April’s DEI Spotlight Event Brings to NOVA a Powerful Speaker on Rape Culture, A Survivor’s Perspective

April 26, 2023

Brittany Piper is busy with speaking engagements during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. She is a national sexual violence prevention expert, healing coach and survivor. Brittany chooses to transform her pain into a purpose: helping others. She calls it her superpower. "Without fail, anytime I do a program, there's always at least one person who reaches out to me after and shares their story, and it's an honor," Brittany said.


On April 4 at the MEC, Brittany took her NOVA audience through the rawness of her story of survival. "It's hard. It's not easy. It doesn't ever really get easier,” she said. “As you saw, the tears still come up and that just shows how trauma really imprints you for life. But I always say that if I can get through to at least one person, that it's well worth the emotional turmoil sometimes that comes along with this path."

She travels to 40 to 50 college campuses each year talking about sexual assault. “Just really getting students involved and aware of this issue within their community," said Brittany. She sees it as a way to get people talking about the issue and breaking the culture of silence.

Brittany not only educates her audiences on what consent really is--and what it’s not, she also provides a wealth of information and facts that are weaved through her personal story. Her story inspires, empowers and gives hope to others.

Brittany said, "There's been a lot of healing and being able to take what was done against me and kind of take control of that narrative and say this isn't something that happened to me. I get to choose what I want to do with this now."

One thing she seeks to do is to make abundantly clear how vital empathy is, especially in a culture that has been desensitized to violence and sexual assault through music, movies, video games and advertising.

What she makes very clear is that survivors need empathy! There is a tremendous difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is like lip service; I'm sorry that happened to you. On the other hand, empathy compels us to respond, to act. It requires effort, understanding, listening and sometimes uncomfortable conversations.

In 2011, the sex crimes detective who handled her case and the sexual assault nurse examiner asked Brittany to join them in teaching RAD or Rape Aggression Defense courses to area college students. Brittany readily accepted. That’s how her journey of helping others began. To this day, she is very close with the detective and nurse. “They saved my life,” she said.

Brittany has provided NOVA with access to a digital resource called Now What? Workbook, A Guide for Survivors & Allies. Here is the link: https://www.myhealinghub.com/nowwhatworkbook

The workbook offers:

  • Six options for reporting
  • Five pages of healing resources
  • Scripts for sharing with a friend or partner
  • How to navigate sex & relationships after an assault
  • 11 tips for allies
  • Scripts for offering support
  • “Change the Culture” guide

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