As summer comes to a close and I begin packing my things to leave Boston, there is much to reflect on with my experience interning at Jane Doe Inc. These last three months have highlighted my capacity for an all-virtual internship I didn’t know I had in me before! I have met so many amazing people that have dedicated their lives to sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and advocacy, expanded on my personal internship workload, and connected with various professional networks.
The world of work during a global pandemic has challenged all my pre-existing notions of how an organization operates under pressure. During this time, professional spaces like JDI have needed to transform and accommodate their company staff virtually to comply with public health and safety measures. At the beginning of summer, I viewed the adjustment to my remote workspace as temporary, one that might take me a few weeks to settle into. In hindsight, this wasn’t the case. Adjusting to the new “normal” of a virtual work environment is something I, along with everyone else, did consistently throughout the summer. It is something we will all continue to do in the coming year. Every day I worked, I was choosing to adapt and challenge my ideas of a conventional workspace. This has led to heightened open-mindedness about what work could look like in the future. As I enter into my second half of college and consider more seriously my prospects and goals for after school, my capability and understanding for a virtual work environment will definitely be factored in.
My internship with JDI emphasized the values of social justice and responsibility above all. With a focus on sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and advocacy, I learned a great deal about the field. Social justice work means amplifying the voices, stories, and demands of those who don’t have a seat at the table (or who are not even allowed in the room). It entails active listening, understanding your own positions of privilege and power, and using your platform to equalize the playing field as much as you possibly can. I’ve tried to incorporate all of this and then some into my work at JDI, which consisted primarily of planning and holding a virtual event panel. “Multiple Truths: Survivorship in the 2020 Elections” was held on August 6 via Zoom Webinar, and after months of preparation with the rest of the JDI staff, I had the privilege of moderating a panel discussion with four brilliant, incredibly experienced leaders and activists. What started with a small idea in the back of my brain turned into a space that had over two hundred registrants and hosted over one hundred real-time attendees, accessibility features (including an ASL interpreter) and the most powerful voices and stories I have ever heard. The event was also recorded and will be posted to JDI’s social media channels for all to view!
I hope this becomes a project an intern takes on every summer and the space created for sexual assault survivors continues to grow and flourish. Interning for an organization that focuses on domestic violence/sexual assault work strengthens my belief of how important it is to contribute to this work. It is also constant work; the fight for sexual assault survivors and amplifying their voices and stories never ends. Thus, my advice to someone who wants to pursue an internship with JDI or anywhere else that does prevention work is that pacing yourself is a must. This work can be heavy at times, and I encourage you to do what feels safe and best for you first and foremost. JDI is an organization that values hard work and collaboration, but also emphasizes maintaining boundaries, respecting others’ limits, and practicing self-care.
I’m so thankful to have been a part of this organization and to contribute in the ways I did in the last few months. I cannot recommend interning with JDI enough, and I will definitely miss it!
If you would like to learn more about Jane Doe Inc. or find out how to get involved, click here.