Our Speakers

Antonia Lassar

Antonia Lassar is a playwright, performer, and educator in New York City. Her solo performances straddle the intersection of journalism and theatre. She has performed her works at major colleges and at theatres in the United States and in South Africa. She guest-lectures at colleges and universities on activism through art, was recently a mentor for Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women’s program, and delivered a keynote at the 2017 Minnesota Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers conference. Ms. Lassar was called “your new hero” by Marie Claire Magazine for her theatrical work addressing sexual violence on campuses.


Antonia is currently touring her one-woman show, Post Traumatic Super Delightful, a half docudrama/half clown play about the sexual assault crisis on college campuses. Post Traumatic Super Delightful was recently called “Riveting!” by Autostraddle. Some of her other works includes the solo shows God Box and The Forest, as well as the ensemble plays Tina and Amy and Pair of Animals.

Antonia regularly teaches a series of workshops to actors, activists, and change-makers about how solo performance is a tool of personal and community empowerment. She is a primarily a mediocre ukulele player.

Maria Olsen

 Maria Leonard Olsen is a rape, sexual abuse and assault survivor/thriver, mother of two, attorney, author, women writing/empowerment retreat leader, and cohost of the “Inside Out” radio show on WPFW, FM 89.3, in Washington, D.C. She served as a political appointee in the Clinton Justice Department and on the Boards of Children’s National Medical Center BOV, the Catholic Coalition for Special Education, the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Washington, and the GirlsUp Advisory Board. Her upcoming book, 50 After 50—Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life (Rowman & Littlefield, June 2018) chronicles her journey to authenticity and how she overcame the trauma of her past by igniting the fifth decade of her live with physical challenges, adventure travel, lifestyle changes and spiritual practices. Maria is a recovery mentor and sponsor, and counsels women recovering from addiction and trauma. See www. MariaLeonardOlsen.com for additional information.

Wendy Murphy

Wendy is adjunct professor of sexual violence law at New England Law|Boston and a litigator whose work in state and federal courts around the country has changed the law to improve protections for women’s and children’s constitutional rights. She developed and directs several projects in conjunction with the school’s Center for Law and Social Responsibility. 

She is the founder and director of the Victim Advocacy & Research Group, a volunteer legal advocacy organization that has provided free legal services to victims and other third-parties in the criminal justice system since 1992.

Wendy is a former child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor who sits on many boards and has served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Crime Commission and Commission against Sexual and Domestic Violence. She has consulted with Congress, worked with the White House Women’s Office and taught on the faculty of the Poynter Institute in connection with programs related to media and reporting on sexual violence. 

Dubbed the “Best Talker on TV” with her “finger on the pulse of women’s rights” Wendy has worked for CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and CBS News as a legal analyst, and appears regularly on network and cable television. She has written for The Daily Beast and the Boston Herald, and is a regular columnist for The Patriot Ledger. 

Author of the first law review article in the nation to explain the relationship between Title IX and campus sexual assault (based on a landmark case she won against Harvard in 2002), Wendy’s work on violence against women in education forged new pathways to increased awareness and advocacy for nearly twenty years.

Lois Jenson


Lois V. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. was the first sexual harassment, class action lawsuit filed in the United States.  In 1988 Jenson worked at Eveleth Mines where she and other female workers routinely faced sexual harassment, abusive language, threats and intimidation. Jenson wasn’t afraid of hard work, but the continual harassment and unsafe environment resulted in her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. "You had the everyday attitudes for some, you had graffiti, you had the photographs that were inappropriate," Jenson said.When Jenson realized her treatment wasn’t isolated, she took the case to court. "At this time all we wanted was a policy and training and we wanted it to stop," she said. Jenson’s groundbreaking case inspired the 2005 movie North Country in which Charlize Theron portrayed Lois Jenson. Last February marked the 30th anniversary of the case that continues to influence present-day sexual harassment policies. 

Emmalyn Brown

A sexual assault survivor, advocate and activist, Emma is a University of Iowa undergraduate student, studying English/creative writing, French, human rights, and social justice. She lobbies state and federal legislators in support or Title IX protections and for survivors’ support services; organizes sexual assault awareness campus events; volunteers for campus assault resource organizations; and gives presentations to educate students about assault. At the University of Iowa, Brown also serves as the Title IX Campus Climate Chair on the Council for the Status of Women at Iowa. She founded NMARC, the National March Against Rape Culture, a grassroots movement created for and by survivors. after male allies asked what could be done to combat rape culture. Brown’s response, “people have to talk about it.”

Amita Swadhin


Amita Swadhinis an educator, storyteller, activist and consultant dedicated to fighting interpersonal and institutional violence against young people. Their commitments and approach to this work stem from Amita’s experiences as a genderqueer, femme queer woman of color, daughter of immigrants, and years of abuse by her parents, including eight years of rape by her father. They are a frequent speaker at colleges, conferences and community organizations nationwide, and a consultant with over fifteen years of experience in nonprofits serving low-income, immigrant and LGBTQ youth of color. Amita has been publicly out as a survivor of child sexual abuse since she interned at the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women in 1997. In 2016, Amita received a two-year Just Beginnings Collaborative Fellowship, allowing them to work full-time to end child sexual abuse and to help survivors heal. From March 2012 to September 2015, Amita was the Los Angeles Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange, a national nonprofit empowering teens to make healthy decisions. Prior to relocating to Los Angeles, Amita was the coordinator and a cast member of Secret Survivors, a theater project featuring child sexual abuse survivors telling their stories. Amita has held positions at Legal Momentum, Global Kids, Make the Road NY, Sadie Nash Leadership Project and Kingsborough Community College (CUNY), and served as the final Board Chair of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. Amita is also a published author and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University, where she was a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.


Lacie & Patrick Holway

Lacie Wooten Holway is a mother, sister, goofball, pre-school teacher and rape survivor. She looks forward to someday living in a world free of Rape Culture, white supremacy and MAGA hats. She testified in front of City Council on behalf of young survivors for SAVRAA 2.0 and sought out fellow survivors of her rapist therefore helping create a network of the victims of Daniel Cleaves. There has been over 144 who have reached out to her. You can sign her friend's Chrissy's petition here

Pat Holway is a husband of a survivor, father, artist and engineer. (Most of the time in that order). He sincerely believes rape culture can no longer be dismissed as boys being boys. He took a BA in English from the University of Georgia and an MA in Poetry from Johns Hopkins. 

Pat has also done work on court watching advocacy and judge accountability. Pat is also an incredibly supportive ally. In support of his wife and her fellow survivors, he gathered his closest male friends and had them all write letters to the judge who was residing over another case involving Daniel Cleaves. And when it was too much for Lacie to sit in and listen, she says, "he sat in there alone. Like a badass. Just him and Daniel Cleaves' entire legal team and family."

Patience Messore

Patience Messore is an artist, singer, dog-lover, potter-head, and big-sister. She takes pride in her family and is a 12 year old girl that has experienced sexual harassment on multiple occasions, and, she is ready to fight to make sure that no one else has to be treated like she was by strangers or peers. Patience would also like to draw attention to the sexist dress codes that further sexualize young students and challenge their ability to learn when they are sent home or are made to change. 

Liv Kleinberg

Liv Kleinberg is a senior in high school living in Brooklyn, New York. She works as a Teen Advisor with SafeBae: an organization determined to denormalize rape culture by promoting consent and gender equity education inside the classroom. She recently participated in the American Civil Liberties Union's Advocacy Institute, where she studied intersectional activism and policy making and is currently working on a short documentary about the sexism behind dress codes. Next year she will be attending American University here in D.C. as a political science and film major and is psyched to make change in the epicenter of U.S. politics. Aside from activism, Liv enjoys shutting down internet trolls, doing yoga, and reciting corny knock-knock jokes. 

Jessica Raven

Jessica Raven is a mother, community organizer, and the Executive Director of Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), a DC-based grassroots organization working to make public spaces safer for everyone through community-based, non-criminal solutions. In her role at CASS, she has worked with partners to create the Rethink Masculinity program that provides men and masculine people with tools and skills to build healthy, respectful relationships, and she has spearheaded the growth of the Safe Bar Collective to tackle sexual violence and discrimination in nightlife. Raven was honored with a 2017 Activist Award from the Washington Peace Center, and in 2018, she received the Mujeres en el Movimiento Legacy Award from the Latino GLBT History Project for working to create safer spaces for LGBTQIA+ people in the DC Metropolitan area. Her work has been featured on Upworthy, Mic.com, Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and O Magazine.

Ella Fairon


After moving to a small town in Texas at the age of 14, Ella was beaten, drugged and raped by a peer. For weeks after, Ella was bullied and harassed by the perpetrator and his friends and was shamed for the assault committed against her. Ella’s family relocated back to California for her safety.  By starting her own organization, Buttervly, at her new high school, Ella took back her voice and began to advocate on behalf of herself and other survivors of sexual violence. Under Ella’s leadership, the group created awareness projects and organized a Powder Puff Game called “Tackling Rape Culture”. Ella is now a cofounder of SafeBAE.

Sophia Marjanovich

Semia Hamlin

Semia Hamlin is sexual assault survivor and recent graduate of Howard University with a BA in Media, Journalism, & Film. During her time at Howard, she produced a short documentary titled I’m Still Here: Surviving Assault on an HBCU Campus that focused on rape culture and sexual assault at her alma mater. The film was an official selection for Black Web Fest, a semi-finalist for Los Angeles CineFest, and a finalist in the Howard University Film Festival. Semia is also the co-founder of Resilient Individuals Surviving and Empowering, or RISE, which is an up and coming nonprofit organization that aims to assist Black women in healing from their trauma and advocates for the awareness of mental illness, domestic violence, and sexual assault. When she’s not working on her films or her nonprofit, she spends a lot of time with her beloved puppy, Lola.

Dr. Sophia Marjanovic is a Lakota/Ipai survivor of child sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence, police misconduct and legal abuse/domestic violence by proxy.  Despite these challenges, she got her PhD in immunology and microbiology while fighting for custody of her son who she lost to her abuser.  Sophia has been volunteering and organizing court watches for court accountability, was an organizer for HB1016 in Maryland, which is the first statewide police accountability bill passed and signed into law in the USA, a provision in HB1016 was included based on her testimony of surviving police misconduct by an officer with a domestic violence history, and was an organizer for the first $15/hr minimum wage bill passed in a suburban district in the USA.  Sophia lobbies on Capitol Hill and at the statewide level for protections of children in the courts and survivors of rape, pedophilia, and human trafficking.  She can be contacted at marylandallianceforcourtreform@gmail.com or @LakotaScientist on Twitter 

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