Message from the Interim Co-Directors

Dear Friend,

I hope you’re as excited about spring as we are. This time of year always feels like a fresh new start. Here at Resilience, there is so much to look forward to. March is Women’s History Month. We’re taking this opportunity to celebrate and honor the women, including trans women, throughout history who have fought against gender-based violence and sexual violence, especially women, trans women, and trans women of color whom history has tried to erase. We send gratitude to all the cis and trans women today and every day who are making history in the anti-rape movement. 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is quickly approaching next month. We celebrate this opportunity to gather and collaborate with our community. This year our theme is “Connecting Communities; Envisioning Equity”. It’s a great time to get involved and we hope you will take a look and join us for some of our SAAM events listed below and on our website.

After SAAM, our Associate Board will host the Empowerment 5K again on Saturday, June 10 at Burnham Park. Please save the date! Registration will open soon. We can’t wait to walk, run, and roll with you at the lakefront.

As you'll see below, we also have some very important funding and legislative updates to share with you. We will continue to keep you updated regarding these updates on our website and social media platforms. In the meantime, take good care and we hope to see you very soon.

With gratitude,

Sarah Layden and Amy O'Keeffe, Interim Co-Directors



Our Resilience Spotlight: Interview with Carolina Sánchez

We're proud to celebrate the people who connect our incredible community and bring us together in this work. For this month's interview, we're shining a spotlight on Carolina Sánchez, Supervisor of Advocacy Services at Resilience. Read our interview to hear from Carolina about Resilience’s Legal and Medical Advocacy services and what she’s most proud of in her eight years of working at Resilience. Click the button below to read our interview with Carolina.


Funding and Legislative Updates

Funding Updates

Illinois to experience a 49% cut to VOCA funds

The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund was created by Congress in 1984 to provide federal support to state and local programs that assist victims of crime. VOCA uses non-taxpayer money from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) for programs that serve victims of crime. These funds support services for over 6 million victims of all types of crimes annually through 6,462 direct service organizations including Resilience.

Since 2019, VOCA funds have declined because of shrinking deposits paid by the restitution of federal crimes that support the dollars. When deposits into the CVF are reduced, the amount allocated to states for victim services is reduced.

Resilience could potentially see a decrease of 49% of the annual funds we receive from VOCA, which would mean a loss of $550,000 to $600,000 - 17% of our annual budget. This is only an estimate – the loss could be more severe. Unfortunately, we won’t have an update regarding the funding we will receive from VOCA for FY24 until late May.

Call to Action

We need your help today to ensure that we can keep our services free for survivors and their loved ones. On July 21, 2021, President Biden signed the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (VOCA Fix Act) into law (Public law 117-27). The law, which will secure billions in victim services, will take time to replenish the fund to 2018 levels. Because the federal VOCA fix will take time, we are asking our committed supporters like you for your assistance. You can make a difference, and no contribution is too small or insignificant. Here are actions you can take to help Resilience today:

  1. Share information about the cuts to Resilience’s VOCA funding on social media. Please click here to access talking points.
  2. Call on state and local legislators to meet with rape crisis centers in your community to discuss the impact of these funding cuts.
  3. Make an ask to your state legislator to increase General Revenue funding to support services for sexual assault survivors across Illinois.
  4. Are you interested in sharing how rape crisis services made a difference in your healing? Contact us to meet with legislators about the impact cuts will have on survivors.
  5. Donate directly to Resilience today – any and every amount counts to help us help survivors in this time of need!
  6. Encourage others in your community and network to donate to Resilience today.

Taken in part by the incredible work of NNEDV.

Please contact Sarah Layden at and Amy O’Keeffe at for more information and ways you can support Resilience as we await more information regarding these potential VOCA funding cuts.

Legislative Updates

  • HB 3596: Making the Crime Victim Compensation Act More Accessible, Impactful, Equitable, and Just for Victims of Violent Crimes. Many victims of violent crime are unable to receive Crime Victim Compensation (CVC) under the current statute due to eligibility and procedural requirements that are unnecessary to determine whether they experienced a violent crime and incurred financial expenses warranting compensation. This bill works to improve access to compensation for out-of-pocket losses that better align with how crime victims report (or not) and heal from violent crimes. Learn more here.
  • SB 2260: Justice for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence. In 2015, the State of Illinois created a path to request resentencing for incarcerated survivors of gender-based violence under Public Act 99-384 (effective January 1, 2016). This Act was a historic recognition that our system meant to provide justice often fails to do so for survivors of gender-based violence. Unfortunately, despite the intent of that Act, it has failed to accomplish its intended goals because of ambiguity in the language. SB 2260 provides clarity in the current language and process of the original Act. These amendments represent a “fix” aimed to ensure the opportunity of freedom obtainable to more incarcerated survivors. Learn more here.
  • HB 3414: Prevent Unfair Sentencing of Youth Act, Supporting Recovery for Youth Trafficking Survivors. HB 3414 reforms the criminal legal system to see youth as victims of gender-based violence, rather than criminals, and encourages a trauma-informed judicial response to children surviving sexual abuse. Learn more here.
  • HB 3973: Amending the Juvenile Court Act to Effectively Respond to Families Experiencing Domestic Violence. Children are being separated from parents who are victims of domestic violence because of that domestic violence – causing trauma to the children and re-victimizing the victim (often the primary caretaker of the child). HB 3973 provides courts the clarity needed to prevent this from happening by recognizing that the responsibility of the domestic violence was that of the perpetrator and not a domestic violence victim. Learn more here.
  • SB 333: This bill amends the mandate that hospitals and healthcare providers treating crime victims must notify law enforcement as soon as treatment permits. SB 333 would allow survivors of sexual assault to choose to delay notification up to 24 hours and to control what information is shared. Learn more here.

For more information on legislation impacting survivors contact Sarah Layden, Chief Operating Officer & Interim Co-Director, at


Current events: new research on adolescent girls 

Last month the CDC published new research that shows large increases in exposure to violence as well as sadness among teen girls and LGBTQ+ youth. This research found that LGBTQ+ students reported very high rates of depressive symptoms and sexual violence. Almost 15% of high school girls had been forced to have sex, and about 6 in 10 girls felt persistently sad or hopeless to the point that they stopped their regular activities.

The crisis in American girlhood” from the Washington Post reports, "The new report represents nothing short of a crisis in American girlhood. The findings have ramifications for a generation of young women who have endured an extraordinary level of sadness and sexual violence — and present uncharted territory for the health advocates, teachers, counselors and parents who are trying to help them."

We can reverse these recent negative trends by supporting students, having honest conversations about sexual violence and mental health, and helping young people access needed resources when they experience harm and violence. We have to listen to young people, especially when it comes to their safety, well-being, and mental health.

Last fiscal year, 13% of Resilience’s clients were 14-19, and 40% were 20-29. Adolescence can be an especially tumultuous and challenging time for many young people and adding experiences of sexual violence can contribute to mental health struggles and stress for survivors of any age. Resilience will continue to try and reach anyone who needs our services and help survivors navigate their healing journey in a survivor-centered way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help.

Sexual Violence Among U.S. High School Students, By Sex, 2017-2021 graph from the CDC

Nearly 1 in 5 teen girls experienced sexual violence in the past year, which is a 20% increase since 2017


Thank you for supporting Cocktails for a Cause!

Last month an incredible group came together and celebrated at the Resilience Associate Board's first-ever Cocktails for a Cause fundraiser! We're sending all our gratitude to our incredible Associate Board, and especially to our committee for this event: Alexandra Musgrove, Amanda Robert, Cara Hare, Stephanie Brown, and Hannah Muerhoff. Thank you to everyone who supported this event and made it a success! We are thrilled to say this event raised over $7,000. Thank you to the Associate Board, event committee, and community members who made this all possible! Interested in joining Resilience's Associate Board? Click here to learn more.

Associate Board members celebrate at the first Cocktails for a Cause


SAAM 2023 Events and Fundraising

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is just weeks away! We're looking forward to this opportunity to connect with our incredible community to build awareness, forge new relationships, host some amazing events both online and in person, and fundraise.

Please support our SAAM fundraising campaign! Our SAAM fundraising goal this year is $20,000 and we need your help. Please consider hosting a fundraiser during April and encouraging your networks to give and get involved in Resilience's work empowering survivors and ending sexual violence. Every dollar counts! Your support is needed and deeply appreciated. Click here to donate. Click here to start your own SAAM fundraiser.

Mark your calendars for these events. We hope to see you there!

Learn more about these events and all things SAAM on our SAAM website page.


Join our next volunteer training

Resilience is always looking for more Volunteer Medical Advocates to join our ranks. Applications for our spring training are open now. The deadline to apply is today, March 15. Dates for the orientation sessions (by invitation only) will be announced soon.

Training Dates: April 10, 11, 13 ▪ 17, 18, 20 ▪ 24, 25, 27 ▪ May 1, 2, 4 ▪ 8, 9 11 ▪ 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Are you interested in becoming a Volunteer Medical Advocate later in the year? Join us for a future training. We host them four times throughout the year. Please reach out to us at with questions! To learn more about our volunteer program, click here


Thank you to our March Partner of the Month!

Resilience proudly celebrates a new corporate partner each month. These partners' generous support allows Resilience to provide our programs and services completely free to the survivor. We send our gratitude to our March Partner of the Month, Flutopia Initiative. Thank you, Flutopia Initiative, for hosting a 5K race benefitting Resilience! We are grateful for these partnerships that allow Resilience to expand our reach and impact in our community.

If you are interested in becoming a corporate partner of Resilience, please contact Amy O'Keeffe, Chief External Relations Officer and Interim Co-Director, at

Exploring Sexuality with Art Therapy Workshop – Virtual

Wednesday, March 15, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to use art-making as a judgment-free way of thinking about sexuality in order to reflect on how bodies, family, culture, and environment interact with our sexual selves. Participants will receive an art-making prompt to explore their personal history and pleasure goals. This workshop is open to adult survivors 18+, who are Illinois residents, and all genders are welcome. Appropriate participants may be anyone who has experienced sexual violence, including harassment, abuse, or assault. No previous art-making experience is necessary.

Interested participants may contact Art Therapist Annalise Castro, MAATC at to receive the meeting link.


Monthly Journaling and Meditation Group – Virtual

Fourth Wednesday of each month, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Next meeting on March 22)

A virtual space for survivors ages 18+ of sexual violence to process their trauma through journaling and guided meditation.

Contact Alexa Diego, LPC at to request the meeting link.


Communication with Partners Around Intimacy Workshop – Virtual

Monday, March 27, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Join us as participants will learn techniques for communicating with partners related to intimacy, including boundaries, asking for what you need, starting the conversation, and more. This workshop is open to survivors of sexual violence, ages 18+, who reside in Illinois.

Contact Erica Hungerford, LPC, at to request to join or with any questions.


Knitting and Mindfulness Art Therapy Workshop – Virtual

Wednesday, March 29, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Workshop participants will learn how to use crafting as a mindfulness practice through guided prompts and open knitting time. A mindfulness practice can help survivors realign mind with body and deepen their sense of self-knowledge. Knitting involves repetitive micro-movements that elicit a sense of stillness in the mind to ease the development of mindfulness skills. Participants must have beginner knitting skills to participate. This workshop is open to adult survivors 18+, who are Illinois residents, and all genders are welcome. Appropriate participants may be anyone who has experienced sexual violence, including harassment, abuse, or assault. No previous art-making experience is necessary.

Interested participants may contact Art Therapist Annalise Castro, MAATC at to receive the meeting link.


Crochet and Craft Group – Virtual

Monthly, every first Thursday, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. via Google Meet (Next meeting on April 6)

Join us for a monthly craft group focused on teaching crochet stitches and helping troubleshoot crochet issues. This group is also open to any crafter (knitting, sewing, painting, coloring, etc.) who would like to craft in a safe community space. This virtual group is open to all survivors of sexual violence ages 18+ who reside in Illinois.

To register, please contact Erica Hungerford, LPC, at


Group for Black Women Sexual Violence Survivors – Virtual

Thursdays, April 6 – June 8, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

This is a psychoeducational support group for African American women, trans women, and nonbinary survivors of sexual violence. It will focus on developing coping skills, forming a new sense of sisterhood, and achieving self-empowerment. Illinois residents only, ages 18 and up.

If you're interested in joining please contact Gaby Carlwell at or 773-287-6058.


Survivors of Substance-Facilitated Sexual Violence Support Group – Virtual

Monday, April 10, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

This free, one-time group session is open to survivors who experienced drug or alcohol-facilitated sexual assault; a person who was deliberately given substances without their permission, resulting in unwanted sexual harm, or a person who was otherwise unable to provide consent due to substances. This group will include open discussion to explore consent, memory loss, guilt, self-blame, and more. All participants must be ages 18+ and reside in Illinois.

To register, please contact Katie Kirshenbaum, LSW, at


Dance Meditation and Art Response – Virtual

Thursday, April 13, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Has meditation or sitting in stillness ever been a challenge for you? Join participants in a guided dance meditation where we will explore moving our bodies mindfully, followed by an art response and open discussion. Movement exploration can be sitting or standing based on accessibility needs. Participants may use any art materials of their choice. This workshop is open to adult survivors 18+, who are Illinois residents, and all genders are welcome. Appropriate participants may be anyone who has experienced sexual violence, including harassment, abuse, or assault. No previous art-making experience is necessary.

Interested participants may contact Art Therapist Annalise Castro, MAATC at to receive the meeting link.


Speaking of Survival: A Poetry Reading & Fundraiser – Virtual

Sunday, April 16, 3:00 p.m. C.T. (4:00 p.m. E.T.)

Speaking of Survival brings together eight poets, one literary journal, and one survivor-supporting nonprofit for a virtual event to share poetry, build community, and spark hope.

Held in April —  both National Poetry Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month — Speaking of Survival is designed to give voice to survivorship through poetry; foster creative permission, inspiration, and collaboration; provide opportunities for fresh dialogue and deeper literary and broader community connections, particularly among those affected by sexual violence; and raise funds for Resilience in direct support of survivors of sexual violence in the Chicagoland area. Hosted virtually by Olney Magazine and Raegen Pietrucha to benefit Resilience, Speaking of Survival features writers, who will read, among other work, poetry they wrote on the many facets of sexual violence survivorship.


Breaking the Silence Cafe – Virtual

Thursday, April 20, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Breaking the Silence is a virtual open mic night for local Chicago artists to share their stories of survival and resistance through poetry, spoken word, and more. We encourage performers of all ages, languages, and backgrounds to stand up against sexual violence. Tickets are free, but we suggest a donation of $20 to support Resilience.  Alternatively, please donate what you can! The Zoom link will be sent out to attendees prior to the event. We look forward to seeing you there!


Partners of Sexual Assault Survivors Workshop – Virtual

Monday, April 24, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

A free, two-hour workshop for partners of people who have experienced sexual violence, ages 18+, and all genders are welcome. Must live in Illinois. Individuals, couples, or partner groups (survivors and non-survivors) are welcome and encouraged to attend. This workshop will give guidance on ways to support your partner, how to better respond to your partner’s needs, work through intimacy concerns, and process feelings.

Contact Erica Hungerford, LPC, at to request to join the workshop or with any questions.


Standing Silent Witness (In Person)

Friday, April 28,11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Daley Plaza (50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602) 

Join Resilience for our signature SAAM event! In a visual demonstration of the silencing of survivors, participants gather silently for one hour wearing t-shirts with stories and messages protesting sexual violence and rape culture. This powerful event includes community members, advocates, volunteers, and survivors amplifying stories that are too often ignored as a way to break the silence about sexual violence. This year we'll gather in person at Daley Plaza (50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602). Participants will be socially distanced during this outdoor event. Please join us at 11:45 a.m. to meet and organize before the demonstration begins at noon. At the end of that hour, we will break the silence by chanting messages of support. Come by Standing Silent Witness during a break in your day and stay as long as you are able. We invite participants to sit or stand for as long or short as they’d like. 

This event is free. Registration is encouraged but not mandatory to attend. Contact Maggie Arthur with questions. We hope to see you there!

Join us for two t-shirt-making events before Standing Silent Witness!

Wednesday, April 12, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 28, 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Resilience Central Office, 180 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 600

Resilience is hosting two open studios to decorate t-shirts with stories and statements that bring awareness to sexual violence. These t-shirts are worn to display our messages against rape culture while we silently protest at our signature SAAM event Standing Silent Witness. T-shirts, materials, and examples will be provided. Attendees are not required to attend Standing Silent Witness to participate in the open studios, all are welcome to create with us. Breakfast will be provided at the April 28 open studio, and we will walk together from the Resilience office to Daley Plaza where Standing Silent Witness will begin at 12 p.m.


Drag Bingo hosted by the Resilience Associate Board

Sunday, May 7, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

My Buddy's, 4416 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

Join the Resilience Associate Board for a Drag Bingo event at My Buddy's! Tickets are $40 and include entertainment and five bingo cards. Additional bingo cards will be $5 and we'll have a 50/50 raffle as well. $1 from every drink sold during the event will be donated to Resilience! More information and tickets will be available soon. 


Crochet and Mindfulness Workshop – Virtual

Monday, May 22, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

A free two-hour virtual workshop teaching entry-level crochet skills as well as mindfulness techniques, for survivors of sexual violence. No disclosures about experiences are required, however, group participants are welcome to discuss this if they wish to. Materials needed: One crochet hook, size 5mm or 5.5mm; one ball of yarn, medium weight (size 4). Free materials are available for those in need (must contact us at least 5 days in advance of the event).

Please contact the group leader Erica Hungerford, LPC, at to request to participate and inquire about materials.


40-Hour Confidential Advisor Training – Virtual

June 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 15, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This training provides an in-depth examination of how sexual violence impacts individuals, communities, and broader society within the higher education context. Participants will be equipped to support survivors, and all survivors should be able to count on trustworthy, specialized institutional responses. CEUs are available.

Contact Jenna Barrus at with questions and learn more and register below.


The Associate Board Empowerment 5K

Saturday, June 10, 8:30 a.m.

Burnham Park (1199 E Oakwood Blvd, Chicago, IL 60653) 

Resilience's Associate Board will be hosting the second annual Empowerment 5K on Saturday, June 10! Save the date and join us as we walk, run, and roll to support survivors during this active and social fundraiser. This is a family- and dog-friendly event for walkers and runners of all levels. Participants will receive a t-shirt and other swag at the finish line! Registration will open soon.


Communication with Partners Around Intimacy Workshop – Virtual

Monday, June 12, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Participants will learn techniques for communicating with partners related to intimacy, including: boundaries, asking for what you need, starting the conversation, and more. This free workshop is open to survivors of sexual violence ages 18+ who reside in Illinois.

Contact Erica Hungerford, LPC, at to request to join or with any questions.


Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education – Virtual

Friday, June 30, 9:00 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

This training is intended for higher education professionals involved in providing student survivor support or responding to student disclosures of sexual or domestic violence. Suggested participants are Confidential Advisors, Student Conduct and Student Counseling Services. This training does not provide comprehensive review or guidance on updated Title IX procedures; however, Title IX Coordinators are also encouraged to attend.

Contact Jenna Barrus at with questions.


No wait time for Resilience Trauma Therapy services

Resilience offers free, time-limited, individual Trauma Therapy as well as support groups and workshops. There is currently no wait time, so reach out to get connected to our Trauma Therapy services today! Our individual therapy is limited to 20 sessions, while groups and workshops are unlimited as long as you are living in the state of Illinois. Reach out to our main office at (312) 443-9603 or to our Trauma Intervention Specialist, Alexa Diego at to be added to our trauma therapy waitlist.

You can learn more about Resilience's Trauma Therapy services here. You can also view our current listings of therapy workshops and group therapy sessions.


Join the Resilience team, we're hiring

Resilience is looking for new staff to join our team in our mission of empowering survivors and ending sexual violence. The following positions are currently open: 

Apply today! To learn more about careers at Resilience, click here. Do you know someone who might be a good fit for one of these positions? Send them this email!


Get Connected with Resilience's Remote Services

Click here to connect with an Advocate
Please fill out this form to be contacted by a trauma therapist to schedule or confirm a one-time virtual session
Contact us to join our waitlist for free individual sessions of trauma therapy


Click here to visit our Information on Survivor Options and Rights Page
Click here to visit our COVID-19 Resource Page

180 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 600 | Chicago, Illinois 60601
312-443-9603 |

Follow Us

Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

Unsubscribe or Manage Your Preferences