Join us for insightful discussions and informative presentations on domestic violence related subjects.

In case you missed or want to revisit any of DVSN’s Voices of Hope Speaker Series events, you will find them all below.

Each event has information about the speaker(s) and the presentation topic, plus some include resources suggested by the speaker(s) and/or DVSN staff.

Most events were recorded so you can watch the presentation. If there is no video, the speaker(s) requested the event not be recorded for privacy and/or safety reasons. Other materials from the presentation may be available instead.

2022 Series Events

"Can You Hear Me Now?"

June 2, 2022

Survivors of domestic abuse share artistic and creative works in response to their experiences.


The expressive arts are a profound, therapeutic outlet for those of us who are processing overwhelming experiences of trauma and abuse. The arts also provide a deeper, more powerful experience for all of us who are working to better understand the complexities of this insidious dynamic.

An immense and impactful effect of the trauma abuse victims experience is that it confuses our ability to remember and to process what is being done to us in the moment and years after. Expressive arts offer safe platforms as a bridge to help process our feelings and emotions. Through expressive therapies we can once again connect to the parts of ourselves – the pieces of our essence – that we were forced to lose in order to survive.


Video Time Codes
0:30 Jacquelin Apsler Introduction
2:25 Can You Hear Me Now? Presentation
49:33 Closing Remarks

The Men Survivor Experience from Survivors Themselves

March 24, 2022

Men survivors of sexual violence share their experiences, impacts, healing, and answer questions. 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.


A collaboration between the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) and MenHealing

Facilitator: Sharon Imperato, LMHC from BARCC and MenHealing

Jim is a member of the Survivor Speaker Bureau (SSB) at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Jim was born and raised in Boston. He’s been a member of the SSB since 2013 and was the group’s first male speaker. Jim believes that during his speaking events that if he can connect and help one person then he considers it a success. Jim is a die hard Boston Sports fan, but the thing he is most passionate about is raising his two adopted boys. Jim lives on the South Shore with his husband Robert.

Richard is the Weekend of Recovery Anti-Racism Consultant for MenHealing. Richard is a nationally recognized expert on trauma and healing for survivors of interpersonal and systemic violence. Richard has over two decades of experience developing and leading community-based programs. He has helped organizations throughout the country build their capacity to heal and empower BIPOC folks and marginalized communities. He is the founder and lead strategist and anti-racism educator for Richard Smith Speaks LLC.

Richard also is an assistant professor at LIU Brooklyn’s Social Work Department. He has guest lectured at numerous colleges and universities on issues such as systemic racism, mass incarceration, and trauma and healing. Richard also serves as the National Director of United for Healing Equity, Common Justice. He holds a Master s Degree from the University at Albany in Africana Studies and is presently a doctoral candidate at SUNY Albany’s School of Social Welfare. His research focus is male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Richard is a Robert Wood Johnson Forward Promise Fellowship for Leadership 2018 Fellow. He is the proud dad of Kaden and Kaleb.


Video Time Codes
0:28 Jacquelin Apsler Introduction
2:02 Sharon Imperato Introduction
8:45 Grounding Exercise
11:25 Jim Presents
21:27 Grounding Exercise
22:11 Richard Presents
32:10 Grounding Exercise
33:34 Sharon Imperato Closing Remarks
35:59 Q&A
59:37 Jacquelin Apsler Closing Remarks

A "Creative Heart" Toolbox: A Survivor's Reflections on Healing from Domestic Violence

January 27, 2022

Composer, performing artist, writer, singer, and animal advocate “Saoirse” shares her story, exploring the intersections of trauma, compassion, animals, and healing through the arts.


“Saoirse” (freedom) is a trauma survivor, animal lover, and creative artist who has had the blessing of writing, singing, performing, and recording music for many years until changing her life’s path to advocate for animals.

In her early life, she published songs and performed for over two decades as an independent recording artist and musician/singer. Over the years she worked helping animals in many different ways, including with sanctuaries, animal rescue groups, and humane education programs. She also started a creative arts collective project for compassion for animals and is the creator of the narrative healing arts program “Bella and the Eclipse”, a one-woman musical play about domestic abuse, animals, and the power of transformation.

At the request of the presenter, this event was not recorded.

2021 Series Events

Navigating the Court System: Behind the Mystique

May 27, 2021

Suzanne Kontz Wiseman, Senior Trial Counsel for the District Attorney or Middlesex County, shines a light on the often confusing legal arena pertaining to domestic violence-related cases, including court structure, proceedings, and restraining orders. 


Suzanne Kontz Wiseman has been a prosecutor in Middlesex County for 23 years, and currently serves as Senior Trial Counsel for the District Attorney of Middlesex County. She is also Chief of the Development Team, a training bureau within the DA’s Office.

She was previously the Chief of the Domestic Violence Program, and currently primarily prosecutes cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and homicide. She also does training at the local, state, and federal levels on high-risk domestic violence, cyber, and homicide investigations.

Suzanne was named the 2018 recipient of the Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Award by the Middlesex County Bar Association for her hard work and determination that has made a positive impact on the Commonwealth.


Video Time Codes
0:30 Jacquelin Apsler Introduction
4:23 Suzanne Kontz Wiseman Presents
:56 Q & A
1:15:50 Closing Remarks

Fostering Resilience in Children Who Experience the Devastating Impact of Domestic Violence

March 31, 2021

School psychologist Joel M. Ristuccia presents about the effects on children who experience and/or witness domestic violence and methods for helping to mitigate its harmful impact.


Joel M. Ristuccia is a certified School Psychologist with over twenty-five years of experience working in the public schools. Over the last twenty years he has worked with students at risk for failure due to social, emotional and behavioral difficulties. He continues to assist schools and school districts in addressing the needs of these students.

Mr. Ristuccia is a consultant on the impact of trauma on student learning to the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) at Harvard University and is a co-author of “Helping Traumatized Children Learn” (Vol. 1) and “Creating and Advocating for Trauma Sensitive Schools” (Vol. 2). Additionally he has consulted to the Department of School Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, presented program model research findings at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), presented for the Departments of Education in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Washington as well as the University of Wisconsin on topics related to the impact of trauma on learning and on the role of trauma in student behaviors that can lead to punitive discipline and school failure.

Mr. Ristuccia is an Adjunct Professor at Lesley University, as well as Babson College and Regis College. He teaches courses in developing trauma-sensitive school wide classroom and individual interventions to support all students to be successful in the general education curriculum.  Mr. Ristuccia is the lead faculty for the Lesley Institute for Trauma Sensitivity (LIFTS). He has played a central role as instructor, mentor, and recruiter in LIFTS since its inception in 2010. At the same time, he has been a staff member of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, a key LIFTS’ partner.  Mr. Ristuccia also has a private practice focused on program design and supports for students with challenging behavior and social/emotional disabilities.  Mr. Ristuccia holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Yale University.

Video Time Codes
0:30 Jacquelin Apsler Introduction
6:09 Joel M. Ristuccia Presents
:30 Q & A
55:01 Closing Remarks

The Chaos of COVID: A Tsunami of Needs in the Wake of the Crisis

January 28, 2021

A panel of DVSN’s community partners describe how COVID-19 has seriously affected basic needs, compounding the trauma of abuse and curtailing efforts to plan for safety.


Bethany Hadvab, Board of Health Social Worker for Sudbury

Bethany is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) who has served the Sudbury community since 2016. She has a background in trauma-informed care and has served as a therapist, case manager, community organizer, and clinical director in a variety of settings, including municipalities, therapeutic schools, residential facilities, and outpatient clinics. Bethany’s goals as a social worker are to foster hope, growth and self-sufficiency.

Jeanine Calabria, Executive Director of Open Table

Jeanine leads the 32-year-old grassroots organization that addresses hunger and food insecurity in the local community. She has transformed OT to be responsive to the current food needs in the area by diversifying the program offerings. A strong belief that all people should have access to healthy food has led to more mobile programs – getting food to people rather than people to food. Jeanine has worked on college campuses leading international student and scholar programming and more recently has conducted nutritional coaching and cooking classes. She is currently writing a memoir cookbook that she hopes to have published soon.

Detective Ian Spencer, Lincoln Police Department School Resource Officer

Ian has been the liaison for the Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Minuteman Regional Technical High School, The Carroll School, and the Birches School since 2010.He collaborates regularly with administrators, social workers, psychologists, and students and serves on various school-based committees and advisory groups that address racism, inequity, and school safety and security. Ian is also an FBI trained forensic artist.  He supports investigators across New England with the creation of forensic images used to assist in the identification of individuals not known to the police.  He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Lasell University.  His wife, Melissa, is a fifth-grade special educator, and he is the proud father to his 11-year-old daughter, Lilly.

Note: Due to technical difficulties on the night, the first couple of minutes of the recording have lower quality sound and picture. This is resolved after the 2:27 mark!

Video Time Codes
0:30 Jacquelin Apsler Introduction
10:23 Bethany Hadvab
29:05 Jeanine Calabria
40:16 Det. Ian Spencer
50:14 Q & A
1:06:26 Closing Remarks

Jeanine Calabria, Executive Director of Open Table

Aunt Bertha

Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB)

Mass 211’s COVID-19 Food Assistance

Project Bread 800-645-8333

Bethany Hadvab, Board of Health Social Worker for Sudbury

Note: Bethany’s  office can only serve Sudbury residents.

HOWEVER, her website has a vast number of resources, is regularly updated, and is accessible to all.

Highlighted Pages:

Comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Guide

Ways to Support Others During COVID-19


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 800-950-NAMI (6264)

Riverside Mass Support 888-215-4920

Detective Ian Spencer, Lincoln Police Department School Resource Officer