Post 1: Building a Better System for Survivors at Jane Doe, Inc.

This summer, I have the privilege of remotely interning with Jane Doe, Inc. in Boston, MA. Jane Doe, Inc. is a non-profit that seeks to create change by addressing root causes of domestic and sexual violence, as well as promoting justice, safety, and healing for survivors. JDI has three strategies in tackling the injustice of gender-based violence: advocacy, collaboration, and innovation. JDI advocates for state and federal legislation and funding that benefit the lives of SA/DV survivors, as well as for public and private systems to improve access to services, resources, and justice. Right now, they especially focus on protections for incarcerated survivors in MA during COVID-19, and intersecting economic and racial justice for marginalized communities in the Greater Boston area. JDI also promotes collaboration between member organizations to create innovative solutions and improve the lives of survivors. JDI works alongside partners like the ACLU of Massachusetts and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. This coalition works towards common goals to break down institutional barriers that survivors face. Some preventative projects that JDI has worked on with partners include the #ReimagineManhood campaign, the #MeToo initiative, and #RESPECTfully in collaboration with Mass.gov. 

During my walks around the city, I usually end up at one of my favorite spots: Quincy Market!

Like other WOW Social Justice Fellows, I was interested in joining an organization that was committed to promoting solutions for issues between society and individuals. At Brandeis, I am majoring in Politics and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minoring in Legal Studies. I wanted to find an organization that covered the intersection of my academic course of study: advocating for women’s rights within legal, public policy, and social justice fields. JDI is a perfect combination of all my academic and personal interests. They also go beyond these areas to cover all the complex intersections of attaining gender equality, such as race, economics, housing, immigration, and others. The inclusive environment of my (virtual) workspace is incredibly uplifting. As an Arab-Muslim woman, working in this type of professional setting was highly important to me during my internship search. 

Here’s my workspace for the summer. Remote work calls for lots of natural light and a good view!

Throughout the first month of my internship, I have been working on numerous projects within a variety of departments. With the support of the rest of the team, I plan to dedicate my time and energy to working on two main projects while at JDI. One is researching and crafting an op-ed on the sexual abuse to prison pipeline and the necessity to reallocate Massachusetts state funding towards decarceration. I am also developing a panel event  on multiple truths in sexual assault survivors’ identities and voting decisions in the 2020 elections. This event arose from my frustration regarding the political injustice and degradation of survivors in conversations around the upcoming elections. Before coming to JDI, I had no idea how to craft substantial change on this issue. Now, within my role, I am working to host this virtually later in the summer to validate survivors’ experiences at the polls and beyond. Alongside these projects, I collaborate with other members of the JDI staff on smaller-scale projects, which are more long-term and work towards permanent progress. These include tracking domestic violence-related homicides in Massachusetts, writing personal narratives for each victim with the Director of Communications & Development, and updating JDI’s Civic Engagement Toolkit with the Policy and Advocacy Team. 

Stocking up on Modern Pastry’s cannolis!

Although my internship this summer is remote due to COVID-19, being a WOW fellow has enabled me to experience this incredible opportunity while living in Boston’s North End! When I’m not working indoors, I’m out taste-sampling cannolis at various bakeries, shopping at Italian grocers, and taking long walks around the city. To settle the age-old debate: yes, Modern Pastry’s cannolis are better than Mike’s.

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