February 27, 2020
Member Spotlight: Voices Against Violence
Voices Against Violence serves victims of crime in Twin Falls and the surrounding areas. Voices serves any person who has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and any victim of crime. We provide clients with emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling, case management, community resources, legal advocacy, support groups and so much more to improve their lives, all of which are free to our clients. We strongly believe in self-determination and let the survivors take control of their choices and lives. We are here to help where we can and provide a listening ear to help them through a hard time.
Last year we helped 1,367 people free themselves from violence, answered 1009 calls for help, provided 6,152 nights of safe shelter, assisted in 98 protection orders, educated 2101 people on services and gathered survivors in 227 support groups in our region and are continuing the hard work into 2020.
Voices Against Violence’s team is empowering and motivating to those who have experienced violence and encourage them to make their own decisions and offer support along the way. We believe in giving the power back to the survivors, to let them be in charge of their future. They know what is best for them, and what they need, we are here to listen.
Currently, Voices Against Violence has been busy lately spreading awareness about Teen Dating Violence in the month of February! Noemi Juarez, our Outreach and Education Coordinator, has been on the local radio and news station explaining the importance of having a conversation with your teens about what a healthy relationship looks like and having open communication with them. Noemi has been educating the local schools, and talking about those difficult topics and making them aware of any toxic behaviors they might see around them, and how to handle it.
Coming up we have Sexual Assault Awareness month in April! We are busily planning different ways of engaging the community and spreading the word. We have a social media campaign running all month long education and bringing awareness to the issue! Follow along with us on Facebook and Instagram! We are also planning on getting out more into the community talking about resources we offer and how to cope with what people have gone through and how to be a supportive friend. We are also planning our 4th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an awareness event where men and women gather together and walk a mile in high heels. This event brings our community together and we stand tall and support our survivors! The event is Saturday, April 25th, 2020 and registration begins at 11:00. We encourage everyone to pre-register on our website www.vamv.org!
To keep up on what we are doing, you can follow us on both Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for our monthly newsletter on our website, www.vamv.org! We love to share our work and what we are doing with the whole state!
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence in the Magic Valley and needs help please reach out to our 24-hour hotline at 208-733-0100, we are here to help and listen. If you are in immediate danger please call 911.
Sexual Assault Civil Protection Order Legislation Stopped for Session
Thank you to all of you that have put in your time and energy advocating for the sexual assault civil protection order bill (House Bill 383). On February 13, 2020, testimony on the bill was heard in the House Judiciary and Rules Committee and it was set for a vote in that committee on Monday, February 17th. During public testimony, programs, organizations, survivors, and allied individuals testified about the importance of this piece of legislation and how it would benefit those who experience sexual assault around the state. We didn’t realize it at the time but found out just how many people were watching the progress of this bill online when we started to get texts and emails during and after the hearing thanking everyone involved for moving this forward.
Unfortunately, on February 17th the bill was pulled from the committee agenda at the last minute and has not been placed back on for a vote. At this time, it is apparent that the bill will be held in committee without a vote and will therefore not move forward this year. We feel it important to let you know what happened to the bill and why there will be no vote.
Over the course of the last week, it has come to our attention that the NRA leveraged what it saw as an opportunity to make changes to the Domestic Violence Protection Act – a section of code not touched by House Bill 383. Initially we conceded to the NRA by making a last-minute change and offering to reprint the bill clarifying that intimate partners must apply for protection under our current Domestic Violence Protection Act. The purpose of this change was to ensure that there would be no impact on the right to own, possess or transport firearms under federal law from orders issued through the proposed code section. However, the NRA continued to demand that the bill sponsors make changes to the definition section in the Domestic Violence Protection Act. This is something the Idaho Coalition strongly opposed given the lack of relation to the underlying piece of legislation and the potential negative impact these changes could have on survivors of domestic violence around the state. We did offer to review the NRA’s suggestions over the summer to assess what the impact would be on survivors, but that the organization was unwilling to stay neutral on the sexual assault CPO bill if we did not make the changes they wanted now. While we find our stance reasonable, some legislators were unwilling to stand up to the NRA to promote the safety of survivors in the Idaho, which means that the bill will be held in committee and not see a vote this year.
That being said, we want to express our deep gratitude to Representative Melissa Wintrow for her strong and unrelenting advocacy and persistence for increasing safety options for survivors of sexual violence in Idaho. Representative Wintrow was key in ensuring that this bill was widely vetted by broad range of stakeholders and that it had the support of programs, prosecutors, law enforcement, public defenders, and so many more.
If you have any questions regarding this bill or other bills making their way through the legislature this session, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Three Things to reach out to me for:
Writing Challenge: Deadline February 28
Idaho middle school/junior high and high school students are invited to create an original poem that tells a story in 100 words or less about Our Collective Future: a future where everyone is valued for their whole authentic selves, everyone is safe, and everyone can thrive. Choose from one of the five prompts – Collective Thriving, Authentic Love, Belonging, Cooperation, or Healing.
Let’s create an emergent genre of stories about the future we want – stories that grasp the struggle that we must undertake, grounded in the reality of our world today and our vision for tomorrow.
Ten students selected to read their story at Tree Fort Music Festival Storyfort. Travel costs covered for student authors and one adult chaperone.
All published works will list the author, teacher, and school. A book of the published works will be distributed to Idaho’s middle/junior high schools and high schools. Make sure your school is represented!
Submit your poems here!
Art Challenge: Deadline March 30
Art connects us to ourselves and each other. Art connects us to ideas and action. Art connects the past, the present and the future. We cannot become what we cannot imagine! Visions of our collective future will connect us to the possibilities of a whole, thriving world.
Idaho middle school/junior high and high school students are invited to create an original piece of visual art that tells a story about Our Collective Future: a future where everyone is valued for their whole authentic selves, everyone is safe, and everyone can thrive.
Submissions should be approximately 8 x 10″ (or any similar ratio) vertical to fit the format of the poetry book for publication.
Submission: Submit your art HERE by March 30th.
Story Circle Challenge: Deadline April 30th
Story Circle’s strengthen community interconnectedness. Hearing each other’s stories and telling our own will help us rediscover and rebuild our relationships to each other and move us towards collective thriving.
Through stories, we expand our capacity for empathy, build authentic connection to others, and cultivate hope for a world rooted in interdependence, resilience, and regeneration.
Learn how to do a Story Circle by downloading the Story Circle Guide.
Idaho middle school/junior high and high school students are invited to participate in a Story Circle and submit an essay (500 words or less) or video (5 minutes or less) reflection on the impact.
All submissions must score over 80 points to be eligible for an award. All individuals, classes or schools who enter the Our Collective Future Story Circle Challenge and score over 80 points will receive a t-shirt!
Submission: Submit your reflections HERE by April 30th.