November 17, 2016
What happened during our time together? We built relationships and shared our stories. We discovered common threads in our purpose and the value of each one of us on this journey. So why was our time together important? We are creating a network to build support for one another. We are finding strength and solidarity in greater numbers. We are willing to struggle together and understand our responsibility to future generations. Now what? We will move together to do all we can in each of our communities to bring about social change.
Your commitment to social change is more important than ever. In this moment in time, it is not about two parties or two ideologies, it is about hate and fear of difference that is giving rise to anger and violence. It is about a climate that will have a chilling effect on survivors who are undocumented, Muslim, or any group targeted by the hate and fear of difference.
Begin by gathering in your home, program and community to talk about what is important to you. At the Idaho Coalition, we define who we are by our values – compassion, interconnectedness, leading boldly, social equity and collective liberation. We believe these are the values that are needed to unlock our full humanity.
We understand what is at stake when we create the conditions for domination and violence – individuals, families and communities are harmed. Under several federal statutes, including the Violence Against Women Act, that mandates all of us to provide meaningful access to life saving services to marginalized and under served communities. Consider whether conditions in your communities will require a more proactive outreach to marginalized communities to overcome the chilling effect. With the rising threat of immeasurable harm and violence against survivors who are undocumented immigrants, Muslims, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, for girls and women and people who are gender nonconforming, the refugee community, Native Americans, reproductive rights, individuals with disabilities, and the environment, we need to focus our collective thinking on safety and strategy for targeted communities and issues and identify how we can be showing up for one another. We must interrupt hateful harassment or intimidation or violent acts. Directly intervene if it is safe to do so, go get help, or create a distraction.
With so many communities and issues targeted, now more than ever we need to be in it together.
In deep solidarity,
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
During this time of national uncertainty, we have found it vital to create space for staff who are impacted personally or who have family members who are impacted. We encourage you to create space in your programs to acknowledge the grief and impact on these individuals. Trying to reassure people can do harm by diminishing their experience. Listening, sharing workload and actively learning about the issues and how to support each other can deepen our alliances. We are all learning how to show up for each other in more meaningful ways. Now is the time to lean in, be present, and listen openly with humility and love.
Safety planning is an individualized plan that identifies specific strategies and interventions that may increase an individual’s safety. When working with individuals who have been sexually assaulted, these strategies should focus on both physical and emotional safety as well as meeting victim’s basic human needs. Remember, safety planning is continuous and not a one-time process!
Advocates can discuss many of these issues with sexual assault survivors but then may need to refer the individual to an attorney to assist with civil legal needs. Important issues to consider when working with individuals who have been impacted by sexual assault include:
Physical Safety: Accommodations may be needed at home, work, or school. Safety should also be discussed regarding specific situations posed by the individual who harmed them.
Privacy: What private information may be made public if a victim comes forward to her school, her employment or to the criminal justice system? How can confidential records be protected?
Education: Is the individual who has been impacted by sexual assault having issues with attending school, grades, financial aid or housing?
Employment: Are changes needed at work such as switching schedules or locations or taking time off? Are there options for leave of absence, unemployment insurance or dismissal of the perpetrator?
Housing: Does an individual’s residence need to be changed? Are there options for approaching a landlord or terminating a lease?
Financial security: Are there unpaid bills from the assault? Are there options for victim’s compensation, public benefits or holding the perpetrator liable?
The Idaho Coalition currently has a grant to assist individuals ages 11-25 with free civil legal representation if they have a civil legal need arising from the sexual assault. Please contact Jennifer or Kelly for information on accessing civil legal assistance for an individual who has been impacted by sexual assault. For more information on safety planning, please contact Jennifer.
Please join us in welcoming two new Idaho Coalition staff members, Jennifer Martinez and Estefania Mondragon!
Jennifer will be working on youth organizing and providing technical assistance and capacity building on working with marginalized communities. Estefania will also be providing assistance with youth organizing and social change efforts alongside marginalized communities. You can reach Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org and Estefania at email@example.com. We so appreciate their contributions to the Idaho Coalition.
Make the Time and Space to Think Big
Sometimes in our daily work routine, we get so caught up in the never-ending tasks at hand that we don’t have the spaciousness to step back and think big; to reflect on the world we are trying to create. To be a powerful movement for social change, we need to have a clear vision of where we are trying to get TO in order to develop strategies for how to get there.
Actively schedule a big chunk of time to get your best big picture thinking. Start with 30-60 minutes to think about the world you are trying to create and how your current work drives toward that purpose –and note where it doesn’t! You might find opportunities to be your most impactful by eliminating projects that don’t serve your purpose!
Deepen Your Practice
Do this activity with your colleagues and share what your powerful visions entail!
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Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order.
The Quick Reference for Member Programs: Idaho Coalition Staff, is an overview of some of the ways the Idaho Coalition staff can support your program and includes individual staff contact information.