Unlike many people after work ends, the last thing Courtney Fyock wants to do when she gets home is talk about her day.
Fyock is the program manager at A Woman’s Place, a first response nonprofit organization located in Bucks County providing 24/7 advocacy and support to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. The organization also offers accompaniment and advocacy for victims during any legal proceedings.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women have been victims of physical violence by a partner in their lifetime.
“It takes a concerted effort to compartmentalize when I leave work,” Fyock said. “I make a point not to rehash my day when I get home with my husband, otherwise it’s just like re-traumatizing. It’s important to take care of yourself mentally, physically, spiritually.”
After graduating from Temple in 2010 with a bachelors’ in political science, Fyock worked for the Salvation Army’s anti-human trafficking program, New Day Drop In Center in Kensington.
The center provides a secure place for women involved in commercial sex work, as well as food, clothing, crisis intervention and counseling.
“It wasn’t ever about reform, it was about providing a safe space,” Fyock said.
Also a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College with a master’s degree in social work, Fyock is pursuing her passion of assisting women in difficult situations.
“Being a woman, I am more sensitive to issues that affect women … I became aware of the challenges and exploitation women face,” she said. “A lot of the time, [women] are treated as disposable in this world. Once I became more aware, it fueled a passion within me.”
Fyock said her education at Temple provided a solid base for her future career path.
“Almost all my courses were surrounding the government and larger political systems,” she said. “Being able to be educated in political science for understanding how systems work is really important to the work I do now because I’m interacting with these systems on a daily basis.”
One of the many challenges Fyock said she often faces in her line of work is lack of resources.
“There’s not enough resources for people who need them and I have to tell my clients, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t connect you with housing, or with assistance,’” she said. “It’s very frustrating when the systems [with which] you’re trying to support the victims fail.”
Fyock added judgment from people in positions of power is another particularly difficult challenge to overcome.
“A lot of times, people think they can’t change the system,” she said. “I’ve become a lot more confident in my ability to advocate for women.”
Fyock’s work has also inspired personal growth within herself by giving her a greater appreciation for what she has.
“It’s made me all around a more compassionate and empathetic person,” she said. “I am given the privilege of being involved with a client in the most vulnerable way. They’ve hit rock bottom and they open up to me and trust me and that’s very humbling.”
In connection to Fyock’s work, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Ways to get involved include volunteering and giving donations to organizations like A Woman’s Place, as well as raising awareness to issues like domestic violence, sexual assault, exploitation and human trafficking.
Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lian_Parsons.