What #StartByBelieving Means To Me

By: Vonnie Hawkins, LCSW, STAR Board of Directors The feeling of being alone in my pain was so paralyzing and dark. I literally felt frozen and stiff, hard-hearted and judging as I walked through my life because that’s what it took to hold it all together. I judged others harshly because I was judging myself… Read More

Black Women, Suffering in Silence

The Mind Set of Sexual Violence Among African American Women By: Javonda Nix “Who knows what the black woman thinks of rape? Who has asked her? Who cares?” – Alice Walker (2004) Broken. Vulnerable. Scared. Depressed. Women who have been sexually assaulted experience all of these emotions.  However, due to societal pressures, black women often… Read More

TITLE IX: Proposed Changes and Commenting Process

Title IX was first implemented in 1972 in response to gender discrimination in women’s sports. Since then, it has expanded into a living document that includes prohibiting discrimination based on sex in education. It serves as a guide for K-12 and higher education on protocols for these cases. In November, 2018 Besty DeVos, US Secretary… Read More

Barriers to Self-Care: Tips for Survivors

By: Dana Rock, LMSW Self-care can be hard to put into practice. Day to day responsibilities tend to take priority over taking time to relax and recharge. People often tell themselves they will focus on self-care when they have more time, after this one hard test, or when their next vacation rolls around. This can… Read More

Silence is Self-protection

By Racheal Hebert, LCSW Founder, President & CEO of STAR The recent flurry of news targeting Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser as being exploitative, politically motivated, or even an outright liar reminds us that we live in an oppressive culture of disbelief and judgment towards survivors of sexual violence. We simply cannot accept that those we love,… Read More

Agents of Change: Jordan Gonzales

“It is incredibly rewarding for me to see even the smallest of changes with clients. To be there as clients learn one new way of coping, or experience one tiny change in the way they see themselves, is a huge honor.” – Jordan Gonzales 1. What is your position at STAR? I’ve been a counselor… Read More

In Mixed Company: Surviving Beyond Gender

Written by Dana Rock, LMSW, Jordan Gonzales, PLPC, NCC, and Sarah Baniahmad Many people see sexual assault as a women’s issue. When men are included in the conversation, it normally centers on what they can do to protect or support women. With 1 in 5 women being raped in their lifetime, it is easy to… Read More

The Difference Between Self-Defense and Rape Prevention

The idea of having girls and women participate in self-defense classes to reduce their risk of rape is highly debated. “Teach men not to rape” is a common response from survivors and advocates who feel that the burden of rape prevention is unfairly placed on the victims. Writing in The Guardian, Jessica Valenti echoed this… Read More

Stand-Alone Doesn’t Mean Standing Alone

By Alix Tarnowsky, LCSW, MBA Advocacy Director, STAR New Orleans Alix Tarnowsky (center) with members of the Dane County Rape Crisis Center in Madison, Wisconsin.  As the Advocacy Director of STAR’s New Orleans office, I feel fortunate to work with survivors of sexual violence each day. This past January, the New Orleans office celebrated its… Read More

Why Children Don’t Tell

Media outlets continue to cover the horrifying sexual abuse former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar committed against young athletes that sought his care. At his trial, 156 victims spoke, recounting similar stories of how they went to Nassar to receive his care for sports injuries only to be sexually assaulted and told it was a form… Read More