Award recognizes individuals “doing exceptional work to end sexual violence”
The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s (NJCASA) Capacity Building Specialist Devin Rojas, MS, MSW received the Shining Star Award from Healing Wounds, a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization that offers services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Learning firsthand the ways systems fail survivors, and the ways that helping systems are so often inaccessible to so many of us, is what motivates me to work toward creating responsive, inclusive, and empathetic system responses for all survivors,” Rojas said during her remarks at the award ceremony.
“My personal experience has become my professional experience. I try to bring the voices of those who are not heard, survivors whose stories are not told, to the conversation,” she continued.
“During her time with NJCASA, Devin has demonstrated a fierce commitment to dismantling the systems that work to uphold violence and oppression in all its forms and to ensuring all survivors have the support they need in the aftermath of violence,” said NJCASA’s Executive Director Patricia Teffenhart. “Saturday was an expression of appreciation by many of Devin’s past and current colleagues for the impact she has made in this movement.”
The Healing Wounds Awards Gala “celebrates survivors of sexual violence and advocates in the movement to end sexual violence.” The award “recognizes individuals who have made a positive influence within their community by overcoming sexual violence and thriving to a place of being able to share their experiences in order to bring hope to others,” according to the organization.
At NJCASA, Rojas’ work focuses on strengthening systems that have historically been challenging for survivors to navigate and developing survivor-serving organizations to be safe, accessible, and responsive for all survivors. She revised and updated the statewide 40-hour Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate (CSVA) curriculum; developed and implemented an evaluation of New Jersey’s 21 county-based sexual violence hotlines; developed #AtTheIntersections, an online public education campaign exploring the intersections of sexual violence and oppression; and provides ongoing training to N.J.’s sexual violence programs to create more inclusive and expansive sexual violence services.
Rojas has spent 15 years in the anti-violence movement, both as a volunteer and professional. Prior to her role at NJCASA, she provided services to survivors of domestic violence and worked on domestic and sexual violence response with the San Antonio Police Department, U.S. Army, and New Jersey’s Department of Child Protection and Permanency.