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NNEDV Thanks Summer 2017 Interns

September 30, 2017

Every semester, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is enhanced by an inspiring, driven, and talented group of interns. This summer was no exception! Our work to end domestic violence is supported by interns and we are beyond grateful for their contributions. And now, let us introduce the summer 2017 dream team:

Colin Sheehan is a Political Science major and a Spanish minor at Rutgers University, Class of 2018, and a rising 1L at Rutgers Law School, Class of 2020. Colin interned with NNEDV’s Public Policy team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… that we can make a great difference in the lives of millions of Americans. At NNEDV, I saw firsthand how the staff and state coalition members fight hard for and win policy measures that will help survivors and those who help survivors.While there is always more work to be done and setbacks to be had, it was very empowering to see substantive progress on the federal level.
  • One thing that everyone should know about domestic violence is…ending domestic violence requires real cultural change. Domestic violence, with its many interrelated issues, does not exist in a vacuum. Survivors come from all walks of life and are faced with a wide array of challenges before, during, and after experiencing domestic violence. Moreover, there is no one single solution or prevention method. We need everyone involved in a multi-pronged approach from our legislatures to ourselves.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… doing pro bono work at Rutgers’ domestic violence legal clinic. I will continue to educate myself on domestic violence and domestic violence policy issues, and find new ways to use my privilege to educate and help others in my community in and out of law school.I will also be sure to call my members of Congress whenever action is needed on domestic violence-related issues.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the office culture. I immediately felt welcomed and valued by NNEDV’s staff of warm, funny, and honest individuals. I really admire NNEDV staff’s ability to confront the serious challenges of domestic violence work and advocacy while remembering to laugh and enjoy each other’s company. The dedication and hope of NNEDV’s staff inspires me to continue working in the domestic violence movement.

Emily Schwartz is a Political Science and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies double major at American University, Class of 2017. Emily interned with NNEDV’s Development and Communications team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is…how versatile the approaches to addressing advocacy work in the domestic violence community can be. Additionally, how your own personal specialties and experiences can really inform how you approach different solutions to issues regarding challenging the perpetuation of domestic violence. I also realized how my own life experiences, even something as simple as performing in theatre throughout my childhood and early adulthood, could positively influence how I approach working with survivors.
  • One thing that everyone should know about domestic violence is…that it is propagated by the way in which we construct rigid gender roles, and reinforce these constructions in children at a very young age. These roles often degrade women and femme bodied peoples, and as a result, normalize and condone violence against women and girls. A small step we can take toward reducing the prepotency of domestic violence and sexual violence is to challenge notions of toxic masculinity, and begin to shift the way in which we socialize young children to conform to the rigidity of the gender binary based upon their perceived gender.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… working with survivors and other advocates to make changes to both how domestic violence is dealt with in the legal system and how it is understood and portrayed through social media. Upon graduation, I wish to get involved in direct service work at a DC shelter and/or nonprofit that works to empower survivors and offer them comprehensive resources and support services.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… how close and supportive both the staff and my fellow interns are. Everyone is very engaged and invested in other people’s well-being. This helped cultivate a very safe and positive work environment. I was treated with the utmost respect, and my opinions and input were valued and often sought after. I often confided in my supervisors and was extremely grateful that they valued the importance of self-care and self-love.

Hannah Hua is an Economics and Hispanic Studies double major at Dartmouth College, Class of 2020. Hannah interned with NNEDV’s Development & Communications team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… how domestic violence programs are helping survivors regain financial independence. I was shocked to learn that financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. Financial empowerment programs, such as the Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum and the Independence Project, are incredibly important in helping survivors regain stability and independence. Economic justice is something I have always been interested in, and I am excited to explore this area more in the future.
  • One thing that everyone should know about domestic violence is… it’s not as easy as “just leaving.” Perpetrators use a variety of tactics – like physical, emotional, and financial abuse – to intimidate their victims and manipulate them into thinking they cannot leave. Survivors must think about their own safety, their family’s safety, and if they have a safe place to go, among many other issues. Asking why a survivor didn’t “just leave” is a form of victim blaming. We need to support survivors instead of unfairly blaming them, and start holding perpetrators more accountable for their actions.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… staying involved with our campus sexual assault peer advocate program, and looking for opportunities to volunteer in direct service.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… definitely the people! Everyone is incredibly passionate about the work they do, and it is so inspiring to be surrounded by such brilliant and driven people. I have learned so much through not just through my work, but also through conversations with the staff and interns.

Kelly McCabe is a Spanish major with minors in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Latin American Studies, and Urban Studies at Princeton University, Class of 2018. Kelly interned with NNEDV’s Public Policy team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… the history of the anti-violence movement and how our federal-level policy work has evolved from the efforts of dedicated, brave advocates not too long ago. Coming into the movement as a college student, it’s important to know where we’ve been to see where we should be going in the future.
  • One thing that everyone should know about domestic violence is… that everyone has a role to play in ending it! From advocating for policy to supporting and listening to the survivors in our own lives, actions big and small can help change our culture.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… leading the movement on my campus. I’m the president of the SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources, and Education) Peer Program at Princeton, which provides students with prevention education and access to resources related to interpersonal violence. I’m looking forward to bringing what I learned at NNEDV back to our programming!
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the wonderful people I’ve gotten to work alongside. There’s never a dull moment with a workplace culture so energetic, welcoming, and positive. It’s been incredible coming to work knowing that I’ll be surrounded by such a supportive and inspiring team!

Kelsey Park is a Global Politics major with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Washington and Lee University, class of 2018. Kelsey interned with NNEDV’s Capacity & Technical Assistance team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… that domestic violence really is a non-partisan issue. Domestic violence occurs in every single community in our nation and it affects everyone. I think that in today’s political atmosphere it is easy to forget that there are some things that everyone can unite against. Seeing the amount of support for ending domestic violence that comes from both sides of the aisle is a powerful reminder that it is possible to work together to make our communities safer, healthier places. I am a politics major, but I am much more interested in creating public policy that can be used to do good than I am in partisan politics. Working with NNEDV taught me that it is possible to accomplish the first without the latter.
  • One thing that everyone should know about domestic violence is… that anyone can experience it. Survivors of domestic violence come from all walks of life—every socioeconomic class, gender, sexual identity, age, and education level. There are many myths about what a domestic violence survivor looks like. Many people envision a poor woman with little education and they may even blame her for the violence that she has experienced by saying things like “she was stupid to stay.” The simple truth is that survivors of domestic violence are reacting to their situation logically and doing what any normal person would in such extreme circumstances. If you don’t understand a survivor’s actions, consider the fact that you may not fully understand their circumstances. No one wants or deserves violence.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… supporting local programs that provide direct services to survivors of domestic violence.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the wonderful people that I have had the opportunity to work with! Our office is filled with veterans of the anti-domestic violence movement and having access to their collective knowledge has been extremely educational. I will miss getting to speak with them every day!

Natalie Geismar is an International Development major with minors in Political Science and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2019. Natalie interned with NNEDV’s Development & Communications team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… what goes on behind the scenes every day to make a domestic violence focused nonprofit function. As part of the Dev/Comm team, I came to understand some of the minutiae of nonprofit work, donor management, and communications that is so central to a successful organization. I also learned about the important role of communications, online presence and social media in conveying our message and gaining support.
  • One thing that everyone should know about domestic violence is… that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Those who find themselves facing domestic violence aren’t in that position because they have low self-esteem or are weak—they likely happened to encounter the wrong person at the wrong time. When you pass judgment on those who find themselves in domestic violence situations or approach the issue through the lens of “this couldn’t happen to me,” you create a distance between yourself and survivors that is fully incompatible with survivor-centered advocacy work.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… staying involved with feminist and domestic violence/sexual assault focused organizations on my campus. I also hope to stay involved in small, every day ways, whether that means calling someone out on making an insensitive comment/rape joke or intervening in a situation where I believe my friend could be at risk.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the NNEDV community. I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by so many thoughtful, lively, intelligent, and committed folks this summer—that goes for the NNEDV staff and the other interns. I’ve been able to form lasting connections while contributing to an organization and cause I care about, which is a pretty awesome win-win.

Olivia Webb graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2017 with a BA in Health & Societies and a minor in Chemistry. She worked with the Safety Net project this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… how many ways there are to combat domestic violence: through the legal system, through research, and through legislation.
  • One thing that everyone should know about domestic violence is… how pervasive it can be. Particularly as technology enters every part of our lives, it can be difficult or impossible for survivors to escape the reach of their abuser. It’s not as easy as leaving him/her, because they can continue to follow remotely. Understanding technology-facilitated abuse and empowering survivors to escape its grip (and experience the freedom that technology can provide!) is crucial.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… convincing everyone to cover their webcams! And more seriously, by being aware of the power of technology, by using my knowledge to help individually when I can, and by pushing for change on higher levels whenever possible.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the commitment of the staff. Everyone feels the urgency of thousands of survivors nationwide who need help, and they work quickly and accurately to end violence against women one step at a time.

Solomon Hargrave Greenwald is a recent graduate in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Oregon. Solomon interned with WomensLaw this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… how much of a difference a passionate group of people can make in the lives of domestic abuse survivors. It’s amazing the difference that resources can make, whether that takes the form of information or literal resources provided by good policy.
  • One thing that everyone should know about domestic violence is… we still have a long way to go in order to eliminate domestic violence. However, educating students and authorities as well as creating empowering laws can make a huge difference.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… by educating friends and family as well as looking for local volunteer opportunities.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… working with a group of such bright and passionate people. Everyone has had such an interesting experience working with domestic violence related issues. It is very inspiring being around the incredible wealth of experience. The people here are also fun and light-hearted even though everyone works super hard.