Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2020

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Webinar: How to Support Survivors of Sexual Violence

Do you want to learn more about sexual violence and how to support survivors of sexual violence? In the webinar below, we will go over some necessary information about sexual violence and its impact on survivors. Participants will walk away with some concrete steps they can take to support survivors of sexual violence and end sexual violence.

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Our Heroes of SAAM

 Sue Gunderman

Interim Director, Reentry Services for the City of Hartford, Co-chair of the Greater Hartford Reentry Council

With the support and leadership of Sue Gunderman, Interim Director of Reentry Services for the City of Hartford and Co-Chair of the Greater Hartford Reentry Council, The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence has been able to share its work to end sexual violence among several re-entry roundtables across the state.

The warm welcome the Alliance has received to present its services to statewide re-entry service providers, tour the Hartford Reentry Welcome Center and even be included on the CT Reentry Collaborative website may seem like small steps, however, they make a world of a difference to
survivors within these communities. Sexual violence exists within a multitude of systems and the
criminal justice system is no exception.

Through the collaboration of especially the Greater Hartford Reentry Council and the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the state of Connecticut has been able to reach far more survivors within these spaces than ever before. The challenges and barriers to disclosing sexual assault are exponential, and it is in the visibility and partnership between our organizations that communicate to survivors everywhere that we support them and we believe them.

Thank you to Sue Gunderman for the work you have done to transform reentry in the state of
Connecticut and for what you do to help the many survivors of sexual violence that are coming back home from incarceration.

The CT Reentry Collaborative is made up of ten active reentry roundtables located in Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Southeastern CT, Stamford, Torrington, Waterbury, and Windham. Each roundtable is a collaboration of state and local organizations working together to identify needs and address gaps in services for individuals returning home from incarceration.

Individuals with lived experience are encouraged to join this network and work alongside these providers to find real solutions. This collaborative builds relationships with organizations and agencies across Connecticut to foster successful reentry, eliminate barriers, reduce recidivism and increase public safety.  It is coordinated by Andrew Clark, Director of the Institute of Municipal & Regional Policy (IMRP) at Central Connecticut State University. 

SNAP has provided a community of support for those who’ve faced sexual abuse within the religious community as well as a force behind legislative policy that supports and recognizes survivors.
Shortly after the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston was revealed to be part of a longterm and widespread pattern of sexual abuse and cover-ups, the CT chapter of SNAP was formed in 2003.
Beth McCabe (pictured above with NY governor Andrew Cuomo) served as one of the founding members of the Ct chapters and, with a focus on policy reform, still volunteers her time as one of three of the group’s leaders. After first joining a SNAP organization in New York nearly two decades ago, Beth was shocked to find a community of survivors with stories like her own, she said.
“You really believe you’re the only one and to discover that there are hundreds of thousands of us…that’s when I got really angry and I started dealing with my own abuse. They knew about this and they moved priests around and that’s when I got really angry and said we have to do something.”
To learn more about joining SNAPs online support group, email
Thank you to Beth and the rest of the SNAP team for relentlessly raising your voices for survivors.
Gail Howard serves as one of the all-volunteer team of leaders of the CT chapter of The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She emphasized the need for survivors to hear three affirmations that they’ve often been denied:
“You’re not alone.
It’s not your fault
I’m sorry you were hurt.”
A leader since 2014, Gail stepped in and took the group’s meetings online as a way to meet the needs of survivors across the state and even those who have left resided in Ct at one time, but still attend meetings.
A survivor herself, her role with SNAP has led to personal growth, she said.
“It’s helpful for me to continue thinking about how this has affected me and what I’m doing that’s unconsciously a reaction. My role in helping others is that I get at least as much benefit as anyone I try to help. Fighting outwardly really affects what’s going on inwardly.”

During this month, we’d like to honor Antoinette “Toni” Dickey as our final “hero of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Infusing her passion and energy into the Alliance team since 2017, Toni brings her financial skills from the insurance industry to serve as a board member and treasurer of the Alliance’s board of directors. Toni first learned of the Alliance several years ago at an event meant to match non-profit executives with highly-qualified board candidates from major employers, across various industries. .

When Toni met Alliance board members and heard about the Post Conviction Victim Services, she was sold on the idea of becoming a fellow board member, she said. . “I thought that was wonderful just that a team like that exists,” said Toni. “I’d never heard of what’s done for the victim when [an offender] gets out of prison,” she said.

Toni is close with her sister, who serves as a Hartford police officer, which brings her a unique awareness of the high volume of sexual violence that the criminal justice system sees. . “The work they do is amazing and important,” she said of the Post Conviction Services Team. .

While her career in insurance is still ongoing, Toni still finds time to spend with her sister, niece and “newlywed” husband whom she met six years ago at the Hartford Jazz Festival. ‘”With the support of my family I’m able to focus on my work,” she said, adding that she finds it important to carve out time to dedicate to non-profits. “It’s just that the work is so important, so I keep going.”

What Is Sexual Violence?

This month, we’re calling out various forms of sexual violence and drawing attention to how it seeps into our everyday lives. Whether it’s sexual violence we see in media, in the workplace or at home, its pervasive nature builds an oppressive culture that damages and stigmatizes.

All survivors of sexual violence – of any and all forms – are valid. We see you and stand with you.

Use the guide below as an interactive educational tool. Click any image below to get started.