United We Are a Force, and Individually We are W.O.N.
Image Courtesy of Stephanie M. Brooks
Women of Note celebrates the unique talents of women of Hampton Roads and seeks to raise awareness of issues women face in the 21st century. We are well aware of the many hats women wear throughout the day as well as throughout their lives and we would like to give women the opportunity to share their experiences juggling these with our community. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire others, learn from their perspectives, and foster a dialogue that creates solutions. Today we spot light Stephanie M. Brooks.
Affiliation(s) (past and present):
Worked at Samaritan House for 7 years with survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault and homelessness.
How long have you been (working in/participating in) your field? How did you get into it?
I've been in the human services field for as long as I have been working. I have been in the field 15 years now.
How long have you been working/ living in in Hampton Roads?
I have just celebrated 8 years living in Hampton roads on September 13th, 2021.
What advice would you give young women going into your field?
Going into the human services field you will learn that we are a woman dominated field. Be the woman that stands out, learn early to take selfcare seriously to avoid burn out and so that your clientele always get the best you that you can be. Never stop learning, if you work with people you MUST remain teachable.
Does your gender influence your relationship to your work? In what way?
My gender certainly influences my relationship to my work. I am an adult survivor of sexual abuse, I have experienced homelessness and my heart yearns to show other women that we can live learn and thrive beyond what statistics say we should be as adult survivors of child sexual abuse.
Have you faced challenges in your field because of your gender or have you found your gender to be an asset? What kinds of challenges or advantages, and how have they affected your life?
The biggest challenge I have faced in my field has been serving men. Men are hard to serve when facing challenges of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and they often come with a deeper level of shame because society says they are to be the heroes, providers, and protectors, so when they suffer abuse or homelessness there is an extra layer of empathy and care that comes with it.
Has parenthood impacted your career or shaped your perspective as a professional? In what ways?
Being a mother has impacted my career and shaped my perspective as a professional. As a mother of two young sons I want to raise gentlemen. I don’t believe “boys will be boys”. I believe that if we pour into our boys that they will become amazing men. I also believe that being a mother helps the clientele I serve see that if they choose to, they are capable of working and raising children at the same time.
What accomplishment is your greatest triumph?
My greatest triumph has been producing a non-clinical healing journal for adult survivors of sexual abuse. It's called A Survivors Praise Journal.
What has been your greatest challenge and what have you learned from it?
My biggest challenge has been coming to terms with injustices. I don’t mean that I will never stop fighting or advocating for the folks I am fortunate enough to serve, but learning what battles to fight and when has been a challenge. Instead I have learned to try and equip my clients and my families for what we know is inevitable.
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