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Hello! I'm Ashley.

I’m a Christian feminist, writer, speaker, TV producer, news pundit, ordained reverend, and abuse-victim advocate who educates churches and secular communities on abuse. I’m the founder of The Courage Conference, for survivors of abuse—and those who love them.

What To Expect at The Courage Conference 2017

What To Expect at The Courage Conference 2017

If you bought a ticket to The Courage Conference (or are still considering it) you may be wondering: “What can I expect at The Courage Conference?”

Let me give you a rundown of the relevant details!

Who Should Attend The Courage Conference?

The Courage Conference is for survivors of abuse and those who love them, victim advocates, church leaders, and more.

There will be a diverse group in attendance. Most come from a church background or have experienced or witnessed abuse in church contexts. The Courage Conference draws in conservative Christians, progressive Christians, and those who no longer feel safe in institutional church settings.

What Does The Schedule Look Like?


Registration 11:30AM-12:30PM EST

You will be traveling to the Nash Hall Venue space located in downtown historic Raleigh, NC. Your first task will be to secure a parking spot. We will have several parking attendants ready to direct you to the designated parking locations.

After parking your car, you will walk a short distance to Nash Hall. Nash Hall is a particularly lovely building, full of local art displays. I have found it to be a peaceful, safe environment. This building is owned by a progressive, abuse victim friendly church, but is rented out frequently for secular community events. It is often mistaken for a coffee shop or art space, and has room for seating and presentations. The doors will open at 11:30AM EST for registration. Seating is first come first serve, so I recommend getting there as early as possible.

Upon your arrival, you will need to show your ticket confirmation. Please have your printed ticket or mobile ticket prepared and ready to show the attendants welcoming you at the door. After you are confirmed, you will be given a booklet containing the event agenda, relevant resources, and information about the organizations that are sponsoring the event.

Please make sure to eat lunch before you arrive.

Keynotes and Workshops 12:30PM-5PM EST

Though our final schedule is still in flux, the afternoon will be filled with keynote presentations from our inspiring speaker panel, smaller workshop sessions for you to choose from (workshop leaders and topic lists coming soon), and a Q&A session with the full speaker panel.

Dinner Break

Nash Hall is in the middle of downtown Raleigh surrounded by many restaurant options within walking distance. You will be provided with restaurant suggestions with price variety for everyone’s budget. At this time we encourage you to make new friends and catch up with acquaintances over a shared meal, or take time for yourself to process the content of the presentations.

Natalie Greenfield in Concert 6:30PM-7:30PM EST

At 6:30 we will all meet back at Nash Hall for Natalie Greenfield’s music performance.

Natalie is an Abuse Victim Advocate, Blogger, Speaker & Musician who survived years of childhood sexual abuse. She now shares her story with others through social media, public speaking, and music, in order to spread hope & healing.

Natalie discovered her passion for songwriting at a young age, and has always had a reverence for the depth of expression and emotion that music affords. Natalie invites you to step into that sacred space with her and come along as she takes you on a musical journey through her own story of abuse and healing with her musical performance “Out To Sea - My Journey from Abuse to Wholeness”.

Evening Conclusion 7:30PM

The event ends roughly at 7:30pm, giving you enough time to make more connections with survivors and advocates in attendance before returning to your home, hotel, or airbnb for a good night’s rest.



Doors open bright and early, 7:30am, again at Nash Hall event space. A light breakfast will be served along with coffee for your enjoyment.

The Day Begins

During this morning meeting you will be inspired, equipped, and resourced by our remaining speakers, additional workshops and more.


Our mid day meal (on your own) is another chance to explore local restaurants with new found friends and colleagues. Our hope is that you make valuable connection and feel a sense of camaraderie with others in attendance.  

Afternoon Events

You will not want to miss the afternoon speaking schedule. Our speakers are advocates, professionals, survivors, and experts with engaging and unique speaking styles. They will present in a perfect mix of story, education, compassion and vision.

Because our Q&A sessions were extremely popular last year, you will again have the opportunity to ask questions that have come up during the conference experience at the end of the speaking schedule.

More workshops will be available, including a decompression workshop called “Find Your Calm,” where you will have the opportunity to let your anxiety and stress fall away through a peaceful and grounding experience. You can take a moment to write your own positive affirmation, participate in a brief guided meditation, or simply sit and find a moment of stillness.

There will also be a session specifically for church leaders desiring to take the next steps to safeguard their ministries.

Speakers and Topics

These amazing advocates and professionals will offer one-of-a kind conversations that will double as encouragement for survivors of abuse and those who love them, as well as education for advocates and church leaders who are looking for training on abuse prevention and response.

Talk Titles

  • Mary DeMuth- Hope For Those Feeling Marked

  • Eugene Hung- What's a Man to Do? Why Abuse Isn’t Just A Women’s Problem

  • Monica Daye- Behind Closed Doors: The Truth About Intimate Partner Violence

  • Boz Tchividjian- The Theology of Protecting Children and Other Vulnerable Heros

  • David Pittman- Pedophiles Are Like Serial Killers

  • Ashley Easter- The Intersection of Patriarchy and Abuse

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Things You Should Know

1. We will have breaks between speaking sessions both Friday and Saturday, giving you time to stretch your legs, use the restroom and take a look at our excellent, carefully selected resource tables.

2. If you should feel triggered or overwhelmed at any point during the conference, we will have a quiet space for you to rest and an Empathy Team available which includes a professional counselor and other skilled advocates if you wish to talk with someone about how you are feeling. Please know that it’s ok to take breaks, walk the city for fresh air, or rest if you need to.

3. A photographer and videographer will be at this event to help us document the experience, but be assured that they have been given a strict set of rules to prevent them from interfering with your experience of the event. They will not be allowed to video or photograph the faces of those in attendance without express permission from the individual. They will be serving with much sensitivity for your privacy.

4. If you have different abilities and require wheelchair access or assistance due to sight or hearing challenges, please let us know in advance so we can look for possible ways to accommodate.

Facebook Group

If you are coming to the event and you would like a chance to connect with some of the other attendees, please feel free to join our closed Facebook group. Here you can establish connections and make requests such as, “I’m looking to share a hotel room or Airbnb with someone, is there anyone who would like to split the cost with me?” or “I’ll be in town early on Friday, who wants to join me for an outing?”, “I’m nervous. Who would be willing to be my buddy at the event?”.

Click here to join.

Out Of Town Guests


We have secured a block of hotel rooms at The Hampton Inn for your convenience. Space is limited and other hotels are booking up fast. You MUST book at least 3 weeks in advance. Click here for details about our special prices.

Group Code: COU
Hotel Name: Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh/Crabtree Valley
Hotel Address: 3920 Arrow Drive
                       Raleigh, North Carolina 27612
Phone Number: 9198817080

Airbnbs are another great option. My husband and I have had many positive experiences at Airbnbs including those in Raleigh, NC. Not only are these a unique and homey choice, but they are often a much more affordable staying options. (I have had someone share with me that hotels and Airbnbs are difficult for those who are survivors of sex trafficking. To you, I offer my deepest apologies. If anyone has a less triggering option to recommend, please do so in the comments section.)

If you would like to find a roommate, please join the Facebook group mentioned above and post your request.

What To Do In Raleigh, NC.

If you are an out of town guest who will have some extra time to spend in Raleigh, please take a look at this list of things to do while you are in town. Raleigh is a great city with lots of fun free experiences to enjoy.

This is an event that you are not going to want to miss! Sign up today and share with your friends. We have both onsite and online viewing options, as well as a Scholarship Program (survivors can apply to get a free ticket if they can’t afford one) with limited space.

-Ashley Easter

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