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2018 Visionary Voice Awards

2018 Visionary Voice Awards

About the Awards

NSVRC offers the Visionary Voice Awards, in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month each April, to recognize the creativity and hard work of individuals around the country who have demonstrated outstanding work to end sexual violence. Each year, state, territory, and tribal coalitions select an outstanding individual to nominate for the awards. Nominees may be partners from a local community or other outstanding individuals that have worked to end sexual violence.

New YorkPicture of Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke
Nominated by: New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Tarana Burke has worked for more than 20 years in social justice and Black arts culture. She has advocated for on national issues ranging from economic justice, police brutality, and the rights of women and girls. reform In 2003, Burke co-founded Jendayi Aza, an African-centered Rite of Passage program for girls. This program eventually evolved into the creation of Just Be, Inc., which has served countless victims of sexual violence across the country. Burke has been credited as the originator of the Me Too Movement, helping women from around the world speak out about their experiences of sexual assault and harassment.

MarylandPicture of a Ribbon

Michele Hughes
Nominated by: Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

As Executive Director of Life Crisis Center, Michele Hughes spent over a decade working tirelessly to ensure that sexual assault survivors on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore receive expert, survivor-centered, trauma-informed care. Prior to her work on the rural Eastern Shore, she served as the leader of the YWCA – the rape crisis center for Anne Arundel County – a much more suburban and urban area, where she overcame different challenges to ensure survivors had accessible and compassionate care available. Hughes is also a well-known policy advocate, never hesitating to speak truth to power to ensure that the rights of women and children are protected. She currently sits on the boards of the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center and the Somerset Child Advocacy Center.

ColoradoPicture of Karen Moldovan

Karen Elaine Moldovan
Nominated by: Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Karen has been involved the movement to end sexual violence for well over a decade. Most recently, she was the Associate Legislative Director at State Innovation Exchange. In this role, she focused primarily on developing and deepening relationships with state legislators and organizational partners across the country. Karen also worked as the Director of Policy for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) for nearly six years. In that capacity, she conceptualized and championed numerous legislative efforts regarding response to sexual violence in Colorado, with a focus on increasing survivor access to critical medical services. Prior to CCASA, Karen served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga. Her professional experience has often focused on working with under-served populations, including survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, families experiencing homelessness, and pregnant and parenting youth.

South DakotaPicture of Hollie Strand


Hollie Strand
Nominated by: South Dakota Network Against Family and Sexual Assault

Few people are more knowledgeable, creative or committed in the fight to end sexual violence than Hollie Strand. Her outstanding passion for ending sexual violence is contagious and she is constantly inspiring those around her!  Strand currently works with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force as a forensic analyst. She provides education and awareness across the age-spectrum and also does training for diverse, underserved populations to deliver valuable information regarding the complex dynamics necessary to work toward ending sexual violence.  Additionally, countless numbers of teens and adults have been assisted by Strand in a law enforcement, advocacy, or training capacity. She also chairs the West River Human Trafficking Task Force, serving as the coalition-builder, bringing together the multiple disciplines and non-governmental organizations to make a difference in the lives of survivors and to hold perpetrators accountable.

OklahomaPictureof Cynthia Keys

Cynthia Rose Keys
Nominated by Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Cynthia Keys, an Alaskan Native, is currently the Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator for Community Crisis Center in Miami, OK. With her background, she has successfully been working with the tribes in Northeast Oklahoma to build a sustainable Prevention program. Keys works in an area that has seven recognized tribes and has collaborated within each tribe to create effective prevention programs throughout the community. She has gained the trust of tribal leaders to ensure the sustainability of her programs. Additionally, she continues to be an advocate for the traditionally underserved youth in her community. Cynthia has used her life experience as a mother, grandmother, Native American and lifetime advocate of humanitarian issues to build a program focusing on innovative ways to reach out to the Native American Populations. Cynthia’s passion and enthusiasm for prevention education are widely known organizationally and throughout the agency’s three-county service area.

NevadaPicture of Patricia Spearman

Senator Pat Spearman
Nominated by: Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Senator Pat Spearman has served as the Nevada State Senator for Nevada’s 1st District in Las Vegas, Nevada since 2012. She is a tireless advocate for victims of sexual violence and marginalized populations.  During her first session, Spearman sponsored legislation to add “gender identity and expression” to protected victims. She expanded the crime of luring a child to include those who solicit minors for commercial sex. As a veteran of the United States Army, Spearman presented a passionate plea for legislation in 2015 that required the Department of Veterans Services to create programs for military sexual assault survivors. The bill unanimously passed both houses in a rare bi-partisan effort. In 2017, Spearman became a fierce advocate for both victims of sex trafficking and sexual harassment within the state capitol. Spearman introduced legislation hold those who enable and assist traffickers through transportation, advertising, and/or organizing accountable for their crimes against victims. 

HawaiiPicture of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth Group


Honolulu Theatre for Youth
Nominated by: Hawaii Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) is a professional non-profit theater company dedicated to making a difference in the lives of students, teachers, and families in the State of Hawaii. For the past 13 years, HTY has been partnering with the Sex Abuse Treatment Center and the Department of Health to develop and deliver integrated prevention messaging across 5 islands to thousands of students each year. Each of their educational workshops is fully integrated with a sexual violence prevention curriculum developed and implemented by the Sex Abuse Treatment Center. HTY's dedication to sexual violence prevention and their willingness to serve as a bridge connecting professional artists from a variety of disciplines with these prevention efforts has brought creativity, consistency, and prolonged impact to their efforts in Hawaii.

OhioPicture of Tyffani Monford

Dr. Tyffani Monford Dent
Nominated by: Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence

Dr. Tyffani Monford Dent is a powerful force in the fight to support survivors and end sexual violence. She is the Clinical Director at a community-based counseling center overseeing mental health and dual diagnosis services for adolescents, including those involved in human trafficking. She also founded Sisters of Tamar Support Circle, a faith-based sexual abuse support group and has worked with the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence to train churches in prevention. Dent is a champion for the empowerment of Black and Brown women and girls, specifically those who have experienced sexual violence. She has expertise and leadership in Ohio regarding implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act and works to address the school-to-prison pipeline. Dent has dedicated her career to uplifting the voices of the most marginalized survivors, and confronting the oppressive systems and practices that enable sexual violence.

TennesseePicture of Sharon Travis

Sharon Travis
Nominated by: Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence

Sharon Travis’ work with youth, parents, incarcerated populations, and professionals, addresses prevention of sexual violence, sex positive education, cultural inclusion and positive youth development. Travis is the prevention and outreach specialist at the Sexual Assault Center (SAC). Her experiences in prevention provide a unique and balanced perspective that includes comprehensive sex education, abstinence education and sexual assault prevention coupled with an interactive delivery and trauma-informed, culturally-inclusive practices that are grounded in research. Currently at SAC, Travis is implementing a Safe Bar project, which aims to train bar and restaurant staff on bystander intervention theory and techniques. Building positive community impact and innovative change models is the hallmark of her professional experience which spans over 20 years. 

ArkansasPicture of Candace Rice

Candace Rice
Nominated by: Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Candace Rice began working for the Crisis Intervention Center in 2013 and has worked her way up to being the Sexual Assault Coordinator.  She coordinates the efforts of our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and our Sexual Assault Response Advocates, provides training and raises awareness on Sexual Assault, provides assistance and emotional support to victims of sexual assault, seeks out relevant resources for victims, and acts as a liaison between law enforcement and emergency shelters. Rice exhibits a passion towards her work that is evidenced by the trust she establishes with the survivors she works with. Her tireless efforts have touched many lives, including those she works with at the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She sets a very high standard for other advocates in Arkansas, all while attending college and raising 3 daughters on her own.

OregonPicture of Jessica Mindlin

Jessica Mindlin
Nominated by: Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Jessica Mindlin, Esq. has been active in the movement to end gender-based violence since the 1970s. Mindlin is the Victim Rights Law Center’s National Director of Training and Technical Assistance. She directs the VRLC’s national Technical Assistance projects and manages the VRLC’s Portland, Oregon, office. Mindlin has trained thousands of advocates, lawyers, health care providers, law enforcement officers, U.S. Military personnel, and other victim service providers on how to effectively use the law to meet sexual assault survivors’ most urgent needs. Her expertise on privacy issues for survivors has been recognized by the Office on Violence Against Women and the Office for Victims of Crime. Jessica serves on the editorial board of the Sexual Assault Report and on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force. She was a founding member of CounterQuo, a national campaign to change the status quo on how we examine and respond to sexual assault.

WyomingPicture of Bob Vines

Robert Vines
Nominated by: Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Since 2015, Bob Vines has been almost singlehandedly responsible for the successful implementation of Coaching Boys into Men and Athletes as Leaders with coaches, mentors, and youth in schools across Wyoming. What started out as a single strategy with one high school football team has grown to over 175 people trained at 14 different high schools for 39 different athletic teams under Vine’s leadership. Vine took it upon himself to go through the Coaching Boys into Men advocate training and has developed a true passion for working with coaches and student-athletes in gender violence prevention. Vine has been known to “…drive four hours to train just one coach if it means that an entire athletic team has the opportunity to participate in the Coaching Boys into Men or Athletes as Leaders programs.” Bob’s unwavering dedication to gender violence prevention has opened many doors and created relationships between schools, local DV/SA programs, and other prevention professionals throughout Wyoming.

District of ColumbiaPicture of Tammy Hogan

Tammi Hogan, LICSW
Nominated by: DC Rape Crisis Center

Tammi Hogan has been with the DC Rape Crisis Center since 2012, providing individual and group counseling to survivors of sexual trauma. She currently serves as the Center’s Clinical Director. Hogan has been on the front lines of advocating for survivors of sexual violence throughout her career. Her background in creating and executing high standards of accountability and policies in working with survivors of sexual violence has enabled the DC Rape Crisis Center to provide cutting edge, holistic, comprehensive, and therapeutic services to survivors of sexual violence. Tammi's contribution to the field of sexual violence is matchless.

TexasPicture of Karla Payne

Karla Payne
Nominated by: Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

Karla Payne is currently the Executive Director of Open Arms Rape Crisis Center and LGBT+ Services. With Payne’s guidance, the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center recently adopted its new name, after twenty-five years known under the previous name.  The change has come after the center started providing much needed services to the LGBT+ community.  Payne realized the transition was necessary after noticing the community lacked vital resources for LGBT+ folks. She recognized the need to provide services to account for the intersection of identities, violence, and factors of marginalization. Payne also teaches Psychology and Sociology at Park University at the Goodfellow Air Force Base campus and is very passionate about social justice issues, equality and promoting peace.    

New MexicoPicture of Leigh Ana Eugene

Leigh Ana Eugene
Nominated by: New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc.

Leigh Ana Eugene is the driving force of Arise Sexual Assault Services in southeastern New Mexico. In her five years as director, Eugene has built a network that reaches rural, previously unserved, sexual assault survivors in their own communities using satellite offices and mobile services provided across 20,000 square miles. Eugene and her team ensure that each survivor has access to the array of services that meets their unique needs in a culturally-respectful way. With her leadership, the Arise team has worked to navigate the challenges of addressing sexual violence in small, rural, often poor and conservative communities. By developing strong working relationships with the District Attorneys and local law enforcement agencies and educating them on survivor needs, she has improved the criminal justice response to survivors.  Eugene and her team are addressing Title IX violations in the public schools, ensuring that survivors receive the services and accommodations they need to continue their education and heal from sexual violence.

CaliforniaPicture of Alva Moreno

Alva Moreno
Nominated by: California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA)

Alva Moreno has worked for over thirty years addressing health care issues pertaining to the Latino/Chicano/a communities of Los Angeles County.  With a mission to empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and sufferers of HIV/AIDS, Moreno is a steadfast community activist.  She serves as a trainer and facilitator at many conferences and trainings both locally and throughout the country.  Moreno was the first Latina woman certified as a women’s empowerment self-defense instructor and has served as the catalyst for training thousands of Latina women on awareness, assertiveness and physical protection skills. She has elevated the experiences of immigrant and marginalized survivors of sexual and domestic violence and helped to inform policy and practices that are culturally relevant.  Although semi-retired, Ms. Moreno continues her life-long commitment to addressing and preventing sexual violence as a consultant to several organizations dedicated to ending sexual abuse.

MissouriPicture of Taylor Hirth

Taylor A. Hirth
Nominated by: Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

Taylor Hirth is a dedicated advocate, lending her voice to public policy efforts that are centered on survivors’ lived experience. While interning in the Missouri Capitol, Hirth was sexually harassed by a state legislator. After blowing the whistle on her harassment, she reached out to Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (MCADSV), sharing her experience to highlight a culture of sexual harassment rampant within the halls of the Missouri Capitol. Coming forward with her story was one of many steps that ultimately led MCADSV to collaborate with campuses, and develop the Intern Resource Network. As an advocate, Hirth underscores the importance of using social media as a way of connecting survivors with online support systems. Hirth serves as a hospital advocate, and is on the speaker’s bureau for the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) in Kansas City. She currently works at the nonprofit, Smiles Change Lives.

New HampshirePicture of Tina Mulleavey

Tina Mulleavey
Nominated by: New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Tina Mulleavey is the Sexual Assault Coordinator at Voices Against Violence. Mulleavey goes beyond providing comprehensive direct services to survivors as her connection with clients is a critical component in victims’ healing process. Due to the rapport she builds with survivors, she is able to respond to their needs in a way that exceeds their expectations. She is also Voices’ Family Violence Prevention Specialist and Child Advocate, frequently working with children who have been sexually abused.  Additionally, she trains professionals on diverse topics such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and trauma informed advocacy. Mulleavey further advocates for survivors by working alongside law enforcement and County Attorneys to ensure victims' rights are being protected by providing training in response to sexual assault. She often works late, meeting with children after school, taking them for ice cream or just chatting about their life. Mulleavey is respected by her community for her dedication to supporting sexual assault survivors.

LouisianaPicture of Monica Taylor

Monica A. Taylor
Nominated by: Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault

Having worked as the Director of Development and Public Policy Director for the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), Monica Taylor now enthusiastically focuses on making survival a tangible reality for victims of sexual violence in Louisiana as an outspoken representative of the state Attorney General’s office. Taylor has worked tirelessly for several years in the political sphere and to help eradicate the public health epidemic of sexual violence in Louisiana by implementing vital policy changes. She is a thoughtful leader and has worked diligently to eliminate the backlog of untested forensic evidence kits and to establish a statewide protocol for handling these kits, including a uniform tracking system.  Taylor has deftly maintained her focused vision in a state with more than its fair share of challenges to progressive causes.

WashingtonPicture of Alex Panagotacos


Alexandra Panagotacos
Nominated by: WA Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

Alex Panagotacos is a passionate, hard-working, and inspiring leader in the movement to end sexual violence. Those at  the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, and many others across Washington truly believe she exemplifies what it means to be a visionary voice. She has served at Rural Resources Victim Services since 2010; working as a volunteer, advocate, community educator, program manager, and as of this year the leadership role as Division Director. Panagotacos has been a champion of prevention, growing the Community Engagement program from a $6,000 budget to a fully functioning department. She has developed several innovative programs that address the root causes of violence in radical, empathetic, and highly effective ways. She has built strong relationships among community leaders and cultivated a program that responds with compassion and understanding to folks that come with limited knowledge about sexual violence and inequality. Alex is a, patriarchy-slashing, paint-slinging preventionist leader.

NebraskaPicture of Shir Smith

Shir Smith
Nominated by: The Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

Shirlene “Shir” Smith is an Incarcerated Victim Advocate for The Rape and Domestic Abuse Program (R/DAP). Incarcerated survivors are often overlooked or dismissed by the community and frequently do not get the help and support they need.  She emphasizes the personhood and individuality of incarcerated individuals, and encourages the system to do the same. Her passion and commitment to survivors is obvious in the spark you see when she talks about her work. She is recognized as non-judgmental and accepting; she incorporates her own life experiences into her work, offering herself to her clients in the most genuine way. Survivors’ comments about Shir have common themes: “Shir keeps it real”; “Shir is amazing”; “[The class] has helped me realize I am worthy. I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I am starting to feel my self-worth.” In addition to her work at R/DAP, Shir belongs to The Salvation Army and volunteers for the Prison Inmate Ministries.

PennsylvaniaPicture of Carol Tracy

Carol E. Tracy
Nominated by: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

Carol E. Tracy is the Executive Director of the Women’s Law Project (WLP), a Pennsylvania-based public interest law center committed to improving the legal, economic and health status of women. She has specifically advocated to improve institutional and legal responses to sexual and domestic violence throughout her career. Tracy’s work pre-dates her legal career; as an undergraduate student she protested rape on campus, acted as a whistle blower on a fraternity gang rape, and was Director of the Women’s Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Tracy has led advocacy efforts to reform law enforcement response to sexual and domestic. She has testified before numerous legislative bodies and has been an advisor to the White House Office on Violence Against Women and the Department of Justice. She is also a founder of Women Against Abuse and opened the first DV shelter in the Commonwealth and currently co-chairs Philadelphia’s Domestic Violence Law Enforcement Committee.

MinnesotaPicture of Rana Alexander

Rana S. Alexander
Nominated by: Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Rana Alexander has worked in the domestic and sexual violence field since 1997.  Alexander joined the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project  in 2005 (now known as Standpoint) and became the Executive Director in 2016. As an attorney for the organization, she provides legal advice and consultation to domestic and sexual violence victims. Alexander also provides training and outreach to attorneys involving issues of domestic and sexual violence and the law. Alexander is the “go-to” attorney on confidentiality issues in Minnesota. She is often able to resolve the issue before a trip to court is even necessary; however, she is also an extremely effective litigator. She has led the “New Laws” program for many years, travelling statewide to give knowledgeable and engaging presentations to give updates on new statutes and case law. Finally, Alexander has worked with MNCASA on legislation and has testified on our bills.

New JerseyPicture of Stefanie Murray

Stefanie Murray
Nominated by: New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Stefanie Murray is the Director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. A Michigan native, Stefanie previously worked in Michigan and Tennessee as a reporter, editor, digital media manager and news executive. In her role as Director of the N.J. Center for Cooperative Media, Murray has provided critical insight to NJCASA’s “Media Toolkit.” From initial planning calls to content reviews to final distribution, Murray has been equal parts insightful, thoughtful, and passionate in her collaboration with NJCASA. Her initial feedback shaped the direction of the Toolkit and her thoughtful input at each step was critical in creating the final product. With an eye towards what would be helpful in the current media landscape and passion for creating a product to help tell survivor stories authentically, Murray was an invaluable asset to the Media Toolkit project. NJCASA is grateful for her leadership and the collaboration of the Center for Cooperative Media.

West VirginiaPicture of Wes Gibson

Wes Gibson
Nominated by: West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services

Wes Gibson serves as a Digital Media Graphic Designer to assist the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services in providing awareness and outreach to victims of sexual violence. In 2004, Gibson recognized the potential impact of digital media to reach victims and increase awareness of the services available.  He created WVFRIS’ first website, and has worked with us since to maintain, expand and support it – at no cost to the coalition.  His creativity enabled us to develop an online training module for our college campuses a decade before it became the norm.  In a rural state where rape crisis centers do not always have websites, having an informative website fills a critical need in the state for victims and their families.  Having someone who is sensitive to the needs of victims, skilled in the area of digital media, and willing to donate their time to help victims has been an invaluable gift for over a decade.

KansasPicture of Perla Rodriguez

Perla Rodriguez
Nominated by: Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Perla dedicated the last 6 years of her life to providing quality sexual assault education and outreach in Kansas. She served as the Director of Outreach Services at the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center and supervised 9 full time outreach advocates in this role. Before being promoted, Perla worked for 5 years as the Coordinator of Program Services at WASAC, where she provided community education and outreach in Kansas.  She wanted every survivor to have access to services and every community member to be an ally.  Perla loved to challenge people on their perceptions of rape culture and was constantly engaging in conversation around victim blaming, violent masculinity, and bystander intervention. Perla will forever be remembered for the impact she made in our community and the lives of sexual assault survivors. Her authenticity, compassion, kindness, and ability to see the best in others will never be forgotten. 

MainePicture of Dee Clarke

Dee Clarke
Nominated by: Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Since the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA) began working on anti-trafficking efforts, dee Clarke has been there to center the experiences and leadership of survivors of sex trafficking and sex exploitation. dee not only provides mentorship and individual support to survivors, but has also created a survivor leadership program where survivors learn how to advocate and educate within the systems that impact their lives.  Her training and leadership gives voice to the survivor experience and she has tremendous impact on the audiences she speaks to about this issue. dee is an invaluable part of anti-trafficking and anti-sexual violence work in Maine. dee recently founded Survivor Speak USA to provide education, advocacy and mentoring for exploited and sex trafficked survivors by establishing a certified survivor leadership program. In this role, dee serves on Maine’s Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Work Group and the Maine Sex Trafficking and Exploitation Network’s statewide Provider Council. 

GuamPicture of Michael Byrne

Michael J. Byrnes
Nominated by: Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence

The Most Reverend Michael Byrnes was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop for the Archdiocese of Agana in October 2016 with the daunting task to promote healing among Guam’s faithful dealing with child sexual abuse by clergy. Prompted by men revealing that they were victims of child sexual abuse by clergy, a law on Guam was instituted on September 2016 to abolish the limitations for survivors to file claims against those who abused them as well as the people and institutions that allowed the abuse to occur. With the aim to ensure transparency and accountability while addressing the issue of sexual abuse by clergy on Guam, Archbishop Byrnes has facilitated review of and updates to the Archdiocese’s policies on protecting young people, initiated training of church workers and volunteers, and has revived an independent review board on the investigation of alleged clergy abuses. Since the law was enacted, over 140 victims have filed lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Agana.

UtahPicture of Yolanda Francisco

Yolanda Francisco-Nez
Nominated by: Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Yolanda Francisco courageously advocates on a daily basis to eliminate institutional bias and oppression that often make services inaccessible or ineffective for those most vulnerable to sexual violence. She has provided leadership and guidance over the past six years as a Member and Chair of the Board of Directors at the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, devoting her time to increasing the accessibility and cultural responsiveness of services for sexual assault survivors. As the creator of the Diné Women’s Forum and a founding member of the Navajo Sexual Violence Prevention Work Group, Yolanda works with tribal leaders and local chapters of the Navajo Nation to prevent sexual violence and provide resources for survivors and their families. Yolanda also advocates internationally for freedom from violence and discrimination and addressed the 110th Session of the Human Rights Committee International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights at the United Nations  as a member of the U. S. Delegation.

Rhode IslandPicture of Koren Garcia

Koren Garcia
Nominated By: Day One

Day One is pleased to nominate Koren Garcia for a National Sexual Violence Resource Center 2018 Visionary Voice Award.  Koren, a law enforcement officer, has served as a member of Day One’s Human Trafficking (HT) Task Force since 2013 and is a founding member of our Runaway Subcommittee.  As a member of both the HT Task Force and the Runaway Subcommittee, Koren has assisted in the recovery of both juveniles and adults and works closely with HT/CSEC victims to help guide, influence, and empower them to change their lives, while diligently working to prosecute their perpetrators at both the state and federal levels.  To date, she has successfully prosecuted several traffickers, some sentenced to as many as 20 years in prison.

Puerto RicoPicture of Gilda Rodriguez

Gilda Franchesca Rodriguez-Diaz
Nominated by: Paz Para La Mujer

Dr. Gilda F. Rodríguez-Díaz lives in the town of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico. During her postgraduate years she received training and part of her clinical practice in the Sexual Abuse Program of the Carlos Albizu University, in which she collaborated for 3 years. She then completed her doctoral internship in the Program of Support for Victims of Sexual Abuse, Mental Health Community Clinic. From 2010 to 2014 she worked as a clinical psychologist offering services to children referred by the Department of the Family who have been victims of sexual abuse. From 2014 to the present, she facilitates the psychotherapy modality of the PAF program. She is also a clinical supervisor of doctorate practice in the Program of Support to Victims of Sexual Abuse, Community Clinic of Mental Health (PAF). She is an active member of the National Committee on Sexual Assault of Puerto Rico Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

MontanaPicture of Allana Sherstad

Alanna Sherstad
Nominated by: Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

Alanna Sherstad is currently the Director for the VOICE Center at Montana State University. She has provided advocacy and support to countless survivors and has provided training to hundreds of advocates, educators, law enforcement officers and professionals over the past 10 years. She continues to be inspired by the passion, energy, and wisdom of the student advocates, activists, and educators she is honored to work with on a daily basis.

MCADSV chose Alanna in part due to her leadership on the Montana Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Task Force. She is the only advocate on this statewide task force. She continually challenges the systems represented on the task force to enhance their understanding of trauma-informed response and survivor-centered work. Due to her advocacy, the work of the task force will be survivor-centered and interested in providing control over the Criminal Justice process back to the most vulnerable of survivors.

MichiganPicture of a Ribbon

Rebecca Crane
Nominated by: Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Rebecca is a tireless advocate for sexual assault survivors in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Rebecca as the Executive Director of Dial Help provides the opportunity for survivors to be heard, understood, and believed; helps them work through their trauma; emphasizes their worth and potential; and offers hope for a better future. Under Rebecca’s leadership Dial Help has flourished expanding to help survivors of sexual violence over the Upper Peninsula. Most recently, Rebecca created a mobile response unit to assist survivors in immediate crisis. 

Rebecca’s passion and commitment to survivors is obvious in the “spark” you see when she talks about her work. She is recognized as non-judgmental and accepting; she incorporates her own life experiences into her work, offering herself to her clients in the most genuine way. It would be hard to overstate the challenges of Rebecca’s job given the rural nature of the service area and the grace in which Rebecca rises to meet them.

IllinoisPicture of a Megan Blomquist

Megan Blomquist
Nominated by: Rape Victim Advocates

Megan is an active rape crisis counselor and community educator. Megan is also a leader in the Illinois Imagines project, a statewide collaborative which strives to improve the systemic response to people with disabilities who have experienced sexual assault. Megan does a wonderful job advocating for young students and their right to comprehensive education about child sexual abuse. An example of this is when Megan supported a high school survivor who was going up against her entire school in pressing forward to demand accountability for the football players who sexually assaulted her. Megan met with the school, the student, and other community stakeholders to mediate the conversation and elevate the voice of the student in the face of the school’s administration trying to quiet her up. Megan is passionate about the pro-consent movement, and working within communities to end sexual and gender-based violence.


Picture of Mae


Mae Margaret Evelyn Flexer
Nominated by: Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence

A champion in the Connecticut General Assembly to address violence against women, Senator Mae Flexer has lead successful efforts to improve the response to sexual violence on college campuses and in the criminal justice system. Her support to secure civil protective orders for victims of sexual violence closed a long standing gap in the ability of survivors to gain protection when their offender was not an intimate partner. Mae's care for both students and survivors in her district and her efforts to create safer campuses were instrumental in the passage of An Act Concerning Affirmative Consent as well as An Act Concerning Sexual Assault, Stalking and Intimate Partner Violence on Campus which requires that colleges partner with community based sexual assault programs, institute sexual assault prevention programs and policies and report annually on their institutions’ progress. She is currently leading the legislative effort to remove the statute of limitations for sexual assault crimes in Connecticut.