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NNEDV Thanks Summer 2018 Interns

August 16, 2018

Every semester, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) benefits from the talents of dedicated, resourceful, and perceptive interns. This summer, NNEDV was grateful for the stellar contributions from these folks who joined our mission to end domestic violence. And now, let us introduce the Summer 2018 all-stars:

Amber Blanks is majoring in criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Amber interned with NNEDV’s Transitional Housing and Positively Safe teams this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… For me, my favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV was, being able to see how involved this organization is by providing assistance for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault victims for whatever they may need. Whether it is by providing housing for survivors or by providing technical assistance for state coalitions. All of which I liked learning about, especially while working with the Transitional Housing and Positively Safe teams. I was eager and happy to learn all of the things that happen to make someone who is a DV/SA survivor feel safe and have a place to live.
  • One thing that everyone should know about DV is… I believe that everyone should know that domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels, and not just one group of individuals.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… When I graduate college in May of 2019, I will join the police force and eventually work in the federal area to help/work with domestic violence and sexual assault cases, as well as child abuse cases.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… Being able to get along with everyone in every department because having a positive work environment not only makes your day better, but it also makes helping DV/SA survivors that much better. Knowing that you have a whole team that has your back and will put their knowledge together to make things better for survivors and their families is so amazing. This is pushing me even more to help end violence against women and their children.

Amber Ebanks is a rising second-year law student at American University Washington College of Law, class of 2020. Amber interned with the WomensLaw team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… the importance of being safe on the internet from the Safety Net team, the way that domestic violence can affect people living with HIV and AIDS from the Positively Safe team, and the ways that survivors can rebuild their credit from the Economic Justice team. Though I was a WomensLaw intern, everyone in the office was eager to educate me on the different ways survivors can be impacted by domestic violence in their daily lives.
  • One thing that everyone should know about DV is… that domestic violence comes in different forms. Domestic violence can affect people differently depending on their race, class, ethnic background, language, and other factors that can impact a person’s ability to flee an abusive relationship. It is important for people not to judge survivors, but to serve as advocates on their behalf.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… continuing to intern with NNEDV during the Fall 2018 semester. When I interviewed with NNEDV, I expressed my interest in the JAG Corps. My supervisor has given me the opportunity to research domestic violence in different branches of the military, which I will continue in the fall.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is…the network of advocates that I’ve worked with. Each member of NNEDV, coalition member, and advocate that I’ve met has been open to educating me about their work with domestic violence and has been eager to answer all of my questions. It’s been a warm, vibrant, and supportive work environment since my first day.

Courtney Gistaro is majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Sexuality Studies at Dickinson College, Class of 2019. Courtney interned with NNEDV’s Development and Communications team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… how multidimensional NNEDV’s projects and staff are! Being on the Development and Communications team, I saw a glimpse of the incredible work each team was accomplishing. I learned about the impacts of economic justice, technology, low-barrier housing, HIV/AIDs, and critical bills such as VAWA, VOCA, and FVPSA on the lives of survivors. The NNEDV staff brings their expertise and passion to each project and their continuous devotion to survivor-centered advocacy and energy within the movement are inspiring!
  • One thing that everyone should know about DV is… that financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. While at NNEDV, I had the privilege of researching and writing a Financial Abuse Fact Sheet and learned so much in the process. Most Americans do not recognize financial abuse as a form of domestic violence, leaving many survivors uncertain and silenced on this issue.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… working with my local programs! While at school, I volunteer with the YWCA Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis program in Carlisle, PA. Having the opportunity to work in direct service and on the national level has helped me stay engaged in the movement and understand the evolving needs and challenges facing survivors in our fast-paced world.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the safe space the staff creates for the interns. At NNEDV, you are encouraged to take risks and work on projects outside of your comfort zone knowing that the staff will catch you if you fall. Everyone at NNEDV is supportive, values one another, and creates a safe work environment. NNEDV has shown me how rewarding, fun, and supportive a work space can be!

Kim Johnson is a Public Policy Master’s candidate at George Washington University. Kim interned with NNEDV’s Public Policy team for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… policy is complicated. One of the things I most appreciated about working here is the policy team’s focus on intersectionality when crafting and analyzing legislation. Domestic violence is a multifaceted problem that impacts people across all walks of life and that has a resounding impact on issues we don’t typically think of as connected to domestic violence. Effective legislation strives to address these intersections while centering the needs of survivors, which is no small task.
  • One thing that everyone should know about DV is… abuse is never a survivor’s fault. Abusers make the choice to act violently against their partner as a means of maintaining power and control within a relationship. There are also a lot of interpersonal, situational, and institutional barriers that make leaving an abusive relationship difficult; understanding the complexities of leaving an abusive relationship and refraining from victim blaming can help foster an environment in which survivors feel comfortable seeking help.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… staying involved in policy, and taking time to educate others on the dynamics of power-based violence.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the wonderful people I’ve met and the incredible opportunities I’ve been afforded. The people who work here are dedicated to the cause of ending domestic violence and take pride in the incredible work they do.

Alexandra Kersley is a History major and Latin American Studies minor at Princeton University, Class of 2019. Alexandra interned with NNEDV’s Public Policy team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… that there is a passionate and brilliant network of advocates working every day to fight for the needs of survivors. Seeing the work that everyone in this office is doing is inspirational to me and gives me so much hope!
  • One thing that everyone should know about DV is… the importance of intersectional approaches to ending DV and supporting survivors. It has meant a lot to me to be able to work on policy issues that directly support immigrant and low-income survivors, like the U-Visa program and paid leave.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… supporting survivors, leading intervention workshops, and running programming on my campus! As president of the SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education) Peer Program, I’m excited to draw on what I’ve learned at NNEDV to improve what we do.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… getting to learn about the work that all the NNEDV teams, and our partner organizations are doing!

Elnaz Moghangard is a J.D. Candidate and rising 3L at George Washington Law School. Elnaz interned with NNEDV’s Safety Net team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning is… how important it is to understand the intersection of cybersecurity, technology, and domestic violence when creating victim-centered solutions. Technology advances at a rapid rate, so it is important for the legal system to be aware of how technology can be a tool for victims, but also a risk factor. Working on judicial training toolkits, doing research on pending legislation, and reading about victims’ cases allowed me to carefully think through cyber domestic violence through the lens of survivors, law enforcement, the legal system and advocacy groups.
  • One thing that everyone should know about DV is… that there is no definite stereotype for what domestic violence looks like or who it affects. Abuse can happen to anyone, and survivors are not weak individuals. It can happen to everyone from all socioeconomic backgrounds, racial identities, genders, and sexual orientations. A victim-centered approach to domestic violence involves understanding the specific needs of each survivor and helping them to feel empowered in deciding which remedies are best for them. I believe that fighting against domestic violence requires a holistic approach that combines public education, legal reform, and personal healing for the victim.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… realizing that self-education is never-ending. I plan to stay informed on how victims are impacted, so that I can better understand what kind of reform victims themselves want most. By educating myself, I put myself in a better position to use my voice for effective change and progress.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… definitely the team and the office culture. Everyone at NNEDV is incredibly intelligent and accomplished, but what stood out to me most was their compassion. You can tell how much each person cares about the work they do, because they carry a light within them that comes from a sense of purpose and determination. I am grateful to have been a part of their team. Also, my specific experience with Safety Net was super exciting, because I had the chance to work on completely innovative approaches to ongoing problems – I really thrive off of that challenge.

(L-R) Monica, Elnaz, Maggie, and Courtney get ready for the Families Belong Together rally.

Monica Sass is double majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Educational Studies and minoring in Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, class of 2019. Monica interned with NNEDV’s Public Policy and Development and Communications teams this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… There’s no one-size-fits-all model to ending DV, but different communities and organizations can learn from one another’s successes and setbacks. Relatedly, innovative approaches to supporting survivors and preventing DV often come from folks on the ground in smaller communities, and it’s crucial to support these folks while also advocating for large-scale policy change that will support survivors.
  • One thing that everyone should know about DV is… it can affect anyone, regardless of what identities they hold. You may know someone who has experienced or is experiencing DV, whether or not they’ve disclosed that to you. Also—violence is never the victim/survivor’s fault.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… supporting survivors and doing anti-violence work on my campus, and by pursuing a career in the field, likely in law or policy.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the people! Everyone is so warm and friendly, and there’s always laughter coming from somewhere in the office. Staff and interns are so genuinely supportive of and invested in everyone’s work, and eager to chat about any project or idea, or really anything that’s on anyone’s mind. Everyone is so knowledgeable in their areas of expertise and passionate about the work they do, and it was amazing to be around so many brilliant minds in an office where everyone is excited to do the work they do every day.

Maggie Wood studies the intersection of Sociology, Social Work, and Women’s Studies at Pepperdine University, Class of 2020. Maggie interned with NNEDV’s Capacity Technical Assistance team this summer.

  • My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is… how many levels of DV advocates there are. There are dedicated individuals working in shelters, advising on internet safety, granting microloans, advocating for legislation, etc. There are so many opportunities for people to get involved within the realm of their own skills and passions in the movement.
  • One thing that everyone should know about DV is… survivors know their situation best. The concept of DV is incredibly nuanced, and there is not a single solution to help victims in DV situations. Advocates need to work with survivors of DV on a personal level to support them with the choices they make.
  • I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by… working with my university’s Office of Title IX. I hope to provide peer support and catalyst a cultural shift on campus.
  • My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV is… the people. Not only is the NNEDV staff intelligent and driven – but they are also hilarious and welcoming. I was so grateful to work in an office, for a mission I was passionate about, with people who genuinely cared about me.

Interested in interning at NNEDV? See current opportunities.