Yessica Gonzalez-Hernandez

SARC

Position: Newly appointed Fort Lee Garrison Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. The office is located at 3312 A Avenue, Room 333. Her phone numbers are 804-734-7083 (desk) and 804-479-5193 (cell).

Hometown: Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico

Length of federal service and at current position: Fourteen years federal service, six of those in the SHARP Program.

Duties: “My work is focused on all aspects of sexual violence response and prevention for the garrison, with the exception of sexual harassment complaints for civilians, which are still processed by the EEO team. I am an advocate for those who have been impacted by sexual assault, and I process sexual harassment complaints for military service members. I advise the garrison command teams on policies that govern sexual violence prevention and response. My position also has an education component where I facilitate training and outreach events to educate the community on sexual response and prevention.”

What aspect of your job do you think will challenge you most? “Working with those impacted by sexual violence is very fulfilling; however, the challenge is to maintain resilience and keep up with self-care. For those in the helping field, self-care is important and often easy to overlook.”

What do you love most about this job? “Being part of the solution. I am one of the blessed individuals who gets to do exactly what I want for a living. It really doesn’t get any better. I am passionate about anti-violence and working to build safe, resilient and respectful communities. The prevention part of this work is what gets me up in the morning. My perspective is the more education and community outreach we do, the less sexual violence we will see. Leaders at all levels have a part to play in the prevention effort, and I am excited to bring tools to the team as we find creative ways to attack this issue.”

            What will people experience when they come to you? “Genuine care and professionalism – especially for survivors who need my assistance. I strive to create a trauma-informed space and let the person guide the services he or she needs. I am there to facilitate a process that can often be complicated, especially under traumatic circumstances. I want those I work with to feel confident I can be part of their support system on the path to survivorship and thriving.”

            Biggest personal accomplishment: “Completing my Master’s Degree in Public Administration. I was determined to do it and, with the support of many, I completed it in 2018.”

One life-changing moment: “Air Force Basic Training in July 1996.”

Favorite pastime: “I love visiting new restaurants and taking road trips that often end up leading to restaurants.”

Describe your personality: “ESFJ (one of 16 character types determined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). I have been tested three times, and it has not changed. For those not familiar with the MBTI profiles – this one is described as: warm, appreciative, organized, outgoing, realistic, loyal and supportive. I would say that wraps up much of my personality – just left out fun! I like to have fun. It balances the heavy nature of my work.”

Who do you admire most? “My mother. She is an amazing, strong, resilient woman who has always supported me. I cannot appreciate her more.”

Biggest pet peeve: “The phrase, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’”

The talent you’d most like to have: “Strategic thinking. It’s a talent that comes naturally to some and has to be more developed for others. I want to strengthen my ability to problem solve at that level.”

The celebrity or historical figure you’d most like to meet and why: “I would like to meet Sonia Sotomayor. I remember when she was sworn in to the Supreme Court in August 2009 as the first Latina to serve in the position. I have followed her work, and it would be an honor to meet her.

Favorite quote or saying: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

What would surprise people to know about you: “I do not know how to ride a bike.”

If you could do anything, anywhere right now, what would that be? “I would find a vaccine for COVID-19.”

If you won the lottery …:“I would pay off my mortgage and make sure my family members had what they needed. From what was left, I would save half to live, travel and invest. I would take the other half and create a fund to help local non-profits do amazing work in the community.”

Your future plans: “If you asked me six months ago, I would have said my future plans were to be appointed as a SARC. Now that I have gotten this opportunity, many of my future plans surround my work. I am excited to build on the great things that have already been done. I look forward to working with my team and collaborating with other agencies at Fort Lee and the surrounding community.”