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Valiant Voices:
Conversations with Human Rights Advocates and Survivors

Amplifying Global Conversations

About the Series

Valiant Voices is a series that features conversations between human rights advocates and survivors, addressing injustice and disrupting oppressive systems that cause harm. These are the stories of powerful leaders creating change in their communities and around the world.

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Watch Our Latest Episode

Disrupting the Pathway to Prison and Achieving Justice for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

Speakers: Earl Smith & Angela Hattery, Udell professors and co-authors of Down in the Hole and Policing Black Bodies, Deneal Trueblood, survivor and playwright of “Secrets,” Cindene Pizzell, National Defence Center for Criminalized Survivors, and Caitinrose Fisher, partner at Forsgren Fisher McCalmont DeMarea Tysver LLP
Moderated by: Melissa Scaia, GRW trainer and author of In Their Own Words: Victims of Battering Talk About Being Arrested and Convicted

Nationwide, women’s state prison populations grew 834% over nearly 40 years, more than double the rate of men. Women are currently the fastest-growing prison population, yet their trajectory to penitentiary is much different. Incarcerated women experience higher levels of prior victimization than men, and much more extensive gender-based violence than non-incarcerated women. Prior victimization, specifically childhood sexual and physical abuse, are nearly universal experiences for women prisoners, leaving them vulnerable to situations that persuade, force or trick them into criminal activity.

The criminal justice system rarely considers how a history of gender-specific abuse and resistive violence or other offenses are interconnected. This panel will discuss their work advocating for the rights of criminalized survivors, their lived experiences with prisons and the criminal justice system, and how gendered abuses make women more vulnerable to incarceration. This conversation will also address what gender-sensitive and trauma-informed understanding and interventions can disrupt this injust pathway to prison.

 Amitheni Keefe, DAP

“We have a high regard for Global Rights for Women and have been grateful for the work, influence, and platform you provide for both the movement and the community.”

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