You made a difference! 2023 IMPACT REPORT

In 2023, you made the difference. It was a transformative year for EVAWI, and you were there at every step, making everything happen.

Together we celebrated EVAWI’s 20th anniversary—that’s 20 years of advancing healing for survivors and seeking accountability for offenders. You kept the momentum going, welcoming me as the new leader of this exceptional organization and keeping survivors at the center of everything we do.

In this impact report, you’ll learn about the lives you touched by giving police officers, advocates, prosecutors, and medical providers new tools to respond to survivors effectively and with compassion.

These pages show the difference you made for individual victims, but the ripple effect of the programs you supported has helped countless survivors.

Thank you for being someone who fights for justice. Today, survivors have more options, are getting better help, and have more pathways to healing because you believed, and made it possible.

With sincere gratitude,

Brandy* needed help, but she did not want the police showing up at her door—her landlord lived upstairs, and she didn’t trust him not to cancel her lease. Instead, she called her cousin Alesha who volunteered at the local rape crisis center.

Alesha came right over—she hugged her cousin and listened as Brandy wrestled with what to do next. Alesha pulled up Seek Then Speak on her phone, an online program that walked Brandy through her options, from medical care to prosecution. She showed Brandy how it could even lead her through a trauma-informed interview where she could begin reporting to the police.

Brandy decided to go to the hospital for a medical forensic exam, but she didn’t want to call the police yet. Afterward, back at her apartment sitting on the couch with Alesha, Brandy completed a Seek Then Speak report and emailed it to the police department.

The next day, Detective Silva called. He said, “I’m so sorry this happened. I’m here to help.” He asked if Brandy would be willing to meet with him and a victim advocate who would be there for support. They could meet somewhere she would feel comfortable. Detective Silva told Brandy he would be in plain clothes. Brandy said yes.

Thanks to you, survivors have more options. You helped create new pathways to justice, so survivors can make their own decisions, in their own time.

*This story combines aspects of multiple survivors’ experiences.

When Rabbi Avremi Zippel heard the detective say, “I just want you to know I believe you,” everything else fell out of focus. He barely heard anything else the detective said about the complexities of moving forward with a 20-year-old sexual abuse case. In that moment, nothing else mattered.

From the time he was 8 until he was 18, Rabbi Zippel was sexually abused by a woman his parents had hired to care for him and his five siblings. Growing up in a close-knit religious community, this kind of abuse was unheard of—or at least unspoken of.

Years later, when he was a father himself, his world began crumbling. The feelings he buried all came bubbling up. Rabbi Zippel began to see a therapist, who helped him start putting his life back together.

As part of his healing, he decided to report the abuse to the Salt Lake City Police Department. His disclosure, followed by excellent investigative work, resulted in a guilty verdict for aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

For Rabbi Zippel, being believed—by the detective, then the prosecutor, the judge, and his own family and community—was life affirming.

Your belief makes the difference. Your support for Start by Believing ensures survivors hear, “I believe you.”

Like most detectives, Kayla Thompson, a seasoned domestic violence investigator, never had training on victim interviewing. Almost every interview class focused on suspect interrogations.

Detective Thompson joined EVAWI’s Comprehensive Victim Interviewing (CVI) training, and it all just clicked—especially the emphasis on building trust. With fresh insights, Detective Thompson headed into her next case. It involved Annika, whose neighbor had called the police for the fourth time to report Annika’s boyfriend for domestic violence.

Detective Thompson hoped she would be able to help keep Annika safe this time. They met at Annika’s sister’s house. Detective Thomas approached the interview with compassion and patience as Annika recounted years of abuse.

Months later, Annika bravely testified at her boyfriend's trial. Sitting in the courtroom, Detective Thompson reflected that without the skills she gained at the CVI training, she might not have earned Annika’s trust. That would have stalled the investigation, allowing the abuse to continue. But today Annika was reclaiming her life.

Thank you for giving investigators trauma-informed skills that can transform lives.

* This story combines aspects of multiple detectives’ experiences.

“Being intoxicated didn’t mean she consented,” Sgt. Shaletha Bowie testified at the hearing for Tameka’s assailant. Sgt. Bowie went on to explain how different levels of intoxication impact a victim’s ability to recall events. She learned this at the EVAWI Advanced Training Institute (ATI) on sexual assault investigations.

Tameka had reported being sexually assaulted after a night of drinking at a party. When she woke up, she didn’t have clear memories, but she could feel in her body something was wrong. Talking to a friend later, she learned Keith had sexually assaulted her—he said it was consensual.

Sgt. Bowie says, “When I interviewed Tameka, I started by believing. Then I investigated to see where the evidence would lead.” What she found corroborated Tameka’s account—text exchanges with friends and witness statements from people at the party.

Because of Sgt. Bowie’s testimony, Keith stayed in jail, pending further proceedings. Tameka was relieved, but what mattered most was Sgt. Bowie’s belief, and the way she treated Tameka with respect.

Sgt. Bowie now teaches every officer in her unit to use trauma-informed techniques with victims. For Sgt. Bowie, ensuring survivors feel safe reporting sexual assault to the police is essential to justice.

By giving police skills to investigate in a trauma-informed way, you made the difference for survivors.

When Elise* walked into the hospital room where Caden was waiting, she was determined not to let him down. Elise was a trained sexual assault nurse examiner, but in a rural community she didn’t conduct many medical forensic exams—and Caden was her first male sexual assault patient.

Recently, her nurse manager had assigned additional training through EVAWI’s Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Exam (SAMFE) Virtual Practicum. The Practicum is an online program designed to enhance nurses’ skills to care for survivors of sexual assault.

Caden sat in a chair in the corner of the room—he looked at Elise, wondering how she would react to him. He hadn’t decided whether he would stay for the exam.

Elise took a breath. She knew the next few minutes would determine whether he would trust her. “Caden,” she said, “I’m Elise. I’m so sorry we’re meeting under these circumstances, but I’m here to make sure you’re ok.”

Caden studied Elise, gauging whether she was sincere. Finally, he said, “I’m not saying yes, but I’m willing to hear more.” Elise gave an inward sigh of relief. She said, “You’re in control.

Elise gained Caden’s confidence, and he completed the medical exam and forensic evidence collection.

You made the difference, and survivors like Caden got the medical care they needed and a better chance for justice.

*This story combines aspects of multiple nurses’ experiences.

Your generosity was crucial to funding the programs that helped survivors and trained professionals in 2023.

EVAWI completes an annual independent audit and is proud to have received the following recognitions!

If 2023 was a phenomenal year, 2024 looks even brighter. Your passion for helping victims and your dedication to justice will make extraordinary things happen this year.

In 2024, together we will focus on:

  • Expanding Seek Then Speak across the country, offering survivors another pathway to justice and increasing access to services.
  • Giving police officers, medical providers, prosecutors, and advocates the tools to respond in a trauma-informed way and support survivors on their healing journey.
  • Ensuring every survivor hears, “I believe you. You’re safe now. How can I help?”

You make a difference, every day, in the lives of survivors. With your belief and compassion, you are creating a world where every person can live free from violence and become everything they were meant to be.

Here’s to building a better future, together.

Thank you for believing in survivors, for championing responders, and for your dedication to ending violence against women and people of all genders. You ARE the difference.

EVAWI is a catalyst for justice and healing, so EVERY survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence gets the right response, every time.

Board of Directors