What’s in a Name?
By Laura B. Guilliams, MA, RYT
You may have already noticed a change in how we refer to the trained volunteers and staff who answer our hotline and respond in person to survivors. When you call the 24-Hour Crisis Hotline, you are connected to a SARA Crisis Advocate (formerly known as a SARA Volunteer Companion) who is trained to provide support, information, and referrals to those who have either directly or indirectly experienced sexual violence.
noun ad·vo·cate \ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt\
Merriam-Webster defines an advocate as:
- “one who pleads the cause of another,”
- “one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal,” and
- “one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group.”
At SARA, we advocate for survivors of sexual violence in many ways, including individual advocacy, legislative advocacy, and community-wide advocacy for change. So, we started looking at how we show up in the community as the people who respond to survivors through our 24-hour crisis hotline and in person at hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and even during court proceedings. Now, by showing up as a Crisis Advocate, the message is that our staff and volunteers are here to actively support survivors and SARA continues to align with its mission. It’s a small yet bold change that represents SARA’s evolution as the sexual assault crisis center right here in the Roanoke Valley!
Laura B. Guilliams, MA, RYT
Director of Crisis Services
Laura is the Director of Crisis Services at SARA. She manages our 24-Hour Crisis Hotline and supervises our Volunteer Crisis Advocates. Want to learn more about becoming a Crisis Advocate? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-345-7273. You can also learn more at this link.