Monday, August 1, 2011

I can face the world

Amy Voege graduated from IMPACT Chicago’s Core Program in May of 2010, and completed the two advanced courses – Defense against Multiple Assailants and Defense against an Armed Rapist – in December 2010 and April 2011, respectively. She joined IMPACT Chicago’s Board of Directors in September of 2010. “Finding IMPACT was a turning point in my life,” she says. “I learned that I didn’t have to live as a victim; that I could choose to face the world as a strong, competent, assertive woman. And I volunteer for IMPACT because I want other women to have the same opportunity.”

Both as a Board member and as a class assistant, Amy enjoys supporting other women as they find their voices, face their fears, and tap their inner strength. “The sense of solidarity and connectedness that develops in each class is amazing. Watching a group of women grow together into empowerment is a beautiful thing.”

In addition to her work with IMPACT Chicago, Amy is actively engaged in human rights advocacy and in animal rescue. She and her four cats – Beebs, Ajax, Achilles, and Subcomandante Marcos -- own a used-book store in rural Michigan, and have embarked on a campaign to spay/neuter and vaccinate their village’s entire population of nearly two hundred feral cats.

Amy says that IMPACT has taught her a great deal about the importance of “on-the-ground” work in changing the world:

“IMPACT Chicago is doing the grueling work of building a culture in which sexual assault and other forms of violence against women and girls are taboo. I believe the IMPACT model of empowering women, one at a time, while enlisting men as allies and supporters, is the way to bring about lasting change. It’s slow, hard work; but eventually it will change the world. And, in the meantime, each woman touched by IMPACT Chicago is a woman whose life is changed for the better.”

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