Community As Solution
“I am not proposing that sexual violence and domestic violence will no longer exist…I am proposing that we break through the shame of survivors and the victim-blaming ideology shared by all of us so that survivors can gain support from people already in their lives… I am proposing that all of the folks that have been disappointed by systems work together to create alternative systems.”
-Rebecca Farr, Communities Against Rape and Abuse
This past year, the Coalition increased our focus on community engagement in the response to—and prevention of—gender-based violence. We believe a continuum of strategies is needed to address gender-based violence: from services and legal remedies, to community engagement, prevention work, and more.
The Coalition is particularly interested in promoting alternatives to criminalization and incarceration, and on mitigating the negative effects they have on survivors and communities. In a political climate of state-sanctioned racism and increased violence towards every marginalized community, it’s imperative that we work to dismantle the belief that the criminal legal system is the only way to support survivors, communities and people that cause harm. This is especially important given that state violence is an unfortunate reality of survivors’ lives that compounds the trauma of domestic and sexual violence. According to a recently published Survived and Punished Toolkit, “Black people are incarcerated in state prisons five times the rate of white people (in some states, the rate is 10:1), and up to 94% of some women’s prisons populations are survivors of sexual assault of physical abuse.” They then ask, “How does the criminalization of our communities shape our vision of what anti-violence work should look like?”
Since February 2017, DeAnn Alcantara Thompson has led the Coalition’s efforts to raise awareness of transformative justice through workshops, roundtable discussions, and direct conversations with member programs. Two of this year’s quarterly Shop Talks centered prevention and transformative justice efforts. Just a few weeks ago, we held a workshop for community members who are actively engaged in transformative justice practices. In November, we will hold a roundtable discussion for member programs less familiar with these issues (learn more and RSVP here).
Though the Coalition will not be involved on a programmatic development level or by consulting on specific cases, we will continue supporting the transformative justice work that’s already happening, researching transformative justice efforts locally and nationally, and raising the visibility of transformative justice solutions. Check out the resources below or email DeAnn to learn more about transformative justice work.
+Audio Clip examples of transformative justice work, from Creative Interventions, a National leader in this arena
+Why survivors might not turn to the law enforcement or courts: