In 2018, volunteers provided 9,502 hours of service to the Rape Recovery Center. The incredible individuals who serve our agency bring a full spectrum of skills and expertise, from crisis intervention to administrative assistance. One of these fabulous volunteers is Vikki Kilminster-Bird. We asked Vikki to share more about her experience volunteering with the center. Read more about her below!
What motivated you to become a volunteer at the Rape Recovery Center?
Believe it or not I was a volunteer at the RRC as part of a psychology class that I had at the University of Utah quite a number of years ago! When I moved back to Salt Lake City in 2014, it was easy for me to offer to volunteer again. I took the training for the crisis line and also the hospital response team, and have been on the crisis line since. I very much support the advocacy for people who have been traumatized by sexual assault. It is not an easy subject for people to talk about. 1 in 3 women in Utah experience some sort of sexual assault, 1 in 6 for rape, and I believe the number for men is 1 in 32 for rape. We need to be there for each other!
What have you enjoyed most about your time as a RRC volunteer?
It is most certainly to be able to be there for a survivor when they are desperate to seek help. Being the first point of contact on the crisis line, I feel rewarded when I can direct someone to become more calm, more empowered to help themselves, and to let them know that there are many resources available as support to them during their terrible ordeal.
What is most challenging about your volunteer work at the RRC?
The juxtaposition from what I like about being an RRC volunteer is directly tied to what is most challenging: It is hearing the heartbreaking stories of the survivors I speak to. I have never been sexually assaulted, and to know that this goes on and happens in very significant numbers has been shocking to me. It is horrifying to hear what someone goes through during their assault. It becomes personal to be able to help them. And you only hope that what you say is doing some good.
Tell us a little more about how you spend your time outside of volunteering for the RRC.
Currently I am taking classes to become a Medical Assistant. Hopefully I can do that before I get too old! I’m lucky to have a wonderful husband and a bright and funny daughter. I love the outdoors – camping, biking, hiking, skiing, just being out there. I also enjoy going to music concerts and festivals and it is a must to share time with friends and family.
You have immersed yourself in the very difficult work of addressing sexual violence. What gives you hope as you approach this work?
I guess what gives me the most hope is the resilience of the human spirit and how survivors can go on, be empowered and be able to get back to a contented existence even though they have been through something horrific. It takes a lot of work, but people get there. Especially with the help of places like the RRC and the incredible people who work there.
What is your message to others looking to get involved in this work, or considering volunteer work at the RRC?
Since my initial volunteer experience with the SLC Rape Recovery Center, the center itself has become an all-encompassing organization. It is there to serve people of all ethnicities, and sexual orientations, and is an open, loving, safe place. The resources they offer are countless. I’m so impressed by the professionalism and compassion of the administration, counselors and employees. If one decided to volunteer, you would become a part of the amazing work they do. It works two ways – you give, and it gives back in a very satisfying way.
If you are interested in joining the Rape Recovery Center's volunteer team, visit our volunteer page here to learn more.