Interviewed by Sarah Lopez, Literary Women in Action
Sarah, 22, first found herself drawn to helping others during her first semester of college. Originally from Coppell, Texas, she was studying International Development at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. During her first semester, she signed up for a sexual assault hotline. After training, she found that she could contribute her interests and skill sets to anti-violence work. She eventually switched her major to Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies and now works in domestic violence policy. Sarah has been volunteering at Jane’s Due Process for the past 10 months.
What is your role as a volunteer?
Mostly I’m a text hotline volunteer. This involves being available for a few hours a week to answer any questions people may have about Jane’s Due Process, abortion, or even just a nearby birth control clinic.
What attracted you to Jane’s Due Process in particular?
I have always been involved in reproductive issues but I knew it wasn’t going to be a part of my daily life so I wanted to get involved and stay in touch with the issues. Not only is it similar to crisis intervention work I’ve done before, but Jane’s Due Process is focused on ensuring access which a critical aspect of reproductive justice so I wanted to remain in this niche environment.
Has volunteering for Jane’s Due Process made you become more involved in any other organizations or social issues?
It has definitely helped turn my attention toward the barriers that minors face across the board. Legal status as a minor can be debilitating in a lot of realms of reproductive justice.
Have you faced any challenges as a volunteer?
During a text hotline shift, there was a Jane who contacted us who spoke almost exclusively Spanish. I’m bilingual but not in Spanish, so trying to explain the judicial bypass process in a language I wasn’t fluent it was difficult. But more importantly, it emphasized how not only was this girl dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, but she was having to deal with it in an unfamiliar country and language, which certainly makes it even harder. Thankfully, someone who does speak Spanish popped into the line 10 minutes later and saved the day. Jane’s Due Process really does have a wonderful network of volunteers.
When Sarah isn’t busy contributing to the causes of gender equality and reproductive justice, she enjoys happy hours with friends, snuggling with her cat, reading feminist literature and watching Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
Want to support the work of volunteers like Sarah? Donate to support our live hotlines!