The Voices and Faces Speakers Bureau is a national network of rape survivors and advocates who are available to speak publicly about the issue of sexual assault. Our Speakers Bureau participants are available to give presentations and talks for a variety of groups and events, including those at campuses, community centers, places of worship, law enforcement meetings and others. This groundbreaking lecture/slide program will put names and faces on the epidemic of sexual assault, bringing home the reality of sexual violence.
To help us speak out and raise awareness of rape as a civil rights and public heath issue, we have partnered with CreativeWell—one of the country's foremost lecture, literary and creative management companies. CreativeWell is committed to representing people and groups whose exemplary dedication and creative vision in their respective fields contribute to expanding the social, personal, creative and/or political horizon. With CreativeWell's help, we will be able to reach diverse communities of women and men, addressing the issue of sexual violence in political as well as personal terms.
Legal advocacy and the provision of direct services are critical to addressing gender-related violence. But are they enough? In "Marketing a Movement," Anne K. Ream, the founder of The Voices and Faces Project makes an impassioned case for communications as the "third leg" of any effective effort to change minds, hearts and public policies on sexual violence, exploitation and trafficking. In this interactive presentation and case study, Ream uses the End Demand Illinois "Ugly Truth" campaign – a multi-media public awareness campaign that made over 400 million audience impressions in the fight to end sexual exploitation in Illinois – to explore: 1. Why media and marketing are vital to the movement to end gender-related violence; 2. How traditional advocacy efforts can reinforce, and be reinforced by, on and offline communications; 3. Why the "medium" is as important as the "message" in our digitally driven world; 4. How to use market research to "meet people where they are" when developing a communications strategy; 5. Coordinating lobbying and communications efforts in order to maximize the impact on policymakers and opinion shapers; 6. Effective tools for partnering with private sector allies in the creation of a cost-effective campaign; and 7. Creating a campaign for your own city or region.
Debuting at Northwestern University's Center for Global Engagement at the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, where Voices and Faces Project founder Anne K. Ream spoke to a student and faculty audience that would soon be working with United Nations NGOs around the globe, "Be a Storyfinder" uses a series of survivor stories collected by The Voices and Faces Project to explore ways other activists and writers can document related human rights realities in the US, and beyond.
Considering how individual stories can be used to change minds, hearts and public policies on gender-based violence, and examining the important ethical considerations all documentarians must grapple with, Ream considers how finding "the story" is not enough—we must also use new and traditional media vehicles to get the story "out there" in our information-overloaded age. Giving special emphasis to the story of the women of Atenco, Mexico, victims of rape and political torture recently interviewed by Ream, and Voices and Faces Project photographer Patricia Evans, "This workshop explores the unique challenges faced when covering high profile, high-risk stories. Anne Ream delivered a fresh perspective on both the power and danger of storytelling. Students were captivated by her passion and enlightened to the possibilities of using storytelling to make a difference," noted Nicole Patel, Program Manager at the Center for Global Engagement at the Buffett Center for International & Comparative Studies at Northwestern University.
Despite 30-plus years of anti sexual violence advocacy, many in the media continue to perpetuate damaging myths about rape. Coverage of several recent high profile cases has been telling. Whatever the specifics of these cases, the message sent was constant: women who come forward with rape charges should prepare to be put on trial, not only in the courtroom, but also in the court of public opinion, often via the media. In popular culture, rape jokes abound. False accusation "storylines" have become a fixture in TV and film. Music that celebrates violence against women is too often the norm.
In short, we are losing the "message" wars in free and paid media, and it is costing us—and the victims we are here to support and help—mightily.
Though it might be argued that violence against women is an issue that many in the public are likely to avoid confronting despite our best efforts, members of The Voices and Faces Project argue that we in the women's movement have not developed an effective "language" around issues of rape and abuse, one that speaks to those outside of the movement as effectively as it speaks to those of us within it. In "Language, Media and the Law," prosecutor Roger Canaff and Anne Ream challenge the rape crisis community to re-think terms that fail to call the public to action, and provide real-world suggestions for how those in the women's movement can re-claim the public discussion on sexual violence against women.
In "From the Inside," an interactive lecture/photography program updated in 2010 with new survivor stories and fresh insights, the audience will encounter the stories of 10 diverse, dynamic survivors of rape, and hear what helped (and hindered) each of them as they sought justice and worked to rebuild their lives. "From the Inside" challenges the general public to re-think who survivors are, what they need and how we can make a difference in their lives. Considering a series of powerful, personal stories that have been shared with her, Voices and Faces Project research director Katie Feifer—herself a survivor of rape—explores the responses of a broad range of communities to victims of sexual violence—including communities of faith and our legal system. Feifer also considers how outdated notions of "healing" can hold survivors back. "From the Inside" is a lecture/slide program that is as moving as it is powerful: a call to the general public for greater action, and compassion.
Sexual violence impacts one in four women and one in six men, and its "ripple effect" on our families, workplaces, and communities is profound and far-reaching. Yet many in the media continue to perpetuate damaging myths about rape, while "blaming the victim." In "Media Matters," Anne K. Ream and Katie Feifer explore how we can change that, positing that initiating a strategic and creative dialogue with editors, journalists, and opinion shapers is critical to impacting media coverage. Using "real-world" case studies and examples of what works (and what doesn't) when responding to high-profile media cases, and exploring how "new media" vehicles—and user generated content—can "change the game" for the anti-violence movement, this interactive lecture/slide program provides "tools that can be used" by advocates, allies, prosecutors and law enforcement personnel dealing with the media in their work.
During “Testimony and Tikkun Olam: How the stories of survivors are changing the movement to end gender-related violence," writer Anne K. Ream - the founder of The Voices and Faces Project and author of Lived Through This: Listening to the Stories of Sexual Violence Survivors - discusses the role that testimony has played in social justice movements, while introducing the audience to six extraordinary women and men from across the globe who are using their own stories to challenge legal and social responses to gender-based violence. During this innovative lecture/photography program - debuting at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center - Ream considers the ways that testimony can break through ideological barriers, explore the role that social and new media are playing in survivor story sharing and speak to a growing body of research that establishes the links between sharing testimony and healing from trauma.
We are past the point of "protecting" America's youth from online bullying, sexual harassment and damaging rape myths. Young adults spend an average of seven and a half hours per day online and, as a result, each of them is now a bystander poised to enable or defy rape culture. It is critical that we focus prevention tactics in ways teens can relate to and engage with, "where they are". Voices and Faces Project founding member, Christa Desir and Alina Klein, both authors of popular books for teens, offer a strategic model for connecting with young adults through popular culture to reframe their lens on rape.
"Dismantling Rape Culture in Young Adults Via Relevant Popular Media" is an interactive lecture that provides anyone who works with teens the tools they need to co-opt the most popular social media platforms and initiate prevention from within. Desir and Klein explore the use of young adult novels and pop culture (i.e. music, television, movies, etc) to promote critical, cultural analysis, seed important multimedia messages onto various online platforms, and challenge teens to initiate their own creative endeavors to inspire a movement among their peers.
Change. We know it when we see it — and we can usually feel it when it is happening. But can we really create change? The Voices and Faces Project recently debuted a new interactive workshop — "Unsilencing Public Policy: Creating Programs That Create Change" — that explores this question, and challenges audiences to create their own social-entrepreneurial programs. Our workshop considered two of The Voices and Faces Project's most effective creative initiatives (our first indie-rock benefit CD, and our testimonial writing workshop) and then challenged the student and advocate audience to develop their own social change programs. In the words of Northwestern University Professor Danny M. Cohen, who was a driving force behind the workshop:
"I teach about specific social programs around the world, and I'm always looking for initiatives that challenge conventional design ideas, tackle urgent issues, and inspire my students. This Voices and Faces Project workshop checked all of those boxes. After The Voices and Faces Project visited our class, my students talked about how they had never considered the value of making explicit the narratives of victims of sexual violence. Students found it possible to apply Voices and Faces Project approaches to their own designs in other contexts—for example, one student design team used the Voices and Faces model to design a program to help children articulate and process their experiences of having a parent with mental illness. Finally, my students talked about being blown away by The Voices and Faces team's dedication to her work."
To find out more about bringing "Unsilencing Public Policy" to your school or social services agency, email us.
We believe that every woman's story has power and purpose, which is why The Voices and Faces Project launched "The Stories We Tell", the country's first testimonial writing workshop for survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence and trafficking. The workshop was created by R. Clifton Spargo, an award-winning fiction writer and Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is facilitated by Voices and Faces Project Founder Anne K. Ream. Over the course of our two-day workshop, participants consider testimonial writing by Sandra Cisneros, Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Primo Levi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Adrienne Rich, among others, and take part in a series of innovative writing exercises. "I am still reeling from what an incredible experience this workshop was for me," noted one of our participants in the post-workshop evaluation. "The instructors created an atmosphere of intellectual challenge and engaged and inspired learning, and a connection to a greater purpose. Most striking was how balanced the educational component was with the emotionally supportive environment." Read more about our writing workshop and its Chicago debut.
To find out more about bringing "The Stories We Tell" to your city or region, or to support this first-of-its-kind program, email us.
Twitter. Facebook. 24/7 News. The worldwide web. We have more ways and places to communicate than ever before in human history. So why is it often so difficult for non-profit organizations to be really heard? Kemery Bloom of Grit, LLC has partnered with Anne K. Ream of The Voices and Faces Project to explore that very question—and to offer practical tools for non-profit organizations seeking to revitalize their current messaging strategies in order to realize true social change. "Can You Hear Me Now" is an all-day, interactive workshop that will provide "tools that you can use" to get the right organizational message to the right audience in order to create change. Ream and Bloom kick off the workshop by considering some of history's and today's most successful social movements, exploring how strategy and communications have played a key role in their effectiveness. They then consider contemporary models that we can learn from, engaging workshop attendees in a facilitated group discussion about what's working (and what's not) for their own organizations. "Can You Hear Me Now" is also a workshop that considers how our current media landscape provides unprecedented opportunities for organizations to build their non-profit "brand," even when on a limited (or non-existent) communications budget.
Legal advocacy and the provision of direct services are critical to addressing gender-related violence. But are they enough? In “It’s not just marketing, it’s a movement,” Anne K. Ream, the founder of The Voices and Faces Project, and Lynne Johnson, the Policy Director at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), make an impassioned case for communications as the “third rail” of any effective effort to change minds, hearts and public policies on sexual violence, exploitation and trafficking. In this interactive presentation and case study, Ream and Johnson use the End Demand Illinois “Ugly Truth” campaign – a multi-media public awareness campaign that made over 400 million audience impressions in the fight to end sexual exploitation in Illinois – to explore: 1. Why media and marketing are vital to the movement to end gender-related violence; 2. How traditional advocacy efforts can reinforce, and be reinforced by, on and offline communications; 3. Why the “medium” is as important as the “message” in our digitally driven world; 4. How to use market research to “meet people where they are” when developing a communications strategy; 5. Coordinating lobbying and communications efforts in order to maximize the impact on policymakers and opinion shapers; 6. Effective tools for partnering with private sector allies in the creation of a cost-effective campaign; and 6. Getting started: Creating a campaign for – or bringing “The Ugly Truth” to -- your own city or region.
"By telling her own story, and ending her own silence and shame, Dr. Pierce-Baker covered everything there is to know about what our society and culture are doing wrong in our response to rape and rape victims; ...No one in the audience even thought about leaving and no one there will forget the indelible experience."
Jody Raphael-Senior Research Fellow, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center, DePaul College of Law
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If you would like to engage a speaker from The Voices and Faces Project Speakers Bureau, please contact us.Request a Speaker