Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dismantling Racism: The Relevance to Prevention

A Summary of the October 26, 2017, ATSA Conference – Evening Prevention Event

By Cordelia Anderson, M. A.

At the 2017 ATSA Annual Conference, ATSA’s Prevention Committee hosted an evening panel titled “Dismantling Racism: The Relevance to Prevention.”  The room was packed with over 40 ATSA members exploring how dismantling racism is related to the work of ATSA members and for the prevention of sexual violence. This year’s topic on race and privilege was accepted as fundamental to prevention by some, while others were not as convinced of its relevance. Indeed, part of the purpose of the event was to draw further attention to the links between prevention, race and privilege. The idea for the event evolved from the positive response to an August 2017 blog written by ATSA prevention committee member, Cordelia Anderson. The Prevention Committees desired to do more to address the intersections between race, privilege and prevention both in terms of avoiding perpetration and promoting broader culture change.
The event began with ATSA’s Executive Director, Maia Christopher, explaining why this topic was important and how it fit with other related efforts ATSA was doing.  Cordelia Anderson provided a brief background on why the committee selected this topic and how she views race and privilege as fitting with prevention. She explained, “The committee was interested in these issues out of recognition that prevention is social justice which attends to the interconnectedness between all forms of oppression and injustice. Prevention also involves work to create an environment in which all people can thrive and develop in healthy ways. It requires challenging social norms that allow any one group more privileges than another just because of their gender, race, religion, social class, orientation, abilities, etc.” She noted that, “In our field we’ve historically addressed the imbalance of power and issue of privilege more between men and women than of race.”
The panel featured ATSA members who address race and privilege in their lives and work.
Elizabeth Griffin explained that the therapeutic relationship is a fundamental common denominator to the counseling process. She said, “Culture, race, and ethnicity are often viewed as secondary in sex offender treatment, after all, what do these issues have to do with preventing the future sexual abuse of children?  I often feel as if our field is behind other helping professions in understanding the importance of multiculturalism and diversity in the change process.  I supervise clinicians new to the field and many have never considered and examined their own biases and prejudices – making it more likely for these attitudes to play an unconscious role in treatment room.” She added, “Those who have never examined their own biases will certainly fail in facilitating clients in exploring their own –isms and how they contribute to the sexual abuse cycle.  Power issues are often at the core of these –isms; thereby, having sex offender treatment the perfect opportunity to address how power, racism, ethnic bias, and privilege, play a role in both sexual offense behavior and the treatment process.  Clinicians often find these issues difficult to discuss - even more reason to find ways to intentionally address power, racism, ethnic bias and privilege.” 
Elizabeth provided more specifics about what providers could do such as “Asking a client of color what they think/feel about having (1) a white woman from (2) a privileged background (3) who can make significant decisions regarding every aspect of their life for a therapist often takes them aback.” She noted “After all, they may have never thought the conversation was possible.  Maybe it’s time they did.  Maybe it’s time we all did.”
Alejandro LeguĂ­zamo, noted “Addressing race/privilege is important in the work I do, and we all do, because it impacts directly the development and maintenance of a therapeutic relationship and/or group cohesion.” He explained, “I address cultural issues not only in my research, but also when I conceptualize cases I am evaluating or individuals I’m treating. I address ethnicity/culture as I start treatment to create a space in which the client can raise issues in how I’m approaching treatment. I ask them to evaluate my feedback/recommendations to make sure they are pertinent to their experience and context, particularly in the communities in which they reside.
David noted that “As a white person, I work with fellow white people in the movement to look at the role that we can and must play in dismantling white privilege and systemic oppression, from our positions as white people.” He added that “while people of color are leaders in racial justice, there is work that needs to be done by white people to learn about race and white privilege, and then to work together for our total liberation.” He added that only addressing ‘Cultural Competency’ is insufficient as it reinforces thinking of ending racism of a ‘set of skills’ while it is actual broader social change work we must do.
Subsequent discussion with the audience highlighted additional examples of work being done to dismantle racism and identified challenges and opportunities. The event attracted a wide range of ATSA conference attendees, many of whom had never participated in prior prevention events and resulted in a spirited discussion from a range of perspectives.  Several participants indicated that they would be interested in additional ATSA conversations about race, privilege, and oppression.
At a recent PCAR/NSVRC staff meeting during a discussion about privilege and white supremacist culture, someone said “Just like you don’t have to be a rapist to contribute to rape culture, you don’t have to be a KKK member to contribute to white supremacist culture.” Clearly, this one-hour evening session at ATSA was only a step, but it offered many perspectives, a lot of food for thought and ideas for future action. We hope that the ATSA chapters will also host similar discussions and identify related actions, post relevant articles and other information on the list serve and share information through ATSA blogs. The prevention committee will be adding to the resource list which will soon be on the website where ATSA members are encouraged to add to it.

Maia Christopher

Executive Director, ATSA

PH: (503) 643-1023


Cordelia Anderson, MA

Founder, Sensibilities Prevention Services

(612) -207-1779

Elizabeth Griffin, MA, LMFT

Internet Behavior Consulting, LLC


Alejandro LeguĂ­zamo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Chair

Psychology Department

Roger Williams University

 (401) 254-3834


David Lee, MPH

Director of Prevention
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
(916) 446-2520 Ext 309


Friday, March 9, 2018

ATSA Infographic: Preventing the Development of Harmful Sexual Behaviors in Youth

By Joan Tabachnick, MBA
The members of ATSA’s prevention committee believe that ATSA’s members have a unique role to play in prevention.  More than most professionals, our members understand the complexity of the issue and the complexity of the individuals who commit this crime.  

From a prevention point of view, we believe that early intervention with children or adolescents is an often-overlooked opportunity – and it may be the best use of our limited resources.  Early intervention with a child or adolescent with problematic sexual behaviors offers us to alter that child’s developmental trajectory and ensure that everyone lives safely in the community. 

We know this.  You know this. 

But the Prevention Committee is looking for ways to inform the larger community surrounding all of us about our unique perspective to this issue.  This year at the ATSA conference, the Prevention Committee created an infographic.  This visually engaging description is a simple way to convey, simply, critical information about these children and teenagers.  

To see the infographic, CLICK HERE!  We hope that ATSA members reading this will see the talking points that we all need to address if we want to talk about adolescents and children and prevention.  We also hope that those who many not know about ATSA, will see this information and realize how important it is to have ATSA members at the table when talking about stopping and preventing sexual violence. 

Below are the infographic’s five key talking points: 

1)      Each Child and Adolescent Is a Unique Individual

Children and adolescents who engage in harmful sexual behaviors have different motivations, risks, and protective factors as they face different risks, they have different histories, and therefore their need for support systems will be different.  A one size fits all intervention will not work for every child and teen. Our responses and support must be individualized for each child.

2)      Children and Adolescents are Still Developing

Children and teen’s bodies and brains are still forming and this continues into early adulthood.  To ensure the safety of our children and the development of healthy relationships and sexuality, adults need to understand what is normative and expected sexual development for each life stage.  Parents, caretakers, and other adults need training to understand these differences, learn what is usual for each developmental stage, and be involved in a child’s care, growth and treatment, if needed. 

3)      Adolescence is a Period of Exploration, Risk, and Great Opportunity for Positive Growth

Adolescence is a critical period to identify and understand a youth’s strengths and vulnerabilities.  There can also be a mismatch between their judgment and impulse control.  Parents, caregivers, and other adults need to support the strengths of each child and teenager, understand their need for healthy exploration–and when necessary, seek help to provide education, develop limit-setting skills, and even provide treatment, to address destructive or harmful patterns of behavior. 

4)      Change the Harmful to Helpful and Healthy Sexual Behaviors  

Research shows that prevention, early intervention, and treatment can guide a child or teen’s developmental trajectory towards a safe, productive life with healthy relationships.  Early education and support can establish constructive skills and minimize unhealthy patterns of behavior.  Every child needs to know their body and sexuality is under their control.  No one has the right to force or trick them into any type of sexual behavior. Likewise, they also need to learn that they don’t have the right to force or trick others.  Early interventions and support, when problematic sexual behaviors begin to emerge, can be a second opportunity to create a positive path before behaviors escalate into a reportable offense.

5)      A Healthy Environment Encourages Healthy Sexual Development and Healthy Choices 

Our children and teens need to navigate a huge number of healthy sexual developmentally related challenges, especially in their use of technology.  It is important to help them remember that they are not navigating these challenges on their own.   Their peers, social networks, schools, parents, involved professionals, and community can be the key to their success.  For example:

  • Given the strong influence of peer culture, we need to work with our youth to assure that peer norms support them in making the best choices and encouraging accountability.
  • To counter the influences of hypersexualized media and the all too easy access to pornography, educational approaches are needed to teach youth about healthy sexual development, positive identity, and healthy respectful relationships (i.e., including giving and getting consent for sexual behaviors)
  • Children and adolescents need accurate information, critical skills, and relevant supports to ensure healthy and appropriate sexual behavior on their part. 

This infographic and these prevention strategies is in direct alignment with the new ATSA guidelines for the assessment and treatment of adolescents with sexual behavior problems.  If you have not yet seen these guidelines, CLICK HERE.   And if you are moved by this work, please consider what you might want to do in your own community to get involved in this important prevention conversation. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The working relationship in community corrections

By David S. Prescott, LICSW, & Kieran McCartan, PhD

One of the main issues that plagues our field is the inherent contradiction between public protection and the factors or outcomes (in treatment, risk management) that contribute to it. Success in treatment can look different from, and be measured in a different way from, success in risk management and probation. However, the factors involved in successful community integration/reintegration share a lot of common features with the factors that make treatment work. We know that punishment-only approaches don’t work and that completing treatment programs is associated with reduced risk. What can supervision agents (i.e., Police, Probation, Parole, Social Workers, etc) look for as indicators of success in their efforts?
A new study in Criminal Justice and Behavior exemplifies a welcome trend in evidence-based community corrections (an idea which is essential; key performance Indicators are central to the success and continued funding as well as use of these programs). Quantifying success in supervision as well as treatment can be a challenge at the best of times and often results in success factors being external to the actual program (i.e., reoffending rates only rather than personal change or successful risk management procedures), but especially in terms of people who commit sexual offences.  
For this new study, authors Brandy Blasko and Faye Taxman examined a brief and practical measure for use by community supervision staff to assess the extent to which individuals under community supervision perceive the supervision process as fair. Important to emphasize is that this was fairness as perceived by the person in community supervision and not the agent or agencies.
Many people in the lay public may have no interest in measuring whether or not the person under community supervision perceives their treatment as fair; in fact, many members of the public reject the need for or utility of pro-social, support management and/or treatment for people who have committed sexual offences. Indeed, many will believe that community supervision is part of a person’s punishment for breaking the law; however, it isn’t the actual role of supervising agents around the world is to carry out court orders while simultaneously supporting efforts at rehabilitation. Unfortunately, many supervising agents (known by different names in various jurisdictions, and including probation and parole officers) often view their work as inherently punitive and/or make clear to the people on their caseloads that they hold them in some form of moral contempt. The continued austerity, privatization and bureaucratic drives in community supervision often exacerbate these aforementioned issues and can lead to staff feeling disengaged, unwanted, unwelcome and more inclined to leave the field.
Blasko and Taxman found that their “measure demonstrated significant relationships with supervision outcomes of both crime and technical violations across two independent community supervision samples.” In other words, the better the working relationship with the agent, as perceived by the supervisee, the less likely these people were to persist in problematic behavior. Questions on this measure include areas such as to what extent the person on supervision feels that their agent takes their perspective, follows established procedures and guidelines, and treats them like others who are on supervision. However, this raises issues of how we support staff to enable them to work more effectively with people who commit sexual offences when this “relationship” goes against perceived social, political and organizational norms. Staff want to draw a distinct line between themselves and the individuals that they work with as a defense mechanism, a minimization technique and adhering to what is often argued as good working practices.
This study’s results echo decades of psychotherapy research, finding that how clients in treatment perceive the working alliance with their clinician can determine much of the outcome of treatment. The power of positive relationships in the integration of people who commit offences, generally, is well evidenced in the literature in terms of from a peer support (i.e., research on the importance of social capital) but not in terms of practitioner/professional support which is interesting when one considers that a lot of people who commit sexual offences might try to interact with probation officers (and others like them) as though they are friends or colleagues. Although, potentially irritating to the supervising agent, these kinds of interactions can indicate that the relationship is considered important to the client. It is fascinating that these findings receive so little attention within the criminal justice literature and raise the question of, why not?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Author Q & A with Harris, Pedneault & Willis discussing "The Pursuit of Primary Human Goods in Men Desisting From Sexual Offending"

Harris, D. A., Pedneault, A., and Willis, G. (2017) The Pursuit of Primary Human Goods in Men Desisting From Sexual Offending. Sexual Abuse. iFirst.
The good lives model proposes at least 10 primary human goods that are thought to be common to all individuals which, when secured, contribute to enhanced well-being and life satisfaction. Prosocial attainment of primary human goods is thought to promote desistance from crime. However, individuals convicted of sexual offenses face significant obstacles upon their reentry into the community that likely undermine their ability to obtain such goods. The current study explored the pursuit and attainment of primary human goods in a U.S. sample of men convicted of sexual offenses. We interviewed 42 men released into the community to examine the extent to which they desired and pursued primary human goods. Results highlighted that participants valued many of the human goods outlined in the good lives model, but their means to achieve them were restricted considerably by their correctional status. “Interpersonal relationships” and “life/survival” emerged most frequently during the interviews and were identified as the two most important goods. We discuss the negative impact of recent policies on participants’ ability to pursue and attain human goods as well as the value of attending regular treatment in obtaining the goods of “knowledge” and “community.” Implications for policy and directions for future research are provided.
Could you talk us through where the idea for the research came from?
The idea for this article came from a series of conversations that I (DH) had with colleagues at a time when I was trying to make sense of the themes that had emerged from my desistance interviews. I was familiar with the main tenets of the Good Lives Model (GLM), and I observed a natural congruence between the optimism of that approach and what I had seen in the emerging literature on desistance from crime.
We (DH & AP) used the Life History Interview Protocol to interview men who had been convicted of sexual crimes, served time in custody, and then been released into the community. The interview questions included specific items about some of the PHGs (such as pursuit of mastery, spirituality, and relationships) but we noted during our analysis that many men also spoke of the severe limitations and challenges that they experienced in pursuing and achieving other PHGs. We decided to revisit the transcripts and look for mentions of the PHGs that emerged spontaneously to explore the extent to which the men wanted to pursue, had tried to attain, had successfully achieved, or had been restricted from pursuing them. The guiding hypothesis was that the pursuit and successful attainment of PHGs would facilitate what criminologists call “desistance from crime.”
What kinds of challenges did you face throughout the process?
One of the biggest hurdles was the need to legitimize qualitative methodologies in an area where quantitative approaches are far more typical. There are many reasons why desistance research lends itself to qualitative research and in-depth interviewing, but there is a clear bias against those findings (and approaches) by a field that has largely been built upon the meta-analyses of much larger samples. Desistance is best defined as a process, and is therefore not well understood using cross-sectional data or quantitative approaches at discrete points in time (e.g., risk assessment scores). Understanding desistance means understanding one’s life story; the details and nuances of which cannot be dichotomized without losing data quality. Exploring a life story means asking in-depth questions that sometimes yield meandering answers. It means asking for clarification on temporal variables, ensuring you’ve got the story straight, and honouring the longitudinal nature of how someone’s story has unfolded and continues to unfold. We felt the richness of those stories could only be authentically represented through qualitative methods. Above all else, the fact that we know so little about the life histories, offending trajectories, and transitions of these men (on an individual level) necessitates that we use a qualitative approach. For us, this early work on understanding the important phenomenon of desistance must occur within the “context of discovery.”
“Relationship status” is a good example of a variable that is better captured by a long quotation than by a spreadsheet. Marriage is usually a dichotomous variable - a simple yes/no. It might be operationalized as “legally married at the time of the index offense,” or “ever lived with a lover for two years.” But these simplistic distinctions offered only inadequate ways of describing our sample: Roy was married for 23 years but admits to cheating on his wife (and fathering children with other women) repeatedly; Jacob has had a few long-term, committed relationships with men, Rodney was married four times: twice happily, and twice dysfunctionally; Clay was married for a long time but frequently abused his wife. Quite frankly, after the interviews, there was too much detail to put in a table!
 What do you believe to be the main things that you have learnt about desistance?
One of the most compelling findings to come from desistance research so far, is that for many or most of the samples we work with, desistance from sexual crime is as natural and widespread as it is from nonsexual crime. Most people who have engaged in these acts come to no longer do so. Understanding how and why that transition occurs (with, without, or in spite of the various interventions that we prescribe and enforce) is a research question that deserves more attention. Thinking about the positive elements of a person’s life, seeing them as more than the worst thing they have ever done (or more accurately—been caught for) is also an important lesson from this work. The realization that someone can do bad things and not be a bad person forever, or can do bad things and then not do them anymore challenges a lot of approaches (and assumptions) that are well-entrenched in this space. Finally, as we continue to examine the extent to which our participants are “successful” upon release, it is increasingly necessary and meaningful to look beyond “recidivism” and “risk factors” as the only variables of interest.
Now that you’ve published the article, what are some implications for practitioners?
Although the men in our study experienced profound difficulties in pursuing and attaining PHGs, a key finding that emerged was that attending a treatment program provided a source of several PHGs, including a sense of belonging (“community”) and knowledge.  In the context of increasingly restrictive policies and legislation it is easy to focus on challenges that our clients face and lose hope that they will ever live a better life. But if we lose hope, so will our clients. It is important that we frame treatment as an activity designed to assist clients to find meaning and purpose in their lives, rather than something they must do. By creating safe and supportive treatment environments where PHGs can be realised, practitioners can help facilitate and support the natural desistance process. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Beware of the Buzzwords! Our field’s Tower of Babel

By David Prescott, LICSW, & Kieran McCartan, PhD

A conference presenter, who really should remain anonymous, once adopted a faux Biblical tone in commenting on the history of attempts to treat people who have sexually abused: “In the beginning, there was relapse prevention.” This was inaccurate, of course; many people, including Nicholas Groth and Albert Ellis had been developing treatment methods prior to the adoption of relapse prevention (RP) from the addictions world. However, many a truth is told in jest, and in this instance, the presenter was completely accurate in recalling how the phrase relapse prevention took hold of treatment programs as much as the model and methods themselves. The lead author has vivid memories of a colleague in the 1980s exclaiming, “If you’re not doing RP, you’re not doing treatment.”

Setting aside the competitive jealousy and premature and incorrect assumption that there is a single right way to do treatment, one has to have some sympathy for the professionals operating at that time. There were no methods for classifying dangerousness and little research to guide these efforts. There was talk of a “forensic sound barrier” in risk assessment that might never be broken (set as a correlation of .40). It was perfectly natural that at a time in which professionals knew less about what they were doing than today, the field would focus, obsess even, on risk and risk reduction.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, and much had changed. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, professionals involved in assessing and treating youth who had sexually abused were starting to empirically examine “protective factors”, those elements in a youth’s life that mitigate risk or assist him or her from growing beyond their past harmful actions. In around 2002, when the second edition of the influential book, Motivational Interviewing, came out, professionals began to adopt this approach as a part of their treatment protocols. In each case, some professionals became early adopters while others dismissed these methods as fads. Similar responses happened with the emergence of the Good Lives Model and trauma-informed care.

An area that is rarely discussed, however, is how adherents to one core idea or set of ideas seem to view other sets of ideas as more different than they actually are. Although much discussion is never published, it has not been uncommon to hear one claim that motivational interviewing is nice but not strengths-based; one might just as well criticize strengths-based approaches as being nice, but not addressing the ambivalence that people often have about change, especially when addressing sexual violence. The simple fact is that both approaches have very similar features in common. Indeed, sometimes the greatest difference is in the language used to describe them. Likewise, many have mistakenly described the principles of effective correctional treatment (risk, need, and responsivity) and the Good Lives Model as if they were irreconcilably different (in truth, one can deliver treatment in a way that is adherent to both). The same goes for resilience-based approaches and trauma-informed care. Each approach can be implemented poorly, and each share (when properly implemented) a great deal of their conceptual underpinnings.

It often seems we are describing the same basic elements of treatment with different words. How can professionals rise above this Tower of Babel? Perhaps the most important place to start is by understanding the limitations of language itself. In recent articles and presentations, Tony Ward has warned against reifying “factors”, whether risk or protective, and focusing on the processes that underlie them. In other words, if we only think in terms of factors, we may neglect the processes that make up those factors. For example, if we think primarily of relationship stability as it is defined within risk assessment measures, we may take needed focus away from how that stability has manifested elsewhere in a person’s life.

These problems extend beyond how we talk about “treatment” and “factors” by treatment providers; it reflects a big Tower of Babel issue across the field as a whole. Different parts of the sexual abuse field including, but not limited to police, probation, parole, treatment providers, and third-party organizations not only use the term “treatment” to explain their processes but also  “rehabilitation”, “Risk Management” and “Public Protection”. This too is problematic as the non-common language and definitions lead to one single, problematic outcome measure – risk of recidivism. While “risk management” and “public protection” maybe neatly lead to a reduction in reoffending, this is not the main outcome of treatment and the main driver of factors involved with it. The Tower of Babel issue in defining what happens with perpetrators by default shapes the outcomes, success rates, and successful (re)integration of people who have abused. Maybe we should try to stop calling everything apples and recognize that we have a variety of fruit at our disposal. Those pieces of fruit look and feel different but ultimately contribute to the same goal: our health! They don’t all do it in the same way and that’s fine!

In the end, as we continue to move from a nothing works agenda towards a what works one (all the while fighting a backslide) all professionals will benefit from attention to both the continuing evolution of our field as well as the subtleties of the language within it.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A “Survivor Scholar” perspective on #metoo

By Alexa D. Sardina, PhD, and Alissa R. Ackerman, PhD

We are exhausted. As “survivor scholars” - sex crimes scholars who are also public rape survivors - we have dedicated our lives and careers to understanding sexual victimization, why it happens, how to prevent it, and how to best live in the aftermath of rape.

We get it. We have lived it. And we’re exhausted.

The #metoo movement offered the promise of elevating the voices of individuals who had experienced sexual harassment and victimization. At first, we were inspired and excited that people were sharing their experiences and would be silenced no more. However, very quickly we both became disillusioned and concerned about the potential conflation of terms and the backlash the movement would face. Simultaneously, we were troubled by apparent blinders still worn by so many in the movement who continue to isolate and exclude the voices of marginalized people, including men, trans and gender non-conforming people, indigenous, and racial and ethnic minorities.  

However, our biggest cause for alarm continues to be the conflation of all forms of sexual misconduct, where no distinction is made. Some activists have argued that we should never have to differentiate between rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
In our professional opinions, guided by years of accumulated knowledge, and our personal experiences with both rape and sexual harassment, we wholeheartedly believe that making these distinctions is necessary if we are to have critical and meaningful dialogue moving forward.

We acknowledge that the grouping of all forms of sexual misconduct is not meant to intentionally minimize the trauma of individuals who have experienced rape. However, the unintentional consequences of this grouping does exactly that.  This is not to discount the trauma of sexual assault or harassment. In fact, the distinction we are making is to honor the trauma caused by all forms of sexual misconduct, while acknowledging that they are fundamentally different. We do not see our beliefs as mutually exclusive.

Creating a cultural shift where sexual misconduct of all forms disappears requires nuance. Broad sweeping generalizations cause more harm than good.
Though the impact of the #metoo movement has yet to be revealed, we question what the overarching goal is. What do we want to achieve? Based on our own personal experiences, our professional read of the research, and our interactions with fellow survivors and activists, we believe that the ultimate goal is to eradicate sexual violence. The question becomes how do we realize this goal.

Ending sexual violence in all its forms  is only possible when there is space for individuals who have experienced it to be heard and supported and space for individuals who perpetrated these actions to take responsibility. When we shame a person for what some see as an insufficient apology, we further silence those who would consider publicly acknowledging their part in perpetrating any or all forms of sexual violence.

Trying people in the court of public opinion and calling for them to disappear will never lead to healing and will never prevent these types of offenses from occurring. Shaming is ineffective at best and at its worst can lead to an increase in the very behaviors we are trying to prevent. In The Gifts of Imperfection, shame and vulnerability researcher Dr. Brene Brown states that, “shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

We are at a crossroads. We have the power and the capacity to make real and lasting changes. This requires that we be willing to lean into uncomfortable conversations and realities about how and why sexual victimization occurs. We cannot expect change if we do not honor the importance of voices and lived experiences both of people who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, and rape, and people who have perpetrated these offenses.

We fully recognize and expect that many people will fundamentally disagree with our stance. We acknowledge and respect those opinions and welcome the uncomfortable dialogues that will inevitably ensue. We formulated this path forward based on our lived experiences as survivors and criminal justice professors who believe that our current approach to sexual violence does not reduce harm, bring closure, or prevent future offenses.