There are many people in our community working to create positive change to end sexual violence. We want to meet as many of them as possible. If you would like to submit a recommendation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. What is your relationship with STAR?
FT: I am a phone advocate for STAR’s 24/7 hotline.
2. What led you to get involved with STAR and/or join the movement to end sexual violence?
FT: I first became involved with STAR after a coworker at the time suggested that I should volunteer, and I submitted an application. More than two years later* I received a call from Morgan stating that she had found my application and wanted to know if I was still interested in volunteering. Also as a social worker, I had female clients on my caseload that would run away from their placements and later return. Upon their return they would talk about sexual encounters that occurred, and I always felt like I did not have enough information/help to offer them, even though I thought they were probably sexually assaulted. Sometimes it is easier for a person to disclose personal traumatic events anonymously.
*Volunteer applicants can now expect to be contacted within 1-2 weeks.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your participation in this movement?
FT: I am excited that I am able to empower, encourage and support others in some small way through STAR and the services that we offer the community. Through the training, I have learned information that I am able to share with others in daily conversations to educate them about sexual trauma, so that I can be part of the movement to end sexual violence.
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?
FT: I am motivated to keep going because of the need I have to help and educate others. There are so many victims that need help and this is a huge problem that is not going away anytime soon. As a result, I must continue to lend an ear, encourage survivors, advocate, help with safety planning, educate, etc. Also, I am motivated as a phone advocate when someone says things like: “thanks for accepting my call,” “thanks for allowing me to talk,” or “I have called in the past when I began to get upset and the hotline has helped me.” In addition, I have been volunteering for over three years and the organization has grown so much in regards to staff, volunteers and has expanded to cover additional areas and parts of the state.
5.What are some simple, day-to-day ways you promote positive change in our community?
FT: I interject when people make inappropriate judgmental comments implying that victims of sexual assault deserved what happened due to their style of dress, being at a party and having a drink, or promoting the idea of guys sowing their “wild oats,” etc. Instead I tell them what sexual assault is and the forms of sexual assault. I talk to people about how the images in media promote sexual violence. I inform others about STAR and how it is never too late to receive help for sexual assault no matter when it occurred. In addition, I tell people that unless an individual says “yes,” s/he did not give consent. I also respect the personal boundaries of others and model this in my daily interactions.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of this movement?
FT: I would tell them that everyone is important and needed no matter what role you play. Become involved to help the culture of indifference regarding the high rate of sexual assaults occurring on college campuses, to teach others that sexual assault is not just a crime of men against women, and inform victims that it is not their fault.