Re-examining our World at Renewal House | St. Lawrence University Career Connections

Re-examining our World at Renewal House

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Now over half way into my internship, I am really settling into my role as an advocate, beginning to feel confident in my knowledge, abilities, and experiences. In my position I tend to accompany clients to court, provide emotional support, complete intakes for new clients, answer phone calls, and provide support to the office in any way that I can. In addition, I have recently started working on a summer-long project to create a resource manual to serve as a guide book of all available resources in the North Country that our clients can utilize. These various projects allow me to always stay engaged and active at work as I am continually gaining knowledge and being challenged.

As I am learning more and settling into my position, countless questions and ideas are arising in my mind on how we are framing and understanding our world. Before working with Renewal House, my world felt very simple; I thought of abuse as a truth somewhere else, not in my own community. I believed that situations of abuse were simply because certain people had an anger problem, and I thought justice would always prevail. Yet, so far this framework has proven to be highly inaccurate. I have been feeling unsettled by the horror that clients we work with have faced and disappointed in the way our nation’s justice system deals with abusers. I have been shocked by the complexities of clients’ situations and heart-broken when the abusive cycle continues. Through what I have been seeing in my work, my interpretations of the world are rapidly changing, and it has become clear to me that the world is not as black and white as I once thought.  My understanding of the world around me has never been so deeply challenged.

In addition, my position of privilege has never been clearer to me nor has the need to bring our society together to lift each other up. How can we move forward as a society when so many of us are held back? People constantly say things such as "mass incarceration is so awful" or "domestic abuse is inexcusable and needs to end" or "our environmental impact is terrible".  Certainly, these statements are correct, yet the people that make these statements tend to be in positions of privilege, a place in society where they can make a change, yet they do not. People often say they want to change things and make a difference, but rarely do. I encourage everyone to find a few causes they are passionate about and actually work to make a positive change. We are each individually responsible for this world, and unless we bring transformation to the world ourselves, no change will ever come. We need to do more than just talk. It is too easy to reside comfortably in our privilege and say phrases like this. I never want to be that way and hope that I continue to expand my perspective and understanding of the world. For the rest of my summer and beyond I plan to continue to work for the cause that I am passionate about and hopefully to make a real difference in the sector of domestic violence.