Seeking Justice for Survivors
Charlotte Bennett ’17 hopes to accomplish two things at her internship this summer: help sexual assault survivors be heard and enforce victims’ rights. She is state legislative and policy intern at SurvJustice, a non-profit in Washington, D.C., that provides legal services to survivors of sexual violence.
Bennett’s internship is supported by the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center.
SurvJustice works to increase the prospect of justice for survivors within educational institutions and the criminal justice system. The organization also acts to hold enablers of sexual violence accountable through legislative and policy work.
Bennett said her interest in SurvJustice resulted from past experience in women’s advocacy and support. She has been involved with several organizations, including The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling & Education (Stamford, Conn.) and Hope’s Door (Pleasantville, N.Y.), that focus on creating safe spaces for survivors in need of advice, information and support.
“As an advocate, I’m currently trying to support survivors of sexual violence through policy, legislation and research. SurvJustice has allowed me to continue my interest in helping students who seek justice,” Bennett explained.
“More importantly, however, my own personal experiences have led me to a place where I believe this kind of advocacy work is especially important,” she continued. “My involvement in SurvJustice could help survivors who, like me, have felt that their voices were not heard or their rights were not protected under current Title IX policy and legislation.”
Bennett said most of her advocacy work has focused on helping survivors on an individual level —through helping them process the trauma of their assault or providing advice and support. She hopes this internship allows her to gain experience from a different perspective.” I’ve never done legislative and policy work, so I’m excited to be introduced to a new form of advocacy work,” Bennett said.
The psychology and women’s studies major said this internship enables her to combine two things she loves — research and advocacy — to make a difference. “It’s an amazing experience to feel like the work I’m doing will have a lasting impact on the fight for gender equality,” she said.
Bennett is confident this internship as helped her find the right path. “My hope is that this internship is the start of my career in policy work and advocacy,” she concluded.