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Only 164 days before the start of DVAM 2019...

Awareness + Action = Social Change: How a bold and courageous social justice approach can help heal and re-energize our movement

by Patty Branco, Senior Technical Assistance & Resource Specialist for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

This October, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) is building upon conversations from 2015 around Awareness + Action = Social Change by offering key awareness activities and action steps for propelling us forward together.

We are elevating the voices of survivors, lifting up resiliency and healing as a 
transformative response to domestic violence, supporting self-care in advocacy, revisiting the passion that fuels our movement, and embracing new directions for bold and intentional social change work. Learn more!

Elevating the experiences of survivors. Recognizing domestic violence in its many forms is critical if we are to take action to effectively address and prevent it. Throughout October, our #ThisIsDV social media campaign will amplify the voices of survivors to help validate and name their experiences and raise awareness about the multifaceted nature of domestic violence.

As we listen to the voices of survivors, we recognize that domestic violence is linked to a web of oppressive systems such as racism, xenophobia, classism, ableism, sexism, and homophobia, and that violence disproportionately affects women, children, and other marginalized groups (see “Why is it important to bring a racial justice framework to our efforts to end domestic violence?”). Experiencing multiple forms of oppression increases one’s vulnerability to violence, and can make it more challenging for victims to find help and support that is culturally responsive to their individual needs. 

Our responses to domestic violence must account for the most marginalized populations and their safety and self-determination needs. Grassroots networks and organizations such as INCITE!, the Third Eye Collective and Creative Interventions remind us of the limitations of our mainstream systems (e.g., criminal justice system, shelter system) in meeting the needs of survivors of color, especially women, gender non-conforming, and trans individuals. These organizations also envision and create models that support alternative community-based, non-state interventions to domestic violence. This October and beyond, NRCDV will bring these conversations to the forefront of our work and focus its attention on the importance of holistic strategies for addressing domestic violence that take into consideration the lived experiences of all survivors and an intersectionality framework (see “Why intersectionality can’t wait” by Kimberlé Crenshaw).

 

“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
- Audre Lorde

 

Lifting up resiliency and healing. As we engage in the very important work of promoting social change and justice, we must commit to our individual and collective healing. Our histories of trauma – whether those experiences are historic or current, individual or collective – can hinder our ability to build relationships, envision a future without violence, and access our collective power to bring about social change and justice (Generation FIVE, 2007; Garrigues, 2013). Understanding trauma and promoting healing and resilience are therefore critical to increasing our collective power and wellness as a social movement.

During this year’s National Call of Unity: Healing the Heart of the Movement we will lift up resiliency and wellness as a transformative response to violence and trauma as we shed light on the pain that continues to exist in our communities and how this pain permeates our work. In addition, VAWnet’s TA Question of the Month, “Why is healing from collective trauma critical for our social justice efforts?”, offers a detailed discussion of how collective trauma can disable our collective power as a social movement and how collective resilience can support advocates, healers, activists and community organizers in our efforts against systemic violence and oppression. 

 

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
- Audre Lorde

 

Supporting self-care in advocacy. As advocates, we are exposed to trauma on a daily basis through the stories of the survivors that we work with and the violence experienced in our communities. This constant exposure to trauma can take a toll on our health and wellbeing. The upcoming webinar, Keeping Your Cup Full: Self-Care is Essential to Trauma Informed Advocacy, will offer strategies for dealing with daily work-related stress, increase awareness of the issue of vicarious trauma, and provide ideas in order to gain organizational support to help sustain and support those working with survivors of trauma. For additional guidance on developing self-care strategies, please access VAWnet’s post, “How can victim advocates find balance when caring for themselves and supporting victims of gender-based violence?”

Revisiting the passion that fuels our movement. Our movement to end domestic violence is rooted in social justice and fueled by passion. Maintaining our passion for this work over the long haul requires more than resisting vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue through self-care practices. It requires that we remain fully engaged and connected to others and to the spirit of social justice. It is also reliant on our genuine openness to embrace the unknown, as well as the personal transformations that we may experience in the course of this difficult work. How do you keep your passion alive? What does the movement mean to you? Share your inspiration at #WhyICare, and join the #WhyICare Twitter Chat to help us honor our history, discover our present, and explore our future with renewed passion. 

 

“Our dreams are rooted in the wisdom of the past, with awareness of the present, and hope for the future.”
- Movement Strategy Center, 2016

 

Embracing new directions for bold and intentional social change work. “Transformative movement builders are guided by a vision that is audacious and bold enough to unite diverse movements in building the world we actually need” (Movement Strategy Center, 2016). As a movement to end gender-based violence, we know that our work intersects with other social justice movements, and we recognize the importance of creating meaningful partnerships with both traditional and new allies in order to end domestic violence and contribute to the health and well being of all communities.

Join the webinar, Girls for Gender Equity: Centering Girls of Color within the Racial and Gender Justice Movement of the 21st Century, hosted by PreventIPV.org and get inspired and activated as Joanne N. Smith, Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equity and Kelly Miller, Executive Director of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, share their radical and visionary approaches to promoting racial and gender justice and the critical importance it has to addressing and preventing domestic and sexual violence.

 

“Transformative movements recognize that we are whole people, our communities are whole, and because the issues and problems are interconnected our systemic solutions and movements must be as well.” 
- Movement Strategy Center, 2016

 

Through this month’s events and activities, we emphasize the importance of embracing an intersectional approach to preventing gender-based violence. By broadening our social justice framework, we acknowledge the role of power, oppression and privilege in perpetuating violence in our culture and commit to working to dismantle these constructs at the individual, community, and societal levels (see Awareness + Action = Social Change: Why racial justice matters in the prevention equation for more information). 

 

Join us!

#ThisIsDV Campaign
Throughout October
Follow @NationalDVAM and join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook at #DVAM2016 #ThisIsDV

National Call of Unity: Healing the Heart of the Movement
Tuesday, October 4th at 3:00-3:45pm Eastern / 12:00-12:45pm Pacific
Dial (877) 594–8353, passcode 924-42-288# to join the call

Webinar: Keeping Your Cup Full: Self-Care is Essential to Trauma Informed Advocacy
Tuesday, October 11 at 3:00-4:30pm Eastern / 12:00-1:30pm Pacific
Register: https://bwjp.ilinc.com/register/httykmp

#WhyICare Campaign & Twitter Chat
Tuesday, October 18th at 3pm Eastern
Follow @NationalDVAM and join the conversation on Twitter at #DVAM2016 #WhyICare

Webinar: Girls for Gender Equity: Centering Girls of Color within the Racial and Gender Justice Movement of the 21st Century
Tuesday, October 25 at 3:00-4:30pm Eastern / 12:00-1:30pm Pacific
Register: https://bwjp.ilinc.com/register/kfctzjm