a theory of change
A CRISIS OF THOUGHT
THE DANGEROUS LANDSCAPE
DISMANTLING FOUNDATIONS
DRAWING FROM HEALING JUSTICE AND EDUCATION
THE WORK: 3 SPHERES
CONVERSATION
RESEARCH
AMPLIFICATION
A VALUES DRIVEN ORGANIZATION
REFERENCES
A theoRy of chAnge foR intimAte violence
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5
8
9
11
15
17
19
21
23
1
a theory of change
healing courage
With abundant gratitude for the survivors that have shared with us their
wisdom and imaginations, the advocates that have offered their expertise
and lived experience, and those who have harmed who have come to the
table in the light of accountability.
2
A CRISIS OF
THOUGHT
1
It happened 30
years ago. It’s kind
of suspect that
they're making
these accusations
now, it seems like
they have another
agenda.
MYTH 255
DISCLOSURE TIMELINES
They didn't even
try to ght back,
so clearly on some
level, they kind of
wanted it, or at least
they didn't mind so
much.
I saw their
interview on
TV. They were
smiling and almost
laughing when they
told their story,
but they didn’t cry
at all. I feel like
they’re lying.
MYTH 4819
TRAUMA PRESENTATION
He couldn’t have
done it. I know
him. He’s actually
a really good guy.
Only bad people do
that kind of thing.
MYTH 764
THE GOOD-BAD BINARY
It’s her choice - if
she’s choosing to
stay in a relationship
with someone who
beats her, that’s on
her. You can’t have
much sympathy for
that.
MYTH 475
BLAMING THE VICTIM
Guys can’t really
be “raped.” If they
were able to get
it up, then they
clearly wanted it
to happen on some
level.
MYTH 12
SEXISM + GENDER BIAS
If someone
willingly gets
drunk, then
ends up getting
raped—they are
responsible for
what happens to
them. It was their
choice to drink.
MYTH 80
VICTIM BLAMING
But black girls are
more experienced,
they’re stronger and
they can deal better
with these kinds of
things.
MYTH 600
RACIST ADULTIFICATION
They were
acquitted in a court
of law, so clearly
they didn’t do
anything wrong. We
have processes like
this for a reason,
to be fair.
MYTH 303
A JUST SYSTEM
MYTH 56
TONIC IMMOBILITY
5
MYTH 5
PUNISHMENT WORKS
MYTH 995
THEY COULD LEAVE
MYTH 8421
TRANSPHOBIA
the dangerous landscape of
myth and misunderstanding
We know sexual, intimate and gender-
based violence is a problem, but as a nation,
haven’t begun to solve it. We've heard the
stats, we see the victims, but we struggle
to understand its root system. We still greet
every new disclosure as isolated, unexpected
and inevitably tragic, without taking collective
responsibility, drawing the connections,
hearing the relevant voices, visualizing the
big picture, and investigating the awed
foundations on which we have built our
responses.
For survivors, when the violence ends, a
different process begins. Survivors are
forced to navigate the vast socio-cultural,
economic, physiological, spiritual and
relational impacts that the trauma creates,
and they have to do so in a cultural climate
that blames victims, normalizes violence,
tolerates violation and doesn’t hold those
who commit harm accountable.
But there is critical insight available to us
when we look at myth acceptance. With sexual
violence, the associated myths are referred
to as “rape myths,” and endorsement of
them is called RMA (rape myth acceptance).
1
Over 80% of survivors of sexual violence
know the person who harmed them,
2
yet
there remains the social perception that
rape is committed by strangers hiding in
dark alleys. Hundreds of other myths are
perpetuated by the media and our society.
These myths, ranging from the overt to the
seemingly benign, blame victims, empathize
with perpetrators, imply consent, and
question victim credibility.
There are generally speaking two categories
of rape myth: situational and attitudinal.
3
Situational rape myths refer to how we think
about the crime, including who commits it,
its victims, and when/where it happens.
Situational myths inuence how we as a
society address the violation, and ultimately,
resource allocation, media representation,
justice processes and community response.
Attitudinal myths attempt to explain
(incorrectly) why intimate violence occurs.
They reect our implicit biases and social
constructs, the false or stereotypical
beliefs held around gender, intimacy,
sexual orientation, violence, and the
people involved, and are linked to cultural
beliefs about race, class, religion, and age.
Attitudinal myths inuence how we as a
culture will address the people affected.
They contribute to a social climate that
6
m
y
t
h
S
H
A
P
E
S
Whether a surviver will self identity and seek
support for the long term biological, social and
economic impacts of their trauma
How isolated a survivor becomes in their
healing process and community relationships
Whether a survivor blames themselves,
resulting in an increased recovery time
Whether a survivor’s disclosures to those they are
closest to will result in dismissal, minimization, blame
or retraumatization
How our society imagines the identity and behavior of
victims, and allocates belief and resources accordingly
Whether a survivor will be terrorized or harmed further
during attempts to nd support or seek justice by rst
responders, police, justice professionals, advocates
Whether one is likely to cause intimate harm to
another person, or tolerate similar violence in others
Whether one is likely to align not just with intimate
violence, but also endorse other forms of systemic
oppression like racism, sexism and homophobia
How the media represents intimate violence, and
ultimately inuences criminal justice proceedings
Whether people who harm will be held accountable
in their community, or even have their violence
acknowledged
Whether the processes we use for justice incentivize denial,
and to what degree they function to produce truth, address
needs, create accountability and prevent harm
What mitigation and prevention strategies we as a
society choose to resource and implement, and whether
or not they work
VIOLENCE and JUSTICE
survivor healing
is hostile toward survivors, sympathetic
towards people who harm, and tolerant of
interpersonal violence.
These myths and their impact can be
measured.
The most commonly used myth acceptance
scale for sexual violence is the Bumby RAPE
Scale.
4
It is a 36-question self-reporting tool
reective of attitudinal rape myths. Research
utilizing this tool correlates the degree to
which one endorses common rape myths,
and one’s likelihood to commit harm, excuse
harm done by others, and endure greater
trauma if surviving harm oneself. When
the Bumby Scale is tested alongside scales
measuring racism, sexism, homophobia,
classism, ageism and religious intolerance,
we see that people who believe rape myths
also endorse other oppressive beliefs and
attitudes.
A
Toxic myths have so much in common
because they grow from the same garden,
seeds we have nurtured in our nation for
centuries: founding principles of white body
supremacy,
5
unconsentual colonialism,
state sanctioned violence, capitalism and
transactional relation. Dismantling our
cultural acceptance of this deep patriarchal
violence
6
is no small feat. These mythologies
have informed our environs of communication,
justice, community and well being, and will
shape the trajectory of a survivors healing
journey, and their community's ability, or
inability, to process and prevent injustice.
The implications of this research for healing,
prevention and cultural transformation
are profound. If we can shift our cultural
orientations towards intimate harm by
targeting, studying and dismantling the
mythologies that underpin them, then we
can see a signicant reduction in incidences
of intimate harm and better responses to its
victims.
myth shapes
myth shapes
A WE ARE AWARE OF THEORETICAL LIMITATIONS OF RAPE MYTH ACCEPTANCE (RMA), HOWEVER, WE AGREE WITH THE MANY SCHOLARS THAT SUGGEST THAT
RAPE MYTH RESEARCH CONTRIBUTES SIGNIFICANTLY TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF RAPE AND ITS IMPACT ON VICTIMS/SURVIVORS.
7
dismantling
problematic
foundations
To combat the myths and -isms that we face,
we need to unlearn and relearn. But to do that,
we rst need to understand how we learn,
how we access that process of relearning, and
how that in turn informs our moral compass
that drives our beliefs and actions. From that
understanding, we employ the most effective
pedagogies for learning and integrate them
into our work.
Our minds are formed and re-formed based
on the experiences throughout our lives.
In other words, our minds are malleable.
Surviving violence transforms the brain, just
as intergenerational trauma transforms the
DNA. As a people who have been enculturated
into this mythology, unlearning the neural,
associative and experiential pathways that
have already been laid down in our brains
is difcult, though not impossible. Studies
in brain plasticity
A
, neurogenesis
B
, and
A BRAIN PLASTICITY (OR NEUROPLASTICITY) REFERS TO THE
BRAIN'S ABILITY TO CHANGE AND ADAPT AS A RESULT OF EXPERIENCE.
B NEUROGENESIS IS THE PROCESS BY WHICH NEW NEURONS ARE
FORMED IN THE BRAIN
the epigenetics
C
of learning have shown
that it’s possible to rewire the adult brain
through experience and environment.
7
In
fact, we can see these changes in offenders
who take part in restorative processes.
8
and in classrooms that center students and
value equity
9
.
Given that our brains are capable of learning,
unlearning and relearning, the next question
then becomes, what is the most effective,
powerful ways to learn, grow and transform
our approach to healing and justice?
Healing Courage’s pedagogical approach
draws from these characteristics, as
well as contemporary constructivist
educational approaches with origins in
existing methodologies and age-old ideas
and grounded in human-centered design,
authenticity and connection to community.
C EPIGENETICS IS THE STUDY OF CHANGES IN ORGANISMS
BROUGHT ABOUT BY MODIFICATION OF GENE EXPRESSION, RATHER THAN BY
ALTERATION OF THE GENETIC CODE IN THE FORM OF DNA
Our angle of approach draws from both education and healing justice. Why?
Because it's these pedagogies that focus on prevention, communication and
transformation.
10
Education is preventative, and prevention is economical. “On average, American
states spend $88,000 to incarcerate a young person, but allot an average of $10,000
to educate them.
11
” It costs far less to educate, than it does to mitigate and litigate.
But the type of education matters. The source of information, the power in the
room, the context behind the conversation, the voices allowed and the questions
asked all avor the level of authentic transformation in a growth process. We have
to use strategies and methodologies that recognize inequity, address blind spots,
value every voice in the room and make space to critique the norm.
The criminal-legal system and prison industrial complex are deeply discriminatory
and frequently terrorize and abuse victims until they are alienated from systemic
support entirely. Alternative accountability processes and cultural practices,
like indigenous peacemaking and circle conferencing, and restorative and
transformative justice, center on anti-oppressive values with the priority of harm
reduction over retributive punishment. What does that look like in practice? While
criminal justice represents the state and asks what law was broken and who needs
to be punished, restorative justice asks: who was harmed? What do they need?
Who needs to be part of the conversation?
12
Transformative approaches address
the relationships violated, but also the conditions in which the harm occurred,
asking: what was the ecosystem of values and structures that led to the harm in
the rst place? How can they be transformed? Thanks to generations of work by
communities that have been marginalized and First Nation wisdom, we can draw
on this landscape of accountability processes and relational practice to transform
our culture of communication, conict resolution, belief and collective relation.
We work at the intersection of these worlds, especially because they do have so
much in common. In designing our approach to tackling myth in the work of deep
healing, we channel and practice these processes and pedagogies addressing the
deep personal, cultural, and institutional mythology we face.
drawing from healing justice
and progressive education
drawing from the worlds of
healing justice and progressive education
to dismantle cultural mythology
what these worlds have in common:
a visual map of their intersecting values and practices
9
restorative
justice
transformative
justice
education
circle
keeping +
peacemaking
access equity
ADDRESS THE BASIC NEEDS TOO,
REMOVE THE BARRIERS
inquiry based
ASKING QUESTIONS, NURTURING
INVESTIGATION, CREATING
SPACE FOR DEFIANCE
learner centered
EQUALITY OF WISDOM; THE LEARNING
FACILITATOR IS A GUIDE ON THE SIDE, NOT A
SAGE ON THE STAGE
Design thinking
EMPATHY, IDEATION, ITERATION,
FEEDBACK
project based
PRACTICAL PUBLIC PRODUCTS
FOR REAL WORLD APPLICATION
humanistic
ALL PEOPLE ARE CAPABLE OF HARMING
AND BEING HARMED, AND NO ONE ENTERS
VIOLENCE FOR THE FIRST TIME HAVING
COMMITTED IT
indigenous origin
PEACEMAKING, CIRCLE PRACTICE AND COMMUNITY JUSTICE ARE INTEGRAL LIFEWAY TRADITIONS AMONG THE
ANISHINAABE, TLINGIT , NAVAJO , MAORI, IGBO, AND NATIVE HAWAIIAN CULTURES, WHO HAVE CULTIVATED THESE VALUES
AND APPLIED THIS APPROACH TO INJUSTICES ON THE INTERPERSONAL, COMMUNITY AND INTERNATIONAL SCALE
white western
peace church
origin
DEVELOPED AS AN
ADJUNCT OR DIVERSION
APPROACH TO
CRIMINAL JUSTICE
BY MENNONITE
LEADERS
engage in difficult
dialogue
ESTABLISHING SHARED VALUES
CREATES SPACE TO HAVE
CHALLENGING CONVERSATIONS
resourcing
SURVIVORS NEED RESOURCES TO
HEAL, PEOPLE WHO HAVE HARMED
NEED RESOURCES TO PREVENT
FURTHER HARM
confront all injustice
THE OPPRESSION THAT OPERATES ON THE SMALL
SCALE OPERATES AT THE LARGE; RESTORATIVE
CULTURE CAN'T LIVE ALONGSIDE AUTHORITARIAN
community context
BOTH HEALING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
REQUIRE LONG TERM COMMUNITY
INVOLVEMENT AND SUPPORT
acknowledge
impact
WORK TO UNDERSTAND
THE ACTUAL AND
POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF
OUR ACTIONS
redress or
reparation
THOSE WHO HAVE
HARMED SEEK TO
REPAIR THE DAMAGE
THAT WAS CREATED
harm is a violation
of relationships
community accountability
HARM DOES NOT HAPPEN IN A VACUUM, SO NORMS, VALUES AND
STRUCTURES NEED TO BE EXAMINED AND RE-ESTABLISHED
ADDRESS THE ECOSYSTEM
TRANSFORM THE CONDITIONS THAT CREATED
THE HARM BY RESOURCING THE ROOT SYSTEM
be accountable
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR
BEHAVIOR, OWN YOUR ACTIONS
AND THEIR REPERCUSSIONS
center those harmed
THOSE MOST IMPACTED BY THE HARM SHOULD
BE AT THE CENTER OF DEVELOPING ITS
RESOLUTIONS
truth telling
SPEAK HONESTLY, AUTHENTICALLY AND
VULNERABLY FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
build relation
BUILDING GOOD RELATION IS EVEN MORE
CRITICAL THAN ACCOMPLISHING AN OUTCOME
culturally responsive
CULTURAL CONTEXT IS CRITICAL FOR
RELATION AND RETENTION; THE IDENTITIES +
STRUCTURES OF POWER IN THE ROOM SHAPE
THE GROWTH
10
the work
conversation
research
Our three-fold approach advocates for Our three-fold approach advocates for
survivor wisdom, trauma literacy, systemic survivor wisdom, trauma literacy, systemic
innovation, and transformative justice - innovation, and transformative justice -
solutions to the status quo that address solutions to the status quo that address
both individual and collective harm. both individual and collective harm.
Our work for the next ve years is centered Our work for the next ve years is centered
on three critical manifestations targeting on three critical manifestations targeting
authentic transformation of cultural authentic transformation of cultural
mythology: community conversations, mythology: community conversations,
survivor-centered research and educational survivor-centered research and educational
multimedia content.multimedia content.
the work
conversation
AMPLIFICATION
three
activations
consentric circles with survivors and their communities
We facilitate community conversations with survivors, collaboratively making
meaning of our traumatic experiences. Hosted in partnership with local anti-violence
community organizations, these meta-cognitive sessions co-explore the impacts
of our trauma, identify patterns between our survival experiences, dismantle the
myths & misunderstandings we’ve encountered, and reimagine the course of our
healing with creative systemic interventions. Survivors can invite allies, family,
partners, rst responders, advocates, community decision makers, and people who
have committed harm to engage in vulnerable constructive discourse. Scaffolded
with learning resources, these community building opportunities embolden trauma
vocabulary, practice radical vulnerability, increase community accountability, and
foster survivor imagination and systemic change.
conversation
research on how survivors define healing and justice
We carry out groundbreaking, survivor-centered research, that actively targets and
includes traditionally underrepresented populations, and asks critical, overlooked
questions. Our research ndings will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals
and presented at professional conferences across the country. Our ndings will
contribute to the pool of evidence and precedent on which we can base a new
landscape of community-based services of healing and justice that is inclusive of
all survivors.
research
content creation and common knowledge explainer campaigns
Our media dimension both amplies and informs, leading the conversation away
from harmful mythology, while empowering the public with a deeper understanding
of intimate harm and the reality of its impacts. Our creative team not only captures
our conversations, conducts survivor interviews and assists the research team in
data visualization, but produces dynamic short form educational content around
trauma science, myth demystication, research amplication and how-we-got-
here histories. These graphic and video campaigns, developed in collaboration with
survivors, educators, researchers and media professionals, will explore, explain,
dismantle and debunk the science and social paradigms behind trauma and our
culture of response, making trauma truths accessible and common knowledge.
AMPLIFICATION
13
conversation
research amplification
14
conversation
consentric
circles
Just sitting down to talk about our experiences
may seem obvious, but it’s rarer than you'd think.
Conversations about intimate violence are plagued
with taboo, awkwardness, terror, embarrassment,
vulnerability, shame, blame and minimization. It’s
hard to talk about, and most people don’t have a
lot of practice.
Consentric Circle conversations will interrupt this
status quo. They'll embolden participants with the
tools and vocabulary to talk about their physical
and social experiences, rebuild the connection
between survivor and community through bearing
witness, and turn pain into power when testimony
is empathetically experienced by community and
decision makers.
Community norms, discussion topics, conversation
practices and learning resources are customized
to the community and the conversation, but the
arc generally guides participants through the
layers of their own experiences, from the impact
of their trauma on the brain and body, to their
community's response to their experience, to the
systems and institutions for healing of justice they
encountered or hoped for. Survivors resonate with
current events and the triggers in the world around
them, within the context of their ongoing survival
of the traumas they've experienced. They share
their healing wisdom and common injustices, and
nally, innovate and reimagine the resources and
cultural climate that could have reshaped their
journeys of healing and justice.
These deep group acknowledgment opportunities
often take place over multiple or ongoing
sessions, or can be held all in one day. In many
cases, survivors are given the opportunity to
invite relevant community members in stages to
the conversation: friends, partners, family, allies,
advocates, mentors, rst responders, community
inuencers or people who have harmed or
been harmed. These invited participants get
the rare opportunity to hear intimate truths and
survival wisdom, and engage in authentic active
acknowledgment of what has happened in their
community.
In addition to Consentric Circle facilitators,
conversations include community partner
facilitators and a wellbeing advocate, as well as
conversational and follow up resources sent to
participants for continued support, discussion
and learning. Conversations are documented with
consent and used to elevate the voices of survivors.
reimagine
RECALL
SURVIVor
experience
systems / structures
disclosures + responses
brain / body
REect
15
Dove House Advocacy Services
Jefferson County Anti-Violence Agency
Washington survivors, their allies and
community members
Web platform [Zoom room with call in]
Every Tues
Began 8/18/20
W.O.M.A.N., Inc.
SF Bay Area Domestic Violence Agency
Developed specically for W.O.M.A.N., Inc.
advocates as part of volunteer training
Web platform (Zoom room with call in)
7/23/20
7/30/20
8/6/20
NOT YOUR AVERAGE SUPPORT GROUP
WE CENTER SURVIVOR WISDOM
Conversations are facilitated by survivors, and with survivors.
We value the lived experience and hard earned wisdom of
survivors and want their needs and agendas to lead the
collective conversation.
WE HONOR THE CULTURE OF EVERY COMMUNITY
By partnering with existing community coalitions, customizing,
collaborating, and co-facilitating we can offer more culturally
calibrated and intersection-specific discussions and experiences
across different communities.
WE EMPHASIZE EMPATHY, VALIDATION,
ACKNOWLEDGMENT + ACCOUNTABILITY
Our spaces are for practicing vulnerability, validation, and
radical listening, relating to and honoring one another's stories,
struggles and solutions.
WE DISMANTLE BARRIERS
Conversations are always free, and we problem solve access
barriers for participants around transportation, child and elder
care, language, technology and safe physical and digital space.
We even compensate the partner org for their collaboration
time.
WE CREATE SPACE FOR RADICAL INNOVATION
We foster systemic critique informed by our struggles,
recognizing the structures, values and norms at play in our
victimization, to reimagine interventions that could have
changed the course of our healing.
WE CULTIVATE COMMUNITY INVITATIONS
When survivors share, it matters who is listening. We consider
together who needs to be in the room, not just those closest
to the survivor or situation, but also advocates, responders,
community members and power holders, who have the capacity
and responsibility to transform the conditions surrounding the
harm.
WE’RE HERE FOR THE LONG HAUL
We develop long-term relationships with regions and partners,
and function to support survivors in the long-term, when
resources for trauma typically dry up.
Consentric CircleS series
Series for W.O.M.A.N INC. advocates
partner
community
location
dates
1.5 hrs each
3 part series
duration
W.O.M.A.N., Inc.
SF Domestic Violence Organization
Sessions for English and Spanish speaking
W.O.M.A.N., Inc. clients and community
The Women’s Building, San Francisco
11/23/19 (eng)
11/24/19 (esp)
Consentric CircleS
[
english + EspañoL
]
San Francisco , CA
partner
community
location
dates
4 hr single
event
duration
partner
community
location
dates
1.5 hrs each
15 part series
duration
Consentric CircleS series
jefferson county, WA
Nous Tous Gallery
Artist run gallery and community space
Los Angeles survivors, their allies, and friends
of the Nous Tous social space
Nous Tous Gallery, Los Angeles
10/23/18
10/28/18
partner
community
location
dates
4 hrs per event,
2 conversation
events
duration
Consentric CircleS "for the record" pilot
los angeles , CA
Oregon Center for Change
Group psychological treatment center
Vicarious restorative discussion with survivors
from HC staff and people with sex offenses
mandated to treatment
Oregon Center for Change, Oregon
1/14/19
1/15/19
8/5/19
8/6/19
partner
community
location
dates
accountability circles
vicarious restorative dialogue
in the last two yearS
we've hosted over 25
in person and online
conversations
in 3 states
2 hrs each
7 conversation
groups
duration
research
Although the literature on post-assault recovery
has advanced, sexual assault survivors are still
often studied as a homogeneous population, and
very little is known about the long-term healing
processes from the survivor perspective.
While we know about immediate or crisis based
health services, few studies have examined if and
how survivors benet from long-term community
care services and resources during the years
following a violation.
13
This is especially true for
Black, Indigenous and People of Color, trans folks
and individuals that identify as LGBTQIA, male
-identied survivors, survivors of incest or child
sexual abuse, undocumented survivors, survivors
engaged in sex work, without housing or who
have been formerly incarcerated. Furthermore,
we know little about what "justice" means to
survivors and how that denition and access to it
may impact their recovery.
14
Intimate violence is characterized by
underreporting and case attrition. Victims who
decide to report their victimization often begin
a lengthy process that involves continuous
interactions with various criminal justice
ofcials, including law enforcement, social
service providers, and attorneys. Throughout
the process, many victims encounter individuals
who are skeptical about their claims, diminish
their credibility, are insensitive, minimize their
experience, or are dismissive of them entirely.
This is such a pervasive experience that it is often
referred to as secondary victimization, the second
rape or the second assault.
15
Although there has been an increase in the
number of law and policy interventions designed
to address the sexual violence ‘justice gap’,
16
the gap persists. Many survivors are left without
a sense of receiving justice through our
conventional legal system. Studies with survivors
have shown that they are more concerned with
treatment than punishment, reconnecting with
their communities, preventing sex offenses in the
future, having a voice in the dialogue with criminal
justice professionals, and recognition related to
the actions of individual perpetrators, friends,
families, and communities.
17
focus
groups
out of every 1000 sexual assaults, 995 instances will
never be addressed by the criminal LEGAL system
17
We will follow-up with the initial focus group
members to track their healing experiences along
the way and to document how their perspectives
on justice and healing remain stable or change
over time. We’re also interested in expanding the
work to include researching the impact of anti-
myth education on other community stakeholders,
looking at barriers and intrinsic bias in first
responders, and partner with ongoing research in
restorative justice and offender recidivism.
As we grow our data we will use it to calibrate our
own programming, media and outreach, and share
our findings with published journals and at national
and international conferences. The scholarly
publications will reach professionals in the fields
of criminology, sociology, social work, law, and
psychology, and will be shared internationally with
both practitioners and academics. The research
results will be presented at conferences attended
by academics, researchers, policymakers, students,
law enforcement professionals, and treatment
professionals.
In addition to survivors, we'll also hold targeted
focus groups of individuals who are either
completely ignored or targeted and terrorized by
the traditional justice system, and have not had
a voice in the development of legislation, public
policy, or treatment and healing modalities.
These will include targeted groups of survivors
who are undocumented immigrants, sex workers,
transgender, unhoused or formerly incarcerated,
survivor family members, friends and community,
and those who have perpetrated intimate harm and
their communities as well.
Treating survivors as a homogeneous population
erases the intersectional dynamics of overlapping
systemic oppression. A critical dimension of
our research explores how healing and justice
intersect with race, ethnicity, socio-economic
status, ability, gender identification and sexual
orientation. Just as critically, we recognize that
focus group facilitators need be reflective of study
participants, engendering safe and constructive
discourse and honest socio-cultural critique.
Our central research questions will include: What
does justice look like for survivors of intimate
harm? What do survivors need throughout their
healing process? What did their communities and
families offer in terms of support that they found
healing? What was offered that was hurtful? What
systems for justice, if any, could they access? What
experiences did they face in navigating them? While
the primary goal is to better understand the long-
term healing needs of survivors, the research will
also evaluate the role that myth plays on survivor
experiences, and will likely vary by social location.
Survivors are often the subjects of research, but
rarely the surveyors. We recognize the need for and
benefit of survivor perspectives in all aspects of the
research process including as advisors on design
and delivery decisions, planning and decision-
making, as lead researchers, data analysts, and in
the dissemination of research results (citation).
Our research team is headed up by a "survivor
scholar", a rape survivor and sex crime researcher,
who offers unique insight into trauma sensitive,
healing centered scholarship.
WE INVOLVE SURVIVORS
AT EVERY LEVEL
WE FOCUS ON THOSE MOST
IMPACTED, AND THE LEAST REPRESENTED
OUR CENTRAL RESEARCH INQUIRIES
WE ADDRESS INTERSECTIONALITY
AND UNDERREPRESENTATION
WE LOOK AT
HEALING IN THE LONG TERM
WE ARE RESPONSIVE TO THE DATA,
AND ACTIVE IN ITS DISSEMINATION
18
amplification
Rape culture is widely dened as a set of values
and beliefs that provide an environment conducive
to rape,
18
” where “rape is often not acknowledged
as a crime and its victims are frequently blamed...
for their own violation.”
19
We consume the messages of rape culture day in
and day out. In politics, lm, advertising, social
media, in the news, and through the internet
myths are disseminated that normalize violence,
minimize responsibility, and criticize survivor
behavior.
These narratives avor the conversations we
have, the stories we share, the jokes we tell, the
excuses we make, the way we respond to harm,
the norms we tolerate and the solutions we call
on. To change the cultural response to intimate
harm we have to transform the content of the
conversation.
In the rst quantitative analysis of rape culture in
the U.S., studying media bias in news reporting
of sexual violence, researchers found that
media coverage that propagates rape myths
fundamentally and inuentially shapes the fate of
victims, perpetrators, and law enforcement. Rape
myth propagation in the media “predicts both the
frequency of rape and its pursuit through the local
criminal justice system. In jurisdictions where
rape culture was more prevalent, there were
more documented rape cases, [and] authorities
were less vigilant in pursuing them.”
20
The content of our conversations impacts the
outcome of the harm at hand. Rape culture is
perpetuated by mythology and misunderstanding,
so to right this ship we need to hear more directly
and more often from survivors themselves, and
increase the visibility of non-binary community
approaches to healing, harm reduction and justice.
In response to this climate, we aim to feed the
conversation with the right kind of information.
Our media dimension seeks to amplify survivors
and inform their communities, arming the public
with a deeper understanding of intimate harm,
the reality of its impacts, and community based
options for healing and justice.
content
campaigns
in the next ve years we are
prepared to accomplish
As a coalition of survivors, we’re all too familiar with the
tendency to respond to our disclosures with questions
about the details of the violation, rather than asking us
what we need now to heal. As a culture, we are trained by
cop dramas, forensic shows, true crime and reality judge
TV that we are all entitled to play detective, judge and
jury. For survivors, this line of questioning is invalidating,
retraumatizing and ultimately unhelpful. Though false
claims are virtually non-existent statistically*, the public
is still biased towards doubt and disbelief, especially
when the victim is a person of color*.
So we enter the conversation believing survivors, with the
assumption that trauma is evidence enough. We focus
on amplifying the hard-earned wisdom of people who are
creatively surviving the short and long-term impacts of
their varied and intersectional experiences with harm.
We've found that while our traumas might be dierent,
our survival has a lot in common.
multi- platform video, voice over visualizations
+ data presentations - connecting viewers to
trauma science and survivor wisdom
Projected survivor
interviews
trauma + justice
explainer lms
cross platform social
media campaigns
19
style
voice and TONE
aesthetic
production
collaboration
representation
common knowledge
campaigns
our is style simple, genderless, minimal
our voice is about amplifying, not advertising
awareness raising, movement building
anchored in our shared humanity, with recognition of the role of
balancing empathy and common ground with fact presentation
in eective educational content
21
we exist in the landscape of “explainer” tv, adding history,
depth and dimension to topics we understand only at a surface
level
we combine live action voice over and real survivor testimony,
evocative data visualization, empathic animation and educative
motion graphics, amplifying with simple language, relatable
metaphor, and powerful data
we value and practice consensual post production, consulting
consenting survivors throughout production and post, clarifying
our intentions in the use of their stories, and empowering
survivors and partners to use our content for their own posts or
disclosure processes
every partnership is an ethical and visual collaboration - we
build our communication universe together, in the language of
the community, adapted to their outreach channels, giving their
organizers and advocates the nal word
we elevate the voices of survivors you don't typically hear
from, prioritizing marginalized and intersectional voices and
experiences
we work to rebalanced the outsized representation of white
cisgendered female survivors, who are statistically not the most
impacted by intimate violence, but who often take center stage
multi- platform video, voice over visualizations
+ data presentations - connecting viewers to
trauma science and survivor wisdom
amplifying
survivor voices
raising up the
research
We
work to make emerging
scholarly information more widely
accessible and engaging. We raise up
advocate wisdom, community wisdom,
community justice initiatives, and our own
peer-reviewed research and that of other
colleagues. We transform long-form texts,
often hidden behind costly access walls,
into widely available infographics,
videos and ability friendly
visuals.
In
addition to recording
Consentric Circles, we
create opportunities to follow up
with interested survivors to schedule
individual interviews. These direct-to-
camera testimonials and audio sessions
about self-determined healing and justice
provide a chance for survivors to expand
on what came up in the circles and
stand as a powerful archive of
demands and visions.
Utilizing
social media, graphics,
gifs, videos, stories, shorts and
podcasts, we’ll deep dive into trauma
science, how-we-got-here histories,
systemic paradigm explainers, and myth
busters, amplifying emerging research,
Indigenous wisdom and survivor voices
while connecting the dots between
challenging experiences and
underlying "-isms."
20
a values driven
organization
ALEXIS ROSE
CREATIVE DIRECTION
- multi-disciplinary designer and visual
artist, work exhibited throughout the US
- over a decade in film design and
direction, photography, visual marketing,
graphic and web design, and social media
production
- education in sustainability, restorative
design and sacred space
- survivor, public speaker, advocate,
circle keeper, and activist, anchored in
personal experience with trauma and
transformative justice
-Assistant professor in the Division
of Criminal Justice at California State
University, Sacramento
-Research focuses on the intersection of
sexual violence and restorative justice
-Co-host of Beyond Fear: The Sex Crimes
Podcast
-Co-founder of the It Happened to Alexa
Foundation-Co-founded the It Happened
to Alexa Foundation
ALEXA SARDINA
RESEARCH
- intersection of education, social justice
& human potential
- survivor & public speaker, community
leader
- educational consultant, developing
programs, trainings and workshops
throughout the country
- 25+ years in experiential education
and inquiry and project based design,
implementation, coaching and facilitation
- Founder of Surviving & Thriving,
a community event & fundraiser in
celebration and honor of survivors
STEPHANIE BURNS
PROGRAM DIRECTION
We’ve designed an organizational structure and culture grounded in our lived experiences and expertise
as survivors, educators, researchers, designers, activists and advocates.
From budget allocation to partner collaboration, in community norms, conicts, and creation, Healing
Courage fuses equitable principles and practices that are both transformative and human-centered
into everything we envision and realize.
We demonstrate alignment with these practices across all functions of the organization and the systems
constructed within, including our horizontal leadership model, our equitable hiring practices to reduce
implicit bias, our evidence-based performance indicators and our innovative educational pedagogy.
Our founding team embodies a deep commitment to serve, learn and grow, a drive for excellence,
impact and results, and an understanding of the care and compassion for self and others that’s required
to carry out systemic change with courage, integrity, accountability, and joy. We search for this shared
alignment and cultural consistency in our partners, advisors, funders and collaborators - centering the
community expertise for grassroot success.
As circle keepers of various backgrounds, it is our priority to cultivate spaces and conversations that allow
for deep levels of cultural critique, relation building and awareness of overlapping forms of oppression,
while holding trauma and acknowledging our complex body positionality within those systems. We
know that non-prot culture can often default to white superiority norms, credentialism, and capitalistic
hierarchy. To create research, discourse and creative environments that can hold, acknowledge,
celebrate and understand intersectional experiences, we'll use hiring guidelines that prioritize staff
that can operate from an anti-oppression lens with authentic connections to the communities we work
with, establishing culturally relevant accountability procedures, and cultivating decolonized forms of
engagement.
22
Building a relational culture in which folks are seen, heard & honored for their lived
experiences, contributions and unique strengths & perspectives is our imperative, responsibility and
honor.
Healing courage is a growing coalition of survivors committed to
addressing the toxic mythology around intimate violation, gender
violence and sexual harm, by centering the wisdom of survivors
and redening our collective approaches to Healing and justice.
22
references
ENDNOTES
1 BURT, M. R. (1980). CULTURAL MYTHS AND SUPPORTS FOR RAPE. JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL
PSYCHOLOGY, 38(2), 217–230. HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1037/0022-3514.38.2.217
2 "PERPETRATORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE: STATISTICS | RAINN." HTTPS://WWW.RAINN.ORG/STATISTICS/
PERPETRATORS-SEXUAL-VIOLENCE. ACCESSED 21 JUL. 2020.
3 VANDIVER, DONNA M., ET AL. SEX CRIMES AND SEX OFFENDERS: RESEARCH, AND REALITIES. ROUTLEDGE,
2017.
4 BUMBY, KURT M. “RAPE SCALE.” PSYCTESTS DATASET, 1996, DOI:10.1037/T07932-000.
5 MENAKEM, R. (2017). MY GRANDMOTHER'S HANDS: RACIALIZED TRAUMA AND THE PATHWAY TO MENDING OUR
HEARTS AND BODIES. UNITED STATES: CENTRAL RECOVERY PRESS.
6 “WHAT IS PATRIARCHAL VIOLENCE?” ISSUU, BLACK FEMINIST FUTURE, ABOLISHING PATRIARCHAL VIOLENCE
INNOVATION LAB, 27 JULY 2020, ISSUU.COM/BLACKFEMINISTFUTURE/DOCS/UNDERSTANDING_PATRIAR
CHAL_VIOLENCE.
7 ‘ESSENTIALLY, THOSE THREE MECHANISMS WORK IN INTEGRATED WAYS TO PRODUCE BOTH STABILITY AND
CHANGE IN THE HUMAN BRAIN.’
8 REISEL, DANIEL. “TOWARDS A NEUROSCIENCE OF MORALITY.” PSYCHOLOGY OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE:
MANAGING THE POWER WITHIN, EDITED BY THEO GAVRIELIDES, GARLAND SCIENCE, 2017, PP. 49–64.
9 HAMMOND, ZARETTA. “CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING & THE BRAIN.” TEACHING CHANNEL, 20 OCT.
2016, WWW.TEACHINGCHANNEL.COM/BLOG/CULTURALLY-RESPONSIVE-TEACHING-BRAIN.
A CONVERSATION ABOUT INSTRUCTIONAL EQUITY WITH ZARETTA HAMMOND.” CENTER FOR THE
COLLABORATIVE CLASSROOM, 2 FEB. 2021, WWW.COLLABORATIVECLASSROOM.ORG/BLOG/A-CONVERSATION-
ABOUT-INSTRUCTIONAL-EQUITY-WITH-ZARETTA-HAMMOND/.
MCCANDLISS , BRUCE. “PUTTING NEUROSCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM: HOW THE BRAIN CHANGES AS WE
LEARN.” PUTTING NEUROSCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM HOW THE BRAIN CHANGES AS WE LEARN | THE PEW
CHARITABLE TRUSTS, 13 APR. 2020, WWW.PEWTRUSTS.ORG/EN/TREND/ARCHIVE/SPRING-2020/PUTTING-
NEUROSCIENCE-IN-THE-CLASSROOM-HOW-THE-BRAIN-CHANGES-AS-WE-LEARN.
PARKER-MCGOWAN, QUANNAH. “5 WAYS NEUROSCIENCE IS IMPACTING THE CLASSROOM.” NORTHEASTERN
COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES, 12 MAY 2016, CPS.NORTHEASTERN.EDU/NEWS/5-WAYS-
NEUROSCIENCE-IMPACTING-CLASSROOM/.
23
HC a growing coalition of survivors
,
wisdom of survivors to redefine
OUR collective approaches to
Healing and justice.
Drawing from progressive
educational pedagogies and
transformative justice practices,
we mobilize in 3 ARENAS
10 PEARCE, JO AND CHRIS HUSBANDS. WHAT MAKES GREAT PEDAGOGY? NINE CLAIMS FROM RESEARCH.
NATIONAL COLLEGE FOR SCHOOL LEADERSHIP, 2012, PP. 2-3.
11 KENDALL, MIKKI. HOOD FEMINISM: NOTES FROM THE WOMEN THAT A MOVEMENT FORGOT. VIKING, 2020.
12 ZEHR, HOWARD. THE LITTLE BOOK OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: A BESTSELLING BOOK BY ONE OF THE
FOUNDERS OF THE MOVEMENT. GOOD BOOKS, 2014.
13 CAMPBELL, REBECCA, ET AL. “AN ECOLOGICAL MODEL OF THE IMPACT OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ON WOMEN'S
MENTAL HEALTH.” TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE, VOL. 10, NO. 3, 2009, PP. 225–246.,
DOI:10.1177/1524838009334456.
14 MCGLYNN, CLARE, AND NICOLE WESTMARLAND. “KALEIDOSCOPIC JUSTICE: SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND
VICTIM-SURVIVORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF JUSTICE.” SOCIAL & LEGAL STUDIES, VOL. 28, NO. 2, 2018, PP. 179–
201., DOI:10.1177/0964663918761200.
15 CAMPBELL, REBECCA, AND SHEELA RAJA. “SECONDARY VICTIMIZATION OF RAPE VICTIMS: INSIGHTS FROM
MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WHO TREAT SURVIVORS OF VIOLENCE.” VIOLENCE AND VICTIMS, VOL. 14,
NO. 3, 1999, PP. 261–275., DOI:10.1891/0886-6708.14.3.261.
16 MCGLYNN, CLARE, AND NICOLE WESTMARLAND. “KALEIDOSCOPIC JUSTICE: SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND
VICTIM-SURVIVORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF JUSTICE.” SOCIAL & LEGAL STUDIES, VOL. 28, NO. 2, 2018, PP. 179–
201., DOI:10.1177/0964663918761200.
17 MCGLYNN, CLARE, AND NICOLE WESTMARLAND. “KALEIDOSCOPIC JUSTICE: SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND
VICTIM-SURVIVORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF JUSTICE.” SOCIAL & LEGAL STUDIES, VOL. 28, NO. 2, 2018, PP. 179–
201., DOI:10.1177/0964663918761200.
18 BUCHWALD, EMILIE, ET AL. TRANSFORMING A RAPE CULTURE. MILKWEED EDITIONS, 2005.
HERMAN, DIANNE F. 1984. "THE RAPE CULTURE.” IN WOMEN: A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE, 3D ED., EDITED BY
JO FREEMAN, 45-53. MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA:MAYFIELD.
19 STERLING, CAROL, AND LLOYD VOGELMAN. “THE SEXUAL FACE OF VIOLENCE: RAPISTS ON RAPE.” AGENDA, NO.
6, 1990, P. 26., DOI:10.2307/4065538.
20 BAUM, MATTHEW A., ET AL. “DOES RAPE CULTURE PREDICT RAPE? EVIDENCE FROM U.S. NEWSPAPERS,
2000–2013.” QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, VOL. 13, NO. 3, 2018, PP. 263–289.,
DOI:10.1561/100.00016124.
21 RESNICK, BRIAN. “HOW TO TALK SOMEONE OUT OF BIGOTRY.” VOX, VOX, 29 JAN. 2020, WWW.VOX.
COM/2020/1/29/21065620/BROOCKMAN-KALLA-DEEP-CANVASSING.
22 GOENS-BRADLEY, SHARON. “BREAKING RACISM'S INSIDIOUS GRIP ON RESTORATIVE PRACTICES: A CALL FOR
WHITE ACTION.” COLORIZING RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: VOICING OUR REALITIES, BY EDWARD CHARLES
VALANDRA AND ROBERT YAZZIE, LIVING JUSTICE PRESS, 2020.
24
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