Member of the Youth Voices Network
Transcribed from an audio interview. Responses have been edited for clarity.
I am a member of the Youth Voices Network (YVN) at Day One, and I’ve been involved for a while, since about 2015.
Since I joined, YVN has changed a lot. One, it’s grown. I know there’s a lot more people involved now. I think originally when I started there were a couple of us core women who were involved. But there’s definitely more opportunities than there were before.
The YVN builds awareness about youth relationships to people who really need it. When I first started participating in YVN, they would go and talk to police officers, nurses, and other professionals about how people can recognize the signs. And I thought that was really influential because a lot of the time, especially when I was in school [and experiencing dating violence], my administrators didn’t know what was going on with me. My friends, my family, didn’t necessarily know what was happening, and I kind of had to go through all of that myself. So, I think it’s good that we spread awareness to professionals in the space.
There’s places where I got involved and that were really influential to me because I specifically have been able to speak about my experience. I was in a sorority in college, and a couple years ago, one of the girls in my sorority was sexually assaulted. And because I was a YVN member, I was able to reach out to Day One and ask them to do a sexual assault seminar with my sorority girls for a group that needed it. At the time I was on the national board of the sorority as well, and having that connection with Day One was really great, so that I could empower these women to learn more about sexual assault and how to deal with it. I really think that the best thing about YVN is that they’re not just about getting their own message out there, they’re helping people, they’re teaching people, and they’re building awareness. It’s a pretty great thing to be a part of.
At the end of the day, I think first and foremost, the most important thing to Day One is always going to be the people that they’re helping. Personally, I was young when I went through my relationship. I was in high school and college, and the only kind of network I had to rely on was myself and my friends, and then I ended up going to a therapist, which was really helpful. So, I think having a place like Day One, where people can come and it’s specifically targeted to young adults is very important.