Volunteer Spotlight: Juanita Giles
How long have you been volunteering with the Rape Recovery Center?
I've been volunteering for almost five years now. I have done both Hospital Response Team and Crisis Line. I no longer do hospital response and hope to continue with the crisis line as soon as my schedule slows down a bit. I now facilitate the English restorative yoga class once a month.
What made you decide to volunteer your time?
I am a long-time survivor of rape and it was important to me to give back in this capacity. I feel that I am a very fortunate individual that has come through the path of healing – reliance and strength does not come easily for some and that is why I feel that I can contribute as well as to be able to hold space for someone who has been impacted by sexual violence.
What have you learned from your time volunteering with RRC?
Many different things on so many different levels. Primarily, so many individuals want to be a part and want to help with Rape Recovery Center. Even if their time is only a small window, people still gravitate towards wanting to contribute. I have met many that hold such passion and the desire to educate the community. I have learned about myths and facts when it comes to sexual violence. I have learned that it is a lifetime of pain, but can be help in a kind way within oneself. I have learned that everyone’s story is different and should be looked at with non-bias.
What would you say to people considering volunteering their time to the Rape Recovery Center?
If one can look at the entire picture of what RRC does – not just about being there for women, but being there for men as well. Sexual violence is such a large piece of the world. Education is primarily the future, the focus to teach youth about self-respect and creating boundaries within ourselves and others. Creating relationships that are healthy. Providing a service to those impacted by sexual violence is just a portion. It takes a village to build and maintain the center. Support from volunteers and support in a financial capacity from donors is what will maintain services as well as create employee retention. Not only is this a vital piece for those who give their time and money, quite noble for both, but also incredibly rewarding.