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.
“If everyone were to make one step forward, then I am confident that we can end sexual violence!”–Brittany Tassin
1. What is your relationship with STAR?
BT: I have served as a volunteer phone advocate with STAR for almost two years and now serve as a legal intern in the Legal Services Department.
2. What led you to get involved with STAR and/or join the movement to end sexual violence?
BT: I decided to volunteer with STAR as a law student because I was determined to become a sex crimes prosecutor. I thought STAR would provide me with an excellent opportunity to understand how to work and communicate with survivors in the legal system, while minimizing the re-traumatization often associated with reporting to the authorities and throughout the court process. By volunteering with STAR, I would also learn the needs and concerns of a survivor. This would allow me to better serve them during the court process by decreasing the stress of a court proceeding. However, I have realized that survivors need assistance in multiple legal contexts and that the number of attorneys who are willing to get involved is small. I now feel a calling to be involved with STAR possibly in the future as an attorney to assist survivors with other legal needs.
I also joined the movement to end sexual violence because I have a passion to help survivors realize that despite what occurred, they can be successful and not let the abuse define who they become. By empowering survivors to reach their potential and strive for success, slowly the rape culture will change. Society will come to realize that survivors are no longer remaining silent, but rather, they are defying the statistics and making a change in the system and laws that one day will eliminate sexual assault.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your participation in this movement?
BT: I think the most rewarding part of being involved is seeing the way society views sexual assault change and knowing that I have the ability to make a difference in the life of a survivor. As a law student and legal intern, I find it rewarding to see the strides both law enforcement and the legislature are making to recognize the needs of survivors. As a phone advocate, I find it rewarding to be able to assist survivors during a difficult time, to let them know that they are fine and that I support and believe their story. It is also rewarding when I get the opportunity to help them realize that the incident does not define who they are, to empower them to reach their true potential and become the successful people they were designed to become.
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?
BT: My motivation is the discouraging and difficult situations, as I am a very competitive person and always looking for ways to improve and overcome obstacles. Also, my faith in God has made me realize that I am capable of overcoming even the most difficult things in life, as He will never give me more than I can handle. In addition, I live by a simple saying: “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take the step.”
5. What are some simple, day-to-day ways you promote positive change in our community?
BT: In order to promote positive change, I remain active in the community by serving in multiple volunteer organizations and taking action in the areas I believe need to be improved. I also make sure to smile and be polite! Today, the world seems to present so many negative struggles, and a “good morning” and a smile can make a difference in the life of someone you don’t know is in a difficult time–we don’t always know the battles someone is facing.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of this movement?
BT: I would advise someone who is hesitant to become active to just start with educating yourself on sexual violence and the challenges survivors face. Once you become educated, take the step to get involved, as there are many opportunities to assist in the movement, and that one step can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. If everyone were to make one step forward, then I am confident that we can end sexual violence!