An Oral History of the Crime Victim Assistance Field
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Marcia Blackstock
Interview Transcript

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Interview Transcript

timecode Hook: Good afternoon. Marcia, welcome to the OVC Oral History Project. To start I'd just like you to say your name and spell it, please.

timecode Blackstock: It's Marcia Blackstock. That's M-A-R-C-I-A B-L-A-C-K-S-T-O-C-K.

timecode Hook: Great. Well, let's start at the beginning. How or why did you get involved in the crime victims' movement?

timecode Blackstock: I was looking for a place to volunteer. I had a full-time job, but wanted to do some volunteer work and was really looking for an agency that was really dealing with some serious women's issues. And so I found Bay Area Women Against Rape and I started doing some volunteering.

timecode Hook: What was Bay, what was, we're gonna refer to Bay Area Women Against Rape with its acronym and call it BAWAR. Could you tell me a little bit about BAWAR? The history of BAWAR? How did BAWAR start?

timecode Blackstock: BAWAR got started back in 1971 and it was started as a direct result of a way a young high school student, a Berkeley High School student was treated, after she was raped in the stairwell of the campus. She did come home and tell her foster mother at that time. And the foster mother called the Berkeley Police Department to take a report and then she, the young woman was isolated at the Berkeley Police Department for over eight hours, and not having anyone allowed inter... interact with her, no family members, no friends. And from there they transported her to Alta Vista Hospital, where they also kept her isolated for hours on end from anyone. And partly that was because nobody knew what they were doing. It was not really common to have a lot of rape reports being made back at that time. And they were dealing with a child and everybody was anxious about what they were doing.

timecode But because of that, this woman's foster mother, Oliva Abrahams became really outraged at the kind of treatment that her daughter had received. And so she got together with a few women and decided that they needed to come together and do something to make a difference, and so they started the agency with two goals. The first was to have a place where sexual assault survivors could come to you for, and receive good understanding and counseling and have a place that was place for them. Have people that were trained to act as advocates for them when they had to chose to enter the system. And the second goal was to do a lot of community education, to really get out into the police departments and the courts and the hospitals and the businesses and the neighborhoods, the schools and talk to people about what rape really was, what sexual assault really was.

timecode And to try to start chipping away at all of the huge misconceptions, that society held back at that time about sexual assault and about who was sexually assaulted.

timecode Hook: How did they get it going? That's a big... a big challenge for three women who get together to work on something.

timecode Blackstock: It was a huge challenge. They were very determined. They at one point hooked up with a Berkeley Women's Health Collective and they helped get them some support. We had one person in particular Dick Eiglehart who was Alameda County District Attorney at the time who was very sympathetic to the issue, really believed in the cause and was an integral force in our being able to start working our way into system-oriented places. But it was hard and it was a struggle and there was no money, you know. It was the good old kitchen table, operation, but they were determined and they were not gonna be stopped.

timecode Hook: What about the BAWAR protests?

timecode Blackstock: The BAWAR protests?

timecode Hook: Well, the, you were talking about protesting. What... what would be, how would one of the protests take place in a public place?

timecode Blackstock: Right. Mainly when the protests were coming about was in reaction to some mistreatment. So, you know, they would be in front of a police department. Or, you know, they would be in front of some city office in trying to call attention to the fact that what had occurred was inappropriate and trying to, you know, reinforce through very loud voices that there was a new way of looking at things and that people needed to pay attention.

timecode Hook: And was the environment of the protest receptive?

timecode Blackstock: No. I (Laughter) I well, I think protests were really valuable as a way of building community for the women that were in the movement and trying to start the movement and push the movement it was very invigorating and empowering. I personally and there may be some other women early on in BAWAR who would disagree with me, I personally don't think that the protests did a lot to win over system-oriented people that we were trying to convince that they needed to hear what we had to say.

timecode Hook: What was the field of victims' rights and services like when... when you entered as a volunteer?

timecode Blackstock: Well, I came in to the effort seven years after it started. And it still was extremely adversarial. There was not much positive connections still between, let's say law enforcement and BAWAR. We had better community support. I think we had won over a lot of individual people within the community, but still there was a huge adversarial relationship going on between, especially law enforcement, and hospital and court systems. So there was a lot of distrust. We were not trusted for our views and we didn't trust basically anyone within the system to do what we thought they needed to be doing. So it was a very, a lot of upheaval, a lot of anxiety and frustration and distrust.

timecode Hook: Who became some of the allies in the community for BAWAR? For example, were women students at the universities coming on board for the protests or volunteering or were there other organizations that sort of came together to support BAWAR?

timecode Blackstock: There was a certainly, like I said, a lot of community support and always to this day half of our volunteer force is university women because we do have a lot of colleges and universities right around us. You know, there were other collective kinds of groups because BAWAR started as a collective, such as the, as I said the Berkeley Women's Health Collective, the Berkeley Free Clinic. I mean other small groups that we were all in one respect kind of fighting for the same thing to ensure that people were treated with respect and dignity and that their needs would be met. So we were all coming together, but I think in the, you know, what was started in the larger picture to get more response in the system, which is where we were really fighting to get the response, there really were just, you know, individual people who were willing to say, "Wait a minute. This makes some sense. Maybe we need to hear this out." And one of those as I said was Dick Eiglehart from the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

timecode There would be individual police officers and departments that would say, you know, "Okay, I'm gonna listen to you and then I'm gonna try to buck all of this stuff I'm getting from all of my co-workers, and try to help get you in the door." So it really took a lot of people collaborating and trying to come together.

timecode Hook: Are there other people that really stand out as allies in the movement?

timecode Blackstock: There were other rape crises centers that became allies in the movement. Our name being Bay Area Women Against Rape, is that name because when we started, we were it and we were trying to serve a very wide geographic area, being the Bay Area of California. We were quick to offer training to other groups and other counties close by that were starting up, and wanting to start their own rape crises centers. So very early on in the early seventies, we formed the Bay Area Rape Crisis Coalition. This is before there was a state coalition, where the individual rape crisis centers would come together and we would talk about, you know, what we were offering, what services we needed to include; how were, how was this agency getting into their police department and this agency was getting stalled out? What could we do to help each other? So we kind of came together and that was the... the biggest support system back in those days.

timecode Hook: When you make something out of nothing and start at the beginning you, and you become the source of the training, how did the trainings develop? I mean how did, was it a trial and error or were just very clear about the goals that you wanted people to learn?

timecode Blackstock: Well, I need to say, you know, like I said already that I came in late so I was not involved in the integral part of the training. And when I came in I already received an amazing training. But I think the training evolved out of really taking a serious look at what's going on for a sexual assault survivor? What emotional needs do they have? What support do they need? What do they need if they're gonna enter into the system? What do we need to, you know, have available to them. And we took a very broad approach and, you know, trying to think of every imaginable impact that a survivor could be impacted with. That's not a very good statement. You know, and brought that into the training as well. So we were looking at suicide and we were looking at drug abuse and we were looking at incest. And, you know, we were looking at every imaginable thing that could impact the emotional health and healing of a sexual assault survivor and brought that into one comprehensive training. And the training has extended greatly since the beginning.

timecode Hook: In your area of victim assistance, what was the greatest challenge you and your colleagues faced in effective, affecting change?

timecode Blackstock: I think the biggest challenge when I look back on it was we were coming from a peer-support, community-based, grassroots organizing that brought in a huge variety of people from a variety of backgrounds and educations and ideas, but all coming together and focusing on a... a common goal. But we were considered "peer" and not "professional" and at best "paraprofessional" and rarely that. So there became this huge adversarial relationship between the "professionals" in the community from the therapists, law enforcement officers, people within the judicial system, hospital personnel. They were the "experts." They were the "professionals." They were the people with all of the degrees behind their name and we were viewed as threatening to them, not knowledgeable even though we weren't the only ones with the knowledge, and not trained. So what we had to say to them was not valid and consequential.

timecode Hook: How does that play itself out in a situation? Could you kind of give an example?

timecode Blackstock: Just constantly being put down for who we were. I mean I remember sitting in a, very early on meeting with law enforcement trying to convince them one, that they needed to have a sexual assault unit and two, they needed to get some training and... and I had this... this sergeant in the police department just look at me with all this anger in his face and he said, "Look we know who you women are." And I said, "Oh, really, and who are we?" And he said, "You're all barefoot, brazen, braless, lesbian, hairy-legged hippie women carrying placards."

timecode Hook: Wow.

timecode Blackstock: And I just kind of looked at him and went, "I shave my legs." (Laughter) I mean I was like so taken aback by that statement, but I think what he stated was true in his mind. And I think that how he was perceiving us was how a large percentage of people within the professionals' community were perceiving us. And it took a lot of effort and persistence and courage to keep going in and getting that kind of attack, and not going, "Oh, yeah, you know, well, you want to know what you are?" Which is really what you wanted to do. So I think that was the biggest obstacle.

timecode Hook: Just could you give me a little feedback about the counselor sort of competitive attitude where the licensed counselor who felt that they were more knowledgeable, but probably maybe had no experience.

timecode Blackstock: They most of the time had no experience. They were very knowledgeable people who were very ignorant on sexual assault. And that wasn't their fault. I mean to this day I think in this area, their office get about four hours of sexual assault in their training to become therapists and we usually give it to them now. But back in the day they didn't really have any training on that. And so it was really on one level very understandable that they felt threatened about now a group of women who may or may not have degrees, may or may not be from a professional field that they respected, talking to them about rape trauma scene, which nobody had ever heard of. You know, saying to them, "You need to understand the emotional reactions that a sexual assault survivor's experiencing from the beginning to the end. And you need to be able to counsel them on that." And that was, you know, it would probably be just like somebody else coming into our field and saying, "You want to know how you really should be a rape crisis center?" You know, none of us would be really receptive to that and they certainly weren't. And so we were dealing with a lot of people who were seeking out therapy, that were then coming to us with just being told the most horrific things.

timecode And so, there had to be a lot of work and a lot of training done with therapists to kind of get them on board. And I have to say, you know, for some therapists still that's a, there's a real threat there to them and they don't take what we have to say well, where the majority of them, you know, we get calls on a daily basis from therapists, "Go ahead, someone's sitting in my office. She's a sexual assault survivor. What do you think about a, b and c?" So, you know, for the most they're responding, but we'll still have some, especially those who are new out of, you know, just getting their degree, that would rather tack all of the letters after their name actually than to listen to what you have to say.

timecode Hook: Are there counseling programs within BAWAR?

timecode Blackstock: Yes. We offer obviously 24-hour counseling through the rape crisis hotline. We do short-term in-person counseling on a one-to-one basis and it's short term because we are not there because we are peer counselors. So we offer up to sixteen sessions and then refer to therapists in the community that we have screened and know what they do around sexual assault. And then we do offer support groups.

timecode Hook: Were there secrets or tactics or strategies you employed to, that were successful that ad... advanced your cause?

timecode Blackstock: You know, I don't think we really had any great secrets, but I think the best tactic that we were able to use was our ability to listen. We were trained crisis counselors. We were taught to listen. And I think that because of that we were able to listen to sexual assault survivors. We were able to listen to each other in the movement. And maybe the more importantly, we were able to listen to the people we were trying to convince needed to change their ways. So we were able to listen to law enforcement concerns. We were able to listen to the courts' concerns. We were able to listen to the hospital concerns. And listen until we could find our commonalities. And when we could find our commonalities then we had a place we could start working from that was not as threatening to them. And I think we did that well. And I really do think that is what has put us where we are today. I mean we have an amazing relationship with everyone in our county, amazing relationships with the courts, the police, every police department and we have sixteen police departments we're working with, all of the hospitals. But that was a long, hard struggle to get there.

timecode Hook: Is that a characteristic of a mature operation or is that an evolution, and an evolution of a process or is that actually wisdom that people acquire working at something for a long time?

timecode Blackstock: I think it's wisdom that we acquire. I mean, you know, when I came on and I was sitting in my first steering committee meeting 'cause I said we were a collective and somebody at Oakland Police Department, a police officer at Oakland Police Department had done something that just had riled everybody up. They had said something terrible to the survivor or whatever. And the first response out of almost everybody in this meeting was, "Let's go picket." And I sat there and said, "Wait a minute. Has anybody talked to that police officer?" You know, but I think it's all an evolution of, you know, you try what you try and if you're wise you acknowledge what doesn't work and it only digs your holes deeper and what does work. So it certainly was an, "Oh, yes, we knew how to do this right from the beginning." It was a long process of evolution. And I think we're still evolving.

timecode Hook: What are some of the, what were, what are some of the failures that you see in victim services to rape victims, sexual assault victims?

timecode Blackstock: I think when I think about where we have failed and I'm speaking as we as a movement, not we as BAWAR, I think that we fail to respect ourselves sometimes. I think that we fail to acknowledge how much we really did know. How we really were the experts in the field and because of that I think some centers became, I don't like to say, "co-optive," but, were... were forced to bend or to conform to more system-oriented formats and move away from their grassroots, community-based birthing place. For a while in California there was this real push to institutionalize rape crisis centers. And some of them went that way and they went that for a variety of, in their minds, good reasons. You know, they could get more funding. They could get more respect. They could get, you know, whatever, but I think in doing that that some of the reasons why we started doing what we're doing was lost and became much more system-oriented.

timecode And I think that's a failure. I think when we move away from that grassroots base of support and diversity and commonality that survivors start to lose some of what they need in support.

timecode Hook: Does that relate to the fact that you're peer counselors as opposed to bringing in licensed counselors who are trained to do sexual assault?

timecode Blackstock: Well, peer counselors are trained to do sexual assault.

timecode Hook: No, but I mean licensed I, sorry, I meant. Let me rephrase it. Psychotherapists, psychotherapists who have been trained to do sexual assault as opposed to peer counseling. Or maybe you could just explain to me.

timecode Blackstock: I'm not sure exactly sure what you're asking me. Why, are you asking why BAWAR doesn't have trained therapists on staff or...

timecode Hook: Yeah. No, I'm asking more does that connect to the idea that you are the experts and you are doing peer counseling and you are trying to stick with your grassroots?

timecode Blackstock: It does, but I also need to say there are other grassroots agencies that have trained therapists in them. I'm talking more about when you get hooked into a system like some centers that are hospital-based, some centers that are, you know, operating out of a police department or something like that. You know, it's hard to advocate for a sexual assault survivor if who you're trying to advocate against is paying your paycheck or have some other kind of control over you, like they're paying your rent. And in... in that sense I think that then that group is no longer able to adequately advocate, a sexual assault survivor which is a huge piece of what I believe the rape crisis centers are supposed to be doing.

timecode Hook: So you're making more just a general distinction between system-based and grassroots based services.

timecode Blackstock: Yes. I'm not saying that system-based groups are not doing good work, but I think that, I think as a movement when... when we started to go that way and some of us didn't go that way at all and some of us had pulled back out, I just think we lost some of the... the feminism. I think we lost some of the, we lost sight of what we were doing and expanded or took on more, to be able to get the funds or whatever and lost what the heart and soul of a rape crisis center was. And I'm just speaking very broadly, as I've... as I've witnessed the movement go, come and go and come again throughout the years.

timecode Hook: Are there are other areas that you would point out or is that pretty much the...

timecode Blackstock: I think that's the main, I mean I... I don't think that we have really failed sexual assault survivors anywhere. I think that there's still a lot more we need to do. I think we need to keep doing hard work to make sure and ensure that the services are always there all of the time to the degree that the survivor needs them. And... and in that respect we have failed 'cause that's not happening yet. But when I look at where we started and to where we are, you know, there's been leaps and bounds in the amount of services that are provided statewide, county, you know, countywide, statewide, nationally to sexual assault survivors that weren't there before so.

timecode Hook: Absolutely. What do you perceive is the one greatest accomplishment that's promoted victims' rights?

timecode Blackstock: I don't really know. I think there's been a gazillion accomplishments.

timecode Hook: Two, three. (Laughter) Your favorites.

timecode Blackstock: But when I think, you know, even when I came in there were very little if any protocols or procedures in place on how sexual assault survivors should be interviewed, how they should be treated. In that interview by law enforcement, medical needs of that survivor, evidence collection, you know, the whole variety of things that... that... that we now have in place. I think, have bettered things for a sexual assault survivor. And those... those were not there. And so, you know, I see... I see all of those as, I see that as a primary accomplishment that... that we as an agency and we as a movement in this state have been able to develop and those were developed out of the struggles of keeping those communications open and going and developing them. So I... I... I think off the top that's probably the...

timecode Hook: Protocols, really good protocols.

timecode Blackstock: Protocols and procedures, all the way across the board, you know. Getting... getting therapists involved and how they need to be working with sexual assault survivors. And... and having procedures set up whether or not somebody chooses to enter into the system. That they are still, whether they want to make that report or not, that they're still receiving appropriate services across the board, as well as those that are ent... entering into this system, ensuring that they're not being treated in anyway near the same way they were treated, when the young woman that got BAWAR started was treated the way she was treated.

timecode Hook: What would you consider is really needed today to continue the growth and professionalism of the field?

timecode Blackstock: A lot. I think that we need to offer more continuing training. I think we need to offer more advanced training. There's a huge turnover, at least in this state, with people who are in the movement. And so just about any training that you go to it's like Rape 101, because three-quarters of the room have been there one or two years in the movement. So I think we need to have more training. I think we have to have more staggered training so that wherever someone is within this movement there is something new that they can learn and experience and thrive from and have something to take back. I think we need more ways of nurturing and mentoring new people who come into the movement. This as we all know is an incredibly stressful, hard, hard work. And I think that without building in our own policies and procedures to ensure that people are being taken care of and that they're being heard and what their concerns are personally and professionally within the movement. I think that's one of the reasons we have such high turnover. And I think we need to be out, we need to start giving people what they're worth. (Tape turned over)

timecode Hook: What advice would you give to professionals and volunteers who have joined our field more recently in the last ten years and haven't had the benefit of working through this challenge?

timecode Blackstock: You know when I first heard that question the only thought that came into my mind was, "Get out." (Laughter) But I don't really mean that. I think that to stay in this field if you, coming into this field because you want to stay here and you want to keep doing this work. It's vitally important that you develop your own "care packages;" that you take care of yourself; that you laugh; that you... you do things above and beyond the job. And, you know, this, that's hard to do with this job because most of us or a lot of us are on 24-hour call. You know, you... you don't leave your work in the office. You go home and your phone's ringing 'cause you're answering the hotline or your pager won't quit going off. So sometimes it can be really hard to find a way of separating yourself out and not living and breathing rape all the time. So to find ways of setting your own boundaries, taking care of yourself, nurturing yourself, bringing humor into it because without it, we'd all be dead.

timecode And keeping focused, keeping focused on why you're there, doing what you're doing.

timecode Hook: How do you keep the humor?

timecode Blackstock: How do you keep the humor? (Laugh) Well, I gotta tell you, you know, I always get afraid of, you know, bugs in the office because if people heard the sick humor that we share with each other that we would never share in the real world, you have to. You know, you have, this job is so bizarre and what we work, you know, we set, everyday we go, "We have the weirdest jobs in the world." Because you hear just the most atrocious, horrific things that have gone on in people's lives. And if you can't find someplace to find the humor, not that there's anything funny about what has happened to them, but just in the bizarreness or the bizarreness of how you fit into the scheme of things. I think you could literally go mad. And I think that a lot of people don't keep the humor and I think that they burn out really quick. And they need to leave and, but I honestly... I honestly think, BAWAR really has a long-term staff.

timecode We don't have much turnover and I think that one of those reasons is that we... we laugh with and at each other and try to ease the tension that way. And I... and I think it's helped them.

timecode Hook: Well, I think that being with groups of vic... victim advocates, I've been in con, in some, among some of the funniest comedians I've ever met, so.

timecode Blackstock: It's really called mental illness, but we try not to put that out too much.

timecode Hook: Do you have a vision for the future of the field?

timecode Blackstock: Not a great profound one. Just that it keeps going; that we keep doing the work; that we don't lose the original vision; that new people coming into the field remember that there was some amazing, amazing women before them, before me who did amazing work to get us where we are. And I think a lot of the younger people coming into the movement never had to experience the feminist battles that some of us old folks had to endure and fought and fought in such a way that the new ones now coming in don't have to have those fights and I'm glad of that. But I think it's important to remember. I think it's important to go forward, but not without remembering.

timecode Hook: You are the Bay Area is a very multi, there's a lot of diversity of ethnic groups and religious groups in the Bay Area, so you are still dealing with communities that are quite patriarchal and there are a lot of more traditional patriarchal treatment of women is, how does that factor into the services you provide at BAWAR?

timecode Blackstock: It causes a lot of problems in our ability to provide service. Within our training we do of course called, "awareness training" try to get as much of a handle as we can on the variety of different groups of people that live within our communities and understand how sexual assault impacts them. And how sexual assault relates within their communities and we have, I can't even count the numbers of different groups of people that come into the Bay Area. Part of it's through community education, getting out and talking to people. And I think even more so is building alliances with groups that are culturally specific, who are from the communities in which they work and serve, and building alliances with them, so that, you know, they're gonna be referring to us. We're gonna be referring to them. And we have so far to go. We have so far to go. I think the more you can bring people into your agency that reflect the diversity of your community, the more that you have people to go back out and talk to the communities and start that education process.

timecode But it's really hard and it's really hard for the women who are experiencing sexual violence within those communities where sexual violence is unspeakable, where it brings humiliation and shame on the entire family or the entire community. It takes some amazing, brave women who are willing to step out of that and come for help, that I think start the process of that change.

timecode Hook: Yes, for them the feminist movement, it hasn't been born yet.

timecode Blackstock: No, no, no, and... and, you know, there are, I mean when you watch women who come out of a community where they're really going totally against what their training is, you know, they're not keeping it within the family. They're not keeping it within the community. They're seeking outside help, I mean, I just sit there and I marvel at their courage. And each time someone is willing to do that, the more we start breaking down the barriers.

timecode Hook: What... what's your greatest fear?

timecode Blackstock: What is my greatest fear?

timecode Hook: What would be your greatest fear in the field?

timecode Blackstock: My, I don't think that the field's going away. I, we're here definitely here to stay. I think off the top my... my biggest fear is that in the economical climate in which we are living now and then looking at maybe going to war, this or that or whatever, that we're gonna see a huge decrease in the funds that are gonna be available to do this work which is going to in the long run bring about probably a lot of loss of service. And I think that, I fear that this movement will be one of the places that is first cut because I think they know we're not going away. And I think they know we'll just go back to our kitchen table, and we'll just go back to being 100 percent volunteer base and we're not gonna stop or go away. And I think that, "well, that's good news." And we can all be very proud of ourselves for that. I also think that it's a disadvantage because I think that that's in the minds of a lot of people. "Oh, we can cut them 'cause they're gonna still do the work, but if we cut somebody who's relying on their $90,000 a year salary, they're probably not gonna still do the work." Uh, so...

timecode Hook: And you were talking about taking care of yourself and health issues and working 24 hours a day that's much harder when you're a volunteer.

timecode Blackstock: Much harder when you're a volunteer.

timecode Hook: Would you say over the 30 years since this movement has really gotten going that attitudes have, towards sexual assault, have changed? Say a little bit about how they might have changed.

timecode Blackstock: I think they've greatly changed. In the area where I am we've just seen a huge turnaround and how people view the issue of sexual assault, how they view sexual assault survivors. We have an amazing process within our county of combined effort. Through this, our program where we're all from, all of us separate disciplines that have any avenue in touching on the sexual assault survivor come together and are working 100 percent together and ensuring that that person is getting what they need. So I think that in so many ways there's just been phenomenal changes in people's attitudes. And, having said that, I can say I can still, you know, sit in a room of people and hear the most amazingly ignorant statements or when it comes more close to home for them how much, how they're still very quick to blame the victim or the survivor. And I get why they do that so they can put that barrier up and it won't happen to them. But, you know, so we still see some of the same old stuff on an individual basis.

timecode But I, as a whole I think that we've all, all of us, all of the disciplines have done a phenomenal job in growing and changing and changing people's attitudes.

timecode Hook: Since you're in an area where there's so many universities and you do have a lot of volunteers from universities working with you, sort of in light of the recent national women's study on sexual assault and what seems to be a very high level of sexual assault in the schools, do you, how do you have any particular focus on the academic institutions because of the presence of women volunteering? I mean is there a special connection there and is it effective?

timecode Blackstock: Well, we've been from the get-go, put special emphasis on schools. We have been in the schools from day one. So I don't think we have any more of a special emphasis there. It's everyday we're in a school somewhere. But we, yes, we have worked on building bonds and relationships with the universities, and the health centers in the universities and the women's centers in the universities, so that once again I really believe the more we can collaborate the more we can come together with all of our individual specialties, and abilities, the better we're going to serve the sexual assault survivor, which is our agency's sole goal. So the more we can outreach, the more we can collaborate, the better off we're gonna be able to do our job.

timecode Hook: What's changed in the field since the beginning, since your time in the field? What are the changes that really strike you?

timecode Blackstock: As I've already stated I think, you know, vast differences in protocol, in procedures and policies that have been developed to help ensure that sexual assault survivors are treated appropriately. I've seen a lot of laws that have come into place that are ever evolving to better the treatment of sexual assault survivors in the courtroom, to lengthen statute of limitations, whatever. All once again in an effort of trying to focus on the survivors, opposed to on the criminal. I think I've also maybe seen some pulling away from the feminist views and ideals, which is sad news to me. Those are, I'm drawing a blank. (Laughter)

timecode Hook: Well, you've mentioned some of the early founders of BAWAR and since that time, have there been other people that have just been incredible mentors or leaders or people who've really inspired you in your work?

timecode Blackstock: There have been and there have been many, many, many and can I give you name?

timecode Hook: Yeah.

timecode Blackstock: Brain-dead. No, I can't. But the person who stands out the most in my mind now who's been really influential and extremely a positive source of support for us over the last 10, 15 years, would be Nancy O'Malley, who is the Assistant Chief Deputy District, Assistant Chief District Attorney, for Alameda County. And she is phenomenal and she is an old rape crisis worker, not old in age. Was a volunteer in a rape crisis center many moons ago and has always kept sexual assault at her heart. And regardless of the variety of different jobs she's had within the DA's office from running the Sexual Assault Unit, which was great, to being where she is now, being second in command. She is always right there and always a very loud persuasive person standing up for the rights of sexual assault survivors and for the rights of sexual assault centers, and she's been a very strong guiding force.

timecode Hook: Great. Well, I've asked you several different kinds of questions. Is there an area or a topic related to this that you feel is really important that we haven't touched upon?

timecode Blackstock: I can't think of any. (Laughter) To be perfectly honest with you I think you all have done a good job of asking the questions. I will get in my car and as I'm driving home I'll go, "Oh, I should have said."