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.
I am overjoyed in knowing that, by having STAR at their side as their support system, a difference is made in the lives of survivors. –Florence Fontenot
1. What is your role at STAR?
FF: I am a Resource Advocate at STAR.
2. What led you to get involved with STAR and/or join the movement to end sexual violence?
FF: I became familiar with STAR while working as an intern at the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office. As I learned about STAR and its role in the community, it became more of an interest to me because I always had a strong desire to help bring about change within the community. After my internship, I knew I wanted to somehow advocate for victims, and help make a difference in the lives of survivors.
Upon completing my degree at Louisiana State University, I met Morgan Lamandre, STAR’s Vice President of Survivor Services. I was taking a career planning course at LSU, where I had to do a mock interview for my class, and luckily my interview was with Morgan. After my interview Morgan gave me a card and told me that she would love to have me work for STAR one day. After graduation I began my job search, and while searching for jobs I ran across Morgan’s card and thought I should take a look at STAR’s website to see if they were hiring, and thankfully they were. I immediately turned in my application on the very last day they were due, and a few days later I received a call to schedule an interview.
FF: As an advocate, I come in contact with survivors on a daily basis, whether it be by phone, direct contact at the office, or at the hospital. After each encounter I feel rewarded in knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life. I am overjoyed in knowing that, by having STAR at their side as their support system, a difference is made in the lives of survivors. I also feel rewarded in my ability to support, empower and encourage survivors.
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?
FF: When things get difficult or discouraging I am motivated by my passion to help bring about change in the community. There are so many different needs of survivors in our communities and those needs can only be met with the help of community members. Knowing that we may not be able to meet all of a survivor’s needs, I must continue to be a support system for survivors, listen when they need someone to talk to, empower and encourage them, and let them know that people and organizations like STAR, are fighting for survivors every day and striving to bring about social change.
5. What are some simple day-to-day ways you promote positive change in our community?
FF: Since becoming a member of STAR, I have become more aware of the prevalence of sexual violence in our community and the lives it affects. I strive each day to continue to be a voice for survivors, making others aware. I speak up when I hear negative statements being made in reference to survivors of sexual assault. I inform my family and friends of how prevalent sexual violence is in our communities and reassure them that assailants aren’t always the strangers in the bushes that we were taught about. I strive to change their mentality when thinking that survivors may have brought on an attack due to how they were dressed or where they were at the time the rape occurred. I get them to realize that no matter how someone dresses or where they were, they didn’t ask for someone to rape them. I also encourage them to teach their children about healthy relationships.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of this movement?
FF: I would tell them that everyone’s life is important and that everyone’s life matters. I would encourage them to become involved to help bring about change in the community. I would encourage them that making a positive change today will bring about a brighter future tomorrow.