Our guest today is Jordyn Lawson, senior director of Residential Services at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support. Ms. Lawson supervises both the emergency shelter and Annie’s House transitional living program at the organization and has worked in the field of domestic violence and trauma recovery for over 12 years, conducting individual and group counseling services for women, adolescents, and children. She has a passion for ending domestic violence and helping those who have experienced the pain of trauma heal and grow. Content warnings for this episode include: physical and emotional abuse (2020).
Amy Jones is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and the CEO of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center- an organization that provides counseling, crisis intervention and advocacy for those whose lives have been affected by sexual violence. Our conversation today focuses on Rape Culture, a concept that first surfaced in the 1970s, notably in the publication of the work “Rape: The First Sourcebook for Women,” put forth by the New York Radical Feminists Collective in 1974, and then further explored in depth in the 1975 documentary Rape Culture. The term Rape Culture remains popular still, and recent films like Duma (doo-muh) have explored the impact of rape culture around the world. Today, Rape Culture is broadly defined as sexual violence being treated as the norm, wherein victims are blamed for their own sexual assaults. Over the past several decades the discussion of rape culture has endured and become more organized and may have finally found a collective, universal voice within the #MeToo movement which is becoming an effective catalyst for changing how we as a society think about rape and women’s rights (2020).
Research shows that abusers with a gun in the home are five times more likely to kill their partners than abusers who don’t have that same access to a gun, yet Federal law prohibits convicted domestic violence abusers, as well as those subject to certain protective orders, from possessing guns. Our guest today is United States Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. Sworn into office in November 2017, Ms. Nealy Cox is the chief federal law enforcement officer in the Northern District of Texas, which covers 100 counties, more than 96,000 square miles, and a population of approximately 8 million people. Appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she is responsible for bringing to justice anyone who violates federal law in her district and chairs the recently formed Domestic Violence Working Group. The working group, comprised of nine U.S. attorneys from across the country, including officials from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and California, shares best practices for prosecuting domestic abusers, gun crimes, and provides guidance on how to work with local law enforcement agencies and nonprofits with the ultimate goal of reducing incidences of domestic violence. Content warnings for this episode include: physical violence and abuse (2020).
With the advent of a COVID-19 pandemic, the gap between technology and humanity has narrowed further as we now find technology to be one of our few lifelines to the world outside of our own homes. We are quickly learning that, while technology can provide immediate access to lifesaving information and opportunities of all kinds, it can also confuse, confound, and concern. Today’s episode focuses on safely integrating technology into our lives as we simultaneously navigate the trauma of living through a pandemic. Our guests are Myra and Russell Strand, co-founders of Strand Squared, a training and consulting agency with the mission to “dramatically shift the cultural paradigm in order to improve society’s response to individuals who have experienced trauma, victimization, and other complex experiences.” Myra Strand has been working with survivors of complex trauma with a special emphasis on professional health as it relates to organizational trauma for 30 years. She was previously a faculty member at Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College where she taught issues of violence, sexuality, and applied intersectionality for over a decade. Russell Strand is a retired Senior Special Agent (SSA) in the United States Army Criminal Investigations Command as well as retired Chief of the U.S. Army Military Police Behavioral Sciences Education & Training Division and the founder and owner of Russell Strand Consulting, LLC. He was selected by the Secretary of Defense to serve on the Congressionally-mandated Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Committee as a member of the Comparative Systems Subcommittee (2020).
Gretta Gordy Gardner is the Deputy Director for Ujima., Inc.: a project of the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence at The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community. An attorney, Ms. Gardner’s career as a legal advisor for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking was inspired by her early work as a prosecutor in the Domestic Violence Unit of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. She has worked for over two decades to help shape guidelines, policies, and procedures that jurisdictions can use to end intimate partner violence and develop best practices for prevention and intervention in legal systems and community-based programs, which includes training and education on implicit bias. Today’s episode explores intersectionality, a concept introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw, that provides a theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities (e.g., gender, race, class, sexuality, ability etc.) might combine to create unique modes of discrimination. Content warnings for this episode include: physical and sexual violence (2020).
Andrea Zaferes is a medicolegal death investigator who specializes in the handling of aquatic cases from the crime scene to the courtroom. Recognized in multiple jurisdictions and by the U.S. Army as an expert witness in bodies-found-in-water and aquatic death investigations, Zaferes has trained dive teams, law enforcement, medical examiners, and many others for over 30 years. A member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Andrea is also an author, public speaker, and a regular presenter at the Conference on Crimes Against Women. This episode focuses on Aquatic Abuse Homicide– cases that often appear at first as tragic accidents, aquatic homicide is a pattern of homicidal activity that occurs more often than one might realize. Today, aquatic homicide is a well-honed field of investigation that requires both specific training and crime scene methodology. Content warnings for this episode include: Physical violence, child abuse, sexual violence, drug/alcohol abuse, suicide/self-harm (2020).
Kelsey McKay is a nationally recognized expert on strangulation who developed a critical protocol for strangulation and domestic violence response and treatment. A former prosecutor from Travis County Texas, McKay founded McKay Training & Consulting to collaborate with leaders in fields of law enforcement in order to strengthen how communities collaborate, investigate, treat and prosecute strangulation and intimate partner cases. Her protocol – The Asphyxiation Assessment – is transforming the role of first responders in cases of crimes against women. This episode tackles the subject of strangulation – what it is, what it is not, and best practices in the fields of response, investigation, and prosecution. Content warnings for this episode include: abuse, physical and sexual violence (2020).
Award-winning journalist Rachel Louise Snyder examines the impact of her research in No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us a year post publishing. An outspoken journalist on issues of domestic violence, Ms. Snyder’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times magazine, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the New Republic, and others. No Visible Bruises was awarded the prestigious 2018 Lukas Work-in-Progress Award from the Columbia School of Journalism and Harvard’s Nieman Foundation. Content warnings for this episode include: abuse, suicide/self-harm, and violence (2020).
It is well-documented that women in tribal communities experience a significantly higher rate of domestic violence and human trafficking throughout the United States. To confront that reality, tribal communities have established organizations dedicated to understanding and implementing the law to better protect women and prevent these criminal acts. Another approach to supporting and empowering tribal women is through advocacy organizations like the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition- a statewide tribal coalition and a national tribal technical assistance provider, providing support, advocacy, and activities that utilize traditional teaching and other cultural strengths to encourage healing, build resilience, and counter the normalization of violence against tribal women. Joining the conversation is Nicole Matthews. Nicole is Anishinabe from the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and is the Executive Director for the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, where she has been employed since 2002. MIWSAC is a statewide Tribal Coalition and a national Tribal Technical Assistance Provider (2020).
Rebecca Bender is the founder and CEO of the Rebecca Bender Initiative. She is an award-winning, nationally recognized expert on human trafficking who escaped nearly six years of modern-day slavery evolving into an author, speaker, trainer and leader in human trafficking. Christine Cesa is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary with a Masters in Intercultural Studies with Children at Risk who serves as survivor advocate with CAST LA and Dignity Health responding to victims of violence and providing emergency services to survivors of human trafficking in the healthcare system. A survivor of commercial sexual exploitation of children, specifically familial trafficking, Christine is a survivor leader whose work includes training, curriculum development and partnering with anti-trafficking organizations in Los Angeles. Content warnings for this episode include sexual abuse (2020).