Thursday, June 18, 2009

An Interview With Inspiring Advocate Angela Jensen

(originally posted 03/08 at wordpress)


by Jennifer Collier

I often feel that I am living in a socially disconnected culture where individual ambition outweighs the broader social needs of the community. In moments like these, I draw inspiration from individuals who devote their lives to helping others. PSU’s Interpersonal Violence Advocate, Angela Jensen, was able to reinvigorate my optimism when she took time out of her busy day to tell me about the work that she does at PSU.

Angela has been the Interpersonal Violence Advocate at PSU for two years, and she is in the process of completing her MA in Social Work. She describes how her focus has always been on women and children. Before working for the IPV program she worked with teen mothers and the Head Start program. When she is finished with her MA her aspirations are to continue working with women.

As the Coordinator of the Interpersonal Violence Education and Advocacy Program, Angela works directly with interpersonal violence and sexual assault victims at PSU. When victims come to her she allows them to tell their story in a non-judgmental, safe environment. Once a victim has defined her needs, Angela sets out to help provide her with the resources she needs. Angela provides what she described to me as a “buffer” between the victim and other agencies so that the victim will not have to continually re-tell her story or deal with various strangers to get help. Angela accompanies victims to court or medical appointments if this is what their needs require. She views every woman that comes to her as and individual with needs that vary by circumstance.

Another part of Angela’s work involves developing policies with the Interpersonal Violence Task Force. The IPV Task Force includes various PSU departments and professional agencies in

Portland. Angela facilitates the communication between all of these groups and makes sure that each group has a mutual understanding of where the other is coming from. Angela emphasizes that her overall goal is to “provide the best possible services for survivors.” Without an advocate such as Angela, many victims would fall through the cracks and find themselves alone, blamed, criticized, or ignored. She makes sure that victims looking for help don’t have to endure these kinds of injustices when they reach out for help. Angela’s dedication to her work reminds me of the critical role that caring individuals can play in the lives of others, and the positive impact that women advocating for other women can have at PSU and in the larger community. For interpersonal violence questions or concerns Angela Jensen can be reached by phone at 503-725-5605 or through email at

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