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2017 National Sexual Assault Conference: From Courageous Conversations to Critical Action

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2017 National Sexual Assault Conference: From Courageous Conversations to Critical Action

Earlier this year, Fors Marsh Group (FMG) attended the 2017 National Sexual Assault Conference (NSAC) in Dallas, Texas. Because FMG researchers stay engaged in current research, they attended NSAC to further identify and educate themselves on trends and different perspectives on the national climate. Presenters and attendees included researchers, advocates, law enforcement, and administrators.

The conference included topics from the impact of race and marginalization to strategies in movement building to societal and legal implications of predator registries. Thematically, plenaries centered on conversations about institutionalism (e.g., mainstream sports, the legal justice system) and intersectionality (i.e., crossings of race, legal status, gender identity, age). Speakers challenged attendees to consider the existence of institutions and their impact on survivors of trauma, as well as how using an intersectional lens can inform our understanding about what survivorship of sexual violence looks like. The final key note from Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator and founder of Deeds Not Words, highlighted a call to action to continue to “harness our voices” to think about the impact and power of institutions as well as the importance of considering intersectionality.

FMG researchers found actionable information from two presentations related specifically to our 2018 work in sexual assault prevention:

U.S. Army’s Renewed Focus on Prevention: Presenter: SGM Caprecia Miller, U.S. Army SHARP

During this presentation, the Army provided information on updated strategies it is employing and discussed a renewed focus on prevention. Highlights from the Office of People Analytics’ (OPA) 2016 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members were discussed, as were analyses conducted by the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO). Also discussed were the Army’s five lines of effort, which included a compelling demonstration of an interactive video display in which a male soldier who is also a survivor of sexual violence answers questions about his experiences.

Deepening Evaluation Through Interviews and Focus Groups Part 1 and 2: Presenter: Stephanie Townsend, Ph.D.

FMG researchers conduct focus groups as part of its research portfolio, and specialize in facilitating sessions focused on sensitive topics, including sexual assault. This presentation by Dr. Townsend focused on blending qualitative best practices with researching the sensitive topic of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Topics included handling myths, triggering conversations, and victim blaming. The team engaged in skill-building activities for gathering rich data and empowering community members and survivors.

FMG looks forward to integrating themes and findings discussed during the conference with our sexual assault prevention body of work that will assist in studying, preventing, and responding to these behaviors in the U.S. Military and across America. A full description of all breakouts and plenaries can be found at

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