Agents of Change: Kiara Taite

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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 prevention@star.ngo.


 

How can any of us sit back and remain silent while girls, boys, women, and men are victimized because we’re a little uncomfortable? We can’t afford to be hesitant. –Kiara Taite

1. What is your relationship with STAR?20140927_151819

KT: This past fall, I worked with STAR as one of the student attorneys in the Victims of Sexual Assault Legal Clinic offered by LSU Law. I am now currently working with STAR as a student attorney through the school’s externship program.

2. What led you to get involved with STAR and/or join the movement to end sexual violence?

KT: Much of my graduate studies focused on women’s studies and feminist theory, which has made me hyper aware of gender violence and the vital roles that attorneys need to play in the movement to end sexual violence.

3. What do you find most rewarding about your participation in this movement?

KT: What I find most rewarding in participating in this movement is the opportunity to be creative in identifying and tackling the legal needs of victims of sexual violence. This particular field of work touches on many different fields of the law, such as criminal advocacy, housing, immigration, employment, education, and family law. Also, I love that we can help survivors restore their sense of control, confidence, and stability by advocating for them in whatever way they need us to.

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4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?

KT: What motivates me is the courage that survivors have to tell their stories, face their perpetrators, and take control of their lives. If they can muster up that much strength, then surely I can cope with my own problems. Plus, I always like to think that I am in a particular situation for a reason: I have a job to do, I have the skills to do it, and it won’t get done if I don’t put on my war paint and tackle the problem. Every time I see a news article or a post on social media about human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, molestation, etc., I am reminded that people are being harmed, and because of that, this work is necessary.

5. What are some simple, day-to-day ways you promote positive change in our community?

KT: I try to be as nice as I can to everyone and foster respectful relationships with my peers. That way, if someone says or does something that contributes to a particular problem (e.g., sexism, racism, etc.), I am now in a position to explain to that person why what they said or did was problematic and provide an alternative view to look at his or her behavior.

6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of this movement?

KT: I would tell them to not be afraid. The subject 20131225_124624of sexual violence is tough; it’s scary and can make you uncomfortable at times. However, if we all let fear control us, things will never change. I recently read a news report about a woman being shot to death by a man because she turned down his advances at a bar. That happened because that man obviously felt some kind of ownership or entitlement to her or her body. While an extreme case, it is indicative of the need for change. A child’s mother, a daughter, a human being is dead because she said, “No thanks.” How can any of us sit back and remain silent while girls, boys, women, and men are victimized because we’re a little uncomfortable? We can’t afford to be hesitant.

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