Utah Sexual Violence Conference Content

7th Annual Utah Sexual Violence Conference Content:

WEDNESDAY March 24th

9:00-9:15- Welcome


March 24th Keynote-  Siri Chilazi

Siri Chilazi is a Research Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School whose life’s work is to advance gender equality in the workplace through research and research translation. 

Talk description: Advancing gender equity, diversity and inclusion across society is essential for sexual violence prevention. Unconscious biases are a key cause of gender inequality, yet research shows that de-biasing people’s minds are difficult and expensive. Fortunately, cutting-edge evidence points to proven and effective structural solutions that allow us to design environments, processes, and systems for greater gender equality. By de-biasing contexts instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts. In her keynote presentation, Siri will discuss the latest insights from academic research and show how they can be translated into practical tools that advance gender equity in our society and our workplaces through behavioral design.

Morning Breakout Sessions:


Track options P=Prevention I=Intervention T=Treatment  and Title IX

P:   Rick Hawks, PhD: Upward Reach Foundation

Using Technology to Engage Parents in Preventing Underage Viewing of Pornography:

In a world where technology is continually enhancing ways to communicate, come learn about an innovative project currently being tested to reach parents with evidence-based prevention messaging. In 2016, Governor Herbert and the Utah Legislature declared pornography a public health crisis. To answer this call to action, Upward Reach has taken research from the Communities that Care model and Parents Empowered initiative and adapted them to the prevention of underage viewing of pornography. This prevention curriculum is delivered via texts.

I:  Shirlee Draper, SSW,MPA, Alina Darger: CherishFamilies

Serving Victims from Polygamous Cultures:

For more than 180 years, adherents of fundamental Mormonism have practiced plural marriage, also known as polygamy. For nearly the same time, "polygamists" have been reviled. Today, there are many different groups that practice various versions of the faith, but one tenet unites them: fear of government, law enforcement, and the justice system. As a result, many crimes within the communities remain unreported and many fear to access appropriate healthcare and social services, compounding issues that arise from multi-generational trauma, health issues, and poverty. This session will analyze the history, barriers, and fears and introduce cultural considerations for better, trauma-informed practice. This session will also highlight recent changes in the law that will impact work with the population.

T: M. Michelle Gourley, MFT,LCSW,JD: 

SIFTing Through the Sea Inside: Brain-Based and Mindful Approaches toward Integrated Well-Being

Therapeutic and personal growth involves learning something new and requires change. This presentation will investigate how we are wired to resist change, focus on the negative and spend most of our time distracted in our default mode network. We will explore how increasing awareness of how we experience stress and change has the greatest potential to facilitate healing. As part of this discussion, we will review specific integration strategies to optimize positive, lasting, change for clients and their families. This presentation will also discuss how mindfulness approaches are a key component to promote well-being for both our clients and also for ourselves.

P:  Marty Liccardo, UDOH - Men's Engagement

Building Bridges: Connecting Sexual Health Promotion as Sexual Violence Prevention:

The CDC and the World Health Organization has identified that sexual health promotion and education is sexual violence prevention. There are three significant factors where these areas overlap are one - promoting social norms that protect against violence, two - teaching youth to recognize the presence or absence of consent, and three - creating protective and safe environments for all. When providing sexual violence prevention services, sexual health questions can arise. In this session, we will discuss barriers and concerns prevention workers face, how to overcome those barriers and be an askable resource.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions:


P: Emmalee Fishburn, MPH, CHES, Felicia Gallegos, MSW, and Shellie Heyrend: Utah State University/CAPSA

Upstanding in Action: Successfully Connecting Campus and Community Efforts:

Culture change in a community requires more than just one agency’s involvement. This presentation will highlight the importance of partnerships when implementing bystander intervention curricula and campaigns within a community. CAPSA and USU staff will candidly discuss barriers, successes, and everything in-between regarding their efforts to promote social change within Cache Valley using the Utah Department of Health’s Upstanding program. Participants will learn how to replicate these efforts in their own communities through interactive activities and strategic planning processes.

P:   Carol J Matthews-Shifflett, CEO Sojourner Group

The Complexities of the Strong Black Woman

The purpose of this series is to take a deep dive into humanizing American Black women. As advocates of victimized women, it is imperative to understand the moral and mental characteristics of American Black women to ensure that she is provided with quality care. Before the ‘Black Girl Magic Movement,’ started in 2013 by CaShawn Thompson, it was uncommon for American Black girls and women to put self-worth, self-value, or self-care at the forefront of her being. To collectively be an active advocate for a group of women who are viewed as less than you must first and foremost be present when serving her. Next, you must validate her and her narrative. The intent of this training is to step outside of your comfort zone, shatter the indoctrinated myths, biases, and stereotypes within your psyche as it relates to American Black women, and talk a panoramic view of the whole person. Doing so will provide you with a more holistic viewpoint. “Black Girl Magic was born as a way to "celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of Black women,” as described by Julee Wilson from HuffPost, and to congratulate Black women on their accomplishments.

 T:   Brent Pace, LCSW, Psychotherapist: First Avenue Counseling

You Do Not Have to be Good:

New and dynamic approaches in therapy with LGBTQ+ individuals are essential if we are to reach those who have been sexually assaulted and to successfully reduce the risk of sexual assault in those who are newly coming out as LGBTQ and/or who are beginning to explore the challenges of dating.

Please come prepared to have an interactive experience with the presenter. The hope is to learn from one another and to find common ground, share new ideas, and to find innovative ways to utilize art, media, and technology in therapy.

P:   Amy Mikkelsen, MPH,CPH,CHES: Utah Department of Health

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR):

QPR is a suicide prevention training that teaches participants how to identify suicide warning signs and increase skills to reach out to people who may be having thoughts of suicide and how to refer them to resources for help.  This training will also cover firearm safety as a suicide prevention strategy.


Afternoon Breakout Sessions


P:  Medalid Del Carpio, Teen Council:  Planned Parenthood Association of Utah

Consent is Sexy: Sex Positive Education as Sexual Violence Prevention:

Youth in Utah experience higher rates of teen dating violence and forced sex than the national average. Mental health outcomes for youth in Utah are poor including the high rate of youth suicide. Recent updates to the Utah health core curriculum confirm that education about relationships has a place in middle and high school. What does Healthy Relationship education that includes consent, centers youth voice and lived experience look like? And how can youth benefit? PPAU will present an interactive session that will center youth voice and lived experience with teen dating violence, harassment, mental health, and sex education. Participants will learn about what a sex-positive approach is, how that can be trauma-informed and empowering to participants, and engage in at least two youth-led activities during the session. Community Educator Medalid Del Carpio will discuss the SAMHSA approach, and inclusive approaches to lesson planning and facilitation with LGBTQ, large-bodied, and Latinx youth. This session will feature high school age peer health educators who live in rural communities in Utah leading activities along with their adult facilitator. The presentation will include two youth-led activities and tips on how to create an inclusive curriculum for LBGTQ, Latinx and large-bodied people Learn tools to empower your participants with skills, information and increased agency.

I:  Moroni Benally: Restoring Ancestral Winds

Sexual Assault as a Pathway to Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit

Murdered and Missing Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit has recently received nation-wide attention. Sexual assault, as a pathway, is often overlooked. Indigenous people often find themselves targets of sexual assault because of family life, economic stress, historical trauma, among many other factors.

T:   Mara Haight, CMHC: Utah Center for Post Traumatic Growth and Centered Life Psychotherapy

Treating Complex Trauma from Childhood Sexual Abuse

The unique and long-lasting impact of trauma exposure in childhood can feel difficult and overwhelming to treat. In this workshop, we will review the unique markers of complex trauma survivors, and explore effective treatments for those we serve.

I: Monica Maio, Marina Pena and Sariah Donnahoo: JD Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys

Kids are Different: Myths and Facts about Sex Offending Court- Involved Youth

P:   Laurieann Thorpe, ED: Prevent Child Abuse Utah

Faith Leaders Combating Child Abuse: Practical Steps for Prevention

Faith communities provide opportunities for children to develop spiritually and be part of a caring community. Close relationships with adults are important for children. Unfortunately, as in any organization where adults interact with children, faith communities can unintentionally provide opportunities for inappropriate sexual behaviors towards children.

What can faith communities do to protect children and prevent child sexual abuse? What is Utah doing to support faith communities in this work?

We will provide policy examples, outline Utah efforts, talk about areas for improvement and give practical advice for how adults and faith leaders can prevent child sexual abuse.

THURSDAY March 25th

9:00-9:15- Welcome

General Session


General Session: ATIXA - Daniel Swinton, UofU - Sherrie Hayashi, SLC School District - Tina Hatch

A panel discussion on how Title IX for K-12 and higher education interacts with the other conference themes of Intervention, Treatment, and Prevention.


Morning Breakout Sessions:



P:   Carrie Roger-Whitehead: Digital Response-Ability

Where does digital sexual violence happen? A review of trends, apps and research

Recent technology trends has made it more difficult to track and find digital sexual violence. Find out what platforms and corners of the Internet these offenses occur and resources to assist when it happens. 

I:   Heather C. Melton, PhD, UofU

Lessons Learned: The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) in Salt Lake County

The Sexual Assault Initiative (SAKI) addresses previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Salt Lake County. As part of this initiative, kits were tested, processes were put in place, and an evaluation and research was conducted. This workshop explores results from that research. Data from surveys, focus groups, interviews and case files will be presented to explore findings from the evaluation of the project, from data collected on victim notification, and finally findings on the kits/cases themselves. Ultimately, the “lessons learned” from the project and recommendations for the future will be highlighted.

T:   Delynn Lamb, LCSW

Law and Ethics in Mental Health Counseling

This presentation is designed to define ethics.  Have a discussion regarding ethical principles and standards.  It will inform and define ethical clinical practice.  It will also discuss the mandatory reporting law, how to deal with suicidal clients, and ethics related to treating sexual abuse cases.

I:   Marlesse D. Jones: AG Office

It’s Not What it Seems: Recognizing and Understanding Trauma Evidence in Sex Crime Disclosures

This workshop discusses the functions of the brain, during a traumatic event, at cortical and subcortical levels. Signs of trauma and accompanying counterintuitive behaviors are identified and discussed as to how those behaviors, previously believed to be harmful to cases, can be used to build evidence of the vulnerability of the targeted victims /survivors and the intentional motivations of the perpetrator. Attendees will also be introduced to TIVI, a Trauma-Informed Victim Interview protocol, as an effective interviewing tool. Content is relevant for law enforcement, prosecution, service providers, and survivors.

 P:   Charles Odoms, MSW: Hartford, CT

Hidden Aspects of the African American Male/Female Relationships

The African American relationship has been systemically strained since the arrival of slaves in the colony of Jamestown, VA in 1619. This session will analyze how racism impacts the socioeconomic and psychological elements that govern the outcome of African American male/female relationships.


Title IX- ATIXA Daniel Swinton

Lessons from Recent Title IX Litigation

A discussion around recent title IX litigation.


Afternoon Breakout Sessions:


I:  Julie Valentine, PhD, RN, CNE, SANE-A, BYU and Leslie Miles, DNP, BYU

Multidisciplinary Interventions to Decrease Peritraumatic Symptoms following Sexual Assault

This workshop will focus on multidisciplinary practice implications regarding peritraumatic symptoms following sexual assault from a large retrospective study of over 6,000 sexual assault forensic medical examination charts. Effective approaches to identify, assess and provide appropriate care for peritraumatic responses will be presented. Case presentations will be utilized to analyze challenging situations. Interventions will be discussed which can facilitate better outcomes for victims. Participants will be provided a reference tool to use in their practice. Research indicates that if peritraumatic or acute stress disorder symptoms are reduced then long-term mental health outcomes will be improved.


I:   Steve O'Camb and Derek Coats: SAKI, Utah Dept. of Public Safety, State Bureau of Investigation

Home Invasion Rape & Robbery - From Cold Case to Conviction, a Victim Centered Response

Bakar Mohammed Mberwa, age 28, was found guilty of 1st Degree Felony Rape, and Aggravated Burglary on 10/31/2018 by a jury in 3rd District Court, Salt Lake County, State of Utah, for a violent assault that occurred nearly nine years ago.
In late 2009, a woman living alone awoke to an unknown male standing at the foot of her bed in the dark, with a second male standing nearby. Court testimony and evidence presented at trial showed they were wearing gloves and had entered her residence by removing the front doorknob. The woman testified that one man put his hands over her eyes and mouth, and a gun was pushed against her back as she was tied up face down on the bed. One suspect raped her as they ransacked the home and stole property. The case went cold soon after as there were no leads as to who the suspects were.

As part of the Utah SAKI project, DNA testing in 2015 identified a CODIS eligible profile of an unknown suspect in the rape. In 2017 a CODIS hit on that profile named Bakar Mberwa as the suspect. The resulting investigation by the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Utah Department of Public Safety led to his arrest and incarceration in early 2018. The second suspect in the burglary, who was not involved in the sexual assault, has not been identified. Mberwa is currently serving 6 to life in the Utah State Prison.


T: Julie Melini, APRN and Trish Crump, RN, SANE-A, WFN

Facets of S.A.N.E —From Exams to Effects to Evidence:

The presentation will combine an explanation of the SANE exam and what effects victims have historically experienced. A detailed view of the SANE report, discussion of medical information contained in the report and an explanation of what it means will be included. Exploration of the potential effects victims may experience before, during and after an exam from a Forensic Nurse standpoint will also be discussed.


Title IX: ATIXA Daniel Swinton

Using Informal Resolutions in the Title IX Processes

A discussion around using informal resolutions in Title IX processes.


P: Vivian St. Juste Schweizer, MA - Public Administration, BA Communications and Joyce L. Kyles, Joyce Kyles Consulting, Certified Life and Thriving Skills Coach

The Side-Effects of Dehumanizing

Managing a lifetime of stereotypes, stigma’s, and biases can be treacherous to all of us. It places a strain on the psyche that’s unsettling and daunting. For more than 400 years the American Black woman has been dehumanized, a word defined as ‘Someone who is deprived of her own positive qualities,” such as animals. We will review how such actions came to be, and your role in changing the narrative to humanize the experiences of the American Black woman.


Closing Keynote: 2:45-4:15

Emily Austin, Pivotadvocacy

Emily Austin, is the Founder and President of Pivot Advocacy, PC.  Pivot Advocacy, PC is committed to the community and institutional change for social justice through educating the people within those systems, developing supportive and in-house methods to confront and end oppression and harassment, and creating tools for the promotion of healthy communities, workplaces, and families. She works as a consultant to bring thoughtful, authentic change to systems, organizations, and individuals to end gender-based violence. She was previously the Senior Policy and Advocacy Associate for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA).

These Are The Times To Grow Our Souls:

This keynote will explore sexual violence advocates’ role in promoting social justice and ending violence. Join your fellow advocates in imagining the future we want and supporting each other in a shared vision of respect and love. Learn about connecting to our shared strength in the field to end gender-based violence and deepening our connection to each other, survivors, and communities through action.