Becoming a member of this movement is life changing and you will learn so much about yourself during the process. Growth and change are essential parts of being alive.
– Brooke Allen
1. What is your position at STAR?
I am the Counseling Director at STAR’s Capital Area branch.
2. How did you come to work at STAR or in the field of sexual assault prevention/response?
I’ve always been attracted to not-for-profit work, as well as to organizations that make a difference in a community. I first learned about STAR during graduate school after meeting Racheal Hebert, STAR’s President & CEO. I immediately became fascinated by learning more about the dynamics of sexual violence and how acts of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of harmful sexual acts affect a community.
As Racheal and I became friends, she would often talk about the work she and other staff members were engaged in, and I realized then that I wanted to be a part of this movement to end sexual violence and help spread awareness. I don’t regret my decision!
3. What do you find most rewarding about your work at STAR?
SO MANY THINGS! Wow, it’s hard to narrow it down. First and foremost, witnessing brave and courageous survivors come forward to access support services is amazing. Survivors of sexual assault have a tremendous amount of resiliency and the clients I serve help me to be a better person every day; I’m constantly learning from them.
Working for STAR has changed my life. I look forward to coming to work and offering a supportive environment for survivors to heal. I’m also fortunate to work with a group of people who are passionate about change and who always go the extra mile to support their colleagues and survivors. It is truly an honor to work for STAR.
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging, and how do you practice self-care?
When things get difficult or I feel discouraged, I simply remember that it’s a process. Every survivor is different, so being flexible and adaptive is imperative. I also try to remember that I’m not the only one who feels discouraged at times. I do my best to learn from challenging situations so that there’s a takeaway; and no matter what my day is like, I make time for myself and practice self-care regularly.
5. What are some ways you promote positive change in your community, outside of your work duties?
I talk a lot and when I feel comfortable I challenge people. I’d like to do better at challenging others who I don’t feel so comfortable with, but I’m working on it. I also co-facilitate a support group for survivors of domestic violence. I believe promoting positive change starts within and that you must practice self-awareness to better understand your own values, morals, etc., before you can positively influence others.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of the movement to end sexual trauma?
You’re not alone in your hesitation. I was hesitant, too, but am so proud of myself for making the leap into new territory. Becoming a member of this movement is life changing and you will learn so much about yourself during the process. Growth and change are essential parts of being alive. If this movement seems too scary and overwhelming to engage in, just know that your feelings are natural and there are wonderful, supportive, encouraging people to help you along the way.
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