On Friday, Nov. 10, the Survivor Support Union (SSU) hosted Sami-Jo Stubbs at the College. Stubbs is the acting secretary on the Board of Directors for Home to Home and a licensed clinical social worker within the community of domestic violence survivors.
Stubbs spoke about her career working with survivors of domestic violence and her personal history with sexual assault and provided resources for people who are in an abusive relationship or know someone who might be in one.
Mahika Gupta `23 and other club members organized Stubbs’ talk on campus as part of an effort to spread awareness and spark a broader conversation about domestic violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“This event was in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which was October. We found Sami-Jo Stubbs through the organization RAINN, which stands for the Rape Abuse Incest National Network. RAINN has a lot of great resources for allies to learn more about signs of domestic and other forms of intimate partner violence and for survivors to seek help and support,” Gupta said.
Stubbs has extensive experience working with survivors of domestic violence. In addition to working with survivors as a clinical social worker, she has also worked as a domestic violence survivor advocate, connecting survivors of domestic abuse to valuable resources and helping them navigate the legal system. Her experience in this field has given her unique insight into the experience of survivors. Stubbs described her work as an advocate as the best part of her career.
“I worked with survivors through the whole process, supporting them and providing them with resources,” Stubbs said.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are challenging topics that can often bring up strong emotions. Stubbs, who is also a registered yoga instructor and meditation facilitator, began and ended the talk with a breathing exercise that grounded participants and connected them with their emotions in the present moment.
After the opening breathing exercise, Stubbs began the talk by sharing her personal history with sexual violence.
She emphasized that the people who came to the talk were also welcome to share their own experiences to whatever degree they felt comfortable. Stubbs created a safe and open space and emphasized that participants were welcome to step out of the room at any time during the talk.
At the end of the talk, Stubbs opened up the floor to questions. One participant asked for advice about what to say if a friend opened up to them about their experience with domestic violence. Stubbs suggested that the best thing to do in that situation would be to empathize with the friend and offer support for them.
“Saying something is better than nothing,” Stubbs said. “What would you want to hear in that situation? We don’t necessarily have to experience the same things as that person to relate to some of the feelings they might be having.”
This was Stubbs’ first time sharing her story as a survivor of sexual violence and her first time giving a talk about the subject matter. Her experience going through the police reporting process and her career of helping other survivors navigate the legal system make her a great resource for anyone struggling with issues of domestic and/or intimate partner violence.
~ Veronica McIntyre `24