Looking for Volunteers...

The Union County Rape Crisis Center is looking for dedicated individuals who are interested in helping survivors of sexual violence. At present, we're implementing daytime training opportunities from October 2017 through November 2017.

What are the requirements?
  • Resident of Union County
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Valid U.S. driver's license
  • Personal (own) means of transportation (i.e. a car)
  • Participation in an informal interview between 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday
  • Successful completion of Advocate training, which includes attendance at all sessions
  • Commitment to volunteer for a period of at least one year
  • Commitment to signing up for at least three hotline shifts per month
  • Regular attendance at monthly volunteer meetings (evening)

*If you meet these requirements and are interested in interviewing, kindly phone us at (908) 233-7273 or email rcc@ucnj.org.

Featured Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate

Featured Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate
Jessica T.

It’s heartwarming to witness someone helping another person. Those small but meaningful acts of kindness have always sustained my optimistic outlook on society; it’s encouraging to know that there are people in the world that help make someone else’s life a little better.

My most memorable example of this selflessness was my first encounter with a confidential sexual violence advocate. I’d never heard of an advocate until someone I knew was assaulted. Around 3 a.m. I sat in the ER with my friend, feeling sorry for her, desperately trying to gather the right words to say. How do you comfort someone after they’ve experienced such a traumatic violation?

The nurses and doctor treated my friend like any other patient. They were somewhat distant, focusing on their medical procedures, which came off aloof. When they collected all the information they needed and left the room, my friend and I sat in silence. Even with me in the room, I could tell she felt alone.

Soon a young woman walked in and introduced herself as an advocate and explained why she’d come. Throughout the morning she and my friend talked. She also navigated a conversation to help me verbalize my support for my friend, which I had been struggling to put into words. She was the only person that treated my friend like more than a patient or even a victim. She kept the conversation optimistic, focusing on my friend’s survival and healing. When negativity started to come up, she calmly redirected the conversation and encouraged alternative ways of thinking about it.

This complete stranger was able to be the emotional support that I, an actual friend, couldn’t be during maybe the most traumatic and vulnerable period of my friend’s life. She sat with my friend for hours, comforting her and maintaining a warm demeanor, all while displaying genuine empathy and compassion.

The advocate committed her time to someone she didn’t know, in response to a rape, which is typically a subject deemed socially taboo and uncomfortable for most to even talk about. I truly admired her; she left a lasting impression on me. I’ll never forget the tragedy of that situation, but I’ll also never forget that kind stranger who helped my friend embark on her journey of healing and empowerment.

With the perpetuation of victim-blaming as a social norm and the overall lack of support for victims of sexual violence, I wanted to volunteer in an area that would allow me to be that support. I immediately thought of my friend’s experience and that advocate and decided I, too, wanted to be an advocate. With no experience, I became a volunteer at the UCRCC and was trained in the skills to support a survivor, just like the advocate I had met years before.

As an advocate, my goal is to connect with survivors and be that support so they won’t feel alone. I want every survivor I encounter to know that I empathize with their individual situation. It has been rewarding to see the strength and courage each survivor possesses during a very dark time in their life. It has lit a fire in me to continue to use my time to help victims of sexual violence and speak up whenever possible to change the culture that makes such crimes so prevalent.