Pieter Keushkerian is a communications intern at Sanctuary and a student at NYU’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study, where he is majoring in Social and Political Theory relating to Human Rights.
Partnership with BRIC
In August 2016, Sanctuary partnered with BRIC, a community media arts organization based in Brooklyn, to develop a public service announcement. Working with Sanctuary staff members, Andrea Yeriazarian, Program Director of Children and Family Services at the Manhattan Family Justice Center (FJC) and Deborah Lee, Senior Staff Attorney with Sanctuary’s Immigration Intervention Project at the Brooklyn (FJC), members of Sanctuary’s teen girls group shared how domestic violence had impacted their lives and how Sanctuary’s services enabled them to heal and thrive. By sharing their stories, they hoped to raise awareness and encourage other teens to reach out for help.
Thrilled by the success of the first PSA, Sanctuary teamed up with BRIC again this past summer to utilize the organization’s Media Share Grant, an in-kind grant aimed at helping Brooklyn-based and Brooklyn-affiliated nonprofits tell their unique story. Deborah and Andrea received free training and became certified in podcast production with the help of their BRIC mentor, Keisha. Both Andrea and Deborah learned numerous techniques and helpful tricks of the trade from the recording to the editing stages. All of their work culminated in Conversations, Sanctuary’s new client driven podcast. The first of episode can be heard here.
The first episode of Conversations focuses on the extent to which cultural norms impact individual behavior in abusive relationships. It begins with the story of Keziah, a seventeen-year-old survivor of domestic violence and one of the teenagers featured in the PSA. Keziah and her family are long-standing clients of Sanctuary and have received immigration assistance, counseling services, and economic empowerment support over the years. Keziah approached both Andrea and Deborah with the desire to interview other clients and survivors in order to get a better understanding of the origins and consequences of domestic violence.
“Keziah directed us in terms of structuring the podcast, and we were so happy to have been able to help her have this podcast conversation.”
For Sanctuary’s inaugural episode, Keziah chose to host a panel of survivors which included Maria, John and Shantae, all of whom had been affected by domestic violence and gender abuse in one way or another and were eager to share their personal narratives. Their shared perspectives and openness create a warm space in which healing and understanding are encouraged.
The ultimate goal of our new podcast series is to give survivors, who often avoid sharing their stories for fear of revealing their identity, a way to speak out. In Keziah’s words:
“Doing this podcast helped me to stop hiding behind my story. It helped me to realize that I was using my story to define me, and that I really don’t know who I am. It forced me to realize that I need to find myself and use my story to help others instead of hiding.”
Both Andrea and Deborah hope that this new series inspires others who have been impacted by domestic violence to share their stories on this new and exciting platform.