Sexual violence is a community problem, and the Our Choices Solution Facilitator places the decisions that people impacted by sexual violence—victim-survivors, secondary victim-survivors, violators, and others—confront in a community context. It helps people work together to make decisions after sexual violations. It expands possibilities by serving as an empathy-creating, brainstorming tool.
My Choice Decision Navigator
The foundation of the Our Choices Solution Facilitator is the My Choice Decision Navigator, which provides a structured way for people impacted by sexual violence to figure out their own next steps. The Decision Navigator customizes the PrOACT decision-making elements for decisions after sexual violence. The acronym, PrOACT, stands for Problem, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, and Tradeoffs. People typically focus on Alternatives—What can I do?—when confronted with decisions. The Decision Navigator encourages people to make values-based decisions by carefully defining the decision Problem and determining their Objectives—What do I want?
I provide an introduction to the My Choice Decision Navigator in a fictional dialogue between college students, “Liz Tells Miriam about the My Choice Decision Navigator.” The page includes a chart of the PrOACT elements.
Suffering from “trauma mind” after sexual violence can make logical decision-making challenging. Psychologists have noted that decision aids for helping victim-survivors walk through tough decisions are helpful. Personal Objectives provide criteria for comparing choices, but accessing that inner knowledge—getting in touch with personal needs and desires can be difficult. And figuring out how to evaluate Alternatives based on Objectives can be overwhelming and confusing. The My Choice Decision Navigator can help individuals impacted by sexual violence sort through the logic of their emotionally-laden decisions.
Our Choices Solution Facilitator
While victim-survivors’ capabilities and stress can make decision-making challenging, the bigger issue is the dearth of decent options that victim-survivors have in the rape culture in which we live. And it’s not just victim-survivors who are in this predicament of scant good Alternatives. Most people impacted by sexual violence have poor options and thus face tough decisions. That includes secondary victim-survivors and, yes, violators. People have difficulty making decisions after sexual violence because they typically have poor options, or to use the PrOACT language, Alternatives. They also face competing Objectives and tough Tradeoffs among high uncertainty and dangerous risks. As a result, people often wisely choose the paths of least resistance and do nothing.
Here’s where the Our Choices Solution Facilitator comes in. By involving others and defining the issue as a community rather than an individual problem, the Solution Facilitator alters decision-makers’ decision calculus by creating more attractive options. With better Alternatives and better Consequences for their existing Alternatives, people impacted by sexual violence might be more likely to make decisions that could lead to deeper healing for themselves and their communities.
The Solution Facilitator puts sexual violence in a community context, helping people co-struggle with victim-survivors and others, supporting each other’s decision making. By mapping decisions, it helps co-strugglers understand the challenges people impacted by sexual violence face, and it helps the community of victim-survivors, violators, and co-strugglers create new Alternatives and improve the likely Consequences of existing Alternatives. By creating more understanding and better Alternatives, the Solution Facilitator makes decision making easier and leads to better solutions.
Visit the Decision Blog for blog posts and published articles about the My Choice Decision Navigator and Our Choices Solution Facilitator.
In developing the My Choice Decision Navigator and Our Choices Solution Facilitator, I am indebted to many people, including especially Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law professor Christine Evans, U.S. Geological Survey decision scientist and research ecologist Michael Runge, and Director for Education and Outreach in the Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support and Assistant Dean of Students in the University at the University of Chicago Vickie R. Sides.
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© 2020-2021 Michele Beaulieux. This website is 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. 3.18.21