Activist Spotlight: Jessy Lyons

The YWCA of Greater Cincinnati is one of ESC’s oldest partners on the issue of human trafficking. Julie Goetz, an MSW Fellow with End Slavery Cincinnati, was able to interview Jessy Lyons for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Jessy Lyons, Director of Crisis Intervention and Housing at the YWCA Greater Cincinnati, is one of our partners on the issue of human trafficking. She holds a Master of Arts in Gender Studies from the University of Louisville. Jessy specializes in bridging theory to practice in intimate partner violence prevention and service provision and is passionate about high-impact services for those most at risk. Prior to joining the YWCA, Jessy was Associate Director of Green Dot, etc., a national violence prevention organization focused on bystander intervention strategies.

Q: What led you to this line of work?
A: Initially, I got into anti-violence work because of my commitment to justice. I stayed in this work because along the way I learned that so many people I love have been affected by violence and I cannot let this epidemic continue.

Q: In what ways do domestic violence and human trafficking intersect?
A: It is not uncommon for someone who is abusive to traffic their partner as one form of power and control in the relationship. We also know many people initially enter relationships with their traffickers with the belief that the relationship is romantic and mutual, only to later discover that the trafficker initiated the relationship in order to traffic the other person. Further, domestic violence is one of the most significant risk factors for homelessness for women and sometimes homeless women engage in survival sex which creates a risk for trafficking.

Q: What are some of the common strengths you see in the population you assist?
Our clients are survivors. They are incredibly brave. Leaving an abusive relationship takes a tremendous amount of courage.
A: What is one thing you want everyone to know about domestic violence?
It is 100% preventable.

To learn more about the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, please visit their website here:

Author: Julie Goetz, MSW Fellow


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