Just a Trauma-Informed Response to At-Home Sexual Assault Kits

Just a Trauma-Informed Response to At-Home Sexual Assault Kits

Original Release Date: February 25, 2022

In the final episode of our Perspectives on At-Home Sexual Assault Kits season, Just Science sat down with Natasha Alexenko, Lieutenant Jordan Satinsky, and Marya Simmons to discuss at-home sexual assault kits through a victim-centered lens.  

Throughout this season, Just Science has spoken with various subject matter experts to discuss several perspectives posed by the use of at-home sexual assault evidence collection kits. As criminal justice practitioners and advocates, Natasha, Jordan, and Marya have prioritized focusing on trauma-informed, victim-centered approaches to support aiding survivors of sexual violence. Listen along as our guests discuss their work in sexual assault response, the complexities of evidence collection, and their thoughts on at-home sexual assault kits in this episode of Just Science. 

This episode of Just Science was funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.

Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses or may not be appropriate for younger audiences. 

Listen to or download the episode here:

View or download the episode transcript here:

Guest Biography

Lt. Jordan Satinsky is currently the Deputy Director of the Special Victims Investigations Division in the Montgomery County Police Department. He has been a law enforcement officer since 1999. He has worked as a patrol officer, an investigator, a patrol supervisor, and an investigative supervisor.

Marya L. Simmons is the Founder and CEO of Shift in Notion Consulting, LLC, where she provides technical assistance, strategic planning consultation, and training to diverse audiences and communities on sexual assault, trauma-responsive and victim-centered best-practice approaches, domestic violence, victim advocacy, strengthening multi-disciplinary teams, life-skills and self-sufficiency, boosting leadership and supervision skills and techniques, and supporting families of homicide victims. Ms. Simmons is a consultant with RTI International as a subject matter expert in victim advocacy and with the State Medical Board of Ohio as a Victim Coordinator. Marya also serves as a Program Facilitator for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio where she oversees programming to elevate and promote confidence and self-sufficiency, inspire high self-esteem, and influence respect and integrity among girls ages 5–17. Ms. Simmons is an international and national presenter, has two degrees in criminal justice with honors, is currently enrolled in the Criminal Justice Administration Master’s Degree Program at Tiffin University, and is also a member of Tiffin University’s Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Previously, Ms. Simmons was the Victim-Witness Unit Supervisor at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, and in this role, she supported victims and witnesses throughout the judicial system process. Prior to joining the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, she was a Justice System Advocate for victims of sexual assault at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center where she supported survivors of sexual assault. Marya is adept to working with diverse populations, providing crisis intervention, and supporting women diagnosed with chemical/alcohol dependency and mental health illnesses. Marya is a Registered Advocate with Senior Standing with the state of Ohio, serves on the Executive Committee for the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Response Team and the Leadership Committee for the Women of Color Caucus, actively supported victims associated with Cuyahoga County’s CODIS Task Force (Untested Rape Kit Initiative) since 2013, and she also received the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office’s 2016 award for Distinguished Contributions to Victim Advocacy.

Born on Long Island, New York, and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Natasha Simone Alexenko is a survivor, activist, and educator who has been developing national policies and procedures related to sexual assault for nearly a decade. Natasha provides technical expertise and advice on survivor advocacy, assistance, and prevention programs throughout the country. Alexenko has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other national and international publications. She has made guest appearances on broadcast and cable networks and was the focus of the HBO documentary Sex Crimes Unit. Alexenko shared her story at the historic 2015 joint press conference at which Vice President Joe Biden and New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. pledged a combined $80 million to help defray the cost and reduce the backlog of untested rape kits. Alexenko serves as a subject matter expert to Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Grants. In 2018, Grand Harbor Press published Natasha’s memoir, A Survivor’s Journey: From Victim to Advocate. Natasha presently resides in New York with her partner Scott, nephew Alex, mom Nevart, and dog Piper.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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