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Photograph of NNEDV staff member Lysaundra Campbell, posing with summer 2016 interns in the office. They are holding an NNEDV sign.
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Life at NNEDV Through the Eyes of Our Summer 2016 Interns

August 10, 2016

Every semester, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is supported by a motivated, dedicated, and fabulous group of interns. Summer 2016 was no exception. Interns support our work to end domestic violence and we are so grateful for their contributions. Without further ado, let’s meet the summer 2016 dream team:

Photograph of NNEDV staff member Lysaundra Campbell, posing with summer 2016 interns in the office. They are holding an NNEDV sign.

(from left: Colleen O’Gorman, LySaundra Campbell, Leah Starbuck Schuckit, Kelsey Meany, Dana Raphael.)

Colleen O’Gorman, rising senior at Princeton University, interned with our Public Policy team.

My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is…how coalitions talk to their Congressional representatives about domestic violence. After going on Hill visits with the Texas coalition, I was so impressed by how they explained the need for VAWA, VOCA, and FVPSA to the representatives. Not only were they incredibly prepared and knowledgeable, but they were able to answer tough questions with poise. I hope to one day communicate about DV as effectively as I saw the Texas coalition advocate for survivors!

One thing that everyone should know about DV is…that we should center our efforts around survivors’ desires and needs.

I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by…staying involved in activism on my campus. I am the president of the SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising Resources and Education) Peer Program at Princeton, a group that works to raise awareness about interpersonal violence and connect survivors with confidential resources. I also hope to go into anti-violence work after graduation.

My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV was…the people! Having worked alongside such smart, passionate women this summer, I feel energized and empowered to keep working towards ending violence.

LySaundra Campbell, who will graduate from University of Missouri-Columbia this year, interned with our Development and Communications team.

My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is…ending gender-based violence takes a tribe. There are multiple projects at NNEDV because there are multiple intersections that need to be addressed in order to eradicate violence.

One thing that everyone should know about DV is…It’s complicated. Changing a sexist, racist, homophobic, classist…overall oppressive culture won’t happen overnight. We need all hands on deck.

I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by…being a voice. One of my favorite quotes by Audre Lorde states, “Your silence won’t protect you.” I’m sure there are folks in society who would love for feminists to just stop talking about sexism – but respectability politics and censorship never work in favor of the oppressed. Not talking about an issue won’t make it disappear. I’ll continue using music, writing, and creativity as an expressive outlet and an instrument to create social change until there isn’t a need for organizations like NNEDV.

My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV was…the respect among the staff here! No one is afraid to bring different perspectives to the table because those differences are always met with respect and an overarching goal to end violence. Besides the obvious passion to end domestic violence, this office is pure fun! Focusing on ending violence requires a bit of sense of humor, and you get a healthy dosage of laughter at NNEDV. Oftentimes we (the interns) would make sad faces towards each other and “complain” about how we didn’t want this summer to end. An organization is doing something right if your interns are more motivated to end gender-based violence and never want to leave!

Leah Starbuck Schuckit, Washington University in St. Louis, class of 2018, interned with our Public Policy team.

The most important thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is…how much support is needed for advocacy work like this. At a lunch with Julie Colpitts, NNEDV Coalition Capacity Deputy Director, we learned about organizational fatigue and the importance of self-care both on the individual and community level. NNEDV employees do an incredible job of empowering and validating one another and I can see how crucial such an environment is for maintaining enthusiasm in the face of adversity.

One thing that everyone should know about DV is…how it is everywhere. There is not a place on this earth where someone could truly say, “that does not happen here.” It is so widespread and it comes in many different forms. In order to effectively tackle DV work, everyone needs to understand how pervasive it is and how it effects everyone.

I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by…using my voice and my vote to advocate for DV survivors through my local political system.

My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV was…getting to be a part of such an incredibly supportive group of change-makers!! Also, there has never been a day when I have not heard someone burst into laughter from somewhere in the office. NNEDV does incredible work while having a lot of fun, which was the cherry on top of my stellar summer.

Kelsey Meany, second-year law student at Georgetown, interned with our WomensLaw team.

My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is…I enjoyed learning about the integration of domestic violence and technology. Some people assume that technology can only be a tool for abusers — in allowing them to cyberstalk or abuse their victim online. This is absolutely true, but there are also many ways in which survivors of domestic violence can “take back” technology and use it in their favor. For instance, NNEDV’s website WomensLaw.org, which I had the pleasure of working on all summer, offers an Email Hotline where anyone can request legal information relevant to everything from divorce to restraining orders to custody, and more. Helpful tools like this can help survivors — in addition to the conversation that the internet has allowed everyone to be a part of. The internet and social media can be important ways to help get a movement started, and can allow survivors’ voices to be heard.

One thing that everyone should know about DV is…domestic violence can affect anyone. It is truly an issue that affects anyone and everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or socioeconomic status. It is important for us all to realize that anyone, even yourself, can be a victim of abuse and we all have to try our best to help as many people as we can and realize though there have been many successes in helping to prevent domestic abuse so far, there is still a ways to go.

I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by…As a student in law school, I always want to continue to find ways to stay involved in the movement to end violence against women. This next semester I will be a member of the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. For the journal, I’ll be working to update the Rape and Sexual Assault article, looking at recent changes in rape and sexual assault law. Though, I would also love to get more hands-on experience and am hoping to continue working in domestic violence-related clinics and organizations like NNEDV.

My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV was…the people! Everyone who works at NNEDV has been in the movement for years and are some of the most brilliant, dedicated professionals out there. The team is not only engaged and kind, but also would do their best to answer any questions I might have. The wide variety of work I got to do — and the people that I was surrounded by really helped to make the summer enjoyable and rewarding.

Dana Raphael, Duke University, class of 2017, is studying Political Science and Women’s Studies and interned with our WomensLaw team.

My favorite thing that I learned while interning at NNEDV is…I loved learning about WomensLaw.org. As a WomensLaw intern, I spent a lot of time working with the website. I thought I had a good grasp of the website after about a week as an intern, but I learn something new every time I use it. The detail is astonishing. You can find the phone number for the sheriff for your county to talk about protective orders in your state. It has such comprehensive information on a range of issues that affect victims of DV. It’s a more complete database than I’ve seen anywhere else. I’ve already referred a few friends to the information on the site, and I am excited that I am now so familiar with WomensLaw as a resource. I am hoping that once I am in law school I can come back and work with WomensLaw to answer messages on the Email Hotline.

One thing that everyone should know about DV is…it’s complicated. Many people assume that victims of domestic violence can just up and leave, no problem. They fail to consider the problems DV victims face when their abuser controls their finances, or monitors them on their digital devices, or threatens to take their children. We all need to have a little more compassion for victims of violence, because our compassion and understanding will make the world a safer place for these vulnerable people to step in to.

I’ll continue to be involved in the movement to end violence against women by…continuing to work at Duke on ways to prevent sexual assault on campus and to help connect survivors of sexual assault to the resources that they need. I am applying for law school this fall, and I want to use my law degree to help victims of gender violence get the justice they deserve.

My favorite thing about interning with NNEDV was…I loved meeting and working with the incredible staff and interns here at NNEDV. Thinking about domestic violence and sexual assault all day can be incredibly draining, but the staff here is so positive that it makes coming to work each day an absolute pleasure. They have such incredible insight in to the myriad of issues that DV victims face, and how to conduct effective activism to address those issues. I learned so much by talking with staff during our weekly brown bag lunches, and I am so grateful to them for sharing their wisdom with me.
Thank you Colleen, LySaundra, Leah, Kelsey, and Dana! We wish you the best of luck as you continue the work of ending gender-based violence.