Stephanie Hanson

Stephanie Hanson

Survivor and Philanthropist


Stephanie Hanson is a survivor of acquaintance sexual assault who first reported her rape to a local rape crisis center and then to the police department. This decision was the beginning of a difficult journey through the criminal justice system. Hanson worked diligently with a Sex Crimes detective to provide as much information and evidence as possible to successfully prosecute the man who raped her. The investigation was presented to the District Attorney’s office, but the Assistant District Attorney assigned to her case did not feel there was enough evidence to prove the suspect guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of twelve. Although sexual assault is far too common in our society, Hanson was surprised to discover that there is still a profound lack of understanding about the real-world dynamics of this crime. Based on this ignorance, victims are all too often disbelieved, blamed, and viewed in stereotypic terms. At one point, Hanson even felt accused of causing the crime to occur in the first place. Unfortunately, this resulted in feelings of being revictimized by the very system designed to protect her and the community.

Hanson is now dedicated to turning this experience around, by doing what she can to improve criminal justice responses to sexual assault. She accepted a position on the Board of Directors for End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI), because one of her main objectives is to create a safe place for women who have experienced a sexual assault, by encouraging legal reform through the education of judges, prosecutors, police, advocates, and the community in general. Her goals are to see that victims of sexual assault are not revictimized, and to hold more sex offenders accountable for their actions. Hanson is also a Trustee of the William H. Donner Foundation, a Governor of the Donner Canadian Foundation, and a Grant Researcher. She was a Founding Member of the Board of Directors for EVAWI and remains a member of the Honorary Board.

In addition to her work in the area of sexual assault, Hanson is very active in her community. She serves as an Honorary Board Member for both Scripps Hospital in Encinitas and Casa De Amparo, a home for abused children in San Diego County. Hanson has also served as an advocate for Casa De Amparo in a variety of capacities over the course of 18 years, including serving as the Honorary Chair for their 2004 annual fundraiser and past Executive Vice President of the Auxiliary, and she volunteered on a weekly basis to play with many of the children in protective custody.