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2011 Visionary Voice Awards

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.