Towards Thriving Cover

April 6, 2017

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and provides an opportunity to engage in conversations in our communities about the devaluation and objectifying of girls, women and people who are gender nonconforming as among the root causes of sexual violence. Sadly, one of five, or 22% of Idaho female high school student (compared to 3% of male students) were “forced to do sexual things they did not want with someone they were dating or going out with during the past 12 months.” A rate 7% higher than the national average of 14%.We need to continue to work together to change the culture that objectifies and devalues girls and women. As part of our efforts, we are in conversations with the Office of the Attorney General, the State Department of Education, and other state-level advocacy organizations in hopes of creating a multi-disciplinary working group to address the underlying culture in Idaho that promotes discrimination, hate and violence based on gender, race, ability, or any identity – from the school locker room to the community. To bring survivors voices into the process, we want to gather stories from around the state and ask you to reach out to any individuals who are survivors of sexual assault to anonymously share their stories on this link. They are also welcome to call me directly at 208 284-1724.

We are also hosting A CALL TO MEN workshop on May 12th for Coaches and other men in our communities in partnership with Boise State University to build the knowledge of men and their role in ending gender violence. Encourage coaches and male influencers in your community to attend. More information on the event is below.

Finally, in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we are highlighting the winning selections from Idaho middle school and high school students this month from the Stories of Transformation Challenge on our Facebook. We are also hosting a Stories of Transformation event on April 6th for students in southwestern Idaho to read their poems. We encourage you to reach out to student authors in your communities to congratulate them for their efforts.

One of the writing prompts encouraged students to reflect on our understanding and experience of gender as socially and culturally constructed. As children, we learn what to be, think and do based on the gender we are assigned at birth and the culture we live in. Yet to be whole, we all need to have access to full range of human emotions and behaviors and to not be objectified or sexualized, regardless of our gender. One of the poems we would like to share was authored by a student from McCall Donnelly High School.

The Towel

Dripping with pool water,
My attempt to retrieve my towel cut short
By a man’s voice,
She’s too young to be dressing like that
Eyeing my water-logged swimsuit
My mom’s mouth tightens momentarily
But releases into a shrug.
I want her to talk back
To say that if I’m too young to be dressing like that
Than I’m too young to be sexualized.
But she says Nothing
And I, ashamed, cling to my towel.

Rose Hansen
McCall Donnelly High School
Melissa Coriell – Teacher

It is inspiring hope to see that the emerging generation sees the harm of objectifying and sexualizing girls and young women’s bodies. We hope to continue to spark these important conversations in our schools and communities.

We Choose All of Us,


Survey on Impact of Policy Changes Immigrant Survivors

Many community and tribal domestic and sexual violence programs have had a sharp decline in immigrant survivors of abuse or rape seeking services. In response to concerns about safety for survivors, NNEDV, Casa de Esperanza, API-GBV, Tahirih Justice Center, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline developed a survey for advocates and attorneys to help us better understand the impact of recent changes in immigration policy on survivors. We hope to be able to use the data to inform our policy work and media responses. Please forward the survey far and wide. The survey will close on Tuesday, April 25th. The survey can be accessed here:

A CALL TO MEN: Developing Men of Character & Promoting Healthy, Respectful Manhood

A CALL TO MEN logoA CALL TO MEN, Boise State University and the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence will host a FREE educational workshop where community members are empowered to build young men of character, to promote healthy, respectful manhood, and to decrease violence and discrimination against women and girls.

This workshop is modeled on the Healthy, Respectful Manhood / Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Prevention Training that A CALL TO MEN provides to the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), US Military and major colleges and universities across the country. A recent Washington Post article reported a 40 percent reduction in arrests in the NFL last year. NFL executives attribute that to “education programs put in place over the past few years.”

TONY PORTER, CEO of A CALL TO MEN and an international leader on manhood, male socialization and its intersection with violence, and preventing violence against all women and girls, will be the lead facilitator of the workshop.

Other speakers include:

  • Curt Apsey, Boise State University, Athletic Director
  • Jeff Matsushita, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

This training is designed for human service providers, law enforcement, coaches, athletic directors, educators, school administrators, mentors, fathers, faith leaders, youth workers or any concerned man. Attendees will be educated on and given A CALL TO MEN’s proprietary LIVERESPECT Coaching Healthy, Respectful Manhood Curriculum. It promotes healthy, respectful manhood; decreases language and actions that degrade women, girls and other marginalized groups; challenges harmful cultural and social norms; and decreases instances of bullying and homophobia.

To register for the A CALL TO MEN workshop on May 12th, please click here. Lunch will be provided for the first 200 registered participants. For more information, please contact Jeff Matsushita.

Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault

Individuals who have been impacted by sexual assault work hard to overcome the trauma they’ve experienced, with many challenges on the journey to healing. When drugs (including alcohol) have been used by the perpetrator to facilitate the sexual assault, there can be additional trauma. As advocates, we can help empower survivors by providing information about drug facilitated sexual assault, and discussing common experiences and responses. We can also support survivors of drug facilitated sexual assault by helping lift the veil of silence and shame that is sadly all too common.

This TIP SHEET was compiled from research studies that have involved survivors of drug facilitated sexual assault, as well as advocates and counselors who have worked closely with them. You’ll find basic facts on drug facilitated sexual assault, common experiences of survivors during and after the assault, tips for supporting survivors, and ideas for prevention efforts. We welcome your input as well.

Melissa Ruth, MS LCPC

Students Attending Inclusive Campuses Experience Lower Rates of Sexual Assault

A new study by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public health focuses on the disproportionate impact of sexual assault on college students from marginalized communities. The researchers found that very few sexual assault interventions have been shown to be effective, especially amongst racial and ethnic minorities or individuals who are gender nonconforming.

University photoThe survey was conducted with 71,421 undergraduate students and discovered the following:

  • Among non-transgender men, gay and bisexual men had higher odds of sexual assault than heterosexual men and black men had higher odds than white men
  • Bisexual women had higher odds of sexual assault than heterosexual women
  • Black women had higher odds of sexual assault compared to white women, while Latino and Asian women had lower odds
  • Among transgender people, black transgender people had higher odds of sexual assault than white transgender people

The uniqueness of this study is that it provides insights into how sexual assault varies among populations with multiple and intersecting marginalized identities- such as being both transgender and black.

The highlight of this study is that students who perceived their campus was more inclusive of gender identities had 27% lower odds of having been sexually assaulted than their peers who felt their campus was less inclusive. Researchers hypothesize that inclusive campus climates embolden bystanders to stop, or attempt to stop, sexual assault. The researchers recommend that new interventions created specifically for sexual, gender, racial and ethnic minorities be created and implemented in campuses nationwide.

For assistance in developing sexual assault interventions addressing the needs of marginalized communities, please contact Jennifer Landhuis.

Supporting Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse with Advocacy

Child sexual abuse, as with other forms of sexual violence, is the use of sex to exercise power over and inflict harm upon another. In the case of child sexual abuse, the target of sexual violence is a child, however “child” is defined in a particular community, society, or culture.

As advocates, we may struggle with how to provide advocacy to adult survivors of child sexual assault because our crisis intervention skills typically focus on safety strategies for the individuals physical and emotional health and it may be difficult to address a past trauma. However, advocates play a significant role in addressing child sexual abuse, including:

  • Breaking the silence- talking about child sexual abuse and the services your organization offers
  • Build strong relationships with service providers
  • Be open to all issues in survivors’ lives, including issues with addiction, self-harm and suicidal ideation
  • Facilitate access to holistic healing and spiritual resources
  • Build allies across your communities with a wide range of traditional service providers, culturally specific healing practices and spiritual leaders
  • Validate and normalize trauma responses
  • Assist survivors in creating coping plans
  • Facilitate child sexual assault survivor groups

Guidelines for developing coping skills include: engaging the entire body and all 5 senses, starting with strengths, using grounding techniques, using distraction techniques and developing self-soothing techniques. If you have participated in any recent Idaho Coalition event, you know we concentrate on breathing! Share this with survivors of child sexual assault. It’s a phenomenal technique to ground and distract survivors from the trigger they are experiencing.

For more information on working with adult survivors of child sexual assault, please contact Melissa Ruth or Jennifer Landhuis.

Transitional Housing Refresher


  • Eligibility: Adult survivors of domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking, who may or may not be transitioning out of shelter, looking for housing, or already in a living situation, but would benefit from additional stability.
  • Though many survivors will qualify and can receive funds, we strive overall to prioritize survivors who are under-served and/or from marginalized communities.
  • Approximately $6,600 available per program over the course of the next 1.5 year. Funding availability and allocations may change over the course of the grant due to grant requirements, new programs utilizing funds, and/or programs not utilizing funds.
  • Qualified participants (survivors) should receive funding assistance for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 24 months.
  • Monthly payments can vary. For example, you could provide an individual with a larger amount to secure stable housing and then pay a smaller portion of the rent as time goes on. Program must also offer voluntary supportive services. Participants are not required to participate in any services to receive funding.
  • Programs participating cannot be receiving Transitional Housing funds through OVW.

One-Time Per Program Only

One-Time Per Participant/Client

Submit Monthly

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Melissa Ruth with any questions or concerns, or to brainstorm creative solutions for survivors and their children. or call 208-841-1704.

Training & Events

Stories of Transformation Poetry Celebration
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Linen Building – Boise, ID
6:30pm – 7:30pm MST – Middle School Program
8:00pm – 9:00pm MST – High School Program
Free Admission

To view a pdf version of the Our Gender Revolution poetry collection, please visit

Domestic Violence Safety Issues When Meth is Present Webinar
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM MDT | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM PST

Methamphetamine has been identified as one of the largest threats to public safety in Indian Country. Tribal sources have attributed it to higher rates of domestic violence, assaults, burglaries, and child abuse and neglect on reservations and in tribal communities. 74% of tribal police forces rank meth as the greatest drug threat to their communities; 40-50% of violent crime cases investigated by the FBI in Indian country involve meth in some capacity; and 64% of tribal police indicate an increase in domestic violence and assault/battery. The complex nature of criminal jurisdiction on Indian reservations, along with historically under funded and understaffed health care, treatment facilities and law enforcement have resulted in major challenges for tribes to address this problem.

Please join this important webinar panel presentation to learn more about meth; its’ impact on domestic violence programs and shelters; what larger environmental and public safety concerns come into play; and what tribes are doing to meet this challenge.

Facilitated by Gwendolyn Packard, Training & Technical Assistance Specialist, NIWRC; Walter Lamar, President, Lamar Associates; and Lorene Thomas, DV/SA Director, Otokahe Teca Tipi

Register here

Transitional Housing Program Designs: Taking a Closer Look at Model Programs Webinar
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
1:00 – 2:30 PM MST | 12:00 – 1:30 PM PST

This webinar will bring together three OVW funded transitional housing programs that vary in size, structure, and location in order to provide a glimpse into how others around the country are implementing their programs. Programs presenting will have the opportunity to share successes and also provide insight into the creative ways they have navigated challenging situations.

Register here

“Building Strong Sexual Assault Services in Dual Agencies” Webinar
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
10:00 AM MST | 9:00 AM PST.

This webinar opportunity focused on organization structures, staff trainings and community partnerships that meet the unique needs of sexual violence survivors. We will discuss the ten components of high-quality sexual assault service in dual/multi-service advocacy agencies.

Please share this invitation to your advocacy staff and join us for this vital discussion.

Register here

Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Reminder 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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