Survivors Speak: Centering Survivor Autonomy in Digital StorytellingInto Account
- Stephanie Krehbiel, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Into Account
- Jay Yoder, Director of Operations and Co-Founder, Into Account
- Erin Bergen, Director of Student Advocacy, Into Account
Sexualized violence survivors are often considered socially suspect voices in the accounting of their own experiences, and given undersized roles in shaping the narrative that makes sense of what justice looks like after acts of sexualized violence. In a reflection of existing social inequities, a survivor’s account of their own experience is only as authoritative as their social power, and the social power of those who believe them, allow/s. Following a report of sexualized violence, truth and reality are constructed by official and social systems’ explorations of questions including: Did sexualized violence occur? Who is at fault? Is it likely to happen again? Can it be prevented? Who or what enabled it?
Into Account is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 2016 and dedicated to advocating for survivors of sexualized violence perpetrated in religious settings. We utilize survivor storytelling, and the contextualizing of these stories, to help survivors and sexualized violence experts have equitable access to shaping and participating in the official and unofficial systems which function to construct truth and reality following acts of sexualized violence.
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Into Account
Dr. Stephanie Krehbielis the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Into Account. She works directly with survivors confronting churches and other religious institutions, accompanying them through reporting processes, investigations, media coverage, and public storytelling. As an advocate, she has worked with over a hundred individual survivors from a range of denominational backgrounds, from Catholic to Amish to nondenominational evangelicals. Her work has been covered in the New York Times, National Catholic Reporter, the Star-Tribune, and numerous smaller publications. Dr. Krehbiel holds a PhD in American Studies from University of Kansas with a concentration in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies, and her work as an advocate began during ethnographic research on institutional violence against LGBTQ+ people in the Mennonite Church USA.
As a collaborator with her Into Account colleagues, Dr. Krehbiel co-wrote a report based on the testimony of forty-four survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment perpetrated by Catholic liturgical composer David Haas, exposing coverups and complicity in the liturgical music industry as well as the Archidiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis and contributing to Haas’s lifetime ban from the industry events he once used to target victims. Her pieces for the Into Account organizational blog have covered topics such as Title IX regulation changes, the hidden dangers of organizational “lifestyle” policies, sexual abuse in collegiate sports, and the social consequences of institutional betrayal. She is a frequent guest speaker in university and seminary classrooms.
Director of Operations and Co-Founder, Into Account
Jay Yoder is the Director of Operations and Co-Founder of Into Account. They trained in sexual violence advocacy during college at Ohio State University, and has advocated for survivors for 20 years. Trained as sexual violence advocate at SARNCO (Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio), Jay has supported rape survivors during rape exams in hospitals; provided support to callers to a rape crisis hotline; taught workshops and trainings on consent, on supporting trauma survivors, on trauma-informed responses to community conflict, on gender and sexuality, and on undoing oppressions frameworks; and is a self-defense instructor.
Jay spent time working as the Victim’s Services Coordinator for Ohio’s statewide coalition, The Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, supporting rape crisis centers, training police officers and attorneys, and supporting survivors around the state. In addition Jay has supported health care, child abuse, and queer mental health non-profits; as well as political consulting firms in community organizing and fundraising. Jay also co-founded Pink Menno, a movement for queer inclusion in the Mennonite Church.
Jay is certified in Sexual Violence Advocacy, Danger Assessment & Safety Planning, and the Sanctuary Trauma-Informed Model.
Director of Student Advocacy, Into Account
Erin Bergen is the Director of Student Advocacy for Into Account. Erin grew up in Newton, Kansas, and attended Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. In 2015, she was trained by the Know Your IX organization in Title IX law and student advocacy. With her newfound knowledge, Erin worked to rewrite the website, policies, and procedures for the Goshen College Sexual Misconduct Response Team. She started a Survivor Support Network for student survivors of gender violence and did peer-led bystander education trainings. While trying to bring Goshen College into compliance with governmental regulations, she reported her own case of sexual assault as a student. The retaliation and inappropriate conduct of the investigators led Erin to drop out and file a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The federal government chose her case for investigation, and substantiated her complaint.
Since then, Erin was trained by the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence as a crisis counselor and advocate. She worked with the emergency hotline and did hospital accompaniments for survivors of sexual violence. At Into Account, Erin works with survivors from a wide range of social locations, with a particular focus on supporting teens, young adults, and college students.
In 2020, Erin graduated with her BA from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also received her teaching certification. She is an elementary school teacher in Pittsburgh.