From Theory to Practice Sexualized Abuse

25th Annual BISC-MI Conference

Dates: November 17, 18, 19, 2021

From Theory to Practice: Focusing on Sexualized Abuse,
Sexual Respect, and Sexual Health in Battering Intervention Programs

AT THE KENSINGTON HOTEL – Ann Arbor, Michigan!

Conference description: Those who commit intimate partner violence use many tactics to control, abuse, punish, discredit, and humiliate their partners. Sexual abuse is frequently perpetrated, yet this form of abuse is not a consistent and comprehensive focus of many battering intervention programs. This conference will present information about how to incorporate relevant education and conversations regarding sexual abuse and violence into BIP services. Participants will have the opportunity to explore in-depth strategies, techniques, concepts, and tools to increase understanding about exploitation, coercion, imposing of sexual values onto others, sexual socialization, ignorance or lack of understanding and awareness about sexual respect and sexuality, the intersection of identities and sexuality, intimacy, how consent is compromised with power differentials and safety concerns, critical thinking, and sexual literacy. Join BISC-MI as we continue the tradition of providing exciting, relevant, and innovative conferences to advance the field of battering intervention! The conference will take place at the Kensington Hotel, 3500 State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

Cost: The fee for attending this conference in-person versus virtually is the same because those attending in-person will have meals and snacks or dessert provided at evening networking events, and those attending virtually will be paying for the additional technological fees associated with making this conference possible to attend virtually.

Membership Fee Reduction: There is a reduced fee for in-person or virtual attendees who are BISC-MI members. For more information about membership, go to:


The Office on Violence Against Women has once again approved our request to invite OVW grantees to attend The Battering Intervention Services Coalition of Michigan (BISC-MI) 2021 International Conference to be held November 17-19, 2021.

Grantees from CSSP, Disability, Rural, ICJR, Underserved and State Coalition programs have conditionally approved their grantees to attend this conference.  Grantees are required to contact their OVW program specialist to get approval specific to their award before they can commit or expend any funds related to attending this conference.

The reference number for this conference is OVW-2021-MU-023.  This number must be used by grantees when requesting approval via a GAN or in their “memo to the file”. This approval and assigned reference number is for this conference only.      

Registration is now open!

Three Day Registration Before October 15, 2021 (deadline is now extended):
Member Early Bird: $325.00
Non-Member Early Bird: $425.00

Three Day Registration After October 15, 2021:
Member $425.00
Non-Member $525.00

Daily Registration (for Virtual Attendees only):
Member $150.00
Non-Member $195.00

In person attendees must attend all three days.
Breakfast, lunch and snacks included with registration fee.

Virtual attendees have the option of attending all or part of this conference.

This conference will be only be offered live with participation online or in person  (The conference will not be recorded)

18.5 CEs applied for and in process
Fee for Social Work CEs:

$50.00 for all three days,
or $20.00 per day option for virtual attendees only
(18.5 CE for BIPSCC)

Click here for conference information in .pdf format


Student Rate offered for Virtual or In-Person Conference

Students interested in a low-cost conference:

The Battering Intervention Services Coalition of Michigan (BISC-MI) is offering student scholarships and seeking applications available to
undergraduate and graduate students, for our 2021 hybrid conference .


Students whose applications are accepted can attend virtually or in-person for $25 per day,
with the choice of attending one, two, or three of the days.


The non-student cost for this three-day conference is $325.00 for BISC-MI members, and $425.00 for non-BISC-MI members,
for those who register by October 15, 2021.

Note for students attending in-person:  The $25.00 daily fee covers meals and conference registration.
Lodging costs are not included at or near the Kensington Hotel in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


To fill out an application to apply for this student rate, go to this link:

Make lodging reservations early with THE KENSINGTON HOTEL – ANN ARBOR!

NOTE: Lodging reservations is a separate process from conference registration


The Kensington Hotel – Ann Arbor offers BISC-MI guests a reduced rate of $102.00/night for single and double occupancy, plus applicable taxes. If you are state of Michigan tax exempt, be sure present appropriate documentation at hotel check in.

The deadline for making reservations is Wednesday, November 3, 2021 but the conference block may easily fill sooner and rooms will no longer be available at the reduced rate. If the Kensington Hotel block fills, BISC-MI will share information for alternate partner hotels in the area, but reduced rate offers are not guaranteed.

Rooms are offered at the conference rate for the nights of Tuesday November 16 – Thursday November 18 (checking-out Friday November 19). If you wish to request additional dates outside that window, reservations must be made by calling the hotel directly; the online reservation link will not accept dates outside the conference block window.

Note: Hotel cancellations must be made by 11/15/2021
Hotel check-in time is 4:00 pm; check-out is 11:00 am

To make hotel lodging reservations online:

  • Start at the hotel’s homepage online: Click Here
  • Enter the dates of your stay
  • In the promo code box, enter: BISC to see the discounted block rate reflected.


In the Discount Code field (drop down menu), select “Group Attendee,” then enter code: “BISC.”
Please note: some features and information display differently across various mobile and desktop devices.
Please contact the hotel with questions or issues about the online reservation process.


Address:  3500 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Phone: (866) 315-7075

Easy Parking!
Ample, free self-parking is available at the Kensington Hotel Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108

Day One: Wednesday, November 17, 2021


8:30 am – 9:30 am Continental Breakfast Provided and Registration

9:30 am – 10:00 am Welcome and Celebration Activity for Meeting In-Person, BISC-MI 25th Conference Anniversary Recognition

10:00 am – 11:30 am Plenary 1: Why it is so hard to talk about sex and why it is so important that we do so through a sex positive lens
Faculty: Adrienne Rowland
Description: Description: Talking about sex is probably one of the most difficult topics mental health professionals face. Many of us didn’t have great models of how to talk about sex growing up and we certainly didn’t get the training in our professional careers unless we specifically sought it out. What we have learned, the beliefs we have and the biases that we may or may not recognize have a direct impact on the work we do in the therapeutic setting. This workshop is designed to challenge participants to consider how what they believe about sex shows up in their interactions with group participants and the individual client. This workshop will challenge participants to examine their bias with regards to beliefs about sexuality, sexual preferences and sexual practices and consider how those biases impact the work they do within the context of batterer intervention. Further, this workshop will help dispel myths about sexual taboos, pornography, nonmonogamy and gender roles through a sex positive lens. You will not be asked to change your beliefs, but you will be encouraged to courageously examine lessons you have learned.
Pre-Conference Video:

11:30 am – 11:45 am Break

11:45 am – 1:15 pm Plenary 2: Sex Education 201: Gaining Familiarity with the Unspoken
Faculty: Diana Groener
Description: Sexual issues are often discussed in negative terms: abuse, addiction, compulsion, etc. This sex positive seminar turns that discussion around and discusses sexuality from an enriching, pleasurable point of view. The modern sexual lexicon will be described, giving attendees both a vocabulary and a framework for understanding sexual behaviors. Desire, fantasy, attraction, sex drive, and use of sexually stimulating material will each be touched on, all while keeping in mind the intersectionality of gender and orientation.

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Lunch Buffet Provided

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm Plenary 3: Male Sexual Violence: A New and Transformative Definition
Faculty: Greg Loughlin
Description: How one defines sexual violence has significant implications for intervention and prevention efforts. Most definitions, while accomplishing their goal within the context they were created, are not suitable for educational settings designed to encourage behavioral change. This workshop will review and critique current definitions of sexual violence, and then present Men Stopping Violence’s definition of male sexual violence against women and how that definition is applied directly in Men Stopping Violence’s intervention program and, in the community at large.
Pre-Conference Video:

3:45 pm – 4:00 pm Break

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Plenary 4: Behind the Cloak of Darkness, the Impact of Pornography
Faculty: Myra Strand
Description: Contemporary humans live in a sexual paradox silently swimming in the long reach of the impact of porn- hardcore and very violent, male dominated porn. In 2015, the average age a person first viewed these images and/or videos was 11 years old, and some sources now say that this number is closer to 8 years. Because of this, porn is becoming a primary form of sex education and it is shifting the very definition of what sex is and how it is done. There are common pornographic themes and scripts that may lead to increased victimization, such as the normalization of strangulation, of BDSM (but without the typical and learned BDSM safety precautions), of revenge porn, or of child rape/torture. Further, much of porn is commonly uploaded onto the web by millions of individual users in addition to production companies. There are no checks and balances for consent or safe production practices. This presentation will examine the influence of pornography on the neurobiology of the developing and already developed brain and it will look at the correlation between porn and victimization. Finally, it will look at possible investigative practices that would integrate this growing influence.
Pre-Conference Video:

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Dinner on own

7:30 pm – 9:30 pm Networking and Discussion Opportunities
Description: Join the evening discussion with faculty and conference attendees and enjoy late night snacks. Theme-based discussion tables will be set up based on the needs and interests of those attending.

Day Two: Thursday, November 18, 2021

8:15 am – 9:15 am Continental Breakfast

9:15 am – 9:30 am Welcome from MCEDSV and Housekeeping
Sarah Rennie
Executive Director, Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

9:30 am – 10:00 am A Survivor’s Voice:
Faculty: Lori Stone LLMSW-C

10:00 am – 11:30 pm Plenary 5: Sexual Coercion & Abuse in Domestic Violence
Faculty: Lisa Aronson Fontes, Ph.D.
Description: While coerced, unwanted, and abusive sexual acts are a routine part of intimate partner abuse, most people find this a difficult topic to discuss, even in BIPs. Abusers often feel like they are entitled to “get it” from their partners and may have trouble seeing the coercive methods they may be using on a daily basis. BIP facilitators and other professionals may not be comfortable using sexually explicit language or hearing sexually violent details. Sometimes sexual violence can be obscured by talk of “lifestyles” and “wild sex.” We will dive into this somewhat uncomfortable conversation together, so we can better intervene with abusers who use sexual violence and coercion in a range of ways.
Pre-Conference Video:

11:30 pm – 11:45 pm Break

11:45 pm – 1:15 pm Plenary 6: Talking to Killers and Non-Lethal Abusers: What can they tell us about sexual coercion, jealousy and infidelity as key elements of abusive behavior?
Faculty: David Adams:
Description: Belying their minimizing and braggadocio, perpetrators of intimate partner homicides unwittingly provide useful information about the interconnections between sex and violence within the context of an abusive relationship. Their expectations about sex, rushed courtships, jealousy, and infidelity, provide retrospective insight when and why sexual coercion unfolds over time, and how this contributes to homicide. Based on in-depth interviews of killers as well as victims of attempted homicide, I will describe four phases of the relationship, beginning first with sex, onset of jealousy and infidelity, escalation of sexual coercion, and the weaponization of sex. While the first part of this session will focus on cases of homicide and near-homicide, the second part will focus on sex as a coercive element in non-lethal relationships of abusers engaged in an abuser intervention program. Key elements of this are first and second date sex, rescuing fantasies, the idea of being a “soul mate” and other kinds of magical thinking, infidelity, selfish sex and the evolution of sexual coercion.
Pre-Conference Video:

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Lunch Buffet Provided

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm Plenary 7: Learning to Abuse: How Pornography and Sex Buying Influence Men’s Violence
Faculty: Carolyn West and Eli Zucker
Description: The normalization of sexualized violence is common in the socialization of men and boys. Where and how are those messages born? In this session, Dr. Carolyn West and Eli Zucker will explore how pornography and the sex trade normalize sexualized violence among boys and men, specifically through messages regarding race and gender. Together, we will unpack how that socialization contributes to behaviors that harm, often toward the most vulnerable and marginalized folks in our communities.
Pre-Conference Video:
Pre-Conference Video:

3:45 pm – 4:00 pm Break

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Plenary 8: Let Me Tell Ya’ll ‘bout Black Chicks: Violence Against Black Women in Pornography
Faculty: Carolyn West
Description: The docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” left viewers asking: “How could a popular singer produce child pornography that featured degrading acts involving Black girls and women?” The reality is that these images are pervasive in the media and culture. This workshop will feature “Let me tell ya’ll ‘bout Black chicks: Images of Black women in pornography,” a searing documentary that unpacks the historical origins of the images found in contemporary pornography and identifies how these representations promote sexual violence against Black girls.
Pre-Conference Video:

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm 25th BISC-MI Anniversary Champagne/Sparking Cider Celebration & Networking and Discussion Opportunities
Description: Join the evening discussion with faculty and conference attendees for a toast and Hors d’oeuvres. Discuss ideas on how to put what you have learned into practice. Network and share ideas and possible strategies.

Day Three: Friday, November 19, 2021

8:15 am – 9:15 am Continental Breakfast, Room check out!

9:15 am – 9:30 am Welcome and Housekeeping
Lore Rogers
Staff Attorney, Michigan Domestic & Sexual Violence Prevention & Treatment Board, Division of Victim Services, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

9:30 am – 11:00 am Plenary 9: Unique Traumas of Marital Rape
Faculty: Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Amy Ronayne Krause and Judge Michelle Rick
Description: Prior to working for the Michigan Court of Appeals, Judge Ronayne Krause was a lawyer for over 33 years. She ran a sex crimes prosecution unit in Washtenaw County and handled the first prosecution of a spouse going to prison after the spousal exception was removed from the criminal sexual conduct statute in Michigan in 1988. She was also a district court judge overseeing domestic violence cases in Ingham County for 7 years. Judge Rick conducted two specialty courts.  The one involving trafficked women with substance abuse disorder was trauma informed and responsive.  This court is called “Journey Court”.  This court uses the ACES test to screen participants.  The second specialty court was a sanctions-based model entitled “Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program” or “Swift and Sure” for short. This session will focus on specific, unique traumas endured by domestic violence survivors who have experienced sexual assault and will cover the court process of domestic and sexual violence cases.
Pre-Conference Video:

11:00 am – 11:15 am Break

11:15 am – 12:45 pm Plenary 10: Assessing for Perpetrating of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
Faculty: Rus Ervin Funk
Description: Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV) is a complex, nuanced and common form of violence within the dynamics of intimate partner violence. Yet, the practice of thoroughly assessing for the perpetration of this form of abuse is not standard practice, and meaningfully addressing IPSV is not commonly done. This workshop lays out the five key factors that are necessary for men to perpetrate IPSV and provides some concrete strategies for assessing with men their use of IPSV.
Pre-Conference Video:

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm Lunch Buffet Provided

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm Plenary 11: Let’s talk About Sex
Faculty: Diana Groener
Description: Surveys show that sexual abuse is rampant within domestic violence interactions, yet many batterer’s intervention programs skim over sexual issues in their curriculum. This seminar will discuss various ways to incorporate sexual topics, integrating them into everyday Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP) sessions. Specific sexual modules that should be included in BIP curriculum will be discussed, including modules on healthy sexual relationships, healthy dating, and pornography use. A decision tree for when referrals for sexual addiction or sexual offending treatment are required will be shared. A brief outline of curriculum for two specialized treatment groups will also be given, one for men with a pattern of intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) and one for psychopathic/criminally oriented men.

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm Break

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Plenary 12: Discussing Respectful Sexual Behavior
Faculty: Chris Hall
Description: As a follow-up and incorporation of information discussed in the June 2021 BISC-MI / Allies in Change sponsored “Addressing Sexualized Violence and Respectful Sexuality with Those Who Choose to Abuse,” this workshop will review information from that presentation, including discussions of toxic sexuality combinations of frequency and emotional/mental connections, conceptual frameworks for understanding sexual harms beyond rape, and sexually respectful behavior within the categories of inclusiveness, transparency, and support. This presentation will incorporate new sections on how to discuss sexual agency and sexual connections within battering intervention classes.
Pre-Conference Video:

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm Wrap-up and Raffle and End of Conference

Many Thanks to our Conference Sponsors!