Student Reflection: Preventing Domestic Violence & Making a Difference

Written by Michelle Schaefer, a Wesley Center Intern

Last month, I, along with three other Wesley interns, volunteered at the Domestic Violence Fatality Review and Community Based Risk Assessment: New Horizons event in Salem. This one-day training conference included presentations from national experts and workshops about community involvement to improve systemic responses to domestic violence. As volunteers, we had the opportunity to sit in on the presentations and assist with the workshop sessions.

Intern, Adana Lindsley introducing one of the workshop speakers.

I was very appreciative for the opportunity to participate in this event because of the insights I would gain about preventing situations of domestic violence and supporting survivors. As a student attending a training conference for responding to domestic violence situations, one of the pressing questions I had was how could I, with no experience as a social worker and limited knowledge, make a difference in my community? While this was one of the focuses, the conference presented extremely valuable takeaways about the role of community in preventing domestic violence.

Listening is Key

One of the speakers at the event spoke directly to my question of how one can feel unable to help in these situations without having the knowledge or qualifications to assist. She spoke to how this assumption is harmful to communities and that in many cases, victims of domestic violence reach out to at least one person, not necessarily for advice, but just to listen. It is this act of listening as a community that gives survivors the safe space they need. It also enables communities to refrain from the bystander role in situations of violence. As a young member of my community, simply offering to listen, without judgment and with full support and compassion, to those facing situations of violence can make an impact.

Communities Can Act as Safe Spaces

In addition, communities play a larger role in creating safe spaces for victims by actively spreading awareness and educating members on how to support victims, what healthy relationships look like and building understanding for these victims, fighting against false stigmas and victim blaming among communities.

Becoming an Ally

My experience volunteering at the DVERT event was incredibly eye-opening and this event inspired me to be a more proactive member of my community.  I plan to continue to educate myself on how to further support victims of domestic violence and volunteer my time to help build the understanding community survivors need.

I realized how our actions as a community have an impact on younger generations and preventing future violence, and as a Wesley Intern, volunteer and community member, I strive to be role model by working actively to support victims and building an understanding community.


For more information about the conference and DVERT visit: and





Art Month Feature: Finlay Louden

16754598_10154640056984219_388864360_nFinlay Louden

My name’s Finlay, and I make paper and prop art. I’m colorblind so drawing with color is difficult–paper is easier for me to see and conceptualize. I graduated from the University of Oregon in 2016 with honors and majored in Comparative Literature with minors in Latin, Medieval Studies, and Creative Writing.

How did you first get involved with paper arts?

I got started mainly to see if I could make paper art that I enjoyed. Turns out that it’s incredibly soothing and easier for me to see than other traditional mediums. I didn’t have any instruction, I just did it.

Tell me more about your crafting process.

All my paper projects are entirely made out of cardstock and glue. That’s it. All details are hand cut by me, not with tools. It takes hours, sometimes days to make a piece. I like making smaller pieces rather than large ones, but I’ve made all kinds of projects.

Interested in Finlay’s paper art? Send commission questions to with the subject line “Commission Question/Request.”