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Surviving Sexual Assault - It Takes A Village - Archival
Listening to the experiences of sexual assault survivors is an important step to fully understand how the criminal justice system plays a pivotal role in a survivor’s journey to recovery from the mental and physical impact of sexual assault.
Original Live Webinar took place on 04/11/2019

Giving survivors a voice helps the criminal justice system improve the response to sexual assault by providing an important perspective to the process. The aftermath of a sexual assault is often the darkest hour for the victim. When a sexual assault survivor chooses to seek justice by reporting to law enforcement, their interactions with the system are pivotal and set the tone for the remaining journey. Each criminal justice step impacts the survivor, and every medico-legal professional involved in this process is part of this impact, even those that do not meet the survivor directly.

In this webinar, a survivor of drug-facilitated sexual assault wants to help the audience understand the challenges a rape-related post-traumatic stress disorder survivor has communicating details of their assault. What happens inside the brain of a sexual assault survivor is not the same as the officers who are attempting to collect the case or information. The neurobiology of trauma can help explain how the survivor's brain could be hostile to logic and sometimes chronological order.

This survivor’s experience in the criminal justice system will detail the interactions with her case Detective, the support of her local rape crisis center, and then, the challenges of a successful prosecution. Each of these steps on her journey included challenges that supportive criminal justice professionals were able to help her through during the over two years for her case to see the inside of a courtroom. 

From this account, Ms. Diana Meyer wants the audience to know that she has had the amazing ability to work closely with all areas of law enforcement since the conclusion of her case, including the Missouri States Attorney’s Office, and through this experience, she gained a full understanding and respect for every person who contributed her case. And how, because of them, her journey to recovery has brought her happiness and health. This has allowed her to work closely with politicians, community leaders, educational organizations, and law enforcement to further the support and advocacy for the many voiceless sexual assault survivors.

Detailed Learning Objectives:

•	Obtain a comprehensive view of how the various areas of how interactions within the criminal justice system can affect a survivor.

•	Explain the challenges presented to a survivor including emotional, physical, environmental, and those within the family unit.

•	Identify possible suggestions and opportunities to expand professional collection of witness communication and statements. 

This webinar was recorded in its entirety at the time of the Live event in order to capture the one on one interaction with the presenter. Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.


Diana Cabra-Meyer
Speaker, author, consultant, and educator on human rights advocacy and sexual assault survival. She dedicates her time to speaking out on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. As a survivor, Ms.  Cabra-Meyer brings a unique perspective that will allow conference participants to appreciate the impact of our work on those that need high-quality, thorough investigations....