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Committed To: Women Against Abuse

Katie Evans explains how she plans to use her professional experience on the ground serving those on the margins with JVC at Women Against Abuse. Her hope is to funnel the energy and skills gained during this service experience to lead a more compassionate life dedicated to creating systemic change.

Jesuit Volunteer
College of the Holy Cross
Thomas Merton House
Serving at Women Against Abuse in Philadelphia
 I made the decision to become an interior designer when I first stepped foot in an Ikea at the age of eleven. I begged my mom to let me redecorate rooms in our house and despite an unsuccessful first attempt—painting our bathroom trim flamingo pink and the walls lime green…ceiling and all—my dream continued throughout high school. Despite my AP Art teacher—nicely and wisely—telling me that I might be better off considering a different career path, I wanted Studio Art to be part of my collegiate experience.


After taking Psych 101 in my first semester, I fell in love with the social sciences. I watched what I learned in my Psychology classes and what I experienced in the world around me, through immersion programs and everyday interactions, materialize in my output of work—something that I never could have anticipated as an eleven year old in Ikea. I began to experiment with multi-media panels and ideas like how women are portrayed in the media, which eventually evolved into the concept for my senior show in the Cantor Art Gallery at Holy Cross.


In my series, Home is Where The Hurt Is, I focused on the experience of private suffering. The concept was generated in thinking about the strength that it takes to fight a battle behind closed doors—mental illness, the effects of bullying, addiction, or any form of mental, physical, or emotional abuse—and how that strength can be misconstrued as weakness when it is exploited. In the court system, in everyday conversation, and as a society as a whole, we have a habit of victim blaming. This series expressed both the vulnerability and courage of people in the face of public scrutiny—a concept that influenced my interest in serving resilient women during my service experience with JVC.


The Thomas Merton Community of Philadelphia bonding at East Coast Orientation 2017

While creating this work did not directly lead me to JVC, it did help in my discernment process while considering different placement sites. I knew that I wanted to work with women and children. I knew that I wanted to be in a position where I could empower clients and walk with them in the moments when they were at their most vulnerable, but also at their most resilient, in the moments when they were committed to pushing back against the system.


I look forward to continuing to learn from the women that I will be accompanying at Women Against Abuse. By serving at this partner agency, I’ll have the opportunity to further understand the intricate systems that create barriers for women after they’ve experienced trauma—systems that prevent their sense of freedom, safety, and justice. Through these experiences, I hope to better inform my understanding of our justice system and the work of social service agencies, so that I can go into a MSW program with the vigor to protect those who are most vulnerable of being marginalized, victim blamed, and dismissed by our systems. My long-term goal is to create social change at a policy level.


Are you looking to someday make systemic change at the policy level? Or perhaps enter into a MSW program down the line? Have you considering applying for a placement site through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps–learn more by clicking the button below.

In a culture that values what people have over what they give, JVC is an opportunity to commit to the dignity and well being of others and let faith ignite in action.