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 email@example.com.
I pride myself on being the change that I wish to see, so I make sure I also practice what I preach, making my work a part of my lifestyle. –Dominique Dunbar
1. What is your position at STAR?
DD: I am serving with the Louisiana Delta Service Corps as the Youth Development Coordinator at STAR in Baton Rouge. I educate youth about topics such as healthy relationships, sexual violence, dating violence, bullying, healthy communication, and bystander intervention. I am also in charge of STAR’s 3-D Peer Educators program, which is a program that offers young men and women ages 14-17 the opportunity to gain valuable skills to become effective educators and change agents in their community.
2. How did you come to work at STAR and/or in the field of sexual assault prevention/response?
DD: Coming up, I have always experienced the silencing of my voice as a child. My voice was never considered to be something that was valuable. As a result, I have always had a passion for working with youth, whether it is to help them or listen to what they have to say. Young people are so often minimized and sheltered from necessary discussions. Sexual violence is a topic that goes unheard of among them, and I feel it is a great disservice to them if we, as parents and adults, do not educate them on this issue. The knowledge that we can provide to them, the tools that we can give them to develop and maintain healthy relationships and lifestyles, could bring on the change that we all so gravely wish to see in the world. The younger generation has great power; they are the future. If we don’t instill in them those tools, then things will continue to carry on just as they have been. I believe my purpose in life is to help young people in any way possible. To be given the opportunity to help them become aware of sexual trauma, as well as healthy alternatives, gives me an overwhelming feeling of compassion and joy.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your work at STAR?
DD: The most rewarding thing about my service is seeing the shift in perspectives once a discussion has ended. It gives me hope knowing that people are thinking about what was just discussed, battling with it in their minds. I also enjoy the challenge that this work brings. There is never a dull moment working with youth.
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?
DD: My ambition keeps me going. Knowing that I am a part of a movement that is deeply helping others, changing lives, and embedding hope in the hearts of those who haven’t had that feeling for a long time, keeps me going. Seeing the growth of this organization, the result of the collaboration, the rewards of teamwork, and the recognition that comes along with that, keeps me going. I love this work!
5. What are some simple, day-to-day ways you promote positive change in our community, outside of your work duties?
DD: I challenge my friends and family members when they say things that perpetuate oppression. I also practice these skills with my daughter in my attempts to shape her into a prosocial, educated female. I am more aware of my actions and my methods of communication as well. I pride myself on being the change that I wish to see, so I make sure I also practice what I preach, making my work a part of my lifestyle.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of the movement to end sexual trauma?
DD: Don’t be hesitant. One of the rewards of being a selfless person is seeing the positive impacts of your behavior. This issue is epidemic, meaning it affects EVERYONE. Yet, that’s just the thing. Why is this affecting everyone? Because of the hesitation. Researching this issue may even spring your compassion and determination to end sexual trauma. Simply educating yourself and those around you makes you an active member in this movement.