RAINN's Speakers Bureau Adds 200 Members

RAINN’s Speakers Bureau is comprised of nearly 3,634 survivors of sexual violence who volunteer to share their stories. These individuals, across the U.S., represent a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences; together they are an invaluable resource of knowledge and strength. Sara Snyder, who manages the Speakers Bureau, talks about fostering a sense of community among members while ensuring that their voices are heard by groups large and small.

How has the RAINN's Speaker Bureau grown over the past year?

Snyder: Not only has the Speakers Bureau grown by almost 200 new members, we have grown as a community. We have collaborated with our Policy Team to lobby for the first time on Capitol Hill with about thirty members from across the country for key pieces of legislation focusing on child sexual abuse material, revamped our Speakers Bureau newsletter, had three member-led trainings, and a continued writing workshop led by Tani Ikeda about Survivor Love Letter. The communication between members and RAINN has flourished in such a positive light — so many members have given feedback that they appreciate the communication and the sense of community.

How many members are we currently serving and where do they come from?

Snyder: We currently have 3,634 members, who are located in every single state in the United States.

What are the goals for the Speakers Bureau for this next year?

Snyder: I have some big goals for the second half of 2023. The first, and most important, is finding more opportunities for our speakers to tell their story. Speaking opportunities provide a number of benefits from the audience listening to the survivor, to the survivor themselves. Those that have the chance to listen to a survivor speaking learn about the raw truth about how sexual violence effects our world. They leave the event learning more about being an ally to a survivor and have more of a victim-centered approach.

A second goal I have kept in mind is community. I'm looking for more ways for Speakers Bureau members to come together as a community and engage with others. Additionally I'm trying to engage more by holding member-led trainings and staff-led trainings. Speakers Bureau members tell us they want more than just speaking opportunities. They are searching for community and continued education about the topics they are advocating on and for.

What are some of the speaking opportunities the Speakers Bureau offers to members?

Snyder: Opportunities include talking to school-aged children, participating in research studies, being interviewed by college-aged students, and being interviewed by members of the media. Some have spoken at conferences, and we also provide survivor voices to military programs who are looking to feature a survivor's voice in their training/education.

How can individuals apply to be a part of the Speakers Bureau?

Snyder: Individuals can apply for the Speakers Bureau by going to this link (https://rainn.org/speaker-bureau/register). The form is a bit lengthy. It asks you a lot of details about your story, but please know we read every single application with care. If anyone has any questions about the Speakers Bureau, they can email us at speakersbureau@rainn.org.

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