salazar
Nominated by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Gina continues to work toward ending the horrors of human trafficking on a daily basis through her personal commitment to assisting survivors. As a survivor of human trafficking, Gina has been able to provide assistance to young girls and women currently involved in commercial sex work. By developing an empowering rapport with survivors, she has been able to navigate spaces many of us could not. Through her weekly outreach, she has been able to identify survivors and provide care in areas of housing, health care, counseling, and support. Gina has brought the trauma of human trafficking to the spotlight by sharing her experiences and stories with law enforcement, social service agencies, and the community as a whole. She has become an expert in this area and is often referred to when dealing with the complex issues of human trafficking.

Gina knows a thing or two about human trafficking. As a survivor, she has shared her stories with others and has provided an inside look into the world of human trafficking. After embarking on her own healing process, Gina made a commitment to help victims of human trafficking and those in the commercialized sex industry. She began her work with the Volunteers of America (VOA) by doing outreach work to the homeless population, where she was able to break down the wall of silence on the streets regarding the exploitation of young girls and women. She took the initiative to provide assistance and valuable services to this population through her outreach services.

She moved on from VOA to become a Case Manager for the Asian Association to work specifically with domestic human trafficking survivors. Through this work, she identified the need for a walk-in center, which allows young girls and women to seek wraparound services and a safe place from the human trafficking scene. Gina has developed collaborative relationships with law enforcement, social service agencies, and the community to address the issues of human trafficking.

Marilyn Gillis​
Nominated by the Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

Marilyn Gillis has been on the HOPE Works Board of Directors for over 20 years, having rotated through both the co-chair and secretary roles. Marilyn has been a steady source of organizational wisdom for HOPE Works. This has been invaluable, particularly through times of transformation such as purchasing a new building and changing the name from Women's Rape Crisis Center. Additionally, Marilyn currently serves on HOPE Works Cultural Competence Committee and has been a crucial link between the committee and the Board of Directors. The board has recently adopted a board development plan that focuses on diversity and equity, and that is entirely because of Marilyn's commitment to the issue. She has been unwavering and unapologetic in her commitment to ensuring that underrepresented groups have a voice at the table. Marilyn is a champion of women's leadership, and she has been an incredible support to the executive directors she has supervised. She has used her decades of experience as a high school health teacher to ensure that HOPE Works remains committed to prevention education, even when resources were scarce.

Marilyn is now retired and using her time and talent as a guardian ad litem. Her work with youth is trauma informed and survivor centered. Marilyn is also an accomplished fiber artist and has created several quilts that directly address the issue of violence against women. Marilyn's passion for ending sexual violence has never wavered. Whether it is encouraging people in the community to watch a documentary on sexual violence or forwarding an article on racism to the board, Marilyn inspires others with her dedication. She is a leader, a teacher, and an advocate. Simply put, HOPE Works would not be the successful, robust, sustained organization it has become if it were not for Marilyn.

For the past 20 years, Marilyn has served on the Board of Directors for HOPE Works. For forty years, she taught courses on human development with a focus on sexuality and relationships. She also wrote a dating violence curriculum and served on Planned Parenthood’s Education Committee, reviewing sexuality curricula and resources. Marilyn volunteers as a child advocate in the family court and as a mentor for incarcerated women, most of whom have personal histories of gender-based violence. She has embraced the anti-sexual violence movement as part of her life’s work and is passionate about working to improve services to survivors.

Laurie Schacht
Nominated by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

Laurie Schacht’s passion and dedication for serving survivors of sexual assault never ceases to amaze her colleagues. She expresses time and time again what a privilege it is to support survivors through such a difficult time in their lives. In her words and her actions, she consistently demonstrates respect for survivors’ strength, resilience, and autonomy. At the same time, she offers endless compassion and patience. Laurie’s innovative and compassionate leadership has helped the sexual assault program at YWCA Clark County grow to become a leader in serving marginalized and high-risk survivors as well as providing sexual violence prevention services. Her commitment to comprehensive survivor-centered services for all survivors is demonstrated by her thoughtful engagement with statewide efforts to bring meaningful access to sexual assault advocacy services to survivors who are incarcerated. Additionally, for the last several years, Laurie has provided guidance to her program in participating in cutting-edge competitive projects, such as the state’s first child sexual abuse prevention pilot program and the comprehensive RPE program.

Laurie is also a strong advocate for staff wellness — as a manager, she sets a tone of wellness for herself and her entire agency. The warmth and compassion she shows to herself and her staff, combined with a commitment to address organizational vicarious trauma, continues to lay the foundation for a healthy work culture at YWCA Clark County. Laurie and her program have become an invaluable resource to the state through their willingness to dive headfirst into new and innovative sectors of this work. Her contributions at the state and national levels are all in addition to her advocacy and training in the local community. She is a fierce advocate for survivors and their rights — protecting their confidentiality, advocating for greater access to services and resources, and always remaining open to meeting survivors’ needs in new ways. Laurie is a wonderful ambassador for the movement to end sexual violence.

Laurie is the Director of the Sexual Assault Program at YWCA Clark County. She has worked in victim services for over 14 years. Laurie presents at local, regional, and state levels. She is a co-chair of the Clark County Human Trafficking Task Force and works closely with the Safe Communities Task Force, serving gang-affected youth.  Laurie’s dedication to serving all survivors has led to a strong collaboration with Clark County Corrections, ensuring survivors who are incarcerated have weekly access to sexual assault services. In her free time, she volunteers with the local dispute resolution center as a certified mediator.

Amanda Lindamood​
Nominated by the DC Rape Crisis Center

Amanda Lindamood has devoted her life to serving survivors of sexual violence through advocating and training young people. She has developed infrastructure for issue literacy, capacity building, leadership development and community engagement that powers a culture of consent and healing within the Washington, DC community. Additionally, she has created an exemplary training program that builds up the internal and external capacity of staff, volunteers, schools, and community partners.

Amanda is known throughout the Washington, DC community as an expert on youth and sexual violence. She has reached over 18,000 schoolchildren in prevention work, completed over 150 multi-session education programs, and trained 100 volunteers. Overall, Amanda's contribution to the field of sexual violence is timeless.

Amanda graduated from the University of Georgia in 2011 with a BS in Psychology and a BA in Religion. During her undergraduate years, she provided leadership to a student group that sponsored and facilitated community education on sexual and gender-based issues for the university and wider community. Initially after graduating, Amanda received training as a youth worker and served as a Program Instructor and Advisor for middle and high school students at For Love of Children. She worked as the Community Educator for Teens at the DC Rape Crisis Center, debunking myths, developing skills, and promoting informed consent in young people as the facilitator of the Sister Action Sister Strength school-based curriculum. In fall 2014, she accepted the position of director of training & community engagement. In this role, she partners with the DC community in imparting the knowledge, tools, and skills needed to create a culture of consent.

Adrianne Nichols​
Nominated by the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services

Adrianne Nichols is a tireless advocate for victims of sexual violence; she is never deterred from seeking justice and services by barriers presented by various systems or individuals. She was one of the first advocates providing ongoing services to incarcerated victims. She has developed a model SART and is always working to increase collaboration among all service providers in even the smallest communities within her county.  

Adrianne is attentive and proactive to the training needs of the SART members, gathering information and organizing trainings on emerging issues to ensure that victims are well served.  She has organized and maintained one of the strongest volunteer networks in the state for one of the model SANE programs at her regional hospital. Her compassion has directly impacted hundreds of lives and improved the system’s response for countless others.

A native of West Virginia, Adrianne received her BA in Psychology from Marshall University. Adrianne began her work as an advocate with HOPE, Inc., a Task Force on Domestic Violence, in August 2009, working in Gilmer and Doddridge counties. She accepted her current position as SART Coordinator with HOPE, Inc. in Harrison County in March 2010. Adrianne serves on several teams committed to ending sexual violence, including the Harrison County Child Abuse Task Force, the WV Intercollegiate Council, and the Court Advisory Council of Harrison County. Adrianne has a passion for seeking justice for victims.

Shannon L. Nichols
Nominated by the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Shannon L. Nichols has worked in the field of sexual violence response and prevention for nearly twenty years. Her decade of experience serving victims of violence against women as a system-based advocate helped form her approach to violence prevention. Shannon's knowledge of victims' issues and rights fuels her passion about preventing these crimes of sexual violence, and her ability to engage a broad range of constituents makes her a powerful and far-reaching voice. Since becoming Director of Education in rural Jackson, Wyoming in 2006, Shannon has overseen tremendous growth of the organization's privately funded education program. Notable achievements include:

  • Overhauling and redesigning the Community Safety Network’s (CSN) teen violence prevention program, utilizing research-proven curriculum focused on core messages and outcomes; 50-80 students complete the training each year.  
  • Advancing the spirit of victim empowerment and advocacy throughout the community by presenting four hours of advocate training three times each year to both prospective volunteers and interested community members.
  • Inspiring professional colleagues by delivering field-specific continuing education credits to law enforcement, mental health providers, attorneys, and even local salon workers.
  • Becoming a trusted resource among faculty at local middle and high schools for delivery of prevention curricula and classroom support to meet the schools' social-emotional learning objectives.
  • Developing a five-year vision and plan for the growth of education and prevention programming in the region.

Shannon’s career in victim services started in 1997 with the Lane County District Attorney’s Victim Services Program in Oregon. In this role, she communicated with victims, managed DV cases, and provided extensive court advocacy. From 1998 to 2006, Shannon was the Domestic Violence Victim Advocate with the DV Prosecution Center in Clark County, Washington. As the DV Advocate, Shannon was responsible for developing the advocacy component within the multidisciplinary agency and nationally recognized prosecution center. Since 2006, Shannon has served as the Education and Prevention Director at the Community Safety Network in Jackson, Wyoming. Shannon is responsible for the 40-hour advocate training, community education outreach plan, and policy and educational program research, as well as facilitating the Teton County Sexual Assault Response Team and providing community education and training to students on healthy and unhealthy relationships.

2015 Visionary Voice Award Recipients

2014 Visionary Voice Award Recipients

Photo of Dorinda Edmisten

Nominated by the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Dorinda Edmisten

For the past 16 years, Dorinda Edmisten has strived to ensure that all victims and their loved ones have access to free and confidential professional crisis intervention and advocacy. In 1998, she helped found the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and has served on its board in leadership positions. Dorinda continues to give her expertise to helping women, men, and children as Executive Director of the Ozark Rape Crisis Center, which provides direct services and prevention education in six counties. Dorinda also has served as president of the Clarksville Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, and has been heavily involved in leadership programs in Harrison and Clarksville, Ark.

Photo of Nancy O'Malley

Nominated by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Nancy E. O' Malley

Nancy E. O’Malley is the District Attorney for Alameda County, Calif. Nancy is a nationally recognized expert on violence against women and sexual assault, more specifically sexual assault against persons with disabilities, interpersonal violence, and human exploitation and trafficking. During her 30-year career, she has distinguished herself as an effective prosecutor and an ardent advocate for victims. She led the creation of the Alameda County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) that continues to be recognized as a model for communities and a research facility for advancing forensics in sexual assault crimes. Nancy also serves as an appointed member of the California State Sexual Assault Advisory Committee and Chair of the California Sex Offender Management Board.


Nominated by the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Megan Lechner, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P

Megan Lechner is an outstanding nurse and advocate for patients experiencing sexual violence. As a full-time Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) and team lead at Memorial Hospital- University of Colorado Health (UCH) , Megan has cared for more than a thousand patients who have experienced sexual violence. Megan responds with great clinical expertise and compassion for her patients, and educates community members about the realities of sexual assault. Megan has worked on a state, national, and international level-, traveling to Africa to assist the International Association of Forensic Nurses and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in caring for pediatric victims of sexual assault.

Photo of Roberta Willis

Nominated by Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services

State Rep. Roberta B. Willis

As a state lawmaker and co-chair of the Higher Education Committee, State Rep. Roberta Willis has championed the rights of sexual assault victims and has worked to improve the response to victims and survivors. She led the initiative to require that all institutions of higher education in Connecticut have the strongest possible response to addressing campus sexual violence by adopting federal Campus SaVE Act provisions before they were adopted for all states under the VAWA. She continues to prioritize legislation that will strengthen the campus response to victims of sexual assault and institute prevention education and training programs.


Nominated by the DC Rape Crisis Center

Rev. Santa CanteWi Molina-Marshall

Santa CanteWi Molina-Marshall has spent more than 25 years serving communities as a licensed social worker supporting survivors of sexual assault. As the Director of Counseling and Advocacy at the DC Rape Crisis Center she leads over 20 staff in providing counseling and advocacy services. Her innovate and holistic approach to creating an environment for healing is nationally known. Recently, she served as the Interim Executive Director at the DC Rape Crisis Center during a leadership transition at the agency. She is an ordained interfaith minister and certified in yoga, Reiki, and massage therapy. Her practice at Holistic Health Practices, LLC and Interfaith Ministry Services, Inc. focuses on supporting the community in healing.


Nominated by the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

Judith T. Won Pat, Ed.D.

Dr. Judith T. Won Pat has served as a senator and Speaker with Guam’s Legislature since 2008, and has served in other leadership roles during her 10-year tenure. For more than two decades, she has led with a commitment to advocating for policies that address sexual assault and violence against women and girls for Guam and the Pacific region. She has served as Chair for Fuetsan Famalao’an, “the strength of women’”, a women leaders’ group. Her efforts focus on advocating and initiating policies that aim to ensure that the needs, care, and health of women and girls are prioritized.

Photo of Mary Govert

Nominated by the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Mary E. Govert

For more than a decade, Mary E. Govert has served as Executive Director of St. Jude House, Inc., a domestic violence and sexual assault prevention center and shelter in Crown Point, Ind. She has been instrumental in reaching underserved areas in northern Indiana and keeping sexual violence core to theSt. Jude’s mission. Mary sits on the Lake Area United Way Agency Executive Council, and co-chairs the Lake County Task Force on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Mary passionately supports and involves herself in events for human rights issues.

Photo of Thomas Courtney

Nominated by the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Sen. Thomas G. Courtney

Four-term Iowa State Sen. Tom Courtney is a longtime supporter of work to end sexual violence. He has worked to expand the definition of sexual assault so that all sexual violence will be considered a sex crime, to expand protections for survivors of dating violence, and to support efforts to fund programs for survivors of sexual violence. In 2013, he led a hard-fought and successful effort to gain an additional $4 million in state funds for services for survivors. Despite having open-heart surgery during the middle of the legislative session, he returned to see the effort through, and achieved the largest increase in victim service funds in Iowa history.

Nominated by the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Mary Stolz-Newton

Mary Stolz-Newton has advocated for survivors of sexual violence for more than eight years. At Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center (WASAC), she facilitates yoga groups for sexual violence survivors in the process of healing, and has conducted research (pending publication) on the benefits of yoga and exercise for sexual violence survivors. She trains regularly with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, and has coordinated and provided more than 100 trainings to law enforcement officers in Kansas on responding to crimes involving domestic and sexual violence. She is committed to social change advocacy, and is integral in collaborative efforts with law enforcement, courts, hospitals, and schools.

Photo of Ann Coker

Nominated by the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc.

Ann L. Coker, Ph.D.

Ann L. Coker has focused on interpersonal violence issues throughout her career. She currently serves as Principal Investigator for “Green Dot across the Bluegrass: Evaluation of a primary prevention project.” She leads the evaluation team in determining the effectiveness of a bystander intervention program implemented by rape crisis centers at high schoolsin Kentucky. This five-year study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has just started its fifth year. In 2007, she became the inaugural Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair in the Center for Research on Violence Against Women.

Photo of Erin Rhoda

Nominated by the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda has been instrumental in launching several initiatives on journalism and sexual violence in collaboration with the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA). As editorial page editor of the Bangor Daily News (BDN), she leads a long-term project to shed light on domestic and sexual violence. She has is a trained sexual assault response advocate, and heads BDN’s multimedia project, “Proof,” which is sensitive to victims/survivors in telling stories of healing from sexual violence. She edited MECASA’s media packet for Maine journalists and presents on the role of journalists in neutral reporting.


Nominated by the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Sandra L. Pilgrim-Lewis

Sandra L. Pilgrim-Lewis is the newly retired Executive Director of Shelter, Inc . in Alpena, Mich. For nearly 30 years, she has advocated for service with dignity, social justice, and ending oppression. She is a leader at the state and local levels for the domestic violence and sexual assault movements. She was honored for her profound commitment to the movement to end violence against women and to ensuring that provided services are accessible, relevant, and accountable to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She has worked tirelessly organizing to increase access and justice for survivors from all backgrounds.


Nominated by the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition

The DOVES Program

The DOVES Program is a dual domestic violence and sexual assault program in rural northwestern Nebraska and is celebrating 35 years of service. The organization serves a nine-county area. In an area with limited community resources, it has been creative in its approach to services and community partnerships. DOVES provides immediate, ongoing, and long-term support for primary and secondary victims of sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Hilary Wasserburger is the current Executive Director and has worked at DOVES for more than 10 years.

Picture of Forrest Seymour and coalition Executive Director Lyn Schollett

Nominated by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Forrest Seymour

Forrest Seymour has been a champion of sexual violence prevention efforts at Keene State College, where he serves as a counselor, Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator, and co-advisor of Mentors in Violence Prevention. He was instrumental in Keene State, instituting sexual violence prevention programming in student orientation programs and working with athletic teams on campus. In addition to campus programming, he coordinates student involvement in Monadnock Center for annual violence prevention-related events, and he is co-director and co-founder of the Monadnock Men’s Resource Center. He is a licensed independent clinical social worker, and is in private practice as a psychotherapist.

Nominated by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Bill Shaefer

Bill Schaefer is a founding member and co-leader of Northern New York Call to Men, a grassroots organization working to end violence against women. Since 1994, his professional experience in the criminal justice field has focused on addressing and preventing violence against women. Over the years, he has participated in many state-level committees, administered grants, and presented on the criminal justice response to domestic violence and sexual assault. He has a passion for engaging men as allies and working to end oppression. He has worked on violence prevention programs for colleges, high schools, middle schools, and Head Start programs.


Nominated by the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence

Teresa M. Matthews

Teresa M. Matthews is the Witness Victim Coordinator for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office. She has worked in the criminal justice system for more than 20 years. Her work has included leadership in county-level sexual assault response, victim compensation, sex offender management, and addressing sexual assault kit backlogs with a victim-centered approach. She organized the first Take Back the Night event for the city of Cleveland, and has organized rallies and events in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. She serves as a board member for the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and was elected president in 2013.


Nominated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

Lynn Shiner

Lynn Shiner has 35 years of experience in state government, and she currently directs the Office of Victim Services for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Her leadership has turned the Victims Compensation Assistance Program into a national model through streamlining processes, legislative changes, and technology enhancements that ensure that a victim-centered program, easing the financial burden on victims and their families. Her passion to ease crime victims' pain is informed by her own experience of tragedy. Her young children, Jen and Dave, were murdered on Christmas Day in 1994. She is committed to making changes to improve the lives of other victims and advocates for the protection of children through the “Jen & Dave” law.

Photo of Vickey Cornelison-Grant

Nominated by the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Vickey Cornelison-Grant

Vickey Cornelison-Grant has served crime victims for more than 25 years. Professionally, she has worked at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center and the Medical University of South Carolina since 1986. The facility she works for has made significant contributions to the field of victimization and the study of trauma She served sexual assault victims in her community as a volunteer advocate for People Against Rape (PAR), South Carolina’s first rape crisis center. She serves as Treasurer on PAR’s board of directors. She is the 2013 recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award from Charleston Magazine and the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina, and she is the 2013 Volunteer of the Year for Zonta International Club of Charleston.


Nominated by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Debbie Curtis MSN, APN, CEN SANE-A

Debbie Curtis is a registered nurse who has aided victims/ survivors seeking medical care and forensic medical examinations in the aftermath of a sexual assault. Since 1988, she has worked as a Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for adults and adolescents at St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, Tenn. She is a founding member and current president of the Rutherford County Sexual Assault Response Team. She works with the team to review cases, update policies, and promote best practices in responding to sexual assault for medical staff and allied professionals. She also has provided invaluable assistance to the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence on the issue of forensic compliance, lending to the drafting of policies to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable.

Photo of Donna Kelly

Nominated by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Donna Kelly

Donna Kelly is the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Resource Prosecutor for the state of Utah. She has been prosecuting sexual assault and domestic violence cases for more than 20 years. Since joining the Utah Prosecution Council staff, she has collaborated with Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Utah Department of Public Safety, and city and county police and prosecution agencies throughout Utah to provide specialized training on sexual assault and domestic violence investigation and prosecution. These specialized trainings for police, prosecutors, and advocates have strengthened criminal justice system response throughout the state.

Photo of Sammuel Sanes

Nominated by the Virgin Islands Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council

Sen. Sammuel Sanes

Sen. Samuel Sanes is the Vice President for the 30th Legislature of the Virgin Islands. He is an avid supporter of the Women's Coalition of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council. He has proposed legislation to prohibit the trafficking of persons for the purpose of sexual or labor activity. He also proposed legislation to provide spousal protection in sexual assault cases and to expand on the definitions of sexual contact and child abuse. He currently chairs the Committee on Rules and Judiciary and is Vice-Chair for the committees on Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice.

Photo of Sanu Dieng

Nominated by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance

Sanu Y. Dieng

Sanu Y. Dieng is the Prevention Education and Community Relations Coordinator for Transitions Family Violence Services. She is committed to creating space for young people to engage in dialogue and creative expression around healthy sexuality as a primary prevention strategy. She has attended extensive training provided by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and has attended the Women of Color Network’s 18-month Leadership Academy. She has worked in her community and at the state level to inform prevention efforts and create opportunities to work with youth around healthy relationships and healthy sexuality promotion.


Nominated by the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Andrea Jones

Andrea Jones is Youth Advocate and Prevention Educator at AWARE Hardwick, Vt. Since 2009, Andrea has advocated for adults, youth, and children impacted by sexual violence, and has worked to build capacity for comprehensive prevention activities in the community. From preschool to college students, from parents to teachers and professionals, Andrea creates curricula and spreads the message about sexual consent, healthy sexual behaviors, sexting, and other issues that impact her community. Andrea has a background in education and has spent her adult life working with children and teens of all ages.


Nominated by the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services

Marshall Univeristy Forensic Science Center

Founded in 1994, the Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC) provides cutting-edge DNA analysis for human identification in criminal cases and forensic training for West Virginia and 47 other states. MUFSC has collaborated with the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services since 2003. This collaboration supported development of a Sexual Assault Response Team Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner trainings, and the development of online resources to enhance sexual assault services and response. Support provided by MUFSC has enabled West Virginia to better train first responders on sexual assault through innovative, accessible training resources, and has ultimately helped improve services for victims in the state. The leadership of founding director Dr. Terry Fenger and the MUFSC team has been invaluable.

Photo of Bonnie Coonen

Nominated by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Bonnie Coonen

Bonnie Coonen helped found the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Appleton, Wis. in 1978. She has served in the anti-sexual assault field for 35 years, and for the last 15 years has worked at Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin. Bonnie has presented throughout the region on elder abuse, advocacy, and sexual assault dynamics. She has trained law enforcement, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, judges and other professionals. Bonnie has worked closely with nursing homes and schools to promote sexual safely. It has been estimated she has as supported 5,000 victims and survivors, including survivors of molestation by clergy. She has been a driving force behind community sexual assault response efforts and committees.

Photo of Jody Sanborn

Nominated by the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Jody Sanborn

Jody Sanborn is the Sexual Violence Prevention Specialist for the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. She has worked in the movement to prevent and end sexual violence since 2005. In her current position, she has worked tirelessly with communities across Wyoming for the last five years to increase their capacity to prevent sexual violence. Her expertise and skillful ability to meet communities where they are has resulted in progress toward readiness to prevent sexual violence. She has experience as a national, state, and local trainer specializing in rural community education and mobilization, college populations, and leadership for prevention with youth and young adult groups.

Nominated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Karen Lang

Karen Lang has worked in the anti-rape movement since 1995. From September 2001 to June 2013 Karen served as a Project Officer in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention working on the national Rape Prevention and Education Program (RPE). As the Project Lead for RPE, Karen was responsible for setting the overall vision and direction for the program which provides over $34 million dollars to health departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories. In this role, Karen helped facilitate a sea change in the RPE Program, and the sexual violence prevention field broadly, by expanding the focus from raising awareness about the problem to preventing sexual violence perpetration through addressing modifiable risk and protective factors at multiple levels of the social ecology. Karen is currently a Program Consultant in the Division of STD Prevention, Program Development and Quality Improvement Branch where she supports state and city health departments in implementing and evaluating STD Prevention Programs. Karen received a Bachelor’s of Social Work and a Masters of Social Work from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.


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2013 Visionary Voice Award Recipients


Nominated by the

Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ACASA)

David L. Williams A corporal with the Fayetteville Police Department in Arkansas, David has worked as a law enforcement trainer with ACASA since 2007. A law enforcement officer for 17 years, he provides training on sexual assault issues for the Criminal Justice Institute and was a founding member of his police department’s Crisis Intervention Team and Special Investigations Unit. David has developed curricula and resource materials for training topics such as stranger vs. non-stranger sexual assault, victim interviewing techniques, the language of sexual assault, interrogation techniques, and case review of serial rapists.


Nominated by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA)

Linda Bowen

Linda’s career in the anti-rape movement started more than 37 years ago, when she became a founder of the women's center of San Joaquin County's rape crisis center. She served as director of the women’s center from 1976-86. While working at the center, she identified the critical need for confidential communications between sexual assault survivors and rape crisis advocates, and worked with her local legislator to draft the California Sexual Assault Counselor-Victim Privilege Law. In 1980, she became one of the founding members of the state sexual assault coalition, now known as CALCASA. For the past 26 years, she has been in charge of administering funds to California’s 84 rape crisis centers while working as Chief of the Sexual Assault Section of the California Emergency Management Agency.

Nominated by the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA)

Crista Maestas

A prosecutor for the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Crista is an advocate for sexual assault victims. She is involved with the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), and has worked closely with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) and Tu Casa. She has dedicated hours of her own time to prosecute cases and work with sexual assault victims.


Nominated by Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS)

Anne Mahoney

Anne prosecutes major felonies, including sexual assaults, as Senior Assistant State’s Attorney in the Hartford Judicial District. After graduating from Trinity College and the University of Connecticut School of Law, Anne began her legal career as a member of the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. She has seen more than 50 jury trials to verdict and is an expert trainer and valued collaborator among sexual assault victim advocates throughout Connecticut. Anne was a member of the Hartford Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Team for more than 15 years and is the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s designee to the Child Fatality Review Panel. She was a valuable voice in advocating for the creation of the State of Connecticut Gail Burns-Smith Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Program, which provides on-call forensic nurses to hospitals in central Connecticut. Anne was also one of the first prosecutors to employ the use of a therapy dog to assist a child sexual abuse survivor to testify in court against her perpetrator.


Nominated by the DC Rape Crisis Center

Denise Snyder

Denise has been an advocate in the violence against women movement for more than 25 Years. Prior to coming to the DC Rape Crisis Center, she was the executive director of Arlington Community Temporary Shelter and the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, as well as the director of administration for the Nuclear Freeze Campaign. While at the DC Rape Crisis Center, Denise established a city-wide victim service center known as The Lighthouse Center for Healing. Under her tenure at the DC Rape Crisis Center, counseling services expanded more than 400 percent, and the center introduced specialized programs for older women, substance abusers, and women with disabilities. Additionally, the center established new programs (such as community organizing, SANE and an annual teen conference); initiated the Anti Rape Act of 1994 and revisions to the statute of limitations for sex offenders, successfully lobbying for their passage; and developed extensive public relations programs, doing more than 70 media interviews annually.

Nominated by the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

Alicia Limtiaco

Alicia has served as U.S. Attorney for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands since 2010. She was instrumental in coordinating human trafficking training and facilitating the Human Trafficking Task Force/Victim Service Providers Committee. Prior to her role as U.S. Attorney, she was elected the first female Attorney General of Guam in 2006. During her tenure in Guam, she spearheaded initiatives addressing human trafficking, child pornography, and Internet crimes against children including sexual exploitation, and helped with the implementation and compliance of Guam’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). She served as chair of the Executive Branch of the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force and as a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Steering Committee.


Nominated by the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault (INCASA)

Kristina Korobov

Kristina is the Director of Prosecutor Education at the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office in Indianapolis. She is responsible for meeting the training needs of the attorneys in her office and prosecutes child abuse homicides as well as domestic violence and sex crime cases. From 1996-2005, Kristina was the Prosecutor’s Office’s Chief of the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit, Chief of the Domestic Violence Unit and Major Felony Prosecutor. During her tenure, she was responsible for attorney supervision and training, police development, community outreach, and law enforcement training.

Nominated by Jane Doe Inc. (The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence)

Becky Lockwood

Becky is the Associate Director of the Center for Women and Community, which houses the rape crisis center for survivors of all gender expressions in the five-college community and Hampshire County. Becky worked for 10 years as Director of Youth Programs at Community Action, where she created and implemented prevention programs focused on reducing youth substance abuse, teen pregnancy, interpersonal violence and HIV/AIDS, and developed and facilitated the area’s first social group for youth who identify themselves as queer/transgender. Becky co-chairs the statewide Higher Education Sexual Violence Working Group, an advisory committee of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council on Sexual and Domestic Violence, and worked on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s EMPOWER project, which completed a statewide sexual assault prevention plan in 2010.


Nominated by the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV)

Angela Blumel

Angela is Director of Advocacy Services with the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), a rape crisis center that serves more than 60,000 individuals annually. During her career, Angie has served as volunteer manager, domestic violence victim advocate and project director for numerous grants. She has presented at local, regional and national conferences and has worked to improve the community’s response to victims of sexual violence through advocacy, education, and collaboration. She is passionate about working to improve services to survivors of sexual abuse and assault.

Nominated by the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault

Judy Benitez

Judy is the executive director of Iris Domestic Violence Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is the founder of Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, the state’s coalition of sexual assault crisis centers and other agencies concerned with sexual violence, where she served as executive director from 1993 to 2013. She has worked with victims of crime since 1990. Judy has been qualified as an expert witness on sexual assault and domestic violence in state district court. She has lectured internationally at dozens of trainings on crime victimization, sexual violence, and violence against women and children. She has been interviewed by the Washington Post, USA Today, Headline News live, the BBC live, Huffington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, Fox News, NPR, CBS Evening News, and other media outlets.


Nominated by the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA)

Terry Moore

Lt. Col. Terry Moore, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force, serves as a Governor's Aide-de-Camp on the Board of Trustees for Maine Veterans’ Homes, is on the Board of Advisors for, serves on the Volunteers of America Northern New England Veterans' Advisory Committee, and is an Ambassador for Women, Work and Community. She also is a member of professional and veteran service organizations. She recently completed her two-year appointment on the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans and was chair of the Maine Women Veterans' Commission from November 2008 to June 2012. Terry retired from the Air Force in 2003, after 20 years of service. She is establishing Women Vets USA Inc., a nonprofit organization that will focus on advocating for and connecting women veterans with peers, services, and online information resources.


Nominated by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA)

Cordelia Anderson

An advocate for primary prevention and social change, Cordelia has devoted her life and work to preventing sexual violence. Since 1976, she has worked to prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and youth. In 1992, she started Sensibilities Inc., a training and consultation business focused on prevention. Cordelia trains internationally and has presented more than 2,000 workshops. She is the recipient of various awards, including the 2006 Outstanding Professional Award from American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC). In the 1980s, she worked with Illusion Theater to create “Touch,” a play teaching children about child sexual abuse.


Nominated by the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition (NDVSAC)

Cari Emerson

Cari joined Hope Crisis Center in Fairbury, Nebraska, in 2007. She began as a Victim Advocate, serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Since assuming her role as Sexual Assault Advocate in 2010, Cari has enhanced services for sexual assault victims in her agency and within the community. She has made strides in the development of collaborations in her community and provides holistic individual advocacy and support to victims. Prior to joining Hope Crisis Center, Cari gained experience as a Criminal Justice Advocate with the S.A.F.E. Center in Kearney, Nebraska, and then as an Integrated Care Coordinator at Region V Systems in Nebraska.

Nominated by the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence (NCASV)

Jane Heenan

Jane has worked as a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice since 2002, working with a diverse group of LGBTQIA persons, most of whom had personal histories of gender-based violence. Jane was a part of successful efforts to introduce the first transgender-inclusive legislation in Nevada’s history in 2009, and was intimately involved in the bipartisan 2011 passage of basic civil rights protections for Nevada’s transgender citizens in employment, public accommodations, and housing. A committed community activist advocating for gender diversity since 1998, Jane has volunteered in numerous professional and semi-professional settings with her latest achievement, Gender Justice Nevada and the Queer Anti-Violence Project (QAVP).


Nominated by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV)

Det. Sgt. Kathleen Kimball (retired)

Kathleen served as a New Hampshire State Police trooper for 23 years. A member of New Hampshire’s Child and Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committees and the Attorney General's Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, she helped write statewide protocols addressing sexual assault in children and adults. She has been an instructor at the New Hampshire Police Academy for 14 years, teaching members of law enforcement courses on sexual assault investigations. She served on the board of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence for six years. She is the coordinator of the New Hampshire Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) initiative, and has been a member of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Advisory Board, and several committees of the Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.


Nominated by the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs Inc. (NMSAP)

Mark Medoff

Mark is a playwright, screenwriter, film/theater director, actor, and professor at the Creative Media Institute for Film and Digital Arts at New Mexico State University. His play, “Children of a Lesser God,” received the Tony Award, Olivier Award, and an Academy Award nomination. He has represented strong, independent women in much of his work, and has supported agencies and causes to end violence against women and children. He is the winner of the national Kennedy Center Medallion for Excellence in Education and Artistic Achievement, given periodically to artists who teach and mentor students. He created a PSA addressing sexual violence for the La Pinon Sexual Assault Recovery Center, which has been made available for use across the United States.


Nominated by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA)

Amanda Wingle

Amanda is a member of Albany Medical College’s Class of 2015. She is the Region 2 Director of the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) and former co-president of Albany Medical College’s AMWA chapter, where she helped implement the first Interpersonal Violence Awareness Week, now held annually. She created a curriculum for medical students on sexual assault. She is a volunteer with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s (RAINN) online hotline and volunteers at a free clinic, providing primary care to uninsured and underinsured community members.

Nominated by the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence (OAESV)

Dodie Sacia

Since 2008, Dodie has volunteered more than 5,800 hours at the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties in Ohio. She is the secretary of the Summit County Sexual Assault Coalition, a founding member of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and an active contributor to the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence (OAESV) Public Policy Committee. Since 2010, she has been a board member for Guardians Advocating Child Safety and Protection, has monitored nearly 500 sex- offense cases in the court of common pleas and municipal court, attended more than 60 trials and hundreds of pre-trial hearings and sentencings, and has assisted in training and mentoring new volunteers and staff for the rape crisis center. Dodie has provided testimony to the Ohio Legislature on funding for rape crisis programs, and has written multiple letters to the editor of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal.


Nominated by the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (OCADVSA)

Robert Funk Jr.

Robert is owner and president of Prodigal LLC. Prodigal operates the Oklahoma City Barons hockey franchise, co-promotes Professional Bull Riders events in Oklahoma, and oversees Prodigal Sports Group. Robert uses his position to promote sexual violence awareness and prevention efforts. For the last three years in April, Funk has promoted Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) by putting a teal ribbon logo on the ice for Barons home games, placing teal ribbon stickers on the players’ helmets, and playing commercials on the video board during games. Funk participates in the annual press conference with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in an effort to engage men in the anti-sexual violence movement. He attends and sometimes speaks at conferences, rallies, and candlelight vigils across Oklahoma in support of victims’ rights.

Nominated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)

Patrick Rushton

Since 2001, Patrick has served as the Education/Outreach Manager for the Victims Resource Center. He retired from the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department after 20 years of employment. He has received numerous recognitions, including: Wilkes-Barre City Neighborhood Watch Association's Person of the Year, Victims Resource Center’s Lifetime Friend Award, The Peace and Justice Center's Constance Kozel award, and the Vagina Warrior Award from Wilkes University’s V-Day committee. His responsibilities include development and implementation of the agency's prevention education programming, primary prevention plan, outreach to referral sources, professional trainings, systems advocacy, community awareness events, and public relations. As a certified sexual assault counselor, Patrick has provided individual services to victims of violence through a hotline, in court, and in person. He has served on PCAR's Men Against Sexual Violence committee and on the Board of Directors for Ruth’s Place House of Hope, a homeless shelter specifically for women.

Nominated by the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault (SDNAFVSA)

Krista Heeren-Graber

Krista has worked in the sexual assault and domestic violence field for more than 25 years. She started at Children's Inn, a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, as a women's and children's counselor, and was the acting director when she left to become executive director of the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence & Sexual Assault. She began as a one-person agency working out of her car, and grew the network to an agency of eight employees with an established office. She has served as a grant reviewer for the Office of Justice Programs in Washington, D.C., and has been appointed to the Governor's Task Force on Domestic Violence, the Governor's Citizen Review Panel for Child Protection Services, the Sexual Assault Task Force, and the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision. In 1996, Siouxland Child Protection Council recognized Krista for her outstanding contribution in the area of child abuse, and the Business and Professional Women/USA presented her with a Women of Achievement Award in 2007.

Nominated by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Carmen Wyatt

Carmen is the executive director of Avalon Center: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program, which serves five counties in middle Tennessee. During her tenure with the agency and under her leadership, the Avalon Center facilitated the formation of Cumberland County’s first domestic violence/sexual assault task force, bringing together various allied professional agencies in the area to enhance a coordinated community response for victims and bringing the top state honor, the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence’s 2009 County Team Award, to the agency. Additionally, a Sexual Assault Response Team has been organized to better serve the needs of sexual assault victims in Avalon’s service areas, and efforts to facilitate the training of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) in service areas have been a key objective for Avalon. In 2010, Avalon’s Abuse Intervention for Men (AIM) program received certification from the Tennessee Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council.



Nominated by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA)

Gary Scheller

In 2012, Gary was appointed the Director of the Utah Office for Victims of Crime, where he has worked for 14 years. Prior to his appointment, he served as assistant director for six years. He has made getting appropriate health care for victims of sexual assault a priority. This includes clearing the way for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) to be compensated for the care they provide, and making sure that victims who need HIV prophylaxis have access to essential medications within the short time frame for when they are effective. Gary is a member of the UCASA 40-Hour Rape and Sexual Assault Advocacy Training Team and was honored by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault with a Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) Award in 2006.



Nominated by the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Keith Goslant

Keith has been involved with the Sexual Assault Crisis Team (SACT) for more than 20 years, both as a volunteer and board chair. During his tenure, he worked with others to establish a shelter for victims/survivors of sexual violence that extends services to women and men. He has shared his personal stories of sexual violence/bullying in public forums and, helped train Vermont law enforcement on bias- and hate-motivated crimes. Keith has worked with hundreds of male survivors over the years, offering them support, advocacy and, most importantly, compassion, and hope. He has educated nurses, law enforcement officers, state attorneys and other advocates about the experiences of gay sexual violence survivors.

Nominated by the Washington Coalition Of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP)

Debbie Medeiros

Debbie is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. For the last eight years, she has worked to design, implement and manage the Cowlitz Tribe Pathways to Healing Program, a sexual assault and domestic violence program. One of her passions is to educate and raise awareness about issues within tribal communities to non-native agencies and governments. Recognizing the need culturally specific sexual violence services in her community she took action and led the creation of the Pathways program. Now, with a staff of five, the Pathways to Healing programs operate as a dual sexual assault and domestic violence tribal program offering direct services and conducting prevention and awareness activities.


Nominated by the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WVFRIS)

David Miller

David has worked at the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory for nearly 20 years. He serves as supervisor of the Evidence Processing and Receiving section, which examines sex crime kits for biological material suitable for DNA analysis. He served with the U.S. Air Force National Guard, 130th Security Forces Squadron, from 1997-2005. During his tenure at the state’s only crime lab, he has worked on an estimated more than 1,500 sexual assault case investigations and has collaborated with his colleagues and the West Virginia Foundation for Rape and Information Services to update sex crime kit components and documentation to help increase the likelihood that the best possible evidence will be collected.


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2012 Visionary Voice Award Recipients

Nominated by the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA)

P. Susan Mitchell

An assistant district attorney, Susan regularly takes on sexual assault cases for prosecution, validating victim and witness concerns and holding offenders accountable for their actions. Susan believes that holding sex offenders accountable for their actions is integral to promoting safety for individuals and communities. She also serves as a Safe and Fear Free Environment, Inc. (SAFE) board member and believes in SAFE's commitment to ending sexual violence.


Nominated by the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ACASA)

Mary F. Dillard

Chosen three times as one of Arkansas’ top 100 women, Mary served as a consultant and trainer for ACASA’s STOP program for five years and developed many specialized training videos for advocates and law enforcement. She also developed training curricula for law enforcement and advocate workshops to improve investigation response and services for victims/survivors. Mary was also instrumental in helping to create the state attorney general’s Violence Against Women Conference.


Nominated by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA)

Karen Cooper

Recently deceased, Karen served as the executive director of CALCASA and began working in the field and running her agency in 1990. She grew her agency to a large dual service agency with multiple programs and staff. She was also a key leader in the sexual assault and domestic violence field; her most recent work was as president of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV).


Nominated by the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA)

Paula Bragg

Paula is the executive director at a community-based sexual assault advocacy center for children and adults. She served as the Director of Victim Services-Thirteenth Judicial District in the district attorney’s office for 19 years, from 1987 to 2006. She oversaw the administration of multiple victim assistance funds, including victim compensation, and served on multiple statewide boards to ensure that victim services in Colorado were well-funded and sustainable. Paula also founded S.A.R.A., Inc. (Sexual Assault Response Advocates), which serves as her community's rape crisis center, child advocacy center and a teen crisis center.

Nominated by Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS)

Catherine Malloy

For over a decade, from 2001 to 2011, Cathy served as executive director of The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education. In 2011, she became the first lady of Connecticut. In her position as executive director of The Center, Cathy had a significant impact on every aspect of the nonprofit organization, including adding education as a critical component to The Center’s crisis counseling services. Additionally, she has been an advocate for vulnerable populations at risk of sexual assault, including increasing outreach and services to men.


Nominated by theGuam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence

Ann Paro S. Rios, RN, BSN

A psychiatric nurse for nearly a decade, Ann is also a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Adults and Adolescents (SANE-A). She performs medical-legal examinations on adult and child victims of sexual assault/abuse and testifies in court as an expert witness. Ann also focuses on training examiner assistants to keep professionals in this field abreast of new developments and best practices in order to ensure that victims/survivors receive the highest standards of care. Ann demonstrates a commitment that ensures victim/survivors are cared for as a whole person.

Nominated by the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault (INCASA)

Abigail Kuzma

As the director and chief counsel of consumer protection in the Indiana Attorney General’s office, Abigail has been instrumental in the work of the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force (IPATH). The 2012 Super Bowl generated significant interest in Indiana regarding anti-trafficking. Abigail provided training for professionals, helped coordinate local volunteer efforts, worked with the media, NFL, law enforcement, Homeland Security, and many other groups, both national and local, to ensure that Indianapolis and the surrounding areas knew how to respond.


Nominated by theMaine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA)

Kathryn E. McNally Marro

Kate is a board member at Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine. Kate has been a leader in seeking systems change related to elder sexual abuse. Thanks to Kate’s work, there have been improvements to mandated reporting law and policy in order to increase the number and timeliness of reports of elder abuse. In addition, a work group was formed to review the Certified Nurse Assistant registry. That group made a long list of recommendations to bar people with certain criminal histories from employment as CNAs.


Nominated by the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)

Jennie M. Forehand

A member of the Maryland General Assembly for more than 30 years – first in the state house and then in the state senate – Jennie has battled sexual violence throughout her legislative career. She helped to criminalize the secret taping of individuals, require police to force internet service providers to remove child pornography, criminalize the intimidation of witnesses and victims, exclude prior reputation evidence against minors who are sex abuse victims, and allow out-of-court testimony from school principals and vice principals, nurses, social workers, licensed professional counselors and therapists in cases involving physical and sexual child abuse.

Nominated by the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition (NDVSAC)

Marla C. Sohl

From 2004 to 2006, Marla served as the Sexual Violence Program Coordinator for NDVSAC. From 2006 to the present, she has been the Sexual Assault Services Coordinator for Voices of Hope, a local domestic violence and sexual assault program. With Voices of Hope, her primary projects have included direct services with survivors, outreach to campus communities, Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) initiatives, systems advocacy, awareness events, prevention activities, and the training of other organizations.

Nominated by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV)

Heather L. Gunnell

Heather is the program director for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program for the State of New Hampshire. In this role, she is responsible for the promotion and coordination of the SANE Program in order to provide the best standard of care to sexual assault patients. At her prior position at the Verde Valley Sanctuary in Arizona, a domestic violence advocacy center, she served as the legal advocacy/outreach services director. There she worked to improve systems, increase collaboration among service providers, and provide training and outreach to the community.


Nominated by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYCASA)

Robert Edward Davis

Robert Edward (Bobby) Davis is committed to sharing his story of experiencing child sexual abuse. After confiding in his friend Danielle Roach, the two realized that other children could be at risk for similar abuse, and this encouraged Bobby to come forward. At the time, neither local authorities nor the media followed through on the information they were provided. After the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse charges became public, Bobby once again began to share his story. Eventually Bobby’s story was aired on ESPN and played a role in the investigation at University.


Nominated by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA)

Danielle Roach

A close friend of Bobby Davis, Roach offered a sympathetic ear to him years ago as he disclosed his experience of sexual abuse. Danielle’s support helped give Bobby the courage to make his story of abuse public. At the time, neither local authorities nor the media followed through on the information they were provided. Despite these setbacks, Danielle became an active volunteer with the Rape Crisis Center of Syracuse/Vera House.


Nominated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)

Sara Ganim

A police reporter with the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News, Sara helped expose the Jerry Sandusky charges of child sexual abuse. Sara has won the George Polk Award for her work covering the case; her work has also been submitted to the Pulitzer Prize. In addition, the website The Daily Beast named her one of the year’s “150 Fearless Women.” This news coverage contributed to an on-going national dialogue about child sexual abuse and prevention.

Nominated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)

David Newhouse

The executive editor of the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News, Newhouse was named to his current position in 2001. Thanks to his work with reporter Sara Ganim, the Patriot-News became one of the lead media outlets on the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case. In March 2012, due to the paper’s reporting on the Sandusky case, Newhouse won the Benjamin Bradlee Editor of the Year Award from the National Press Foundation. This news coverage contributed to an on-going national dialogue about child sexual abuse and prevention.

Nominated by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Sandy Madsen

Involved for more than 17 years with the Sexual Assault Center, Sandy has dedicated countless hours as a volunteer and fundraiser for the agency and for the community of Nashville. Sandy speaks out to the media and any audience that will listen to raise awareness of sexual assault and its effect on victims. Sandy is a role model for men and women as survivor, advocate, volunteer, speaker, and author. She has used her experience of sexual assault to challenge herself and to educate the public about healing from this crime.


Nominated by theUtah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA)

Greg Skordas

For almost 10 years, Greg has volunteered his time and skills to make sure Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) in Utah are prepared facing cross examination in a courtroom. Sharing almost 30 years of criminal trial experience, Greg instructs nurses on proper documentation and testifying techniques. Greg is generous with his time and knowledge, as he serves on the Salt Lake Children's Justice Center Advisory Board and the Utah Sexual Violence Council, and provides pro bono legal services to victims served by the Rape Recovery Center.


Nominated by theVermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (VNADSV)

Cathleen H. Wilson

Cathleen came to HOPE Works in 2002 as the development director. She stayed in that position for two years and then took the assistant director position in 2004. In December 2005, she took the role of interim executive director and the following February became the permanent executive director. She has served on the HOPE Works Survivors Council and has done many speaking engagements as a survivor herself. As director, she has reorganized her staff, organizational structure, and bought and renovated a building.

Nominated by the Washington State Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP)

Mary Ellen Stone

The executive director of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) since 1979, Mary Ellen is a long- standing director and founding mother of the movement in Washington State. She has been an important voice and active contributor in shaping sexual assault prevention, education and victim response in her community and state. Her present board and commission membership includes Sex Offender Policy Board, Mental Illness Drug Dependency Oversight Committee, Seattle Archdiocese Review Board, South King Council of Human Services Board, and the Sentencing Guidelines Commission.


Nominated by theWest Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WVFRIS)

Renee Yokum

Renee began her work at Women’s Aid in Crisis (WAIC) in 2001 as a rape crisis intervention specialist. Her prior work experience was in the health care field, where she came into contact with many patients who were dealing with the effects of sexual victimization. She has also frequently filled the role locally of trainer on issues of sexual violence. In recent years she was named the WAIC's Sexual Assault Services Coordinator, which utilizes her skills as an advocate as well as that of supervisor and mentor to new staff working in the field of sexual violence.


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2011 Visionary Voice Award Recipients

Nominated by the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Melva Luker

Melva is an educator and an activist whose life was changed forever when her then 25-year-old daughter, Anne, was a victim of kidnapping and rape. An Illinois public school teacher who taught at the University of California Santa Barbara Graduate School of Education, she became a partner with her daughter in speaking out about rape and sexual violence and its impact on victims, families and communities. Anne Ream Anne is a writer and activist who has received numerous awards and recognition for her efforts to improve the lives of women and girls. Together with her mother, Melva, the two speak out about the trauma of rape and abuse while showing how victims and their families can rebuild their lives and working on behalf of others who have lived through violence.

Nominated by California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Joelle Gomez

Joelle has been with the Women's Center of San Joaquin County since 1992 and Executive Director since 1997. Her passion and dedication is evident in the change and growth of the Women Center during her tenure. Over the past 18 years, she has doubled the operating budget and increased the Women’s Center’s capacity with a total of five sites which offer comprehensive services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault throughout San Joaquin County. In April 2009’s San Joaquin Magazine, Joelle was named as one of fifty most Powerful and Influential in San Joaquin County. In August, 2008, Joelle was inducted into the Mexican American Hall of Fame and then in March of 2008, Joelle was selected by Assembly member Greg Aghazarian as “Woman of the Year” for District 26. In 2007, Joelle received the “Honorary Susan B. Anthony Woman of Achievement Award” from the San Joaquin County Commission on the Status of Women. In 2007, Stockton East Rotary named Joelle a “Paul Harris Fellow.” In 2005, Joelle was presented the “Leadership Stockton 2005 Alumni of the Year for Professional Development” Award. In 2004, United Way of San Joaquin County awarded her the “Community Star,” and in 2002 she received the “Amiga of the Year Award” from El Concilio and the “Woman of Distinction Award” from the University of the Pacific.

Nominated by Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Terri Livermore

Terri is the Project Coordinator for the Colorado Sexual Assault Response Project. The Project establishes medical-forensic exam and SART programs in rural Colorado. Terri is committed to improving services for survivors in communities facing significant barriers to creating and sustaining a comprehensive response to sexual violence. She is focused on community-specific training and technical assistance and strives to build upon each community's assets in order to move toward the use of best practices in sexual assault response. Previously, Terri was the Assistant Director of the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance and lobbied the Colorado legislature for 11 years on crime victim issues.

Nominated by Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

Leticia Piper

Leticia has many roles at Healing Hearts Crisis Center. Leticia has done the worked as program manager, intake social worker and child forensic interviewer. Leticia assists those most vulnerable to assault and abuse, has devoted her career to the care of sexually abused children, and has hopes and aspirations to develop a Children's Advocacy Center on Guam.

Nominated by Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Mary Weiss

Mary is the founder, president, and CEO of Weiss Communications, Inc, which launched Indianapolis Woman Magazine in 1994 and St. Louis Woman Magazine in 2004. She has challenged her readers with information on teen dating violence, technology and cybercrimes, sexual abuse at the hands of someone in a position of authority over the victim and simple straight talk to young women and to mothers about rape and sexual assault. Her work resulted in many conversations and greater awareness in our schools and communities.

Nominated by Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault Binnie LeHew, MSW Binnie has worked for the Iowa Department of Public Health for 13 years, where she coordinates programs located in the Office of Disability, Injury and Violence Prevention. She directs activities in sexual violence prevention and the health care response to violence against women, and staffs the Iowa Domestic Abuse Death Review Team. Binnie also serves on the Advisory Council for Brain Injuries, Iowa Trauma System Advisory Council, and the Sex Offender Research Council. She was the first chair of the State and Territorial Rape Prevention Education Directors’ Council. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Kansas State University and her Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa. Her impact on sexual violence services and prevention in the state of Iowa has been immeasurable. From providing a voice at the national level about the need for continued funding for services and prevention, to her work at the state level championing collaborative efforts between sexual violence advocates, maternal and child health professionals, reproductive health staff, and prevention partners across communities, to her one-on-one work with local programs to help them craft goals and objectives that can truly make a measureable impact on their communities.

Nominated by Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault

Dr. David Barczyk

David, a native of New Jersey, is a practicing chiropractor in Lafayette, LA. He is the Vice-President of the Chiropractic Association of Louisiana, and a member of the American Chiropractic Association. David has worked to increase awareness and raise funds for Hearts of Hope. He has been a significant contributor and participant in all fundraising events. He has set up meetings with the Senator, local businessmen and celebrities to discuss topics related to sexual assault. David continues the fight to end sexual abuse in our community through leadership, support and community education. He is passionate about the work of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault and informs others about it.

Nominated by Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Kathleen Dumais

Kathleen has established her career in public service as a member of the Maryland General Assembly. She has twice been elected to the Maryland House of Delegates for District 15 in Montgomery County. Currently, she is on the Judiciary Committee and was appointed Parliamentarian by House Speaker Michael Busch in 2006. In addition, Kathleen is a member of the Litigation and Family Law practice groups at the Law Firm of Paley Rothman. She has been the lead sponsor of many bills in the state of Maryland that support sexual assault survivors.

Nominated by Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Joyce Siegel

Joyce is currently the Board President of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and is adjunct faculty in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department and School of Social Work at Western Michigan University. She has extensive knowledge of the issues facing survivors of sexual assault, as well as child sexual abuse victims, extensive experience with non-offending parents, compassion for survivors, and leadership ability. Joyce is enthusiastic and has brought invaluable contributions to sexual assault work in her community and in Michigan.

Nominated by Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence

Ben Felix

Ben has worked on sexual assault prevention programs for the past 10 years.

Nominated by New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Sarah Shanahan

Sarah has been a sexual violence prevention educator for Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) for the past 10 years. In this role, Sarah finds ways to bring messages of safety to children from elementary school through high school. Her works with puppet characters as part of the Personal Body Safety elementary program. In addition to the school based programs, Sarah has helped create interactive workshops to help adults understand the dynamics of sexual violence. During her time at SASS, Sarah has presented prevention programs to over 50,000 children and youth and has shared her expertise as a presenter at several statewide and national sexual violence conferences.

Nominated by Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (in New Mexico)

Corrine Sanchez

Corrine is a Program Director/Forensic Interviewer of Brave Voice, Forensic interviewing program of the Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico. Corrine coordinates the Rio Arriba/Los Alamos County Multi-Disciplinary Team. She is the former Program Supervisor/Forensic Interviewer of Strong Heart and the former coordinator of the Santa Fe county Multi Disciplinary Team. Corrine helped to establish the first co-location site in New Mexico for child sexual abuse investigations. She conducts training for state, city and tribal law enforcement agencies, school personnel, early childcare providers and community members on how to handle disclosures, the investigative process, and offers guidelines on how to interview children. Corrine has over eight years experience in the field of sexual violence. For the past four years, she has conducted training at the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Academy as part of the sex crimes curriculum.

Nominated by New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Jean Fei

Jean joined New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) in 2004 as project director to design and develop the New York State Victim Assistance Academy, a week-long foundation-level training for new crime victim service providers. While at NYSCASA, Jean also served as co-director of a DNA Training Initiative Grant, provided technical assistance to the emerging New York State Haudenosaunee Coalition for Women’s Empowerment, and developed the first bilingual State Victim Assistance Academy for Spanish-speaking providers in New York State. Jean also trains on organizational development, racism awareness, bias reduction, and empowerment for people of color.

Nominated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

Carol Lavery

Carol is an advocate with the goal of ensuring that rape victims are provided proper forensic examinations. She supports successful legislation to make those examinations payable with Crime Victims Compensation in PA. Her advocacy for victims in Pennsylvania with legislators and agencies is consistently vigorous and brilliantly analyzed.

Nominated by the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault

Carol Carey

Carol has organized and trained SART nurses and kept the team going; she seeks continued education and shares that education with those she trains. Carol has assisted cities in starting SART Teams. Carol has had a huge impact on how sexual assault cases are handled at Emergency Rooms. She has compassion for victims and believes in working together with advocates and law enforcement to enhance our coordinated community response. Carol has 14 years of service in enhancing victim response to sexual assault.

Nominated by the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Regina McDevitt

Regina is the Director of Crisis and Homeless Services for the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology and an M.Ed in Guidance and Counseling and has been with the partnership for 14 years. Regina manages programs including the Sexual Assault Center; the Family Violence program in Hamilton and Marion Counties; New Visions, a Single Room Occupancy program for chronically homeless women and the Emergency shelter for Families, a homeless shelter for women and their children. She provides sexual assault training across the Chattanooga area including a POST certified training for officers. For the past 6 years, Regina has served on the board of the Tennessee Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence. During her tenure, she brought the unique perspective of sexual assault centers that provide onsite sexual assault forensic exams. Regina also served on the Sexual Assault Advisory Committee for Tennessee’s Sexual Assault Program Standards, which outlines requirements for programs to receive sexual assault funding from the state. Through this work, she was integral in ensuring that victims across the state had access to services that met their self-defined needs and increased their safety.

Nominated by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Michaela Andruzzi

Michaela has done work in prosecuting domestic and sexual violence offenses in Utah for the past 14 years. Michaela seek justice for women and children and feels strongly that the focus should be on the behavior of the perpetrator, not the victim.

Nominated by the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Bobbi Gagne

It has long been held in the movement that domestic violence victims require emergency shelter. It is less known that victims of sexual violence may need emergency shelter as well. Under Bobbi's guidance, SACT has led the movement in Vermont to provide the only established shelter for victims of sexual violence - no matter their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. This shelter also has a specialized location for people living with physical disabilities.

Nominated by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

Joan Renner

Joan has been a voice for survivors of sexual assault in Clark County for more than 30 years. She has served on community boards, committees, and taskforces, and as an informal advisor to professionals in the criminal justice system, always promoting sensitivity and compassion for survivors of sexual violence. In addition, she has trained volunteers for the YWCA Clark County Sexual Assault Program.

Nominated by the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services

Jan Derry

Jan began her professional career 29 years ago as the patient advocate at the state in-patient psychiatric hospital. As the first Executive Director of the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living in 1993, she continued challenging norms and barriers to improve access to services and the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Expanding her efforts to include the safety of those persons from sexual victimization, she has shared her expertise and commitment through numerous state and local projects as she shares our passion for a state free of sexual violence.

Nominated by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Sara Lewis

Sara has served as a Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney since April 2006. Prior to that she worked for seven years in private practice. She is a graduate of the Marquette University Law School. For the past two years, Sara has worked in the Sensitive Crimes Unit. During that time, she has tried over thirty jury trials, achieving guilty verdicts in nearly all of them. She recently trained the Milwaukee Police Department on the successful investigation of sexual assault cases. Sara recently completed the successful prosecution of Jermaine Rogers, during which she secured guilty verdicts from a jury on eleven counts, including a charge of human trafficking. Often, the voices and experiences of victims are not heard, supported or necessarily believed. Sara consistently uses the voices of survivors in the writing of the criminal complaints that she files.


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2010 Visionary Voice Award Recipients

Dr. Ellen P. Bez
Ellen Bez has worked with Healing Hearts Crisis Center, Guam’s only rape crisis center, for nearly twelve years as a medical consultant and examiner and prior to that, served as the Volunteer Physician for four years. Dr. Bez was instrumental in establishing Guam’s Sexual Assault Response Team. She is very active with several non-profit organizations; is the Founder and Board President of the Guam Sexual Assault and Abuse Resource Center Association and facilitates physician education regarding the management of SA victims in outpatient settings; and serves as a Board member of the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence.

Tracy Blackburn
Tracy Blackburn was originally born in Warren, Michigan, but her family relocated to East Tennessee when she was 3 years old. Tracy attended East and graduated with a B.S. in nursing in 1999. Since then, Tracy has worked in a wide variety of nursing. Presently, Tracy is the SANE Coordinator at the Safe Haven Crisis and Recovery Center for Sexual Assault in Knoxville, TN. Tracy was elected to the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence in 2007.

Rep. Ellen Cohen
Ellen Cohen is Texas State Representative for District 134 in Houston. As a freshman representative, she authored and passed ground breaking legislation to provide an estimated $25 million/yr for adult and child survivors of sexual assault through an Adult Entertainment Fee. For 18 years before joining the Texas Legislature, she served as the President and CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center, growing the agency to an over $6 million/yr budget. Ellen pledged in her first campaign to work diligently to restore balance and integrity to the Texas Legislature and her work and voting record continues to reflect her commitment.

Rep. Dawn Creekmore
Rep. Dawn Creekmore has served in the Arkansas State House of Representatives since 2004. Her leadership has resulted in legislation that addresses issues surrounding sexual violence, child abuse and domestic abuse, and bringing perpetrators to justice. Rep. Creekmore supports the mission of the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ACASA) and assists in its efforts to raise public awareness. She was recently presented with a Resolution of Appreciation by ACASA’s Board of Directors for advocating for the rights and needs of individuals victimized by sexual violence.

Margaret (Peggy) Gusz
Peggy taught Eighth Grade in Coatesville for four years until her daughter was born in 1972. She never returned to teaching, however. A chance meeting she attended in 1973 about concerns for victims of sexual assault (a relatively uncharted territory) put her on a different career path for the next 36 years. Peggy paved the way for women to become victim advocates, while helping to turn the tide on how sexual assault victims were viewed and treated. What an amazing woman and what an accomplished life, yet Peggy remains humble and unassuming.

Abigail Kelly-Smith
Abby Kelly-Smith is a visionary who has embraced the anti-sexual violence movement as part of her life's work. Under her direction the first State Plan for the prevention of sexual violence was developed. She is continually working to advance the movement, engage new partners, and find innovative funding opportunities. Her voice at the Department of Health will continue to advance this field.

Sharon Pressman
Ms. Pressman began as a volunteer for CONTACT in 1985, later becoming a member of the Board of Directors. In 2001 the agency was on the brink of closing, with no staff and in significant debt. While many board members wanted to give up and close the agency, Sharon worked tirelessly as a volunteer to assist the agency in recovering and continuing to provide crisis intervention services to victims of sexual assault. Serving in an administrative capacity with a fulltime workload and very part-time pay, Sharon has expanded services from one part-time advocate to four full-time advocates and a full-time prevention educator, providing services in a four-county area of West Virginia.

Kittie Smith
Kittie Smith has spent her life working to end violence against women. Kittie is a true visionary and her vision drives and sustains the anti-violence work in our state. Her ability to design sustainable, victim-centered programming is a blessing to WCASA. She has been WCASA’s partner since joining the Office of Justice Assistance in 1988 and has worked tirelessly and strategically to change the way our state responds to survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking. Kittie’s belief that all people should live free from violence is a gift to the state of Wisconsin and the survivors we serve.

Rep. Dan Stewart
State Representative Dan Stewart (D-Columbus) represents his hometown of Columbus in the Ohio House. Voters first elected Rep. Stewart to the Ohio House in 2002. He was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Rep. Stewart is Chairman of the Ohio House Elections and Ethics Committee. He is also a member of the Commerce and Law Committee, the Consumer and Economic Protection Committee, the State Government Committee and the Housing Urban Revitalization Committee. He has repeatedly sponsored the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act, which guarantees sexual assault survivors access to emergency contraception.

Jennifer Wylie
Ms. Wylie is a feminist advocate, who has committed her life to ending violence against women. For more than 20 years, Jennifer has been involved in social justice agencies in all areas of sexual violence prevention. She has worked as an outreach worker on the streets, alongside police officers as a victim advocate, as a rape crisis advocate, in hospitals and as a consultant. Jennifer believes in a collaborative approach to ending sexual violence in our communities. Jennifer holds two Masters Degrees in Social Work and in Criminal Justice, and is always reading, researching best practices and most effective ways to support survivors. She is at the forefront in her field in creating new and innovative programs and collaborations in the community.

In the past 10 years Jennifer has worked at Bridges: Domestic & Sexual Violence Support where she has led the agency in initiatives such as screening teens for dating and sexual violence in our local teen health center; facilitating support groups for children who have been sexually abused and also for child witnesses of domestic violence in partnership with the local counseling agency; partnering with local culturally focused agencies to expand our cultural sensitivity to survivors; enhancing our local child advocacy center services; providing support groups to teen girls in the local high schools; implementing a juvenile batterers program with the local mental health center; and mentorship training to her coworkers.


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2009 Visionary Voice Award Recipients

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.


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2008 Visionary Voice Award Recipients

Judy King Smith
Executive Director, Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center,
West Virginia Foundation for Rape, Information, and Services

Judy King Smith is a native of West Virginia, born in Fairmont and raised in Morgantown. She obtained her B.A. in Sociology from Fairmont State University and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from West Virginia University. She is a Certified Social Worker and Certified Domestic Violence Advocate. Ms. King Smith has served for 29 years as the Executive Director of the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center, serving Monongalia, Preston and Taylor Counties. This dual sexual assault and domestic violence program is one of the oldest rape crisis centers in West Virginia. Judy has mentored and assisted several other centers in the state in their development.

Judy has dedicated her professional career to ending violence against women. In 1982 she was one of four founding members of West Virginia’s statewide sexual assault coalition, the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services. Because of their vision and the vision of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, this coalition has grown into a network of nine rape crisis centers and numerous allied partners working to serve victims and prevent sexual violence. Since the inception of the coalition 26 years ago, Judy has been in a leadership role, serving either as president, vice-president, or treasurer.

In addition to her work in the anti-sexual violence field, Judy was also a founding member of the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1982. She currently serves as chairperson of the Family Protection Services Board, responsible for licensing domestic violence programs, batterer’s intervention programs and monitored exchange and visitation centers.

Montserrat F. Caballero
Anti-Violence Advocate and Educator,
Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault,
Arizona Sexual Assault Network

Montserrat Caballero is an anti-violence advocate and educator who has contributed to her community in Tucson and to the statewide coalition’s efforts to end sexual violence in the state of Arizona. Her work has been on all levels – from the holding hands of battered, sexually abused illegal immigrants to speaking with legislators at state-wide conferences. Arizona has a diverse population containing many immigrants, elderly adults, tribal communities (21 tribes) as well as a mix of rural and urban areas. The southern area of Arizona contains many remote areas that are hard to reach and even harder to protect. Ms. Caballero has personally extended herself to every victim of sexual abuse, assault and violence in need, traveling across vast regions alone and taking many personal risks to help others in need.

Clare Cygan Young
Affiliate Coordinator, Community Foundation Lorain County,
Lorain County Rape Crisis Center (in lieu of Ohio Coalition)

Clare Cygan Young has been in an advocacy role since 1982 when she left nursing at St. Vincent Charity Hospital to become a staff member of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. In 1988, she started the first rape crisis service in Lorain County, Ohio. The center advocates for survivors of rape and sexual abuse of all ages and their significant others. In 1996, Ms. Cygan Young became the Client Rights Officer for the Nord Center, the largest community health center in Lorain County. In 1998, she created an advocacy recovery program for those suffering from mental illness. Clare’s passion for advocacy for people who are recovering from sexual victimization and/or mental illness is clear in her ongoing commitment to survivors. She had been involved in many statewide and national initiatives around her work for the past 20 years.

Julie Coffey
Manager, Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center,
Tennesse Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Ms. Coffey has worked in the social service field helping under-served populations for over 10 years, concentrating specifically on empowering victims of sexual assault for the past four years. She has been Manager of the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center (MSARC) since 2004. With Ms. Coffey’s guidance and hard work, MSARC has succesfully built and sustained partnerships with local governments, medical and academic institutions, service provider agencies, grassroots organizations and the community at large. Ms. Coffey has dedicated her energies towards creating a “one-stop shop” of services for victims including: 24-hour emergency forensic medical and advocacy care; legal advocacy; counseling services; and, outreach and educational programming for the prevention of sexual violence in Memphis and Shelby County. Through Ms. Coffey’s advocacy, MSARC was one of two programs in the U.S. chosen to appear in the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's new Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) toolkit. MSARC staff will appear in the toolkit because of MSARC’s comprehensive model of care and approach to treating victims from multiple jurisdictions. In March 2008, Ms. Coffey became the manager of the Office of Early Childhood Development and Youth for Shelby County Government. In her new position, Ms. Coffey will advocate on the behalf of children and youth, including those who have been victims of sexual assault, in the Shelby County area. She serves on the boards of the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Disability Law and Advocacy Center, PAIMI Advisory Council, Domestic Violence Council, and Memphis Front Porch, Inc. Ms. Coffey holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and a Master's of Science degree in Counseling with a Community Agency concentration from the University of Memphis.


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2007 Award Recipients

National Award for Outstanding Response to and Prevention of Sexual Violence Recipients

National Award for Outstanding Advocacy and Community Work in Ending Sexual Violence


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Previous Award Recipients

2003-2006 Outstanding Advocacy and Community Work Recipients

Outstanding Response to and Prevention of Sexual Violence Recipients 2006 Recipients

Outstanding Response to and Prevention of Sexual Violence Recipients 2005 Recipients

Outstanding Response to and Prevention of Sexual Violence Recipients 2004 Recipients


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