Katie Edwards wants to do more than just speak up for the voiceless – she wants to help them speak up for themselves.
As an administrative assistant at the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, Edwards works to increase understanding and support victims of domestic violence.
“Our biggest goal is just to raise awareness about domestic violence,” Edwards said. “We have a shelter that is available for women who need a haven, and we just want to provide any help. Our clients are women who are victims of domestic violence, but we also provide a lot of information for our community about services that you can find around here.”
During her time at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Edwards studied sociology and women and gender studies. She took a class in conjunction with a volunteer opportunity at SPAN, and became one of the organizations 400 volunteers, who serve in numerous different tracts including the domestic abuse response team, children’s advocacy and court advocacy.
For 18 months she served as an administrative volunteer, working at the front desk, welcoming clients and handing out information. Edwards has had a passion for speaking out against domestic violence since she first started volunteering. Just recently, Edwards became the office’s administrative assistant.
“I love working with people – the clients obviously – and knowing that you’re able to help people who are in need, even in some small way,” Edwards said. “I’ve also just met a lot of really amazing women here.”
While she uses her voice every time she answers the phone, she knows that many women are not as comfortable talking about the issues that she deals with on a daily basis.
With SPAN, Edwards works to start a dialogue in which survivors of domestic violence and those around them aren’t afraid to speak out against the violent behavior.
“Raising awareness is a pretty huge goal for us in terms of not only advocating for victims, but also for people who may know people who have been through this or people who are concerned about friends, family, whatever it may be,” Edwards said.
Through her training, Edwards learned to be conscious of her own biases and realize that her own opinions based upon her background or privileges are not necessarily the best choices for the women that she works with.
She wants help the women she works with help themselves, and knows just how important of a role that is for people all throughout the Boulder community.
“I think that it’s important for everyone’s voice to be heard,” Edwards said. “When I say everyone, I do mean everyone. In terms of speaking for other people, that’s not always the best way to be an advocate. It’s helping them speak out for themselves. I think that’s an important role, if you’re able to play it. It’s an important role for anyone to play.”