Towards Thriving Cover

March 5, 2019

Welcome to March! Here’s to sunny spring days. As you may know, last week OWN and HBO debuted a documentary called Leaving Neverland, which focuses on two men’s allegations of child sexual assault by Michael Jackson. As local programs may experience an increase in services or phone calls in the coming days related to the documentary, we thought we’d pass along some tips and information if you or your staff choose to watch the documentary. The following tips are provided by Indira Henard, Executive Director of the DC Rape Crisis Center:

  • This documentary centers childhood sexual abuse in a way that we have not seen or heard before. It leaves nothing to the Imagination. Self-care and support during and after the viewing of this will be extremely important. Additionally, the documentary is very raw and graphic. Please do not watch it alone. Take very good care of yourself, you won’t feel the effect until it is completely over and you have to sit with its impact on you.
  • The film is broken in two parts, but it is four hours long. You will need to talk about it afterward and have ways to release the energy and emotions that will build in your body without you knowing; especially if you are a survivor of some form of gender-based violence, or are a partner, parent, or sibling thereof.
  • This documentary will take you on an emotional roller-coaster ride. Be compassionate with yourself and others as you go through the spectrum of emotions. From blaming, to shame, to guilt, to disbelief, to resentment, to grieving, sadness, anger and rage.
  • Know that it is okay to go through the stages of grief, denial (That really didn’t happen.) , anger (blaming the parents for knowing better), bargaining (But it was Michael Jackson and maybe?), depression (What am I supposed to do with this now? How do I shift my story of who Michael Jackson was for me? Where do I place my feelings?) and finally acceptance. And then well into the third hour, when you finally think you’ve got it together, this cycle will start all over again because you will move from the information in documentary to how it applies to your personal life experience.
  • Notes for reflection – Not everyone who has been abused calls it abuse; sometimes people love their abusers. It’s okay to grieve the love in the abuse, abuse is not always ugly or look a certain way. Grooming is real, and it starts way before the perpetrator meets you.
  • Remember, if you are a survivor or close to a survivor – it was not your fault, you didn’t deserve it, it is okay to be angry, you are worthy, loving and you are not alone!
  • National resources are available if you know someone who has been a victim of childhood sexual abuse or people who may need resources on childhood sexual abuse – @MeTooMVMT, @1in6org, @Darkness2Light, @ItsOnUs, @SafeHorizon, @ChildhoodUSA, @MosacMoms, @RAINN.

Thank you again to Indira for providing these helpful tips. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or needs regarding the documentary or support for providing services to survivors of sexual violence.

Annie Pelletier Hightower

Annie Pelletier Hightower

Reach out to me for:

  • Law and Policy
  • Legislative Updates
  • Title IX

Program Spotlight: Family Services Alliance

FSA DID group artworkAt Family Services Alliance of SE Idaho, we facilitate a therapeutic group named “We DID it!” for individuals who identify as experiencing Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). DID is characterized by a disruption in identity in which a person experiences more than one personality states. This experience of perceiving the self as multiple others typically occurs as the result of chronic childhood trauma. Dissociative Identity Disorder is often referred to as DID. We love the creativity and empowerment in the name “We DID it!” We are in awe of the resiliency, strength, and kindness that these group members share with us as they meet together. The puzzle that they created is packed full of meaning and they would like us to share a little bit about their process in creating this piece.

The tree represents a single individual with distinct identifying features. Each of the four seasons is present on the tree, representing the division of self that is often experienced by individuals with DID. The seasons are not in order, because at times parts of the self appear random or chaotic. The use of a tree is also significant in it’s representation of infinite potential for growth and steadiness through difficult experiences. This piece expresses their present experience of endless potential and forward motion as they choose who they want to be now.

The central message of the piece is the heart within the trunk, symbolizing the compassion that the group observes within themselves. We could not agree more! While DID is characterized by the American Psychiatric Association as a disorder, we know them to be powerful individuals whose capacity for compassion has been strengthened by their experiences.

The hive positioned in the middle of the tree is also informative, representing both the conscious and unconscious mind. The hive creates safety for the community as a whole and each individual bee brings unique life-sustaining talents to the community. Like the puzzle itself, each part is different but fits together perfectly.

Several months went in to the planning and execution of this piece and sharing it with you is one of the ways that the We DID It group is advocating for the de-stigmatizing and empowerment of trauma survivors.

– Sarah O’Banion, Executive Director
Family Services Alliance

Legislative Update: Child Marriage Bill Defeated

Child marriage bill done for this year, but will come back next year

From winter 2018 and into late February 2019, the Idaho Coalition worked closely with Representative Melissa Wintrow to introduce legislation that would prohibit the marriage of anyone under 16 in the state. Unfortunately, the bill was defeated on the house floor on February 27.

The bill was aimed at lowering child marriage rates in Idaho, while aligning Idaho marriage laws with statutory rape laws. The proposed language:

  • Prohibited marriage license to be issues for minors under 16 years old.
  • Required both parent/guardian and court approval for minors ages 16-17. Currently, courts only need to review applications for marriage licenses if the child is under 16.
  • Required the court to make an assessment that the marriage would be in the best interest of society and the child, including a finding that the minor child freely consented to the marriage. The current law does not require that the minor consent and when a court is involved in review (for licenses for those under 16), the court must find only that the marriage is in the best interest of society. This addition would bring the law into alignment of other laws related to minors in which the “best interest of the child” is the determining factor.
  • Required that for minors aged 16 or 17, the other party to the proposed marriage must be within 3 years. This language was included to ensure alignment with our sexual assault and minor sexual abuse laws.

We have already started brainstorming additional changes we would like to see made to this law and strategies that may be used next year to create sufficient momentum for a bill to be reintroduced next year. We will keep you updated on our progress.

Annie Pelletier Hightower

Annie Pelletier Hightower

Reach out to me for:

  • Law and Policy
  • Legislative Updates
  • Title IX

Accessing SASP Emergency Funds

As a reminder, we would like to again highlight the availability of SASP emergency assistance funds. Funds are allocated to provide support to individuals impacted by sexual assault.

Funds may be accessed by Idaho Coalition member programs, those who receive SASP funds, as-well-as program members who do not currently receive SASP funds.

We also recognize that many victims/survivors of sexual assault may not access crisis centers and may be interacting with community organizations and agencies who are working with individuals with disabilities, culturally specific agencies, or with LGBTQ organizations. These organizations may reach out to you looking for support and resources, please know that they may also access these funds when looking to provide emergency support to individuals impacted by sexual assault.

Emergency assistance may include, but is not limited to: counseling, medical assistance, rental or employment assistance, civil legal assistance or other approved expenses related to the victimization.

Please click here to review current SASP emergency funds guidelines.

If you have any questions regarding SASP Emergency Assistance Funds or how to submit a request, please contact Lacey.

Lacey Sinn

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • SASP
  • Transitional Housing
  • Idaho Coalition Store and Materials Orders
  • Training & Events

    Growing Your Evaluation Practice: Introducing the Building Evidence Toolkit webinar
    Thursday, March 14, 2019 | 12:30 – 2 pm PST; 1:30 – 3 pm MST

    Community-based domestic violence organizations find themselves at the front-line of the fight to pursue social justice. However, there is often a disconnect between the front-line work and larger understanding for what practices work and how. This webinar will present an evaluation toolkit that was developed to bridge the practice to research gap by putting the tools of evaluation into the hands of domestic violence organizations.

    The Building Evidence Toolkit is a free, bilingual, online tool created to strengthen the evaluation capacity of Latino community-based organizations (CBOs) working in the field of domestic violence. It was developed in partnership with four CBOs each working with unique Latino communities in the United States.

    The Toolkit highlights participatory and culturally responsive approaches to evaluation. It is divided into sections that correspond to the different phases of the evaluation process to guide people with different levels of evaluation expertise and utilizes a cooking analogy to explain the steps involved in a program evaluation. The presenters will walk attendees through the toolkit introducing them to its different components and uses.

    Presenter(s): Dr. Rebecca Rodriguez and Dr. Josephine V. Serrata

    Zoom Info:
    Call-In Info: +1 669 900 6833 OR +1 646 876 9923
    Webinar ID: 592 670 975

    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.

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