Sheri Hostovsky

Volunteer Coordinator: Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, Our Deaf Sisters Survival Support Project
As Deaf women, we have a right to know what’s going on around us. For so long, we walked around ignorant, but not anymore. Now we want people to know their rights and that it’s okay to speak up and how to protect ourselves against awful or traumatic experiences. I was a victim before in my life, and I learn now how I can become a survivor. And I really want to show others how they can become survivors too.

Born in 1963 in San Francisco, California, Sheri Hostovsky is the only Deaf member of an all-hearing family. Diagnosed at age two, the doctor didn’t know what caused Sheri’s deafness, and her family never learned American Sign Language which is Sheri’s first language. She formed her Deaf identity from a young age, attending the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut from age three to sixteen; being mainstreamed in a public high school in Chicopee, MA; and attending Gallaudet University for a short period of time. Currently, Sheri is an active member of the Deaf community in Central Massachusetts. But Sheri herself is the first person to tell you that her life has not been perfect. Having dealt with addiction and traumatic experiences, Sheri is a strong survivor. As if that weren’t admirable enough, Sheri wants to help other women become survivors, too, especially other deaf women like herself. And she’s doing just that! At the Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts, located in Worcester, Sheri helps with the Our Deaf Sisters Survival Support Project (ODSSSP), an outreach program specifically geared towards educating the Deaf community about sexual assault, and advocating for community members who have been affected. For Sheri, this is not just another job, but a duty to equip all women, both deaf and hearing, with essential knowledge to help protect themselves. In this interview, Sheri’s strength shines through as she discusses her pride in her Deaf identity, her strength at overcoming obstacles, and her desire to help other women.

Interview Date: 
February 12, 2009