Towards Thriving Cover

April 28, 2016

In the last few years, the Idaho Coalition has been using the term gender violence in place of legal definitions like sexual assault, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. We believe the framework of gender violence sparks deeper conversations about the root causes of domination and violence. When we talk about gender violence, we can challenge the dominant narrative and social norms that pre-assigns gender roles, values, and makes assumptions of power and powerlessness. Our society has traditionally supported two gender identities, man (masculine) and woman (feminine) and expects all of us to fit the role we are assigned. We also live in a world where men are more valued and are given more power than any other gender. These forces lead to alarming rates of violence against women, girls, and all genders which are oppressed.

We know that not everyone in Idaho has surrendered to the beliefs, values and behaviors connected to the root causes of violence, and have their own personal stories about the moments of consciousness that changed the ways we believe, live, and act. Many of these personal stories came to life last week during the Our Gender Revolution Power of Words when over 400 middle school and high school students from around the state – Moscow, Fruitland, Burley, and more – came together to read their poems. The authors explored multiple themes: What would the world be like if we were all truly equal to each other? Do you think that boys and men are more valued than women and girls? What happens when boys and men are seen as more powerful than girls and women?

One by one we cannot only re-imagine, but we can create a world without violence, a world where everyone can thrive and reach their real potential.

Towards thriving,
Kelly Miller
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence


Sexual Assault Civil Legal Services

Woman2 Anyone who is sexually assaulted may experience legal problems directly related to the sexual assault. These problems arise because the survivor often knows the person who committed the sexual assault – a co-worker, professor, classmate, neighbor or friend. Through an OVW Legal Assistance to Victims grant, the Idaho Coalition awarded a contract to Idaho Legal Aid Services to provide fee legal services to individuals who are sexually assaulted. When your program is providing services to anyone who is sexually assaulted, be sure to refer them to your local Idaho Legal Aid Services office if the survivor has any concerns about safety, privacy, education, immigration status, employment, housing or financial security, or negotiating the criminal justice system.

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Trauma Healing Practices for Sexual Assault Survivors

Healing from sexual violence can be a difficult process and community and tribal sexual assault services programs can have an important role in this journey. Many individuals who seek services from programs have experienced multiple forms of trauma. When programs are grounded in the understanding of this trauma and offer trauma healing practices, the services are both anticipative of and responsive to that trauma.

The impact of trauma is often first felt within the body itself. It may be very difficult for individuals who are sexual assaultWoman3 survivors to verbalize their thoughts and feelings and many disconnect from their emotions and physical sensations in an attempt to create safety. Sexual assault support group curricula like Circle of Hope are trauma-informed approaches.

We are learning that our mind-body-spirit are connected, each impacts the other. Sexual assault can affect an individual’s whole being. By working on and restoring one part, all parts benefit. Trauma healing approaches can help survivors reconnect to their mind, body and spirit and heal. Sexual assault programs across the country and here in Idaho are expanding beyond traditional support group curriculum, to offer a range of healing practices:

  • Breathing – When survivors focus on their breath, they can think more clearly, have more control of their actions or reactions, and restore their energy. Show survivors how to breathe low and slow: The stronger and most restorative breath comes from breathing low in the body, from below the belly button, rather than high in the chest. The inhale should fill their belly and the exhale should be long and s-l-o-w.
  • Yoga, Tai chi or other physical movement exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Energy work
  • Meditation
  • Nutrition or mindful food preparation
  • Art and music-based programs or journaling
  • Indigenous and/or culturally Specific healing practices such as drumming, integrating traditional healers or using traditional Latino healing such as curanderismo
A trauma healing practice embodies an individual’s history and the entire context of their lived experience. The individual, the event, and the environmental factors all shape reactions to both the trauma and the healing process. A trauma healing practice focuses on resilience and understands survivors within their familial, social, and the community contexts and experiences.Core principles of trauma-informed practices include[1]:

  • Safety – Enhancing physical and emotional safety
  • Trust – Maximizing trustworthiness, making tasks clear, maintaining appropriate boundaries
  • Choice- Prioritizing survivor choice and decision making; supporting survivors’ control over their own healing journey
  • Collaboration- Maximizing collaborating and sharing power with survivors
  • Empowerment- Identifying strengths, prioritizing building skills that promote healing and growth
  • Cultural Competence- Ensuring cultural applicability of services and options; sensitivity to the role of culture in lived experience and decision making

As we move towards trauma healing practices, our services can adapt to address the mind-body-spirit as well. In indigenous and/or culturally specific communities, a trauma healing practice approach also recognizes that the healers within community must be part of any approach to healing trauma.

For more information review the Building Cultures of Care resource below or contact Jennifer Landhuis or Melissa Ruth for onsite training on trauma healing practices.

Jennifer Landhuis, MS, Director of Social Change

[1]Proffitt, B. (2010, December). Delivering trauma-informed services. Healing Hands, 14(6). Retrieved from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council:

All About Power Poses (How Striking a Super Hero Pose Positively Effects Your Brain)

Power Pose Twenty years ago an advocate encouraged me to try something so silly I almost didn’t bother trying it. She told me when I felt sad, depressed, lonely, or powerless, to plant my feet on the ground, open my arms wide, lift my chin, and hold that pose for just a few moments. It must have been a moment of desperation – but I finally tried it. And I couldn’t believe how it actually worked! Striking a power pose didn’t change me instantly, but it DID noticeably lift my spirits and my confidence little by little. From my first attempt, I felt better. More empowered to face challenges and be my own advocate. So, I kept “striking the pose” when I noticed sadness and low confidence creeping in. I tried to make it a daily practice. I put my hands in the air, feeling my arms stretch and my heart and mind opening to the goodness of the world and to my own strength. My spirits lifted through a powerful, confident stance.

Decades after striking my “first pose”, I learned the science behind this simple strategy. Just 2 minutes in this pose, or other power stances which you can learn about in this awesome TED Talk can boost your Testosterone and lower your Cortisol! Basically – more confidence and capacity to take risks (healthy risks like speaking up or trying something new) and less anxiety and fear.

What’s so awesome about this is it is easy to do. No training, resources, technology, or language are required! Only 2 minutes. And you can pose while sitting or standing. Heading into court? Power pose. Exchanging the kids with a “challenging” co-parent? Maybe power pose WITH the kids! Trying to make a difficult decision? Take time to Power Pose. Try it for yourself, share it with clients, your kids, and loved ones. Anyone who has been oppressed, experienced trauma, or wants to feel more confident and empowered can benefit from power posing. You ARE amazing. You deserve to feel that way!

Melissa Ruth, MS, LCPC

Contact Melissa Ruth.

Radical Self-Care

Breathe Low and Slooow

Are you aware of your breath right now?

How about now?

Did you know that over 90% of us are using less than 50% of our breathing capacity? Think about the last time you were anxious or stressed. Was your breath fast and shallow? High up in your chest? Could you not think properly or strategically? Our body will often exhibit signs of anxiety and stress before our mind even registers it!

By intentionally breathing slowly from low in our core and cultivating this practice on a regular basis, we become our most
powerful selves: physically AND mentally.

Today’s Challenge

Deepen Your Practice

Missed the first few challenges? No problem! Join our MEV directed self-care challenge today! Check out previous prompts below:

Prompt 3: Practice 20-20-20 Vision

Prompt 2: Stay Hydrated Regularly… With H2O!

Prompt 1: Ditch Habits & Create Practices

Training and Events

Idaho Victim Assistance Academy – IVAA

The Idaho Victim Assistance Academy is a unique academic IVAAopportunity involving multi-disciplinary professionals learning and leading together to better serve the needs of Idaho crime victims. This year’s Individual Academy is for professionals working with crime victims and will be held Tuesday June 7th – Thursday June 9th 2016 on the campus of Boise State University.

The IVAA is a theory-based academic curriculum. Individuals must apply in a team of 3-5 individuals comprised of individuals working together in their community on behalf of crime victims. Preference is given to multidisciplinary teams that are inclusive of organizations working alongside underserved populations (based on ethnicity or race, individuals with disabilities, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ).

Applications can be found on the Idaho Coalition website.

Closing Date EXTENDED: applications are due May 15th

Funding Opportunities

HHS FVPSA Grant Opportunity for Specialized Services for Abused Parents and their Children (Demonstration Project) 11 awards expected to be made
$410,000 – $600,000/year
2-year awards
Proposals due 6/27/2016