The Issue

Gender-based violence is any form of violence that is rooted in rigid gender roles that reinforce the power imbalance between men and women. Everyday, girls and women experience some form of gender-based violence – whether at home, at school, at work, in the street, or online. Any time anyone does not conform to what’s expected of their gender, they run the risk of being targets of violence.

Gender-based violence weakens our communities and harms us all. That’s why we work collectively with our members to end gender-based violence and promote equitable relationships. Our work is grounded in a strong understanding of the issue, including the social and economic conditions in which women, LGBTQ people, people of color, people with disabilities, and children are especially vulnerable.

Together, we can create safe and just communities where all people thrive.

About Domestic Violence

An estimated one-third of King County residents will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetimes – and no one is immune to its far-reaching impact. Domestic violence is a pattern of intimidating and coercive behaviors that a person uses to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. You may also have heard it referred to as intimate partner violence or battering. People who are abusive often cause a great deal of physical, emotional, mental, and financial harm to their partners, children, other family members, and to the community as a whole.

Some of the more common forms of domestic violence include:

  • Physical abuse (hitting, pushing, restraining, destroying things, stopping you from leaving)
  • Sexual abuse (unwanted touching, restricting birth control, sexual humiliation, forced sexual acts)
  • Emotional abuse (withholding affection, put-downs, name-calling, intimidation and threats)
  • Psychological abuse (isolation from family and friends, questioning your sanity, stalking, threats of suicide or murder, abusing pets)
  • Economic abuse (controlling your money, not allowing you to work, getting you fired)
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About Sexual Assualt

It is estimated that every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. Sexual assault includes a wide range of sexual behavior or contact that occurs without the clear consent of the recipient. It occurs when a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity. Most sexual abusers or attackers are someone the victim knows and can include intimate partners or family members. Sexual assault is a profound violation of a person’s body, sexuality, sense of self, and right to feel safe.

Behaviors that are defined as sexual assault include:

  • Forced sexual acts
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Child molestation, incest, and/or fondling
  • Coercing sex by using threats to a victim’s social, economic, health, legal, or immigration status
  • Having sexual relations with a person who is unable to consent (i.e., they are impaired, under age of consent, or incapacitated due to a physical, mental or emotional condition)
  • Abusing one’s authority or perceived power to achieve sexual gratification (as in therapist/patient, priest/parishioner, employer/employee, teacher/student)
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About Sex Trafficking

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has received reports of over 14,500 sex trafficking cases inside the United States since 2007. This global problem is a form of slavery, and although you may not be aware of it, it does takes place within our community. Trafficked adults include people who are recruited or obtained for commercial sex by force, fraud, or coercion. Any child who is recruited or obtained for commercial sex is by definition trafficked, regardless of how they got involved. An individual can be involved in a trafficking situation from days to years, and they may be moved from place to place. It is important to note that sex trafficking often intersects with labor trafficking. Many people who are trafficked for their labor are also sexually assaulted, abused, and/or forced into prostitution.

Populations especially vulnerable to sex trafficking in the US include runaway and homeless youth, people who have experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault, refugees from war-torn countries, people exploited on the basis of their immigration status, and people who are subject to discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity.

There are many ways that people can be trafficked, including:

  • Being manipulated or forced into prostitution by an intimate partner
  • Being forced by family members or relatives into selling sex
  • Having someone lure you into a trafficking situation by falsely promising you a job (such as dancing or modeling)
  • Being coerced into sex by violence, threats, lies, and economic bondage (such as saying you can’t leave until you pay back a debt)
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