Presenting on Survivor-Centered Decision Making

I am presenting a virtual poster about the decision navigator and solution facilitator that I’m developing for people impacted by sexual violence at the 2nd Annual Public Summit of the Action Collaborative to Prevent Sexual Harassment in Higher Education on October 19, 2020 at 2:30PM CDT. I am grateful for my co-presenter, U.S. Geological Survey decision scientist and research ecologist Michael Runge, for his brilliance and encouragement.

Sexual harassment happens in #AcademiaToo

The Action Collaborative is a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Its Consensus Study Report on Sexual Harassment of Women is one of the few reports I’ve seen that looks at the problem of gender-based violence systemically and recommends structural changes to prevent sexual violence. For example, it recommended diffusing hierarchical and dependent relationships and striving for diverse leadership. (Not just more training.) I’ve been a fan of theirs and so am especially excited to present at their conference.

The online Public Summit is free and open to the public so everyone is welcome to attend. Please join me! Register online. Here’s the academic abstract for the poster, which will go live in October.

Using the Principles of Decision Analysis to Facilitate Survivor-Centered Decisions After Sexual Violence

Michele Beaulieux, Michael C. Runge

After sexual violence, victim-survivors often find themselves stuck, unable to figure out what to do. At the same time, educators, advisors, friends and family can feel ill prepared to support them. Most attempts to aid victim-survivor decision making provide them with information about their alternatives. While that information can be useful, it doesn’t necessarily help them decide, because it focuses on alternatives rather than values. Before asking, “What can I do?” it’s helpful to ask, “What do I want?” Centering what victim-survivors hope to achieve helps them reclaim their agency, restoring what was taken in the violations they experienced.

We have developed a facilitation framework for victim-survivors and their supporters that is grounded in the principles of decision analysis, emphasizes values-focused thinking, and provides concrete steps to untangle the complex decisions victim-survivors face. Using a PrOACT structure (Problem, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, and Tradeoffs), the framework, called Our Choices Solution Facilitator, is a brainstorming decision tool for decision-making after sexual violence. It begins by asking victim-survivors to reflect on the outcomes they are personally seeking, laying the groundwork for evaluation by letting them define what would constitute a successful choice of action. 

The Solution Facilitator also provides a community framework for addressing sexual violence, helping others empathetically co-struggle with the person who experienced the violation. It recognizes that the primary decision-making challenge in the aftermath of sexual violence is not victim-survivors’ indecision but their lack of viable options. The Solution Facilitator gives supporters a structure to help expand victim-survivors’ Alternatives and improve the Consequences of those Alternatives.

In this presentation, we will describe the Solution Facilitator, its basis in the principles of decision analysis, and how victim-survivors and others can use it. We will then illustrate use of the Solution Facilitator through a hypothetical case study. 

© 2020 Michele Beaulieux. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). That means you are free to share and adapt as long as you attribute to Michele Beaulieux, don’t use for commercial purposes, and use this same license. And if you do share, I’d love to know! I continue to revise, so to avoid sharing an outdated version, I recommend linking to this page, where I provide the date of the current iteration. 9.19.20

To get updates on the My Choice Decision Navigator and Our Choices Solution Facilitator, please subscribe to my blog:

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