“I never would have believed...”
For months into years – and still at times today – “I can do this” was the affirmation Marissa continually repeated to herself following her 2015 sexual assault. Some days it was much harder than others. But with ongoing support and encouragement from her mother and others, she has regained control of her life and can now exercise the power she once felt robbed of.
Now the Human Resource Specialist at Survivor Empowerment Center, Marissa said “I sought out this job even though I knew there are times where it will be triggering. I want to give back to people who were in my shoes.”
“We just want to see them succeed”
Andrea Stephens has led the Domestic Violence arm of The Survivor Empowerment Center for five and one-half years and is continually amazed by the community support shown to the survivors of domestic violence throughout southern Illinois. “People often tell me ‘That must be difficult but so rewarding’ and they’re right,” Stephens says. She is inspired by clients and shelter residents daily, saying “some of the people who have been hurt the most are the most positive.” She chuckles when she recalls some of the conversations that she’s had with clients and says “to work in this field you really have to have this ‘never in my life did I expect that' approach to each day.”
Time for a change
For Tina Porter, there was a time to directly help people – over 20 years total – and a time to assist others to better provide that same type of help. Now the The Survivor Empowerment Center's Rape Crisis Services (RCS) Program Coordinator, Porter sees her primary responsibility as “helping our counselors and advocates be more effective for our clients.”
“I knew I had the ability to do the job,” Porter said recalling her application for the position in the fall of 2019, “and thought with my past (church) leadership experience and my passion for and desire to see people grow, that I would be successful.” That experience extends to being the Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit AP3 Hope Foundation.