As an award winning scholar-activist with a Ph.D. in Intercultural Communication and Diversity in Higher Learning, Dr. Rachel Alicia Griffin has been advocating against sexual violence for well over a decade. Having delivered more than 100 highly memorable workshops and keynotes on campuses, at conferences, and for events, Rachel is a sought-after national and international speaker. As a tenured college professor, she is dynamic, passionate, and unapologetically honest when narrating sexual violence as a systemic, global problem with devastating consequences in the everyday lives of survivors, victims, and the people who love them.
As a survivor herself, Rachel allows her audiences intimate access to her own experiences with violence to facilitate compassion and social consciousness. Frankly addressing the surprise that she often encounters when people realize that she is a survivor of rape and childhood domestic violence, Rachel says:
“Survivors are people just like me and you. We have hopes, dreams, and fears. We are teachers, cashiers, bankers, lawyers, stay-at-home parents, entrepreneurs, and leaders. We are strong and determined and worthy of societal compassion. Survivors can be anyone and can become anything.”
Taking this firm stance that compels compassion toward survivors, Rachel’s workshops and keynotes are specifically tailored to the needs of the institutions and organizations that hire her to speak.
Committed to accessibility as a scholar-activist who has spoken at several campuses and the U.S. state coalitions against sexual violence in North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Maryland, California, Illinois, and Washington, Rachel renders complex concepts such as feminism, patriarchy, intersectionality, the ism’s (e.g., sexism, racism, heterosexism, cisgenderism, etc.) meaningful to diverse audiences that include students, staff, faculty, administrators, crisis practitioners, police, and military.
Rachel addresses these concepts in contexts such as media, popular culture, and/or sport to ensure that her presentation content is relatable and relevant to her audience. Weaving together the significance of history, contemporary policies and practices, high-profile cases, and her commitment to social justice, a sampling of Rachel’s past workshop and keynote titles include:
- Disclosing the Darkness of Rape and Revealing the Dangers of Indifference
- Higher Education, Sexual Violence, and the Humanization of Best Practices
- Sexual Violence as an Issue of Social Justice: Reflections on the Pride, Pain, and “Fierce Urgency of Now”
- Black Feminist Reflections on Sexual Violence and For Colored Girls
- Critical Media Literacy and Anti-Sexual Violence Activism: The Offensive Pedagogy of Mike Tyson’s Sustained Fame
“I loved it…her speech almost made me cry and that’s not an easy accomplishment. Also loved that she was very inclusive of all races and genders and had a very healthy perspective of men. I would of loved to talk to her for hours I had so many questions and things I wanted to bounce off her…” – Brian Slegers, Manager, Equity, Human Rights and Accessibility – Cambrian College
“… your keynote presentation here made a difference. Your message is strong and has a direct impact.” – Jen Gordon, Sexual Violence Prevention & Education Coordinator – Nipissing University
“It was great! Rachel was very powerful and our students really appreciated her sharing her experience. They enjoyed connecting with her before and after the event. It was really nice to have her on campus.” – Lindy M. Wagner, Associate Director, Multicultural Student Development – Appalachian State University
“Rachel is a compelling speaker who – through her courage and compassion – has had a tremendous impact on York University’s learning community. Following from the success of her presentation to our incoming class in 2014, I recommended that Rachel be asked to provide a keynote address at an Ontario summit on sexual violence in February, 2015. The feedback from my provincial counterparts and a diverse array of stakeholders was unequivocally positive. She was honest, forthright, and at opportune moments … funny. Quite simply: Rachel Griffin is the most compelling and effective educator on sexual assault and violence I’ve had the pleasure to know and learn from.” – Janet K. Morrison, Ph.D., Vice-Provost Students – York University
“She is phenomenal! You could have heard a pin drop – I think people would have clapped at several points she made but were afraid they might miss the next message! I hear quite a few speakers – many of them very engaging but she had me near tears and then ready to applaud in the middle of her keynote.” – Lesley Oliver, Diversity & Accessibility Coordinator – Western University
“Rachel is a gripping speaker on sexual violence. Her heartfelt and well-crafted presentation had the complete attention of a tough student audience, mostly fraternity and sorority members required to attend, and even more importantly, successfully engaged them in a dialog about sexual assault during the Q&A period. Highly recommended.” – Kristin Handler – Lehigh University Women’s Center
“Dynamic. Compassionate. Empowering. These are the words I would use to describe Rachel Griffin. She has the unique ability to connect with a wide range of students while educating on the realities of sexual violence. Her presentation made a lasting impression on our campus community. Her presentation has an extremely powerful impact; it motivated students and staff here at OSU to continue to work toward creating the safest culture possible. She is one of the most vibrant and astonishing presenters in the field of sexual violence prevention.” – Carrie Giese, Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator – Oregon State University