Speaking and Workshops

I'm currently booking speaking and workshop engagements for 2020. My work is focused on preventing digital products from being subverted for purposes of domestic violence.

Speaking

My talk, Designing Against Domestic Violence, has received overwhelmingly positive feedback at the dozen+ conferences I've spoken at.

I'm booked through 2019 and am taking inquiries for 2020. If you’re looking for a keynote or featured speaker for a conference or in-house event, please send an email.

Talk abstract:

The reality of domestic violence doesn’t disappear when people enter the digital world. Abusers use technology to exploit and control their victims, meaning that technologists have a responsibility to ensure that users of our products are empowered to protect their safety. How can we prevent people with violent intentions from forms of abuse and control that are digital, such as exploiting online banking software to control a partners finances or tormenting them with smart home devices? How can we recognize points of possible intervention where we might be able to help a user who is experiencing domestic violence? How can we make it harder for stalkers to find their victims? While there’s no simple answer and ultimately no way to ensure our users’ safety in all situations, thoughtful considerations and small changes while designing and building products can and does result in meaningful contributions to people’s safety. This talk will help the audience get into the right mindset for thinking about safety and provide a framework for building technology against domestic violence.

View the short version of my talk here.

Workshops

The two workshops, Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence and Designing Safe Products, are available as separate, half day workshops, or together as a daylong set. Additionally, a day of the two workshops plus my conference talk Designing Against Domestic Violence is available.

To learn more or book, please email me.

Workshop: Designing Safe Products

No one intends for their product to be used to harass an unsuspecting spouse, or stalk an ex-girlfriend, or financially control a partner, but the reality of not considering inter-personal and domestic violence in our designs means that we can unwittingly hand an abuser a new tool to perpetuate violence. We design our products with the best of intentions, but wind up with features that enable abuse, and fail to seize opportunities to recognize that someone is being victimized and offer support.

As technology continues to become more and more embedded in our financial, personal, and domestic lives, we have the responsibility and obligation to consider those who will be harmed - psychologically and physically - by our decisions. In this workshop, we’ll take a hard look at the many forms of domestic abuse that everyday technology enables, assess the potential risks of our own products, and identify areas where certain user behavior might indicate that they’re perpetrating abuse or being victimized. Then we’ll plan on how to design our products to prevent abuse and support victims.

What We'll Do

  • Draft a person set of values that inform your work for safe and inclusive design.

  • Create a plan for expanding those values at a company level.

  • Learn about the forms of domestic violence that are closely tied with digital products

  • Uncover the potentials for interpersonal violence within your product.

  • Practice testing your product against the use case of a domestic abuser.

What's Included

  • 4 hours of hands-on activities, discussions and active learning, resulting in a set of principles of plans your team and company can use.

  • Resources, worksheets and techniques for preventing technology-facilitated abuse and supporting victims that can be incorporated to your team’s design and digital practice.

  • List of further resources to continue learning and expand your team’s practice of inclusive, ethical, and safe design.

Workshop: Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence

Despite recent social and economic gains, domestic violence remains a stubborn societal problem that harms millions of men and women each year. In a society where 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner, how can we support survivors? This workshop breaks down the myths surrounding domestic violence, arms participants with facts and context, and answers the eternal question “why doesn’t she just leave?” Attendees will learn how to recognize early warning signs of abuse and practice talking to someone you suspect may be in an abusive relationship, or who is with someone displaying the early, non-physical markers of abuse. Other learnings will include how to help someone in a violent relationship make a plan for leaving that will keep them safe and alive. Participants will leave with a list of quality resources for helping survivors before and after leaving, as well as how to prevent future violence by raising their kids - especially boys - to have safe, healthy relationships.

What We'll Do

  • Learn about the key statistics around domestic violence in the US, as well as important variances among racial groups, LGBTQ+ groups, and male survivors.

  • Articulate the most common myths around domestic violence, and work with groups to break down the myths, why they’re pervasive, and the reality behind the myths.

  • Describe the cycle of violence and methods abusers use to keep their victims from leaving.

  • Learn the profile of an abuser and warning signs to watch out for.

  • Learn what to do if you suspect someone you know is being abused.

  • Practice voicing your concern for a friend or loved one in a way that is likely to be well-received.

  • Understand “safety planning” and how to help a survivor leave an abusive relationship without being hurt or murdered by their abuser

What's Included

  • 3 hours of hands-on activities and discussions in a safe and supportive environment (the workshop will never ask people to reveal any personal history with domestic violence; a discussion of experience with the topic asks people to tell stories of others and not include names or identifying information, giving survivors the chance to keep their histories private).

  • Resources for safety planning (helping a survivor safely escape) as well as national and local resources for survivors

  • Resources for raising children - especially boys - to become non-violent adults with healthy relationships