Name: Swati Shastry
Major: Political Science
What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!
I’m currently interning at the Women’s Centre of Montgomery County (WCMC), a nonprofit focused on freedom from domestic violence and abuse. We service over 4,000 survivors per year through 24/7 hotline counseling, court advocacy, legal advice, and support groups. I was involved in all of these aspects and I also worked with the Head of Community Education and presented to a number of high schools, colleges, and old age homes in Montgomery County about recognizing signs of abuse. If there is anything I’ve learned over the past 10 weeks, it’s that domestic violence has no age, race, class, or gender and it doesn’t look just one way.
Last week, I was at the Democratic National Convention with my colleagues from the Women’s Centre tabling at the Convention with a number of other social justice and community based organizations. I was able to talk to over 250 people about what the Women’s Centre does and how committed we are to ending domestic violence. Being able to communicate with people and having strangers open up to me about the most traumatic experiences of their lives affected me in a way that I will never forget and it has contributed to my personal as well as my intellectual growth.
How I heard about my internship:
As part of LILAC’s Summer of Service program – a cohort of ten students selected to live together in Batten House and pursue a service-oriented internship – I heard about the Women’s Centre through Rasha Younes, who had previously interned at the Women’s Centre as well as been a Summer of Service participant. I knew I wanted experience in the nonprofit sector, and being able to delve into women’s rights was a perfect fit.
Why I applied for my internship:
I applied to work at the Women’s Center because domestic violence is an issue all around us. As soon as I knew I was going to be working there, I felt like I saw domestic violence everywhere I looked (Johnny Depp, the Orlando shooter, the list goes on). Domestic violence stems from long-standing and systemic cultures of misogyny, rape culture, and The Patriarchy. While it doesn’t just affect women, it is important to understand that 1 in 3 women are affected by physical abuse, and this is not counting mental, emotional, and psychological abuse. Through the center, I was able to get a close look at how court proceedings work and get comfortable with some legal jargon and since I am considering going to law school. I am also interested in public service and I’ve been thinking about how policy making at the federal level affects funding for non-profit organizations. It was also great to be able to explore Philly with a monthly SEPTA pass – I explored hidden parts of the city that I probably will never go back to but I enjoyed every moment of it.