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Part One: Welcome

Part One: Welcome

That’s a picture of me!

I was always taught to introduce yourself and make your intentions clear. With that, let me be the first to welcome you to SVJI’s blog for rural grantees, Rural Realities: Information, Resources, and Connections for Rural SART leaders. My name is Johnanna (look carefully, there is a sneaky “N” in there!), and I am the Rural Technical Assistance Project Coordinator at the Sexual Violence Justice Institute (SVJI), which is housed at the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault. I am also the technical assistant for two rural Minnesota SARTs.

Part Two: Introductions

Here’s a little about me and my history. I was born and raised in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and lived the last 8 years in rural spaces around the Midwest, including northeastern Iowa, north central Indiana, and northwest Ohio. I earned my Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University with an expertise in sexual and domestic violence victim advocacy. This basically means I’m super nerdy for this work. I took that learning and led a 25-member SART in Minnesota prior to coming to SVJI.My passion for sexual violence and advocacy work is directly influenced by my love for rural spaces. Having spent more than three-quarters of my life in rural areas, I know that some of the most creative and collaborative work comes out of rural spaces. I also know that living and working in rural areas can be difficult and lonely. There are some very specific challenges and opportunities, especially for those of us doing sexual violence advocacy work. Thus, my most important task is creating tools and solutions specifically for rural teams.

Currently, I live in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. I am an avid runner, book-lover, and a cat lady. I have a 10-year old black, domestic short-hair named CleoCatra. I have So. Many. Pictures. Just ask, I will share them ‘til the cows come home.

Part Three: Intentions

My motto is, “Helping isn’t helping if it’s not helpful.” It’s about responding to the real needs of those around you. So, my aim is to provide technical assistance that is useful to you, your teams, and your communities. In that spirit, this blog should provide formal and informal connections across the many landscapes of rural SARTs as well as to share resources, news, and highlight successful strategies from the field. I know for me as a SART leader and as a rural advocate, I felt validated and inspired by the opportunities I had to connect with others doing similar work. My hope is that this blog provides a space for that connection and conversation.

We are in this together, because this blog doesn’t work without you! Please provide your insight and feedback about what you would find most useful in the world of rural SARTs. Let me know what you hope to see, what you need, and where you want to go. I look forward to working with your ideas and growing together!