Agents of Change: Amelia Ryland

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The very unfortunate truth is that our society has evolved in many ways, but sexual assault and violence are still so incredibly prevalent. The only way to eliminate sexual violence is to target the pillars that support it.

– Amelia Ryland

1. What is your connection to STAR?

I was fortunate enough to complete a counseling internship at STAR’s Central Louisiana branch. Although the internship concluded in December, I still hope to continue through volunteering in the future.

2. How did you get involved with STAR or the field of sexual assault prevention/response?

I heard about STAR from a friend who had volunteered at the Capital Area branch. When I heard her describe the nature of the agency, I immediately knew I wanted to complete an internship there. The more I learned about STAR, the more I wanted to contribute to their mission.

3. What do you find most rewarding about your involvement with STAR?

The most rewarding thing about my involvement with STAR has definitely been witnessing the strength and bravery of survivors. I have had the privilege of witnessing survivors reclaim their power, which has been truly life-changing.

4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging, and how do you practice self-care?

In our current sociopolitical climate, it is very easy to become discouraged. I frequently struggle with feeling discouraged and questioning the effectiveness of my actions. Yet I ultimately find motivation to keep going at the same place that I decided to begin: the desires to want to help those who feel like they cannot help themselves, to be a part of something bigger than myself, and to leave the world better than when I found it.

5. What are some ways you promote positive change in your community, outside of your work duties?

I firmly believe that community defines its citizens. In that spirit, donating my skills, experiences, and resources to my community have always been a top priority. I feel I have contributed the most through sharing, facilitating, and creating music. I have contributed to the Alexandria community through sharing my singing, playing guitar, and original songwriting. I have seen the powerful, unifying effects of music in a community setting.

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

I think the very unfortunate truth is that our society has evolved in many ways, but sexual assault and violence are still so incredibly prevalent. The only way to eliminate sexual violence is to target the pillars that support it. If left unchallenged, these systems will not only persist, but also strengthen. There must be people fighting to give voice to the voiceless, and empower those who feel disempowered.

 

Get involved and make change with STAR:

Click here for more ways to get involved.

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