A: I work at IVPS which stands for Interpersonal Violence Peer Support program as a student advocate for students on campus who are experiencing or have experienced IPV. We offer resources, choices, and options for and to students navigating IPV situations/relationships. We provide emotional support as well as community-based and on-campus resources.
How did you get involved with this type of work?
A: Well it's been a journey! I first got involved through the VAV student organization after seeing the Get Sexy. Get Consent show in my freshmen year. After the show, I wanted to get more involved but never knew how to, and then found the VAV student org. I started getting involved in planning smaller events like the Healthy Relationships event, and then got more involved with organizing larger events like Breaking the Silence in October as part of Relationship Violence Prevention Month, and Take Back the Night in Sexual Violence Prevention Month in April. Through my work with the VAV student organization, I got involved in the Get Sexy. Get Consent Theatre for Dialogue ensemble, and then from there I got involved with IVPS.
What do you hope the impact of your work with IVPS will be here at UT and beyond?
A: I hope that students are able to get the resources they need in order to feel more assured and aware of what their options are in navigating issues with and surrounding interpersonal violence. I also want people to know that they are not alone in their experiences with IPV. I think a lot of times the resources available such as CMHC and Title IX are difficult to navigate. It is difficult to know what to do, what the resources are there for, and so my hope is that as students learn more about IVPS, more students might be willing to come forward to access resources!
What has been your favorite experience with this work around IPV so far?
A: Getting to really know the IVPS team and collaborating on what will be set up for students in the future. Also, engaging in different conversations about how to best serve folks who are marginalized on campus, thinking about how accessible the resources we provide are, and what the perspectives of students accessing the resources are, is what is exciting about this work. Basically, helping this program get set up for marginalized students to come in the future is exciting.
Do you plan to incorporate your work with IVPS in your life even after you graduate? If yes, how?
A: I've learned a lot of things such as definitions and facilitation skills from Get Sexy. Get Consent and through the VAV student org I've learned how to plan and organize events. These skills surrounding prevention and outreach of IPV have kind of been ingrained in me because I've been involved for a few years. So, this work will pop up everywhere in whatever work that I will do both in my personal and professional life. I'm not so sure what I want to do after I graduate, but I am sure that issues around IPV will come about in whatever I do. So in the future, when a situation comes up that has to do with IPV, I will be prepared for it. I also want to point out that a lot of what I've learned has come from the people I've worked with and I really appreciate them. I wouldn't have learned as much as I have if it weren't for the people I work with.
What keeps you going when this work gets hard?
A: The people I work with really keep me going! I like talking to them and knowing why they're involved and what got them involved. Also, when I'm having a difficult time doing the work I usually try to reach out to people who have done IPV work in the past or are currently doing the work, and processing with them what is going on. The work can be heavy a lot of times, so talking about it helps a lot.
Anything you would like to add?
A: There's so many ways to get involved with VAV now. There's the theatre for dialogue class, you can get involved with the Get Sexy. Get Consent cast, there's the student org, and IVPS! If you're looking for ways to get involved, there are various avenues to do that. It's been a big source of support for me, so I would really recommend getting involved if you are interested in doing IPV work!