This is the first of a series of blog posts on the ways joining the organization has impacted individual members of the Pomona Advocates. We are currently accepting applications, which can be found here, and hope sharing our personal experiences with the organization encourages people to apply!
posted by Nikole McDuffie, Advocate
TW: sexual assault/violence.
It’s hard to believe I applied to become an Advocate less than a year ago considering how much of a positive impact it has had on me. I had always considered myself a feminist, but had never had any ways of expressing my frustration with sexual violence let alone any ideas as how to combat it. Coming from a small town community where victim blaming and slut shaming is the norm, my first year at Pomona college was already a whirlwind of new terms and concepts, all of which I gleefully absorbed.
Unfortunately second semester brought with it unseen challenges: after months of emotional abuse, a so-called friend sexually assaulted one of my loved ones. Over the next year, seeing the pain and doubt of this survivor followed by the beginnings of empowerment and healing exposed me to intricacies of survivorship I had never even imagined. I wanted to be the best support I could for my friend and for others; I had found a passion for social justice work.
Second semester of my sophomore year I applied to become an Advocate and was overjoyed to be accepted. I joined an amazing group of people who truly care about making a safe campus where everyone can enjoy themselves in any setting. Advocates work doesn't always involve the happiest of topics, but we manage to tackle such serious subjects while enjoying ourselves and taking care of each other. It's an amazingly supportive and open group that I'm so thankful to be a part of; I'm so proud of what we've accomplished over the past year. I'm continuously learning how to become a better supporter, and friends have told me my passion for this work has made me a new person; the person I want to be.