#MeToo

I said #MeToo this week, as did many of us. Watching Harvey Weinstein fall from his post of privilege the has unleashed a roller coaster of emotions for all of us. Here at Rape Victim Advocates (RVA), we’re glad another light is shining on the incredible courage...

RVA Interviewed on CBS Chicago Segment #MeToo

Excerpt: The response from Hollywood stars to everyday people was, both, overwhelming and eye-opening to many. “My first thought was, how brave,” said Megan Blomquist, who works with victims through the Chicago organization Rape Victim Advocates. “When you see someone...

Our Commitment Needs No Interpretation

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently reversed a 2014 memo that interpreted the Civil Rights Act to protect transgender workers. The DOJ then issued a new memo arguing that Title VII, the civil rights statute that outlaws certain kinds of workplace discrimination,...

Director of Education & Training Interviewed on CBS Chicago

Excerpt: Harvey Weinstein was one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers. But the fallout from Weinstein’s sexual harassment scandal continues to grow. “The person that is doing the harassing is trying to control the victim in these situations, so there’s a lot of...

Austin Trauma Therapist Highlighted in Chicago Tribune

Our Austin Trauma Therapist, DeVona Alleyne, was highlighted in Chicago Tribune’s Oak Leaves!  Excerpt: Q: What brings you out today? A: I’m part of a consent panel today at Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church. I’m a trauma therapist at the Austin...

Making Matters 10/17

Open to survivors, their loved ones, trauma workers/volunteers, allies and everyone in between. Making Matters welcomes self-exploration, healing, solidarity, community building, and self-care through art making while empowering participants to be in control of their...

We Will Not Give Up Fighting For You & Believing You

The Dear Colleague Letter of 2011 was an important turning point for survivors of sexual violence. Prior to this guidance, survivors were left to carry the burden of attending school in an environment that felt and – in many instances – was unsafe, while struggling to...

Men in the Movement: Fall Series

Men in the Movement (MITM) is an open discussion series that focuses on men’s responsibility in the anti-rape movement.  Our discussions are focused on a variety of elements related to masculinity and styled in a casual and engaging format. The discussions create...

Neighborhood Community Peace Circle

In recognition of International Day of Peace, we’re partnering with Connected Chicago to hold a peace circle on Thursday, September 21st from 10:00-11:30am at our Austin Community Office.  This space is for members of the Austin neighborhood to meet one another,...

Protect Our Community #DefendDACA

RVA believes all people have the right to safety and compassion. Immigrant families are some of the most vulnerable in our society who need to be supported, now and always. We will continue to fight for the rights of our clients and our community, and we encourage...

Statement from Director of Programs and Public Policy

It is incredibly troubling when the narratives of survivors are undermined by the perception that 90% of sexual assaults fall into categories that appear less than what society believes constitutes actual rape. Only 2-8% of rapes are falsely reported [1]. This is...

“Rape And Sexual Assault: Renewed Call To Action” Report

The “Rape And Sexual Assault: Renewed Call To Action” report was recently removed from the White House website. We believe in access to information and expect transparency from the administration around the removal of vital resources – in this case, mainly nonpartisan...

Labor Day Closing

All RVA offices will be closed Monday, September 4th in observance of Labor Day. 24 hour crisis support to our partner hospitals will continue to be provided during this time. If you need to speak with someone immediately, please call the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline...

Women’s Support Group 9/20-12/6

This 12-week group is for female identified survivors impacted by sexual violence. This will be a safe, supportive space where survivors can help one another, share ideas, and get new information. The group will be survivor centered and directed. When: September 20th...

Taylor Swift Won and the World was Watching

Taylor Swift’s trial brought sexual violence into the limelight and her refusal to back down or be guilted showed the world she will not be silenced – and neither will we.  We all play a role in creating a world free of sexual violence. The voices of supporters, like...

Making Matters 9/19

Open to survivors, their loved ones, trauma workers/volunteers, allies and everyone in between. Making Matters welcomes self-exploration, healing, solidarity, community building, and self-care through art making while empowering participants to be in control of their...

Reiki Clinic 9/27

RVA, in partnership with The Awakenings Foundation, is pleased to hold our fourth Reiki Clinic. RVA’s Reiki Clinic is an open space where individuals can come for a free Reiki session from a trauma-informed Reiki practitioner. Reiki is a Japanese energy healing...

Making Matters 8/15

Open to survivors, their loved ones, trauma workers/volunteers, allies and everyone in between. Making Matters welcomes self-exploration, healing, solidarity, community building, and self-care through art making while empowering participants to be in control of their...

Fall 2017 Volunteer Training Info

The deadline for our fall volunteer training class is October 2nd. Orientation sessions are by invitation only and will be held October 9th, 10th, or 12th from 5:30pm – 9:30pm. Training dates are October 23rd through November 30th, every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday...

Pressing Pause: A Discussion about Music and Sexism 8/5

Join RVA on Saturday, August 5th from 2:00-3:30pm at the Maze Branch Library for an open discussion. This workshop for teens and adults will center around the messages we hear in music.             We’ll look at genres, lyrics, and videos...

OurMusicMyBody Campaign Highlighted in Chicago Tribune

RVA Prevention Educator, Kat Stuehrk, was interviewed by Chicago Tribune’s Jessi Roti about OurMusicMyBody and combating sexual violence at music festivals. Excerpt: RVA partnered with nonprofit, domestic violence agency Between Friends to develop the...

Meeting in the Middle 7/29

Back by popular demand! Join RVA as we discuss emotional labor, assertive communication, and how to utilize these skills within relationships affected by trauma. This workshop will explore what emotional labor is, how to balance emotional labor, and how to communicate...

Making Matters 7/18

Open to survivors, their loved ones, trauma workers/volunteers, allies and everyone in between. Making Matters welcomes self-exploration, healing, solidarity, community building, and self-care through art making while empowering participants to be in control of their...

RVA is Hiring!

RVA is currently hiring for the Director of Development position. The Director of Development will provide strategic leadership in the creation and implementation of a comprehensive plan that reflects a diverse portfolio including an individual donor program,...

Men in the Movement: Summer Series

Join Men in the Movement for three amazing events this summer! Men in the Movement (MITM) is an open discussion series that focuses on men’s responsibility in the anti-rape movement. Our discussions are focused on a variety of elements related to masculinity and...

RVA Featured in NBC Chicago Article

Our Austin team was interviewed by NBC Chicago about challenges in the environment of Chicago’s Westside in relation to the topic of sexual violence.  Excerpt: Amber Johnson, a medical and legal advocate for Rape Victims Advocates on the west side of Chicago, said...

Beyond “13 Reasons Why”: A Discussion 6/13

Did you watch “13 Reasons Why” and can’t stop thinking about it? Join Rape Victim Advocates and the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center to discuss the show with other teens and young people. Participants will process what it was like to watch the show, explore the...

Speak Your Truth 6/20

Even when your voice shakes. A workshop presented by the Survivor Engagement Committee. We invite all survivors of sexual violence who want to learn about sharing your stories of survival to enact cultural change or further your own healing. Explore spoken, written...

Women’s Support Group 6/6-7/25

This group is for female identified survivors who are dealing with the impact of sexual assault in their lives. This will be a safe, supportive space where survivors can help one another, share ideas, and get new information.  The group will be survivor centered and...

Making Matters 6/13

Open to survivors, their loved ones, trauma workers/volunteers, allies and everyone in between. Making Matters welcomes self-exploration, healing, solidarity, community building, and self-care through art making while empowering participants to be in control of their...

40-Hour Confidential Advisor Training 7/10

We can help you ensure your confidential advisor(s) is appropriately trained. To assist area higher education institutions in ensuring compliance with the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, Rape Victim Advocates (RVA) will be offering a 40-hour...

Speak Out Summit

Join this virtual summit centered around sexual assault awareness, prevention and healing. This 5-day summit will feature expert coaches, advocates and spiritual leaders from across the country to educate you on how to have healthy conversations around sexual...

Book Signing at Women & Children First 5/31

Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino, co-authors of the book, We Believe You, will be at Women & Children First bookstore on Wednesday, May 31st starting at 7:00pm. Prior to the book signing will be a training session facilitated by Chicago’s Courage Campaign...

We Need You Now: Allyship with Sexual Assault Survivors 5/16

Join RVA as we participate in #OnTheTable2017 to discuss what we can do to better support sexual assault survivors in our community. How do we respond to victims? What do survivors need from us? What does prevention and fighting rape culture look like?   Spend an hour...

Making Matters 5/16

Open to survivors, their loved ones, trauma workers/volunteers, allies and everyone in between. Making Matters welcomes self-exploration, healing, solidarity, community building, and self-care through art making while empowering participants to be in control of their...

Songs of Survival at The Awakenings Foundation 5/11

The Awakenings Foundation is proud to present their THIRD installment of Songs of Survival – an hour long program of multi-media performances by survivor artists at their gallery space in Ravenswood. Please join to witness, support and share the healing of survivors...

Article by CBS on Standing Silent Witness

RVA Director of Education and Training, Megan Blomquist, was interviewed by CBS during Friday’s signature Sexual Assault Awareness Month event, Standing Silent Witness.  Read it...

The Only Way Out is Through: An Open Letter to Survivors

Dear Survivor, First and foremost, I want you to know how incredible you are and how much I love and care about you. Without a shadow of a doubt, I believe you when you say you’ve been harmed, and I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced violence. To say that you have...

2017 Dr. Natalie A. Stephens Visionary Award Recipients

We are excited to announce Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino as the 2017 Dr. Natalie A. Stephens Visionary Award recipients! This award recognizes the work of far-sighted leaders who have made a powerful and lasting impact on the issue of sexual violence. Annie and...

Reiki Clinic 5/31

RVA, in partnership with The Awakenings Foundation, is pleased to hold our third Reiki Clinic. RVA’s Reiki Clinic is an open space where individuals can come for a free Reiki session from a trauma-informed Reiki practitioner. Reiki is a Japanese energy healing...

Embracing Fear and Vulnerability: An Open Letter to Fathers

Dear Fathers, Fear: we all feel it when it comes to sexual violence. As a dad, you experience this fear in a unique way. No one wants to imagine their children experiencing violence of any form, but add in the shame and stigma that surrounds sexual violence and...

Thank You for Supporting RVA

The NO MORE Challenge ended this week and RVA placed 4th out of the 120 organizations who participated – raising $65,397 and winning an additional $7,500 for a grand total of $72,897! Overall, this fundraising challenge raised nearly $650,000 for organizations...

Using Power for Good: An Open Letter to Fraternities

Dear Fraternity Member, I believe that you have the power to end rape. As a member of a fraternity, you have the ability to harness your social power and leadership skills to move the needle on important issues affecting your campus, including sexual violence. Before...

Male Survivor Group 7/6-9/7

A 10-week psychoeducational group for male survivors of sexual assault/abuse. Cis and transgender men both welcome. When: July 6th  – September 7th Thursdays, 6:00pm – 8:00pm Where: Rape Victim Advocates 180 N Michigan Ave Suite 600 Chicago IL 60601 For more...

RVA Welcomes New Executive Director

We are entering Sexual Assault Awareness Month with some very exciting news! Rape Victim Advocates is pleased to announce that our new Executive Director, Erin Walton, will be joining the RVA team on April 10th, 2017. “I am overjoyed to join the RVA team,”...

Platicando Con Tus Hijos 4/26

Estrategias Para Prevenir el Abuso Sexual de Menores. Organizador: Rape Victim Advocates (RVA) Defensores de Víctimas de Violación Facilitadores: Bianca Herrera y Jessica Salgado Evento: Taller de Educación de Prevención del Abuso Sexual de Niños Para Padres Que...

Making Matters 4/18

Open to survivors, their loved ones, trauma workers/volunteers, allies and everyone in between. Making Matters welcomes self-exploration, healing, solidarity, community building, and self-care through art making while empowering participants to be in control of their...

Art Therapy Group 6/7-8/30

Explore new pathways to healing through creative process. To schedule a group screening appointment contact Jordan Ferranto, MAAT at (312) 443-9603  ext. 29  or...

It’s #SAAM Day of Action!

The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is to raise awareness about sexual violence & educate communities on how to prevent it. Here are a few ways to get involved. Show your support by changing your Facebook profile picture:...

RVA Interviewed by CBS 2 Chicago

Interim Executive Director, Sarah Layden, spoke with CBS 2’s Jim Williams on the assault of a 15-year-old that was broadcast on Facebook Live. “I definitely think it speaks to people not taking these types of crimes seriously,” said Sarah. “That people would...

RVA Featured in Medill Reports Chicago

Central Counselor & Art Therapist, Jordan Ferranto, was interviewed by Medill Reports Chicago: “At Rape Victim Advocates, art therapy sessions can include crafting, painting, drawing, and poetry to work through the trauma of sexual assault. Last month, art...

#SAAMChi: Breaking the Silence 4/20

An open mic night featuring poets and artists who are resisting rape culture and amplifying stories of survival! The night will be emceed by Mojdeh Stoakley. Mojdeh is an award winning artist & educator. She’s performed in front of thousands, she’s...

International Women’s Strike 3/8

RVA will be participating in the International Women’s Strike on March 8th. As an organization, we stand for gender justice, economic justice, and racial justice. And every day, we fight to end violence against women – including Black women, Native women, poor women,...

#SAAMChi: Trivia Night 4/5

Hosted by RVA’s amazing volunteer committee: A #SAAMChi trivia night fundraiser! Come see how knowledgeable you are about sex on TV. When and where? April 5th at 7:00pm FATPOUR 2005 W DIVISION ST CHICAGO IL 60622 How to get tickets? Snag your trivia tickets by...

NO MORE Challenge! 3/2 – 4/11

We’re excited to let you know that we’re a part of the NO MORE Challenge again this year! It’s a fundraising campaign launched by NO MORE and Verizon benefiting organizations focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault. It starts March 2nd...

Postcard Writing Happy Hour at RVA 3/30

In the first 100 days of the new administration, we’re taking action by writing postcards to our congresspeople telling them what matters to us. We invite survivors, advocates, and allies to come write postcards together in a positive atmosphere. For this event,...

Forms & Features Poetry Workshop: Image & Trauma

All experience levels are welcome to a poetry discussion and creative writing workshop co-led by Poetry Foundation staff member Maggie Queeney & RVA Art Therapist Jordan Ferranto. In this session, we will explore image, the sensual description evoking the physical...

The UnMasc Project

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined Narrow Definitions of Masculinity as one of the 5 key norms that make Sexual and Domestic Violence more likely. It is also a major risk factor for individual perpetration of sexual assault...

Women’s March on Chicago

RVA will be participating as an organization in the Women’s March on Chicago this Saturday, January 21st. Our objective is to make ourselves seen and our voices heard by the new administration that women’s rights are human rights. We march to be seen… We march...

Inauguration Day Chat & Chew 1/20

We’re creating a safe place for anyone dealing with the impact of sexual assault in their lives to cope together during this potentially triggering event. It will be a very informal setting with chatting, snacks, and self-care items. You don’t have to go...

Art Therapy Group 1/18-4/5

For adult survivors of sexual violence. We will chat, share snacks, and use the creative process to explore topics important to you. No artistic experience or expertise required, just a desire to connect with other survivors and explore what your vision of healing...

Newsletter: December 2016

Upcoming changes & holiday greetings. Dear Readers, As a valued supporter of Rape Victim Advocates, we would like to share with you the upcoming changes happening within our team. After nearly 9 years as our Executive Director, Sharmili Majmudar will be resigning...

RVA Holiday Closing

Please note that all RVA offices will be closed December 23rd and will reopen January 3rd.However, 24 hour crisis support to our partner hospitals will continue to be provided during this time. If you need to speak with someone immediately, please call the Chicago...

Reiki Clinic 2/22

RVA, in partnership with The Awakenings Foundation, is pleased to hold our second Reiki Clinic. RVA’s Reiki Clinic is an open space where individuals can come for a free Reiki session from a trauma-informed Reiki practitioner. Reiki is a Japanese energy healing...

Making Matters Featured in Medill Reports Chicago

“We started this group as a way to build community and solidarity around the issues of sexual violence,” says organizer Jordan Ferranto. “A place to kind of unwind, relax, enjoy each other’s’ company, make some art, and just kind of be present with each other.” Read...

Newsletter: November 2016

Reflecting on November & moving forward. Dear Readers, This is a time of change and uncertainty. More survivors are speaking out than ever before, but they are still being blamed, and sometimes even shouted down. The voices of supporters – supporters like you –...

Reiki and Trauma

Reiki is a safe way to help balance one’s life force energy, achieve stress reduction, and help heal from...

A Letter from Coretta

Dear Friend of Rape Victim Advocates, I am a survivor of childhood molestation and rape. As a child I was molested for years by a trusted family member. As an adult a was raped by a boyfriend and his friend. For more than 20 years I could not discuss the personal...

Victims Needs Assessment

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) is conducting a Victims Needs Assessment. If you are a victim of crime, ICJIA would greatly appreciate your participation in this survey, created to better understand your needs. Responses will be kept...

Policing Women’s Bodies in Performance 12/2

Rape Victim Advocates is hosting “Policing Women’s Bodies in Performance,” a panel on the current regulations that prohibit women’s full nudity at establishments where alcohol is being served. Is this a manifestation of rape culture that blames women for...

Home for the Holidays 12/5

Join us to learn tools for coping with the holidays, including simple self-care and breathing techniques. This event is open to survivors and their loved ones. Individuals of all gender identities are welcome. Wheelchair...

Making Matters 11/15

Open to survivors, their loved ones, trauma workers/volunteers, allies and everyone in between.Making Matters is an art based community gathering for survivors of sexual violence, loved ones, supporters and advocates alike. This month, we seek to create safe space for...