As a JV, I operated a batterer intervention program and facilitated classes for men who have used violence against their intimate partners. Domestic violence and sexual assault exists everywhere, but the rates of DV/SA in Alaska are significantly higher than the rest of the country.
My engagement with social justice taught me what it means to let someone “live their truth”, meaning to. let someone share their experiences and perspectives without confronting it with my own inner monologue, “certainties”, judgments, or biases. It turns out that everyone’s experience of the world is equally valid and worthy.
Simple living allowed me to see past the myriad distractions that inundate our 21st century lives and recognize what is truly important: my relationships, my well-being, my environment, and my passions. I’ve learned that as my line of sight is cleared of sparkly distractions and lazy misdirections, the beauty and wonder of the world around me shines even brighter.
[I have learned that ] the point isn’t that the world is some scary, awful place fraught with suffering and injustice; the point is that we’re all in it together, and that the only decent thing to do is be kind, love everyone, and remember that we all belong to each other.
During my two years as a JV, I learned how to love and I learned how to listen. I was challenged, broken, loved, and known. It would truly have been a tragedy for me to go my whole life without learning the lessons I did as a JV. I know, with abundant confidence, that I am a better, fuller person as a result of this experience and I will be forever grateful for it.