Ted Talks

Here you can find Ted Talks on a variety of topics including gender violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, human trafficking, child abuse, emotional abuse, online abuse, trauma, and healthy relationships/sexuality. Due to the high quantity of content on this page, videos and links may take longer to load.

Some individuals may find any of these Ted Talks to be triggering. If you feel the need to call a hotline, we encourage you to do so. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673 (or you can chat with them online here). The National Human Trafficking Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-888-373-7888 (you can chat with them online here; or text HELP to 233733). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (or you can chat with them online here).

Gender Violence

Jackson Katz: Violence against women – it’s a men’s issue

Trigger Warning: Mention of domestic violence and sexual abuse. 

Domestic violence and sexual abuse are often called “women’s issues.” But in this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that these are intrinsically men’s issues — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change.

Meera Vijayann: Find your voice against gender violence

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of sexual violence. 

This talk begins with a personal story of sexual violence that may be difficult to listen to. But that’s the point, says citizen journalist Meera Vijayann: Speaking out on tough, taboo topics is the spark for change. Vijayann uses digital media to speak honestly about her experience of gender violence in her home country of India — and calls on others to speak out too.

Jimmy Carter: Why I believe the mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse

Trigger Warning: Mention of genital mutilation, rape, college sexual assault, domestic violence. 

With his signature resolve, former US President Jimmy Carter dives into three unexpected reasons why the mistreatment of women and girls continues in so many manifestations in so many parts of the world, both developed and developing. The final reason he gives? “In general, men don’t give a damn.”

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Domestic Violence

Leslie Morgan Steiner: Why domestic violence victims don’t leave 

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of acts of domestic violence.

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

Esta Soler: How we turned the tide on domestic violence (hint: the polaroid helped)

Trigger Warning: Mentions domestic violence.

When Esta Soler lobbied for a bill outlawing domestic violence in 1984, one politician called it the “Take the Fun Out of Marriage Act.” “If only I had Twitter then,” she mused. In this sweeping, optimistic talk, Soler charts 30 years of tactics and technologies — from the Polaroid camera to social media — that led to a 64% drop in domestic violence in the U.S.

Dina McMillon: Unmasking the Abuser

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of emotional and psychological manipulation 

Women are the predominant victims of violence at the hands of men they know. Dina McMillan teaches women how to identify the signs of potential violence before it happens. In 2006 she identified the specific tactics used by abusers to establish and maintain abusive relationships.

Shannon Isom: Domestic violence does bear fruit

Trigger Warning: Mentions of domestic violence 

If domestic violence has not been a part of your life, does it really affect you? Shannon Isom is an administrator of a non-profit whose mission involves empowering women and eliminating racism. She notes that the understanding of domestic violence has a few inherent flaws that make a difference on how we view it and that understanding these flaws will ultimately connect us all.

Kristin Carmichael: Can abuse feel good?

Trigger Warning: Mentions of acts of domestic violence, cycle of violence.

Kristin Carmichael discusses the intricacies of domestic violence that she has witnessed through her work at a women’s shelter. In her talk, she examines how the cycle of violence led one of her clients back to their abuser and how victims of domestic violence sometimes have to weigh the cost of staying against the cost of leaving.

Javier Espinoza: Turning pain into power

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of acts of domestic violence

For six years now Javier Espinoza has directed “In A Box,” an initiative that provides essential items to women and children living in domestic violence shelters. Through this program, personal care items are aesthetically packed into big boxes and sent to shelters. His passion for domestic violence prevention and gender education stem from his childhood as a low-income, first generation, Mexican American male. He was raised by a single, affectionate mom who took her kids and fled from a life of domestic violence. Because of this, he grew up thinking, “if my mom could raise five kids on her own, on a house cleaning salary, there’s nothing women can’t do.”

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Sexual Assault

Inés Hercovich: Why women stay silent after sexual assault

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of acts of sexual violence.

Why do women who experience sexual assault rarely speak up about it? “Because they fear they won’t be believed,” says Inés Hercovich. “Because when a woman tells what happened to her, she tells us things we can’t imagine, things that disturb us, things we don’t expect to hear, things that shock us.” In this moving talk, she takes us inside an encounter with sexual assault to give us a clearer idea of what these situations really look like — and the difficult choices women make to survive. (In Spanish with English subtitles) Click here to access the English transcript of the TEDTalk.

Jessica Ladd: The reporting system that sexual assault survivors want 

Trigger Warning: College sexual assault 

We don’t have to live in a world where 99 percent of rapists get away with it, says TED Fellow Jessica Ladd. With Callisto, a new platform for college students to confidentially report sexual assault, Ladd is helping survivors get the support and justice they deserve while respecting their privacy concerns. “We can create a world where there’s a real deterrent to violating the rights of another human being,” she says.

Ione Wells: How we talk about sexual assault online

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of acts of sexual assault 

We need a more considered approach to using social media for social justice, says writer and activist Ione Wells. After she was the victim of an assault in London, Wells published a letter to her attacker in a student newspaper that went viral and sparked the #NotGuilty campaign against sexual violence and victim-blaming. In this moving talk, she describes how sharing her personal story gave hope to others and delivers a powerful message against the culture of online shaming.

Amy Herdy: Have you ever met a monster?

Trigger Warning: Mentions of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic abuse

Amy Herdy explores the cycle of sexual abuse and examines the dangers of dismissing our most violent predators as ‘monsters.’ “Putting a rapist in the category of monster may make us feel safer today, but it’s more dangerous for tomorrow because then we won’t believe that the monster can be a neighbor, a co-worker, a trusted friend because that enables him to hide in plain sight.” Herdy tells the story of Margaret, a serial rapists’ last victim, and how she came to forgive him after learning about his past.

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Sexual Harassment

Gretchen Carlson: How we end sexual harassment at work

Trigger Warning: Mentions of sexual assault, sexual harassment

When Gretchen Carlson spoke out about her experience of workplace sexual harassment, it inspired women everywhere to take their power back and tell the world what happened to them. In a remarkable, fierce talk, she tells her story — and identifies three specific things we can all do to create safer places to work. “We will no longer be underestimated, intimidated or set back,” Carlson says. “We will stand up and speak up and have our voices heard. We will be the women we were meant to be.”

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Human Trafficking

Noy Thrupkaew: Human trafficking is all around you. This is how it works.

Trigger Warning: Mentions of domestic violence

Behind the everyday bargains we all love — the $10 manicure, the unlimited shrimp buffet — is a hidden world of forced labor to keep those prices at rock bottom. Noy Thrupkaew investigates human trafficking – which flourishes in the US and Europe, as well as developing countries – and shows us the human faces behind the exploited labor that feeds global consumers.

Sunitha Krishnan: The fight against sex slavery

Trigger Warning: Mentions of rape, sexual exploitation 

Sunitha Krishnan has dedicated her life to rescuing women and children from sex slavery, a multimilion-dollar global market. In this courageous talk, she tells three powerful stories, as well as her own, and calls for a more humane approach to helping these young victims rebuild their lives.

Theresa Flores: Find a voice with soap 

Trigger Warning: Mention of rape, sex trafficking 

Theresa’s passionate advocacy for one of the most vulnerable segments of our society is inspired by her own horrifying experience. As she introduces you to a world far beyond your mind’s reach, she’ll show it can really be found next door. And how one answer to it all might be found in a tiny bar of soap.

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Child Abuse

Nadine Burke Harris: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.

Katy Pasquariello: You’re going to be okay – healing from childhood trauma

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of child abuse

Katy’s personal stories walks you through the abuse she encountered as a child, how she over came it and advice on spotting signs of child abuse. She is very passionate about educating others on child trauma and helping people who have gone through it.

Danielle McFarlin: Exalted – from victim to warrior

Trigger Warning: child sexual abuse, rape, suicide 

Coming of age in the sleepy town of Nogales, Arizona, author Danielle McFarlin tells her story of how she transformed the devastating shadows of her early childhood sexual abuse into a path for spiritual warriorhood.

Tiffany Southerland: Your story is your strength

Trigger Warning: Mention of child sexual abuse

Tiffany talks about steps she took to transform the story around a difficult part of her childhood, from a point of pain to a source of strength.

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Emotional Abuse

Dr. Timothy Golden: Suffering in silence – the emotional abuse of men

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of emotionally abusive tactics 

Dr. Golden shares how men can overcome the pain of emotional abuse and how sharing his story has helped other men realize they are not alone.

Harriet Lerner: Why won’t he apologize?

Trigger Warning: Mention of suicide attempts

Harriet Lerner is a clinical psychologist who has turned her attention to the subject of apology. Harriet’s talk explores why some people may never get the apology they deserve. Harriet will also offer a 6 sentence guide to reaching the one who hurt you, and to making your own healing apology.

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Online Abuse

Sebastián Bortnik: The conversation we’re not having about digital child abuse

Trigger Warning: Mention of sexual assault, sexual predation, grooming 

We need to talk to kids about the risks they face online, says information security expert Sebastián Bortnik. In this talk, Bortnik discusses the issue of “grooming” — the sexual predation of children by adults on the internet — and outlines the conversations we need to start having about technology to keep our kids safe. (In Spanish with English subtitles). Click here to access the English transcript of the TedTalk.

Ashley Judd: How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of sexual assault, misogynistic comments

Enough with online hate speech, sexual harassment and threats of violence against women and marginalized groups. It’s time to take the global crisis of online abuse seriously. In this searching, powerful talk, Ashley Judd recounts her ongoing experience of being terrorized on social media for her unwavering activism and calls on citizens of the internet, the tech community, law enforcement and legislators to recognize the offline harm of online harassment.

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Liz Jordon: Chaos to cartwheels- sexual trauma and the light through the cracks

Trigger Warning: Child sexual abuse, sexual abuse, rape

In her courageous talk, Liz shares her life experience in overcoming childhood sexual abuse and the resulting trauma. Her work to help others with similar experiences integrates yoga, meditation, and energy medicine to reveal a clear path to inner resources for daily living.

Sasha Joseph Neulinge: Trauma is irreversible. How it shapes us is our choice.

Trigger Warning: Child sexual abuse

Sasha Joseph Neulinger speaks about his journey in life as a survivor of multi-generational sexual abuse.

John Rigg: The effect of trauma on the brain and how it affects behaviors

In his work with trauma patients, Dr. Rigg has observed how the brain is constantly reacting to sensory information, generating non-thinking reactions before our intelligent individual human brains are able to process the event and formulate a self-driven response.

Janet Seahorn: Understanding PTSD’s effects on brain, body, and emotions

PTSD disrupts the lives of average individuals as well as combat veterans who have served their country. The person experiencing the trauma often then impacts the lives of his/her family, friends, and workplaces. PTSD does not distinguish between race, age or gender and often goes undiagnosed. Even with proper diagnosis, many individuals do not know where to turn to get help. Society needs to understand the aftermath of trauma especially combat trauma and how to prepare for warriors when they return home.

Charles Hunt: What trauma taught me about resilience

Hunt shares his story with the audience noting that resilience is one of the most important traits to have, is critical to their happiness and success, & can be learned.

Lindsey Roy: What trauma taught me about happiness

Why are trauma survivors happier, on average, than lottery winners? During her recovery from a devastating accident, Lindsey Roy developed ideas and ways of coping that suggest an answer to that question. Learn about her specific methods for overcoming the brain’s natural negativity bias, letting go of past expectations, and connecting to a deeper self in the here and now. Through a challenging recovery process, Lindsey learned impactful lessons on how to harness disruption and find clarity in the chaos.

Karen Treisman: Good relationships are the key to understanding trauma

Dr. Treisman talks about the importance of forging good relationships and effective society-wide systems when it comes to understanding and healing trauma.

Melissa Walker: Art can heal PTSD’s invisible wounds

Trauma silences its victims, says creative arts therapist Melissa Walker, but art can help those suffering from the psychological wounds of war begin to open up and heal. In this inspiring talk, Walker describes how mask-making, in particular, allows afflicted servicemen and women reveal what haunts them — and, finally, start to let it go.

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Healthy Relationships/Sexuality

Joanne Davila: Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships

People may know what a healthy romantic relationship looks like, but most don’t know how to get one. Psychologist and researcher Joanne Davila describes how you can create the things that lead to healthy relationships and reduce the things that lead to unhealthy ones using three evidence-based skills – insight, mutuality, and emotion regulation.

Sophie Andrews: The best way to help is often just to listen

A 24-hour helpline in the UK known as Samaritans helped Sophie Andrews become a survivor of abuse rather than a victim. Now she’s paying the favor back as the founder of The Silver Line, a helpline that supports lonely and isolated older people. In a powerful, personal talk, she shares why the simple act of listening (instead of giving advice) is often the best way to help someone in need.

Peggy Orenstein: What young girls believe about their own sexual pleasure

Why do girls feel empowered to engage in sexual activity but not to enjoy it? For three years, author Peggy Orenstein interviewed girls ages 15 to 20 about their attitudes toward and experiences of sex. She discusses the pleasure that’s largely missing from their sexual encounters and calls on us to close the “orgasm gap” by talking candidly with our girls from an early age about sex, bodies, pleasure and intimacy.

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