Sexual Violence Response Directory

  • Vivian joined Columbia Health in 2022 as a Survivor Advocate at Sexual Violence Response (SVR).

    As a Survivor Advocate, Vivian provides objective, empathetic, knowledgeable, and supportive intervention assisting a survivor, co-survivor, or bystander in securing the necessary information, services, referrals, and follow-up care that may be required based on an individual’s experience. Vivian’s processes of healing begin with a strength-based model and mindfulness.

    Prior to joining SVR, Vivian worked collaboratively with non-profits, local businesses, private and local institutions, New York City, State, and Federal Government, she initiated and provided advocacy, mediated, and problem solved on behalf of constituents. She also served as a Constituent Services Liaison for Council Member Helen Rosenthal for two terms in efforts to connect with and deliver for Manhattan’s diverse community and constituency. Vivian played an intricate role in helping sexual assault, intimate partner abuse survivors, seniors, and transient individuals and families with housing options, safety planning, and need-based services. 

    In a previous role, Vivian supervised case management staff and helped develop the internal staff training while serving as the Director of Social Services for a Domestic Violence Shelter in NYC. In addition to her career experiences working with Intimate Partner Violence, Vivian assisted students in residential, social, and educational activities when she served as a Resident Assistant while an undergraduate student.

    After earning her undergraduate degree, she worked as a caseworker/crime victims advocate for families who fled their homes due to domestic violence. She later went on to obtain her master's in social work with an emphasis on Case Work from Yeshiva University-Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She joined the Center Against Domestic Violence (now merged with Urban Resource Institute) to continue to provide an array of services to individuals and families who experienced intimate partner violence.

  • Stacy started her work in the field of advocacy while she was a student at the University of New Hampshire. She volunteered as an advocate and peer educator with SHARPP, the sexual violence program at UNH. She has spent the last twenty years advocating for the needs of survivors of child abuse, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence in Northern California, first as a Child Custody Recommending Counselor for San Mateo Superior Court, and most recently as the manager of the SAFE Place at San Francisco State University. While there, she created a student leader program that focused on creating community healing spaces for survivors from marginalized communities. Stacy was also an active member of SFSU’s Sexual Violence Prevention Collaborative, and she was instrumental in creating the SVPC’s Trauma-Informed Professors and Staff Training curriculum. Stacy has provided trainings at other community agencies in San Francisco, on Title IX, sexual violence, and trauma-informed practices. Stacy is currently pushing her Doctorate in Social Work with an emphasis on with a focus on improving supports for survivors of gender-based violence in college students.

  • Olivia is a Training and Intervention Coordinator with Sexual Violence Response. Prior to coming to Columbia, she was the Campus Advocate and Education Coordinator at California State University, Bakersfield. While there she strived to build a department that is rooted in empathy, inclusivity, and a welcoming environment. In addition to her advocacy and outreach work for sexual misconduct, she also advocated for basic needs and mental health resources. She has presented at national conferences on a diverse range of topics including Imposter Syndrome, BLM & Me Too movements, and the intersectionality of dreamers & advocacy services. Olivia relates to her audience through her personal experience in Greek life, student government, and various clubs.  

  • Michele Paolella (she/her/hers) is the Assistant Director of SVR at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, joining the team in October of 2019. Michele has been working with teenage and young adult survivors of violence for over fifteen years. Prior to joining Columbia, Michele was the Director of Social Services and Training at Day One, where she delivered and oversaw prevention, awareness, and intervention services for young survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence and their communities. During her time at Day One, Michele developed and managed several new programs, trained thousands of professionals, and spearheaded key partnerships with city institutions and community partners. She also chaired multiple coalitions including the NYC Domestic Violence Task Force Youth Intervention Prevention and Education Services (YIPES) Committee and a group of culturally specific service providers called Advocates for Safe and Empowering Relationships (ASER). Before Day One, Michele worked primarily with LGBTQ and HIV positive youth, as well as youth involved in the criminal justice system.​​​​​

  • La’Shawn Rivera, M.A. has led Columbia University's Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center (SVR) since August 2013. La’Shawn supervises all direct services and prevention-based staff members, oversees all SVR campus-wide events and initiatives, and acts as a liaison to the Columbia campus and the New York City community through her participation in multiple taskforce initiatives and community collaborative committees. She leads a team of 10 full-time staff members as well as peer advocates, volunteers, and casual staff dedicated to the eradication of sexual and gender-based violence.

    Prior to joining the team at Columbia University, La’Shawn was the Assistant Coordinator at the University of Central Florida Police Department’s Victim Services Program for 6 years. Her work there focused on providing direct services to survivors and co-survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, elder abuse, and homicide. During this time, she also coordinated sexual violence prevention education programs on-campus and in the community, supervised and trained full-time Victim Advocates, and managed the volunteer program. During that time, she also served on committees implementing statewide violence prevention initiatives like Talk About It! and Coaching Boys Into Men.

    She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Bethune-Cookman University and received her M.A. in Applied Sociology with a concentration in Domestic Violence from the University of Central Florida.

  • Kaila Eckstein (she/her) joined Sexual Violence Response in May 2022 and serves as a Prevention Coordinator. Prior to joining Columbia University, Kaila worked with Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts in supporting and organizing the work of volunteers. Kaila is trained as a community organizer and spent over a year working with the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence as their inaugural community organizer.

    Kaila studied Public Policy and Political Science with a minor in Social and Economic Justice. Kaila’s love for the field of sexual and interpersonal violence prevention began when she worked as a peer educator and served as co-chair of One ACT at UNC-Chapel Hill, a student-led organization providing training in active bystander prevention of sexual and interpersonal violence. While a student at Chapel Hill she trained as a Delta Advocate, an organization creating peer resources and support for people in Greek Life.

    When she’s not being inspired by the work of the students she supports, Kaila enjoys exploring New York, working with embroidery, and buying books she’ll probably never get around to reading.

  • Joe joined Columbia Health in 2022 as a Survivor Advocate at Sexual Violence Response (SVR).

    As a Survivor Advocate, Joe provides objective, empathetic, knowledgeable, and supportive intervention assisting a survivor, co-survivor, or bystander in securing the necessary information, services, referrals, and follow-up care that may be required based on an individual’s experience.

    Joe has been working in mental health and the helping profession beginning in undergraduate when he was a counselor for youth on the Autism spectrum along with working in a lab focused on biopsychosocial testing, becoming familiar with trauma responses and the necessity of approaching work from a trauma-informed lens. Joe has worked with a variety of populations and systems, ranging from crisis intervention and placement to family therapy with adjudicated youth. He ultimately found his focus when working for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) as an On-Call Advocate.

    During his time at PAAR Joe developed and distributed resources and programming that continues to be used by the organization, including a resource map (coded and distributed by Joe), a trauma-informed mindfulness group program, and a streamlined volunteer education and training process. Following PAAR, Joe transitioned into a role with Wesley Family Services working with adjudicated youth. His time working with both survivors and perpetrators has given him a unique perspective on advocacy. Joe focuses on advocating for restorative justice and giving greater access and platforms for survivors.

  • Jennifer joined Columbia Health in 2022 as a part-time Survivor Advocate with Sexual Violence Response (SVR) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC).

    As a Survivor Advocate, Jennifer provides objective, empathetic, knowledgeable, and supportive intervention assisting a survivor, co-survivor, or bystander in securing the necessary information, services, referrals, and follow-up care that may be required based on an individual’s experience.

    In her most recent role, she developed virtual reality content for the U.S. Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Training as a Subject Matter Expert at Moth + Flame VR. In previous roles, Jennifer developed, adapted, and presented educational programs on an array of topics ranging from child and adult sexual abuse and assault, domestic violence, and internet safety and has provided support and advocacy for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and violent crimes. Jennifer also served as the PREA Advocate (Prison Rape Elimination Act) and responded to allegations of sexual assault within a local correctional facility.

    Additionally, upon receiving her Juris Doctorate from Hofstra University School of Law, she served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. While at the Nassau DA’s Office, Jennifer was selected to attend the National District Attorney Association Sexual Assault Trial Advocacy Training Program in Columbia, South Carolina.

  • Debjani Roy is the Associate Director of Training and Prevention at Sexual Violence Response. She has been a thought leader and an advocate for gender equality and justice in the US and UK for over fifteen years. Most recently, Debjani was the Training Director at Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) and prior to this was the Deputy Director of anti-harassment organization, Hollaback!, where she managed operations, led key initiatives on leadership development and bystander intervention, and contributed to the culture shifts around the issue of street harassment. At Hollaback!, she also co-founded HeartMob, an online platform providing support to victims of online harassment. She has additionally led key culturally specific initiatives as the Program and Development Manager at Manavi, the first organization working to end violence against South Asian women in the United States.

    She has expertise in program creation and management, direct service provision, development, training and technical assistance, curriculum development, communications, research, and policy advocacy on issues including domestic violence, street harassment, sexual violence, forced marriage, ‘honor’ based violence, commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking, widows’ rights, and hate violence across the lines of identity.

    Debjani’s work and commentary has been featured in several media outlets, including The New York Times, BBC World News, Fox News, The Guardian, NPR, Huffington Post and Salon.

    Her academic publications include South Asian Battered Women’s Use of Force against Intimate Male Partners in the Violence Against Women Sage Journal and a first ever publication: An Introduction to Forced Marriage in the South Asian Community in the United States, published under Manavi and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. She is an alumni of the Progressive Women’s Voices Class at the Women’s Media Center and is a SheSource expert.

  • Christine Janick is the Temporary Training and Onboarding Coordinator for the Sexual Violence Response (SVR) team. Prior to that, she was the Associate Director, Direct Services at SVR. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and has been an advocate for Survivors of Crime for over twenty years.

    Christine’s previous position began in 2014 when she joined the Student Health Center at New York University, in a new role at that time as the Director of Sexual Misconduct Support Services.  At NYU, she primarily worked confidentially with students providing counseling, support, advocacy, and ran Survivor Support groups.  She also partnered with her NYU Title IX Office of Equal Opportunity colleagues to conduct Consent Zone workshops on campus.  Christine also provided support to various student groups on campus in a non-confidential role.

    Prior to NYU, Christine was the Victim Services Program Coordinator at Bellevue Hospital Center; a program that provides comprehensive services to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and all victims of crime, in order to promote resiliency and recovery in the aftermath of a traumatic victimization.  Prior to her fifteen years at Bellevue Hospital, she provided assistance to victims of crime in the Witness Aid Services Unit at the New York County District Attorney’s Office for over five years.  Additionally, she began her work in the field volunteering and working in a domestic violence shelter in Rockland County, NY.

    Christine obtained her Masters in Social Work from New York University. Additionally, Christine is an active member for many years in the Coalitions and Tasks forces in New York City to support the victims’ right movement.  Christine’s focus in her work with survivors is providing a safe space to be empowered by understanding rights and resources, while beginning the healing process of trauma.

  • Brianna Saldana joined Sexual Violence Response (SVR) in February 2022 as a Survivor Advocate. Brianna has worked at Safe Horizon as a Crime Victim Advocate at multiple NYPD precincts, assisting survivors of Domestic Violence and all victims of crimes for the past three in half years. She has worked with the police officers in performing home visits, and community outreach events. In addition, she worked at the Bronx Special Victim Division alongside detectives in assisting survivors and co-survivors of sexual assault by accompanying them in interviews and providing them with community-based resources.

    Currently, Brianna volunteers as a Rape Crisis Counselor at Columbia Presbyterian DOVE Program. Brianna devotes her time to humanitarian volunteer opportunities and in 2018 she traveled to Puerto Rico to assist victims of Hurricane Maria with rebuilding homes and distributing essential items.

    Brianna graduated from John Jay College in 2017 with a bachelor's in Sociology and minor in Psychology, also receiving Cum Laude Honors. 

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