As the Training & Outreach Coordinator for NJCASA, I schedule, facilitate, and manage webinar and in-person trainings to sexual violence programs and allied professionals to increase their capacity in this movement. Additionally, NJCASA is excited to be participating in a statewide law enforcement symposium coordinated by New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General, at the end of April, which will give the agency an opportunity to highlight the work of programs around our recently updated Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate manual and training.

In addition to providing trainings through the Training Institute, I am also responsible for handling and assisting with communications and outreach initiatives to increase the visibility of NJCASA’s work and mission. This includes managing and coordinating all of NJCASA’s social media platforms. The Social Media Ambassador (SMA) program is a facet of communications which I am particularly excited about. The SMA program taps into the talent of passionate social media activists to increase meaningful conversations about sexual violence and work toward creating safer online spaces. We recently announced our 2016 SMAs just in time for SAAM, and it has been particularly exciting to see this program blossom since coming into my position at NJCASA.

Prior to my position at NJCASA, I worked at the local level in a variety of different capacities. During my time as a preventionist, I had the opportunity to hear directly how my presentations positively impacted participants. Working in this movement can, at times, be stressful. All of us have a very lofty goal of ending rape culture. Regardless, we recognize change is slow and knowing that I have changed people’s attitudes and behaviors has provided me with the drive to continue in this movement.

At NJCASA, I support those who are doing work I did at the local level. I also have the opportunity to amplify the voices of those individuals, which fulfills me in a similar way. I can motivate, provide support, and increase conversations on sexual violence in a different way, and be just as effective. Every movement has many different facets in order to function, and I am so thankful I have the opportunity to contribute in whatever way I am needed.

My initial thirst for knowledge fueled my ability to understand how so many smaller issues are linked to the larger problem of rape culture. Once you see it, you cannot un-see it. Staying silent or immobilized by this information was no longer an option. Working in the anti-sexual violence movement allows me to channel my passion and energy toward creating healthy and safe communities.

Despite the aforementioned lofty goal, I have a strong belief that compassion can go a long way, and is something we can all work toward; turning off our defenses and being open to understanding. We all have our struggles, stories, and history, and I think we sometimes can forget this when we get caught up in our own heads. If we all approached each other with care, the world has the potential of looking very different.

Together, we can create a better world.