What can each of us do to help those isolated with an abusive partner?

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Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

#InThisTogether is a trending right now, but are we really in this together?

As the coronavirus spreads around the world and governments are issuing mandatory lockdowns, I can’t help but think about the women who are in isolation to protect themselves and others from the spread of the coronavirus but, when doing so, are locked in a house or condo with an abusive partner.

Anita Bhatia, the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Women said, “the very technique we are using to protect people from the virus can perversely impact victims of domestic violence.” There is no question that social or physical distancing is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the virus, but what can we do to help those that are now trapped inside a potentially harmful space? …


Should those working to end Gender Based Violence embrace the digital age?

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Photo by Jae Park on Unsplash

I have been considering this question since June 2019.

Last year Nicholas Thompson, editor of WIRED magazine, spoke at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on our relationship with tech. He grappled with our approach to technology: should we trust the change technology brings as a good thing for society or should we fear that change and its unknown implications?

I have listened to many talks and I attended many events on the future of humanity and its relationship to technology. But this discussion, this question, has stayed with me.

In late 2017 I founded VESTA Social Innovation Technologies, a platform that harnesses technology in service of an audacious goal: eliminate rape culture. For three years I have thrown myself into researching, learning, networking, and re-imagining VESTA. I have learned from and collaborated with experts across criminal justice, law, gender-based violence, and trauma-informed counselling. My enthusiasm for VESTA hasn’t waned. But Nicholas’ talk touched on my greatest uncertainty: should the those working to eliminate gender-based violence embrace the digital age with open arms or approach with caution? …


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Photo by Shamim Nakhaei on Unsplash

“I understand how this helps the police, but how does it help survivors?”

This question came after I delivered a talk about Vesta, the platform for sexual violence survivors I’m developing, to a room full of social workers and front-line experts. People with 25+ years experience listening to women share their experiences of violence and harassment. Executive directors and management who were building and maintaining the resources women used everyday to navigate their sexual violence experience. And too often, at the front-line, they saw a woman’s personal trauma be compounded by the criminal justice system.

This question was tough, honest, and entirely valid. …


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Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

I’m the first to admit that I’m the new kid when it comes to addressing sexual violence. In my last post, What’s Your Start-up Style?, I talked about the humbling experience of discovering just how much I don’t know I don’t know. Nobody tells you that launching a start-up is a humbling exercise in personal development.

Often new acquaintances ask why I’m sticking out the journey of creating tech company that’s addressing sexual violence considering the many closed doors and deep unknowns. It’s a good question. Especially since I started without knowing if the technology that I need exists (it does) and if I had a business model (I do). …


I was recently asked, in casual conversation, what my start-up style was. A flamboyant Elon Musk or a market-smashing Steve Jobs?

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Photo by Noah Näf on Unsplash

My first reaction was, ummmm why aren’t you naming any women? Arianna Huffington? Whitney Wolfe Herd? Sara Blakely? But okay, I’ll humour the parameters and consider the question.

My answer: I’m the new kid.

After 2 years of research, I thought I had developed a thorough and solid understanding of the venn diagram that is sexual violence response and prevention. Yes, my approach was non-traditional. I am the founder of a sexual violence reporting tool called Vesta, which brings technology into the mix. …


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Photo by Michelle on Unsplash

Moments before I walk into a networking event, every networking event, I take a deep breath and repeat my mantra, “I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

My name is Lucrezia Spagnolo, and I am the founder of a new social enterprise, so yes, I attend a lot of networking events. You likely think that I dug this mantra out of a self-help book and use it to get over some mild social anxiety. It’s a good guess, but no, that’s not why I use it.

I have started a social enterprise called Vesta, which develops real-world tools to address and better support the survivors of sexual assault, violence, and harassment in our communities and workplaces. Sexualized violence and reporting is a difficult space to work. There are a lot of perspectives and experiences at play. There are a lot of social norms and social realities in the mix. There are people and their well-being on the line. …

Lucrezia Spagnolo

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