Volunteers’ Week 2017

Rape Crisis praises essential work of its volunteers

Robina Ahmad, Helpline Volunteer

I started volunteering for Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland (RCTN) in October 2012, my children were getting older and I was keen to give back to society, I heard about RCTN though my sister-in-law and decided to go for it.

At the time, I was very aware of how rape is such a taboo subject in my culture; it is rarely talked about openly and I remember family and friends gently trying to dissuade me from volunteering. The more and more I thought about it though, the more I just felt compelled to give my time and support. I came to the conclusion that whether it is someone is suffering from violence, abuse, sexual abuse or sexual violence, my aim is to support them and I relish this challenge.

Supporting women on the helpline requires you to be non-judgmental, a good listener and an empathic person, I pride myself on these qualities. If I can be a lamp, a lifeboat or a ladder for some then I can contribute to helping someone heal – I hope to have a positive impact on their well-being and outlook on life. It is this meaningful engagement that makes volunteering such an important part of my life.

“It’s not just having the time to volunteer, it’s having the heart…”

Through volunteering I have learned so much from the women I have met and encountered; women who face multiple layers of oppression due to their backgrounds, cultures, circumstances, being controlled, dictated to as well as being undervalued both mentally and physically. Connecting with these women is very important to me; I would like to think by volunteering we provide the glue that holds the community and the survivors together, in order to lead their lives. I am proud to be part of and involved with RCTN.

Volunteering is said to improve physical health, emotional health, increase feelings of well-being and much more. I can certainly agree with that, working with diverse nationalities, cultures, races, languages and with such selfless, caring people, in a positive environment really does help to make the world a better place.

By volunteering you can make a difference, you can have a positive impact on your community.  I’m not saying you can make all the problems go away, but a little something is better than nothing, and we can all do a little something.