Celebrating Graduation by Supporting Survivors

Hello! I’m celebrating finishing my Master’s of Social Work degree this May and I’m pretty bummed that I can not mark this achievement in person with my friends and family due to COVID-19. BUT I have an idea to mark the significance of this event in my life: I would like to raise $500 to donate to the domestic violence shelter that I began volunteering at while working towards my degree. That is $100 for every year it took me to get my MSW and will also provide one week of 24/7 helpline coverage. UPDATE: after quickly reaching the $500 goal I have decided to increase my goal to $1,000. I will be making my donation on May 10th, which is the day the MSW celebration would have taken place.

Part of the reason I was drawn to the field of social work is my desire to support survivors and victims of gender based violence. Through my course work at UW-Madison and answering the helpline at Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) I have been able to learn about the work that needs to be done to support survivors and prevent future violence.

Domestic violence is one of the biggest public health crises that we face and it is largely not talked about. 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime (source: National Domestic Violence Hotline). This statistic is only measuring “severe physical violence” and there are many other forms of violence that are much more difficult to track and study. It is also important to note that communities of color and queer folks face even higher rates of violence. Domestic violence impacts everyone.

DAIS  is an excellent organization that does great work in Dane county. They are the ONLY domestic abuse shelter in Dane County and houses survivors and children of all genders. They rely on donations and community support to keep their work going. DAIS has reported an increased need for their services due to the Safer at Home order that has taken place in Wisconsin, making the need to support victims and survivors even bigger than before. The DAIS helpline is available 24/7 to support callers in Dane county and beyond (608) 251-4445.

I would greatly appreciate any donation that you are able to make. Anything from $1 and beyond will help me reach my goal and most importantly support survivors in Dane county. If you are not able to donate (hi, hello there fellow fresh grads) it would be awesome if you could share my campaign on social media or send it to your friends and family.

Thank you for helping me celebrate grad school and congratulations to all my classmates. On Wisconsin!


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Sarah Johnson 
Madison, WI
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