Jessika M. A. Rovell, Esq. is an attorney with more than twenty years of leadership, management, and training experience working within military, public, and private sectors… she is also a sexual assault and domestic violence survivor. Victimized as a law student and during the early years of her legal and military careers, she shares her compelling story of survival and resilience in an inspiring, relatable and at times humorous way.
Her lectures and workshops focus on cultivating awareness and empowering others to end sexual violence, support survivors, and unlock their own unlimited potential to thrive, even when faced with the most extreme of personal challenges.
Since 2002, Jessika has served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, enlisting as an Intelligence Specialist before receiving a Direct Commission in 2005. She currently serves as an Intelligence Officer and a Department of Defense certified Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate. During the last 14 years, she has supported elements including the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Joint Staff, the Defense Technology Security Administration, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Office of Naval Intelligence. She received Joint Service and Navy Achievement Medals, as well as the Bluejacket of the Year and Rear Admiral Keith Leadership Awards for her leadership, training expertise, and development of training programs used nationwide by Navy Reserve intelligence personnel.
As a public sector employment attorney, Jessika advises and trains executives, supervisors, and employees across the country concerning equal employment opportunity, employment discrimination, alternative dispute resolution, and reasonable accommodations.
In addition to her legal and military careers, Jessika is also founder and director of JMAR Unlimited, LLC, which provides lectures, workshops, writing and consulting services focused on sexual assault and domestic violence awareness, prevention, and response.
Jessika resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her incredible fiancé, their silly blonde German shepherd, and their crazy Siamese cat.
Making It Personal: Sexual Violence, Survival, and Support:
This engaging and inspiring talk confronts traditional thinking about sexual assault and domestic violence and empowers audiences to play an active role in prevention and response.
When Jessika was first assaulted, she was a second year law student at Rutgers School of Law – Camden. She was a Dean’s List student, an Eagleton Institute of Politics Fellow, the American Bar Association Law Student Division Third Circuit Governor, and a recent Top Ten Finalist at Miss New Jersey. Prior to law school, she had been Penn State’s Undergraduate Student Government Supreme Court Chief Justice, Panhellenic Greek Sing Overall Chair, a two-time Penn State Dance Marathon dancer, and co-founder and president of her sorority.
How – with a background of independence and success – had she become a sexual violence victim?
Jessika uses her personal story of sexual assault and domestic violence survival to address the deep-rooted defense mechanisms which cause us to view sexual violence as something that happens to “other” people, and lead to “victim blaming.”
She brings the audience into the conversation by acknowledging her own difficulty imagining herself as a sexual violence victim – even after it happened to her. She engages participants by explaining how perpetrators manipulate their targets, why it often takes time for a victim to leave an abusive situation, and how active intervention by those surrounding a victim may stop a perpetrator or contribute to a survivor’s healing. She empowers participants to use what they learn to actively participate in prevention, response, and ongoing support to survivors.
Myths vs. Facts: Straight Talk About Sexual Violence From a Thriving Survivor:
This direct and revealing talk confronts longstanding myths about sexual assault and domestic violence, challenging audiences to shift their posture from reactive to proactive and play an active role in sexual violence awareness, prevention, and response.
Jessika uses her personal story of sexual assault and domestic violence survival to address popular sexual violence myths:
- "Drug and alcohol use cause rape and domestic violence."
- "Women’s dress and behavior provoke rape."
- "Men can't be raped."
- "If it was that bad, she’d just leave."
- "Only certain types of women get raped or abused – not me."
She engages the audience by asking participants to consider the neurobiological mechanisms which encourage us to passively accept myths, rather than actively acknowledge reality.
Jessika narrates her personal denial of victimhood due to her own susceptibility to such myths, and empowers participants to use what they learn to actively debunk their own myths to promote personal and community safety.