There are many people in the communities we serve who are working to create positive change to end sexual violence. We want to feature as many of them as possible. If you would like to submit a recommendation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think that community leaders need to learn more about the ways sexual violence is impacting those around them, and that this will hopefully inspire them to be more vocal supporters and enact change.
– Raven Duncil
1. What is your connection to STAR?
My connection to STAR started with arm wrestling. I was the “Mistress of Ceremonies” for Baton Rouge Arm Wrestling Ladies (BRAWL), hosting tournaments that raised money and awareness for local organizations/charities that benefit women. In April 2013, we held our first event with STAR as the beneficiary.
The STAR staff and volunteers were amazing to work with, and even participated as arm wrestlers! It was amazing to see them become totally immersed in their arm wrestling persona “The Stigma Stomper and her Sirens of Social Change.” Soon after, I became a donor and joined the Prevention Action Coalition (PAC).
2. What led you to get involved in sexual assault prevention and/or response?
When I started college, I became involved in Spectrum, a LGBTQ+ student organization at LSU. I became interested in getting involved in other groups, and supporting sexual assault survivors and advocating for prevention was a mission I’m passionate about supporting.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your involvement in this work?
Since I began volunteering with STAR, I’ve watched the organization grow from one office in Baton Rouge to having additional offices in New Orleans and Alexandria. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that more survivors have access to support services, and that more communities learn about prevention and response.
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?
My biggest motivations are the fellow volunteers and staff at STAR. The PAC meetings are such a supportive environment. Each member brings their own perspective and experiences, but we are all there under the common goal of ending sexual violence. I have also greatly appreciated the compassionate, flexible, and understanding staff who place great importance on self-care.
5. What are some ways you promote positive change in the community, and what change do you think is needed?
I think that I have been most effective in promoting positive change by questioning others when they perpetuate victim blaming and rape culture, and trying to engage in a dialogue about why being aware of those things is important. I also share the things I have learned from STAR in casual conversation with coworkers, friends, family, etc., which is often an opportunity for us to learn from each other.
I think that community leaders need to learn more about the ways sexual violence is impacting those around them, and that this will hopefully inspire them to be more vocal supporters and enact change. I think these are the first steps to a bigger goal of institutional change in schools, businesses, and government to have programs in place to educate people about consent, prevention, support, and response.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to get involved in the movement to end sexual violence?
If you don’t know if you are ready to become a volunteer, all it takes to get involved is being supportive of survivors. When I first became interested in volunteering, I was hesitant because I feared that my anxiety and depression meant that I could not be a positive support to others. STAR let me know that any assistance someone gives makes an impact, and during the times when staying involved becomes too difficult, you have a non-judgemental support system surrounding you that all support the same mission.
Just by being supportive and educating others (if you feel comfortable), you are making a difference. Whatever reason you may be hesitant, know that you can reach out to STAR staff for guidance and support in getting involved.
Get involved and make change with STAR:
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