Towards Thriving Cover

February 8, 2018

Many years ago, Tarana Burke launched a movement to resist male dominance, abuse and harassment. Her voice was not given the dignity it deserved until recently, when a prominent white actress used her exact words, #MeToo. The complexities surrounding this movement are endless, but one thread remains remarkably simple: “Men can and must do better.”

As a man full of his own flaws and complexities, I met #MeToo with many emotions but have arrived at gratitude. #MeToo is an opportunity to raise the bar for all men, including myself. We must do better.

We must do better in our relationships with women and people of all genders. We must listen to women, especially women of color like Tarana Burke, who have spoken up and been ignored or blamed. In other arenas, men are able to reflect on their successes and identify areas of improvement. We can and do strive for excellence and we must value women as we do our careers and “achievements.”

Many men, including myself, have responded to #MeToo with defensiveness and hesitance. We have frequently responded to the voices, making assumptions about the stories and the motivations of the women telling them. We have blamed women for speaking up, stating that “women are violent too.” We have made excuses for men’s behavior, affirming that they really do have “respect” for women.

I invite all of us to interrupt these reactions and simply take this opportunity to reflect on our individual and collective behaviors as men — and embrace that “respect” is also a verb. Women make mistakes too. This does not exempt us from our responsibility in this moment to own our mistakes and expect more from each other as fellow men.

Let us move this conversation beyond what is illegal and what is not. We are capable of doing better without demonizing ourselves and other men. The complexities of #MeToo also include an opportunity to breathe, reflect and challenge ourselves into a new way of being as men.

Recently, we have tried to label some behaviors as just “bad,” others as criminal, and excuse some altogether. To accept that we can do better does not mean that we must condemn ourselves. I hear men speak of accountability every day. We are long overdue in expecting this of ourselves. I hope we learn to listen to the voices of #MeToo with love and gratitude, rather than defensiveness and contempt. Is this perfect? No. And neither are we.

My beautiful, precious nephew is 2 years old. I don’t know if he will choose to date women in his life. If he does, I will expect his standard of respect to be much higher than criminal behavior and his motivation for that respect to be genuine. I will expect him to reflect on his own attitudes and behaviors. I invite all my fellow men to hold him, themselves — and most certainly me — to that standard. #WeCanDoBetter.

– Bryan Lyda

Bryan Lyda_Staff Photo_2017

Bryan Lyda
208-284-1622 (cell)

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Engaging Allies
  • Youth Engagement
  • Reaching Marginalized Communities

Legislative Updates

Idaho CapitolDecember 2017, I returned to the Idaho Coalition as the Director of Law & Policy after a 4-year stint at Boise State University. In that role, I manage the Idaho Coalition’s policy agenda, including staying up to date on national, state, and local legislative and regulatory issues.

The 2018 Session of the Idaho Legislature is now in full swing. This Session, the Idaho Coalition has not sought to introduce any legislation, however, there are several proposals that Idaho Coalition is tracking.

Proposals that the Idaho Coalition support include:

  • House Bill 408, seeks to amend existing law to provide freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (known as Add the Words). This bill was introduced on January 25 and is currently awaiting a hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee. If given a hearing, the Idaho Coalition will provide testimony in support based on this bill’s alignment with the Idaho Coalition’s Shared Purpose and North Star.
  • House Bill 414, seeks to amend existing law to update the definition of sex education established in the 1970s. This bill defines sex education as the “study of … anatomy and physiology of human reproduction; and … the development of healthy relationships” (emphasis added). This bill was introduced on January 25 and is currently awaiting a hearing in the House Education Committee. The Idaho Coalition will testify in support of this bill if it is given a hearing based on the most recent Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey results which reveled Idaho rates of sexual violence are higher than national rates.
  • House Bill 429, seeks to amend the existing law regarding payment of sexual assault forensic exams to provide for full payment by the state for exams on adult victims. The Idaho Coalition will testify in support of this bill at a hearing held in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee on February 13. Testimony will focus around reducing barriers to seeking services and reporting following an assault, particularly for survivors between the ages of 18 and 26 who may still be on their parent’s health insurance. The bill was introduced by Idaho Coalition Board Member, Rep. Melissa Wintrow on January 26, 2018.
  • House Joint Resolution 5, proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Idaho that provides for equitable rights and responsibilities based on sex.

Proposals the Idaho Coalition opposes include:

  • House Bill 426, seeks to add to existing law to provide for government obligations to protect crime victims. This bill was introduced on January 26 as an apparent statutory alternative to Marsy’s Law (see below). While this bill addresses some of the concerns the Idaho Coalition has with Marsy’s law (for example, it tightens the definition of victim and proposes a statutory change instead of a Constitutional amendment), it does not address the underlying issue which is that this was not a need identified by Idaho crime victims in a needs assessment conducted by the Boise State University Department of Criminal Justice. It is also unclear why the proposal is drafted as a new section of law rather than an amendment to the Idaho Crime Victim Rights Act. The Idaho Coalition will continue to voice concerns regarding this legislation, while being clear that it supports victims of crime being afforded rights. The bill is currently awaiting a hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee.
  • House Bill 438, seeks to amend existing laws regarding child custody to provide that certain mental injuries (including parental alienation) constitute child custody interference (a misdemeanor) and to include custody decrees in a maintained database. The Idaho Coalition opposes this proposal as it requires parents fleeing from imminent physical harm to provide “written proof … from a credible source.” Specific credible sources are listed (law enforcement, courts, physicians) and do not include domestic violence programs, social workers, or other supportive services. This bill was introduced on January 26 and is currently awaiting a hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee.
  • House Bill 444, seeks to amend criminal laws regarding homicide to justify the use of deadly force in certain circumstances (also known as the Stand Your Ground law). In the past, similar bills have been used to justify the murder of individuals, particularly individuals of color. It also does not provide an affirmative defense for victims of domestic violence who resort to self-defense in the home as it carves out an exemption for force used against a person who has a legal right to be in a location. This bill was introduced on January 30 and is awaiting a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee.
  • Marsy’s Law (not yet introduced), seeks to amend the crime victim’s rights afforded in the Idaho State Constitution. The Idaho Coalition opposes this proposition for several reasons, including the fact that it is a constitutional amendment (versus a statutory change), has a broad definition of victim which may have the unintended consequence of less weight accorded to the needs and wishes of direct victims of crime, and does not address the needs identified by victims in the Idaho crime victims needs assessment conducted by researchers from Boise State University. It is expected that Marsy’s Law will be introduced on February 9, 2018.

Additional proposals the Idaho Coalition is following, and other bills of interest are:

  • House Bill 360, seeks to amend existing law to provide that a person convicted of attempted strangulation undergo evaluation, counseling, and other treatment. This bill was introduced on January 16, passed in the House (69-0-1) on January 29, 2018, and was referred to Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee on January 30, 2018. The Idaho Coalition generally supports this legislation.
  • House Bill 377, seeks to amend law to make any sexual conduct or contact with a prostitute a felony for the patron. This bill is currently in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee awaiting a committee hearing. The Idaho Coalition is researching this matter more.
  • House Bill 398, seeks to add to the existing law the Youth Mental Health Protection Act to provide for professional standards violations and enforcement for professionals who perform conversion therapy and to prohibit the use of state funds therefore. The bill was introduced on January 24 and is currently awaiting a hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee. The Idaho Coalition generally supports this legislation.
  • House Bill 430, seeks to amend the existing crime victim address confidentially law to include victims of stalking, human trafficking and malicious harassment and allows for additional types of mail to be processed through the system. The bill was introduced in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee on January 26 and is currently awaiting a hearing. The Idaho Coalition generally supports this legislation.
  • House Joint Resolution 5, proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Idaho that provides for equitable rights and responsibilities based on sex. This resolution was introduced by Board member, Rep. Melissa Wintrow, on January 24, and is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee. The Idaho Coalition generally supports this legislation.
  • House Joint Resolution 6, proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Idaho to repeal the provision that bans same-sex marriage to align the State Constitution with the United States Constitution as interpreted by the US Supreme Court. This bill was introduced on January 24 and is currently in the House Ways & Means Committee. The Idaho Coalition generally supports this legislation.
  • Senate Bill 1269, seeks to add to and amend existing criminal law to provide for the crimes of sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery. At this point the Idaho Coalition is further reviewing this legislation. The bill was introduced February 6, and is currently out for printing.

As the session continues, I will provide updates (as necessary to the information provided above). If you have any questions about the proposals included in this summary or why the Idaho Coalition is taking a particular stance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Furthermore, if you are aware of other relevant legislative proposals not highlighted today, please email or call me to let me know.

Thanks, and best regards in the new year! – Annie

Annie Pelletier_Staff Photo_2017
Annie Pelletier or 208-389-8050 (cell)

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Legal Questions
  • Legislative Updates
  • Sexual Assault/Title IX

Anti-Oppression Training

Pupils at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Pennsylvania (c. 1900).

The Idaho Coalition collaborated with Coeur d’Alene Tribal STOP Violence Program and Safe Passages to host an anti-oppression training in Worley, ID. This training was one of three trainings implemented throughout the state of Idaho. In 2017, an anti-oppression training was implemented in Twin Falls, and another training in Nampa and both trainings were facilitated by Ruby White-Starr from Casa de Esperanza with a focus on serving the Latinx community. The training held last week focused on serving the Native American community. All of the anti-oppression trainings support the Idaho Thriving Families grant.

The training held last week, was facilitated by Ms. Giacci a Diné woman and an anti-sexual and domestic violence training specialist and advocate for American Indian and Alaska Native people. She has over 28 years of experience in the violence against women field. Elena dedicates her time to the subject of historical trauma, oppression, and violence against women. She attributes her knowledge in advocacy to the numerous women and children who have honored her with their stories and friendship. The anti-oppression training covered current and past dynamics of historical trauma and its effects on the individual, children, family, and community. The training also included resiliency and healing. Ms. Giacci spent time talking about the contentious relationship between the U.S. Government and Native American communities, for example, The Trail of Tears, Massacre at Sandy Creek, and boarding schools. These and additional historical events continue to negatively impact the Native American community and impact how the Native Americans interact with non-native organizations.

To better serve tribal communities, organizations need to keep in mind how Native American communities are often invisible from the national discourse on racism and oppression, and that healing and trust takes a long time. The purpose of these trainings is to improve systems and responses to abused parents and their children from underserved populations through the integration of a comprehensive, anti-oppression, and social equity framework to achieve positive change in organizations that serve abused parents and their children exposed to domestic violence.

– Mercedes Munoz

Mercedes Munoz_Staff Photo_2017
Mercedes Munoz or 208-685-9286 (cell)

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Gender Equity
  • Systems Change work
  • Grants: ID Thriving Families, Project Catalyst (previously known as Improving Health Through Violence Prevention), and DELTA FOCUS

Story Share Challenge

We choose a world where everyone is valued, where everyone is safe, and where everyone can thrive. It all starts by telling your story.

Everyone has a story. When was the last time you told your story? When was the last time someone told you their story? How can storytelling lead to empathy and understanding? Between February and March 23rd, we invite you to encourage Idaho students in 9th – 12th grade to participate in the Story Share Challenge to build empathy and understanding in your school and community! We encourage you and your staff to connect with high schools in your area and partner with educators to facilitate the Story Share Challenge. The following categories have the opportunity to win money: schools, class or clubs, and individuals win money!

Download the Rules and Teacher’s Guide for more information on the themes and how to submit. For any questions, please contact

Executive Director’s Learning Community

We are excited to bring in Sandra Henriquez, Executive Director California Coalition to End Sexual Assault to share her experiences on the prevention and response to sexual assault.


  • March 7th: 1:00 – 5:00 – Pre-convening of new Executive Directors five years or less experience
  • March 7th: Evening – Group dinner for any arrivals
  • March 8th: 9:00 – 4:00 – Executive Directors convening

Register today.

Training & Events

Pushout: A Conversation with Monique W. Morris on the Criminalization of Girls of Color in Schools
Thursday, February 8th 2018
BSU, Student Union Building, Special Events Center
Free and open to the public
Monique Morris, Ed.D. is an author and co-founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute and an award-winning author and social justice scholar with nearly three decades of experience in education, civil rights, juvenile and social justice. Dr. Morris is the author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (The New Press, 2016).

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) regional training
In an effort to assist victims of sexual assaults in confinement settings, the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association would like to invite advocates to attend free Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) regional training funded by STOP Violence Against Women Grant 2016-WF-AX-0044 PREA set-aside. The 6 hour course will be held twice in each location.

  • Feb. 14 & 15, 2018: Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, 605 N. Capitol, Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Feb. 27 & 28 2018: Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office, 1150 Wall St. Lewiston, Idaho
  • March 13 & 14, 2018: Vendome Events Center, 309 State Street, Weiser, ID

Registration information is available on the website

Building Collaborative Responses to Trafficked Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
March 6-8, 2018 in Atlanta, GA
Learn More and Apply Here (Deadline January 31)

This 2.5 day training will provide participants with effective skills on how to identify and assist domestic violence and sexual assault victims who may also be human trafficking victims/survivors.This training will focus on improving collaborative responses to adult/youth foreign-born trafficked victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Presented by: Futures Without Violence, in partnership with U. S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

For more information, please check out the following flyer. To apply online, please visit

Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Engaging Voices Website StoreReminder that shipping for all material orders made by Programs on the Idaho Coalition website store is FREE of cost, please use the below coupon for all orders.

Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order. For store questions, please contact Lacey Sinn.

Coupon Code