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Visionary Voice Awards 2021

Visionary Voice Awards 2021

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.

American Samoa
American SamoaDr. Ianeta Timoteo

Dr. Ianeta Timoteo-Liaina
Nominated by: American Samoa Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

As the Director for the LBJ Tropical Medical Center Family Planning (Title X), Dr. Ianeta Timoteo is a member of the American Samoa Alliance Against Domestic & Sexual Violence Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). Dr. Timoteo has been influential in strengthening the response of Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFEs) in American Samoa, where she has developed an interprofessional collaboration between physicians and nurses to solve problems and carry out plans for victims of sexual assault. Dr. Timoteo is a voice for victims in court trials and encourages community members to learn how to avoid social, health, and financial problems when faced with unplanned pregnancies. She works to eliminate barriers for victims of sexual assault and increase access to appropriate care, visiting outlying islands to provide training, outreach, and direct services. Dr. Timoteo is a devoted ally to victims of sexual violence, and her tireless efforts to improve the response to victims make them feel safe.

CaliforniaBamby Salcedo

Bamby Salcedo, M.A.
Nominated by: ValorUS (formerly the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault)

Bamby Salcedo is a national and international transgender Latina woman who is the President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, a national organization that focuses on addressing the issues of transgender Latin@s in the U.S. Bamby’s leadership demonstrates that advocating for transgender Latin@s includes addressing and preventing sexual violence. Bamby developed the Center for Violence Prevention & Transgender Wellness, a multipurpose, multi-service space for transgender people in Los Angeles. Bamby’s remarkable and wide-ranging activist work has brought voice and visibility to not only the trans community, but also to multiple overlapping communities and issues, including sexual violence prevention, migration, HIV, youth, LGBT, incarceration, and Latin@ communities. Bamby has inspired many people as a keynote speaker at the 2018 and 2020 National Sexual Assault Conference. Through her instinctive leadership, she has birthed several organizations that created community where there was none, and she advocates for the rights, dignity, and humanity for those who have been without a voice.

ColoradoAvery Hudson

Avery Hudson
Nominated by: Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Avery Hudson is a junior in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at George Washington High School in Denver, Colorado. She is passionate about being an advocate for sexual assault survivors as well as preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault. Avery has volunteered with the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault since March 2020, working on the Colorado Denim Day awareness campaign, writing several blogs, and designing and produing TikTok videos. To fulfill a school requirement, Avery wanted to do something meaningful around human rights and sexual assault, and decided to focus on strengthening Title IX. She surveyed her social media circle asking, “What policies are in place to protect students from sexual assault in your school?” The question went viral, receiving over 1,800 responses. Avery recently joined the Colorado School Safety Resource Center’s Youth Advisory Council, which provides feedback and recommendations about issues related to school safety and positive school climates.

ConnecticutMarc Pelka

Marc Pelka
Nominated by: Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence

Since taking his position as Undersecretary of Criminal Justice Policy and Planning at the Office of Policy Management, Marc has helped to shift conversations and highlight the need for victims and survivors to have meaningful access to and transparent information about the criminal justice process. In his role, Marc has also worked hard to identify new resources to support survivors and increased the amount of technical assistance available from his team to support our work; however, his dedication to supporting survivors goes beyond his professional role. Marc recently trained to be a certified sexual assault crisis counselor and began taking shifts on our statewide sexual assault crisis hotline to honor his commitment to survivors and deepen his understanding of the impacts of sexual violence. Marc is a true collaborator who carefully considers all aspects of an issue before moving forward and reaches out often to be sure that survivors have a seat at every table. 

DelwareEbony Hunt

Ebony S. Hunter
Nominated by: Delaware Alliance Against Sexual Violence

Ebony Hunter truly embodies a spirit of advocacy. Ebony has over ten years of experience working in psychiatric emergency rooms, with prison substance abuse programs, and, for the last five years, with victims and survivors of sexual violence. She has dedicated her life’s work to helping victims and survivors heal from trauma, and as an LGBTQAI+ safe therapist and a woman of color, Ebony also understands the importance of unique diverse and cultural experiences that impact how survivors navigate their healing. Ebony is known in her community as a reliable colleague who handles crises with a unique sense of calm and is known to be especially empowering to her clients. Ebony’s visionary voice has helped several to realize their own potential and find their healing, and will help many more to come.

FloridaMindi Fetterman

Mindi Fetterman
Nominated by Florida Council Against Sexual Violence

Mindi Fetterman is the Founder and Visionary Leader of The Inner Truth Project, a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, and a survivor of rape as a teen and adult. Mindi graduated from Florida Atlantic University, Magna Cum Laude, with a degree in Women’s Studies. Her education fostered the activist within, and she spent five years counseling women and providing clinic defense at Presidential Women’s Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Mindi has frequently been a guest speaker at different venues to candidly discuss breaking the ties of shame around sexual violence, rape, and incest. In so doing, she realized the severe shortage or outright absence of services on the Treasure Coast for survivors like herself. In the spring of 2013, Mindi realized a decade-long dream and opened the Inner Truth Center to provide loving support, encouragement, and healing for survivors and their families. The response has been overwhelming, enlightening, and affirming that though survivors may suffer alone, together, they can heal and thrive. 

GuamHealing Hearts Crisis Center

GBHWC - Healing Hearts Crisis Center
Nominated by: Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

2021 marks the 28th year since the Healing Hearts Crisis Center (HHCC) was established by public law in Guam. With the intent to provide survivors of sexual assault with discrete, immediate, and full medical attention, Guam’s only rape crisis center is government-operated under the jurisdiction of Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center. Healing Hearts Crisis Center incorporates a holistic approach working with victims/survivors of sexual assault. Throughout 2020 when services migrated to virtual platforms, HHCC was supported by the Crisis Hotline with Guam’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Center and engaged other partners to ensure access to services continue. Besides providing the care and support to victims/survivors of sexual assault, HHCC also provides outreach and awareness in schools and the community and provides the leadership for Guam’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Steering Committee. As we say locally, Biba Healing Hearts! 

IdahoBernie LaSarte

Bernie LaSarte
Nominated by: Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

Bernie LaSarte, RN, is a recognized matriarch and elder of the Coeur d’Alene Nation. Since 2005, Bernie LaSarte has been the founder and director of the Coeur d’Alene STOP Violence Against Women Program in northern Idaho. Bernie brings a deep cultural knowledge to her work as an advocate and health care professional, ensuring Indigenous healing practices are as much a part of prevention and response as western methods. She is both a survivor and an advocate devoted to rebuilding lives impacted by sexual violence. In October 2019, Bernie hosted a conference to address the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women at the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Since that time, Bernie has been instrumental in the formation of an Idaho summit of key tribal and governmental stakeholders to address missing and murdered Indigenous people. Bernie mentors all of us with love and generosity in her work to end sexual violence, bringing us all back in alignment with survivors, our ancestors and our descendants.

KansasJessica L. Albers

Jessica L. Albers
Nominated by: Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Jessica Albers has been a board-certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for over 10 years. She is currently the Statewide SANE Clinical Consultant for the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Jessica serves on the Ellis County SANE/SART Advisory Board and is a past President of the Kansas Chapter of International Association of Forensic Nurses. Jessica was instrumental in updating the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit to reflect current best practices. Jessica is committed to educating multidisciplinary partners across the state on topics like sexual violence, elder abuse, child abuse, interpersonal violence, and non-fatal strangulation. She has assisted in developing several SANE programs in Kansas and coordinates an annual two-day SANE clinical training. Jessica currently trains emergency departments on providing sexual assault forensic examinations in the 76% of hospitals across Kansas that do not have a SANE program available. 

KentuckyEleanor Klibanoff

Eleanor Klibanoff
Nominated by: Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs

Eleanor Klibanoff is a radio reporter with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and an unwavering advocate for survivors of sexual violence in Kentucky. Over the past few years, Eleanor has pushed the concerns of survivors to the forefront of the news cycle, resulting in outrage, reform, and change. In the investigation “Prosecution Declined” and the corresponding podcast, Klibanoff uncovered poor prosecution rates of rape charges stemming from an unusual relationship between police and prosecutors. During the pandemic, she has also highlighted the availability of rape crisis center services and made connections between police sexual abuse and questionable warrant practices. Her commitment to uplifting the stories and challenges of survivors is an important contribution to the work of ending sexual violence. 

LouisianaLaura Belle Balthazar

Laura Belle Balthazar
Nominated by:  Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault

Laura Belle Balthazar dedicated her life to serving her community of Opelousas, Louisiana. Affectionately known by many as “Ms. Laura,” she was a law enforcement officer for 26 years.  During her time at the St. Landry Sheriff’s Office, she became the first African American woman to hold the titles of Chief Deputy Officer and then Sheriff of St. Landry Parish. Most recently, Ms. Laura served as Executive Director of the St. Landry-Evangeline Sexual Assault Center. When asked about being a role model to young women in her community, Ms. Laura said her message to young women is: “Go out and try your best, do whatever you have to do, do what makes you happy and still be a prominent and respectable person...someone you really believe in.” Ms. Laura passed away on February 5th of this year due to complications of COVID-19. She is and will continue to be greatly missed by her community in Opelousas, as well as her community of advocates across Louisiana. 


Good Shepherd Food Bank
Nominated by: Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault

In 2020, Good Shepherd Food Bank partnered with the Maine Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), a program of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, to help address clients’ food insecurity by providing food to the families served at CAC locations. Snacks are available for children during the interview process, and grocery gift cards are given to families to support ongoing needs. These valuable resources from Good Shepherd Food Bank help families in need focus on healing and recovery, not where they’ll get their next meal. The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault cannot thank Good Shepherd Food Bank enough for their dedication to families and children across the state. We are grateful for their partnership and commitment to eliminate hunger in Maine and look forward to working with them in the future to explore more opportunities to support survivors of sexual violence.


Cheryl L. Banks
Nominated by: Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Cheryl Banks has worked as a Community Educator on sexual violence since 1976. She has been the Community Educator/Volunteer Coordinator at the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Center at UM Prince George’s Hospital Center since 1992, providing training for police, medical personnel, social workers, attorneys, and many other professionals. For 25 years, she was a consultant to the Montgomery County, MD Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Program. She worked with Montgomery County Child Welfare Services to develop programs and trainings for child care providers, teachers, guidance counselors, clergy and other professional organizations on child abuse and neglect. Ms. Banks also worked with the Montgomery County Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program to develop trainings and presentations on sexual assault and acquaintance rape. In 26 years, she has successfully delivered nearly 4,000 sexual assault prevention presentations to over 100,000 high school and college students.

MassachusettsStacey Borden

Stacey Borden
Nominated by: JDI: Jane Doe Inc., The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Stacey Borden embodies the vision of survivor-led and trauma-informed advocacy, civic engagement, and transformation. An addiction and substance abuse counselor, a performance artist, an activist, and a visionary for transformation and justice, Stacey is a force for change. In 2016, Borden founded and now serves as Executive Director of New Beginnings Reentry Services, a wraparound program dedicated to advocating for and providing services to women reentering local communities after incarceration. After decades of being trapped in the abuse-to-prison pipeline herself, Stacey pledged to address the factors that too often make it difficult for women to transition successfully from jail to life in the community. Her newest project, NBRS Women Empowerment Reentry Facility, will be a residential community to support survivors of childhood rape whose experiences of trauma, neglect, and sexual assault have too often gone unaddressed and precede the acts that led to incarceration. Stacey’s goal is to open multiple homes inspired by women she has met in prison who taught her about resilience, accountability, and community.

MichiganWanda Merriweather

Wanda J. Merriweather
Nominated by: Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Wanda Merriweather has dedicated over twenty years of passionate work to helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. In her role as a Director of Programs for First Step, Wanda has been described as a supportive, tough, caring, and dependable supervisor with incredible insight and guidance. Wanda’s professionalism is evident as she oversees programs and develops policies dedicated to helping survivors of violence and sexual assault overcome financial, emotional, and cultural barriers. Her volunteerism includes advocacy dedicated to healing racism and advocating for women of color. Wanda was one of the visionaries who founded the Women of Color Task Force in Michigan, becoming a trailblazer for equity and equality for survivors and advocates of color in our state. Wanda has skillfully served as the President of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence for the last three years, leading the state through the trials and tribulations of maintaining survivor-centered care in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.    

MinnesotaSharon Sayles Belton

Sharon Sayles Belton
Nominated by: Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Sharon Sayles Belton notably served as the first African American and first woman mayor of Minneapolis. She began her social justice work as a civil rights activist in Jackson, Mississippi and returned to her home state of Minnesota to serve as the assistant director of the Minnesota Program for Victims of Sexual Assault and co-found the Harriet Tubman Shelter for Battered Women. While doing this work, she was often the only woman of color at meetings and saw first-hand how the needs and perspectives of women of color in the movement were not given their due attention. She is currently the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances at Thompson Reuters, where she is advancing the recovery of Twin Cities areas damaged in the unrest following George Floyd’s death. Mayor Sayles Belton has been, and will continue to be, a pivotal voice for systems change while we reckon with the history of racism and governmental oppression that has often been part of the anti-sexual violence movement.


Sarah Ehrhard Reid
Nominated by: Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Sarah Ehrhard Reid, MSW, leads the Section for Women’s Health in the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, overseeing the administration of Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) funds and coordinating the state sexual violence prevention plan. In her role at the Department of Health and Senior Services, she works to increase alignment between state-level prevention goals and community-level prevention strategies by increasing public and non-profit partnerships. Sarah’s innovative approach to state-level prevention planning has resulted in a Missouri-based workplace sexual harassment prevention program, as well as Missouri-specific toolkit for investing in educational opportunities for women and families. For more than 10 years, Sarah has worked to make Missouri a safer, happier, and healthier place to live through victim advocacy, data collection, and grant administration efforts. Sarah holds a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Truman State University. 

NebraskaSuzannah Rogan

Suzannah Rogan
Nominated by: Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

Suzannah Rogan (she/her) is the Director of the Campus Advocacy, Prevention, and Education (CAPE) Project and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist at Doane University. Suzannah holds a Master of Science in Gender, Media and Culture from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she focused on Masculinities Studies and Violence, to better influence her work engaging men in violence prevention. As the CAPE Project Director, Suzannah has been instrumental in leading violence prevention efforts across Doane University’s three campuses. Her work has been successful due to the rigorous training program for, and the subsequent work of, her peer educators, an influential group of students creating and implementing prevention programs.In November 2020, Suzannah completed the Executive Program in Leadership Strategy for Violence and Abuse Prevention at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, the Ortner Center on Violence & Abuse, and the Center for Social Impact Strategy.

NevadaDebbi Robison

Debbi Robison
Nominated by: Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Debbi Robison is a Registered Nurse of 40 years and is certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, specializing in caring for sexual assault victims. She enjoys her role as a forensic medical examiner, and she’s been a part of the multidisciplinary team at the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center since its beginning in 2014. Her interest in this specialty began while working in the Emergency Department, and she has since performed more than 2,500 forensic medical examinations on children and adults. As the advocate who nominated her said, "I remember how she consistently went slow with our patients, showed them that their trauma was not their fault, and told them their voices mattered. Debbi makes a difference all over northern Nevada and California. We would be lost without her.” 

New Hampshire
New HampshireSenator Jeb Bradley

Jeb Bradley
Nominated by: New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Jeb Bradley, former U.S. Congressman and current New Hampshire State Senator for District 3, is a longtime supporter and advocate for victims of crime. During the 2020 legislative session, Sen. Bradley’s leadership was instrumental in advancing the passage of several key pieces of legislation that extended protections for survivors of sexual violence in New Hampshire. Through Senator Bradley’s bipartisan work, sexual assault survivors remained a priority. In particular, Sen. Bradley spearheaded an effort to increase protections for children who have been subjected to abuse by those in positions of authority. Sen. Bradley’s tireless advocacy helped ensure the passage of the bill, which made the Granite State a safer place for youth and sent a clear message that abusive and predatory behavior will not be tolerated. Sen. Bradley continues to be a bold voice in the legislature on these issues and works tirelessly to ensure that survivors’ needs are centered in the statehouse.

New Jersey
New JerseyKaren Escalante

Karen Escalante
Nominated by: New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault

The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) is proud to nominate Karen Escalante, from the New Jersey Division on Women (DOW) for the 2021 Visionary Voice Award. Over the years, NJCASA has partnered closely with our colleagues at DOW, and Karen has been a strong voice — encouraging all of us to approach the work from a place of humility and to consider new and innovative ways to better serve New Jersey’s diverse communities. It is Karen’s unwavering commitment to expanding accessibility to services that makes her an excellent colleague and advocate. With Karen’s leadership and vision, New Jersey is embarking upon strong partnerships with organizations working to meet the needs of survivors from historically marginalized communities. We are thankful for the spirit with which Karen approaches this work and the ways in which she demonstrates a consistent commitment to survivors. 

New York
New YorkNew York

Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition
Nominated by: New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition (VBCIC) is a survivor-led organization that provides prevention education, training, and technical assistance to Indigenous and multicultural communities who wish to eliminate interpersonal violence in their communities. The acronym B.E.A.R. stands for “balance, equality, and respect.” VBCIC works to make child sexual abuse and all forms of violence unthinkable through a cultural shift that incorporates Indigenous traditions and values that have existed before, despite, and in spite of colonization. VBCIC leverages an understanding of historical trauma and systemic oppression to develop intervention, healing, and prevention strategies. Building on years of successful violence prevention work, VBCIC created a child sexual abuse prevention curriculum titled, “Walking in Balance with All Our Relations.” Featuring thirteen modules based on Indigenous values and traditions, the curriculum provides historical perspective; promotes fundamental structural change; and includes the healing and treatment of those who have done harm as a key piece of primary prevention.

OhioOAESV Staff

Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence (OAESV)
Nominated by: Rosa Beltré, Executive Director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Assault

In 2020, Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence (OAESV)'s staff worked nonstop to ensure programs had everything they needed to continue providing services to survivors in the midst of COVID and civil unrest. Never once did they put their needs before the state. They helped our member programs navigate through COVID and shutdowns by mailing supplies; creating critical conversations and spaces for advocates, directors, and community partners; developing videos; creating policies for special funding and coverage; updating the website; transferring to virtual platforms; meeting all grant deliverables; conducting a virtual conference and advocacy day with high success; and more. They are Ohio’s visionary voices. 

PennsylvaniaLaQuisha Anthony

LaQuisha S. Anthony
Nominated by: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

LaQuisha S. Anthony is a Philadelphia native and founder of V.O.I.C.E (Victory Over Inconceivable Cowardly Experiences) Inc. This organization aims to develop and encourage the voices of individuals while removing the stigma that often accompanies being a victim of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and any other inconceivable cowardly act. She is an Education and Training Specialist as WOAR Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence. Laquisha has devoted her professional life to educating and empowering people with a primary focus on women and young people who have been impacted by sexual violence to find their voice and reach their full potential. She prides herself on creating safe spaces for and amplifying the voices of survivors, especially black women and girls. Laquisha has also provided critical testimony to the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee in support of statute of limitations reform in sexual assault-related cases.

Puerto Rico
Puerto RicoZulnette Garcia

Zulnette O. García Ramos (Zuly)
Nominated by: Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer

Zulnette García was born and raised in San Germán, Puerto Rico. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master's degree in Counseling with a specialization in Mental Health. Zulnette has worked as a community educator on sexual and reproductive health issues in organizations such as Taller Salud. Moreover, she combined her commitment to eradicate domestic violence with her dedication to women’s economic empowerment in organizations such as Matria, Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos, and the Integral Development Office for Women in the municipality of San Juan. She has also been a consultant and operator of sexual violence emergency and orientation hotlines. She has reflected on these myriad experiences in national and international conferences on violence against women and local community development. More recently, she co-founded Albanistería, an economic project seeking to reduce the employment gap for women in nontraditional professions such as handywork and woodworking.

Rhode Island
Rhode IslandStephanie Terry

Stephanie A. Fogli-Terry
Nominated by: Day One

Day One is pleased to nominate Stephanie Terry, a longtime advocate for children in Rhode Island, for the 2021 Visionary Voice Award. Stephanie has a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Providence College and an MSW with a concentration on Children and Families and SW Administration from Rhode Island College. She first began her career at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families in 1988 as a caseworker. Since that time, she has moved up the ranks to her current role of Assistant Director, overseeing Child Protective Services. Stephanie is an integral part of the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) multidisciplinary team at Day One. Her roles on the Human Trafficking Task Force and the CAC have been invaluable. Stephanie is always available to provide her knowledge and expertise, and her passion, vision, and experience influence every project she undertakes. Throughout her career, Stephanie has been relentless in her commitment to ensuring safety for children and working toward ending child sexual abuse.

South Dakota
South DakotaBecky Rasmussen

Becky Rasmussen
Nominated by: South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault 

In 2015, Becky felt a push to get involved with the anti-human trafficking movement. This led her to get involved with Call to Freedom, a faith-based organization in South Dakota working with victims of human trafficking. Later that year, Becky had an encounter with a young girl named Marissa who realized she was potentially a trafficking victim who was re-recruited. This interaction launched a deep desire for Becky to become even more involved, so she filed for Call to Freedom to become its own 501c3 organization. Stepping out in faith, Call to Freedom opened its doors under Becky’s leadership in March 2016 with no money. By 2021, the organization has grown to a staff of 21 and two offices. Today, Call to Freedom provides supportive services for victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation by creating a strong network of frontline providers who offer safe housing, mental health counseling, medical assistance, chemical dependency, transportation, and other supportive services.

TennesseeBetsy Magum

Betsy Mangum
Nominated by: Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Betsy Mangum is the managing attorney for the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence Sexual Assault Legal Clinic. She goes above and beyond in providing holistic services to survivors of sexual assault. In addition, she also volunteers at the local sexual assault center providing hospital accompaniment for sexual assault survivors.


VSDVAA's Youth Action Council
Nominated by: Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance

The Action Alliance Youth Action Council (YAC) is made up of five young people ages 18-24 who live, work, and go to school in Virginia. These advocates, activists, and artists have worked with the Action Alliance over the past two years to build their advocacy and organizing skills and have provided youth leadership to our coalition’s membership and across the state. During their term, the YAC has created a prevention-based curriculum about youth empowerment for peer mentors and/or adults working with youth to facilitate in their communities or on campuses; they have also facilitated workshops and webinars to build a broader and more engaged state-wide youth network. Most importantly, YAC members have used the primary prevention-based training, skills, and resources from being a part of this leadership body to inform the advocacy, organizing, and artwork they do at local sexual and domestic violence agencies, on their campuses, and in their local activist-art communities.


Beatriz Arakawa
Nominated by: Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

Beatriz has worked at Lower Elwha Family Advocacy Program providing services and outreach to community members who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, elder abuse, and human trafficking within the geographic services area of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe for over 20 years. Beatriz joined the board of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP) in 2012 and served until 2016. During her time on the WCSAP board, Beatriz was on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In 2014, her program began doing sexual abuse prevention for the first time, implementing the Where We Live Program with cultural adaptations. Beatriz is a board member of WomanSpirit Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, which is the only coalition for Native American/Indian and Alaska Natives in Washington State.

West Virginia
West VirginiaSupreme Court

West Virginia Administrative Office of the Courts
Nominated by: West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services

At a time when many agencies and businesses were either closing or reducing their services because of the pandemic, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia staff stepped into action over their concern for how victims would access protective orders during that stressful time. The outcome is the piloting of virtual services for victims in four of the most highly populated areas of the state, enabling victims to both file protective orders and participate in virtual hearings from the safety of their local rape crisis center. Recognizing that the need for safety will extend past COVID-19, such services will be expanded if the pilot project shows that these services increase access and support for victims. Simultaneously, a long-awaited revision to the sexual violence bench book was implemented, and the coalition was given the opportunity to review the entire document and offer suggestions. Many of these were “bucket list” items for the coalition, which collectively demonstrate the Court’s efforts to fully address the needs of sexual assault victims in West Virginia.