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Restorative Approaches to Sexual Harm and the Patriarchy

March 29 - March 31


*** SOLD OUT ***

We are overbooked for this training and unfortunately do not have a waitlist. 

Date And Time

Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 9:30 AM –

Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 5:00 PM EDT

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Columbia School of Social Work

1255 Amsterdam Ave

New York, NY 10027

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Restorative Approaches to Sexual Harm and the Patriarchy

with Sonya Shah, nuri nusrat, Mike Nelson, Richard Cruz and Alison Espinosa-Setchko

March 29th-31st
9:30am – 5:00pm – All three days required
Columbia School of Social Work


COST: $300 per person
*includes light breakfast each day – space is limited

A limited number of scholarships are available for emerging practitioners.

For questions or to apply for a scholarship please contact Bethany bkm2132@columbia.edu

Restorative Approaches to Sexual Harm and the Patriarchy

For the past two years The Ahimsa Collective has been exploring restorative approaches to sexual harm by creating a unique healing and accountability program for people who have been convicted of child sexual abuse, rape and sexual assault who are in prison. In addition, we have held a yearlong circle with survivors of sexual harm, we are engaging in a few direct Victim Offender Dialogues or surrogate circles in sexual harm cases, we are beginning to work with complex harms happening in community groups and organizations involving sexual harm, and we work with male survivors of sexual harm also in prison.

Sexual violence doesn’t happen in isolation—it is connected to the intergenerational gender wounds of patriarchy, rape culture, internalized homophobia, toxic masculinity and gender oppression, and their intersections with racism. In addition, while restorative justice often focuses on the harm, we’ve found in our work the power of integrating what is good, what makes us feel happy and whole—restored sexuality, healthy sexuality, reverence for relationships and the pleasure of relationships.

In this three day training, we will explore restorative approaches to sexual harm and systems like patriarchy that support it; we will engage in experiential exercises around these topics; we will explore methodologies for facilitating a healing and accountability with and for people who have committed severe violence and survivors of it; we will offer frameworks and skills and tools you can use in your work. We don’t have all of the answers, we expect this training to allow us collectively to explore the many strategies needed to address sexual harm and the wounds of patriarchy using restorative justice approaches. In our facilitator team, three of us are survivors of sexual abuse, two of us are formerly incarcerated, and we are all people of color.


Sonya Shah has 20 years of experience in social justice education and 10 years of experience in restorative justice. In 2016, she initiated The Ahimsa Collective—a collective working to respond to harm in ways that foster wholeness for everyone. She has trained hundreds of facilitators in trauma healing and restorative justice practices across the U.S. She’s worked closely with survivors of violent crimes, people who have committed violence in prison, and families impacted by violence and law enforcement. Central to her core values is to radically nurture healing and justice as a connected way of being that is led truly by and for the people. She is a survivor of sexual abuse and a first-generation immigrant from the Northwestern part of India, and she grew up in New York. She speaks at national conferences and colleges. Sonya is committed to the collective building of the restorative justice movement. She has two amazing children who remind her what it means to be in love all of the time. She has a BA from Brown University, an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and has received Jacob Javitz and Fulbright Fellowships in her career.

nuri nusrat is a program associate at the Ahimsa Collective. She is dedicated to working with people whose lives are affected by the criminal legal system. nuri’s family history inspires her to support people who have done or experienced harm with compassion and empathy. For the past two years, she collaborated with communities across California to implement pre-charge restorative justice diversion programs. These programs attend to victim-identified needs and support young people arrested for crimes through processes that uphold the humanity and dignity of all affected. Previously, nusrat traveled throughout California to offer trainings on facilitating restorative community conferences and circle process as the Senior Program Associate for Impact Justice. Prior to that, at the Federal Public Defender Death Penalty Project, nusrat assisted attorneys’ presentations of their clients’ life histories.

Mike Nelson is the Kid C.A.T. director at The Ahimsa Collective. Mike was introduced to Restorative Justice work in 2008 while participating in the Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG). As someone who committed his crime at the age of 15, Mike connected early on with his responsibility to hold himself accountable for his choices, and more importantly that he actively contribute to the healing capacity of the communities of people around him. Today, he chooses to utilize his capacity to be a representation of those who are currently incarcerated, particularly those who identify as “youth offenders.” A co-founder of the Kid C.A.T. program, as well as creating the idea behind the Acting with Compassion and Truth (A.C.T.) program which supports the exploration of identity, gender, and sexuality, Mike is committed to one’s search for the Self, the True sense of Self.

Richard Cruz is a Substance Abuse Treatment Counselor and Mediator. He was a mentor to at-risk youth in the ReDirect Youth Diversion Program, Co-facilitator of Realize Restorative Justice Group and a Peer Counselor in the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program at Valley State Prison. He organized, trained, and facilitated groups in Cognitive Behavior Treatment (criminal thinking, anger management, family relations, denial management, victims impact, substance abuse). Richard has facilitated and participated in numerous other classes such as N.A., A.A., VHOPE (Victims Healing Other People through Empathy), Domestic Violence, Peace Education Program and Prisoners of Peace. Which offer support, connection, life skills, support services for youth, and promote healing in the community. He currently holds a position as the Project Manager for the Ahimsa Collective.

Alison Espinosa-Setchko was born in Oakland, CA, received a degree in Community Healing and Social Engagement from Pitzer College, and has spent much of her adult life working with young people as a teacher, a mindfulness educator and a facilitator of restorative justice in schools, prisons, and communities. As a survivor of child sexual abuse whose family has been impacted by the criminal justice system, her life has shown her the power of restorative justice to transform lives and institutions. She is committed to making its healing potential manifest on a larger scale. Alison is currently a Program Manager at the Ahimsa Collective where she facilitates Victim Offender Dialogues, manages the Restorative Approaches to Intimate Violence program at Valley State Prison, and is developing a women’s circle for survivors of sexual harm.


March 29
March 31
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Columbia School of Social Work
1255 Amsterdam Avenue, Room 1109
New York, 10027 United States
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