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  • Writer's pictureNeil Parekh

Ep. 6 Kat Klawes | Shining Light on Shadows

Updated: May 6

Please join me and my co-host, Dawn Helmrich, for the sixth episode of “Shining Light on Shadows: A Candid Conversation About Mental Health.” April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Our guest will be Kat Klawes, a survivor of sexual assault and advocate. In fact, all three of us are survivors of rape / assault / abuse and all three of us have found our voice as advocates. At times, the advocacy work has also taken a toll.

Our conversation will focus on the mental health toll on advocates for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. In some cases it can be empowering. In other instances, it can be overwhelming. Often, it’s both.

We’ll be live Thursday, April 25 at 7pm ET / 6pm CT / 4pm PT. If you can’t watch the show live, you can watch the recording at your convenience on this website or the links below.

As a reminder, Wednesday, April 24 is Denim Day, an international day of advocacy where people where jeans to show support for survivors of sexual assault. It has its origins in Italy. Dawn brought Denim Day to Milwaukee. It's also Aurora Health Care Foundation's Hope Shining Blue event in Milwaukee. Dawn and Kat are both past Thrive Award honorees.


You can watch the recording here

or watch the recording and comment on social media:


As Kat wrote in her blog post for this episode, “I found that engaging in advocacy work helped to combat feelings of powerlessness and helped me, and others like me, rebuild a sense of agency and control.

As Dawn wrote in her blog post, “Each time I tell a piece of my story, I know that someone will benefit from my words, and that is all that matters to me…my voice has power and that alone makes me empowered to do this work.”

I have yet to write my own blog post. I have been struggling over the past few days. That’s why this announcement is getting out later than I wanted to. I’ve been able to get some of my work done, but several big projects (including this one) seemed too big to tackle. On Thursday, I will talk about my experience finding my voice as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, particularly the personal toll of hosting a monthly show last year focusing on male survivors. As I mentioned earlier, “ In some cases it can be empowering. In other instances, it can be overwhelming. Often, it’s both.”

Dawn and I launched this twice a month show (the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month) in order to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be joined by friends and colleagues who are working through or have worked through their own challenges, practitioners who can speak to some of the issues faced by their clients and advocates who can talk about a range of different issues.

The show is produced by Digimentors on a pro bono basis.


Resources / Relevant Links

Denim Day MKE

Hope Shining Blue

2024 Event / 2023 Event (Neil's Website)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline 800-950-6264 Or text "HelpLine" to 6264;

Mental Health America Call or text 988 or chat; Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673);


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