Innovate. Emerging. Trends. New Solutions. Hope.
Safety plans. Lethality assessments. Family Justice Centers. High Risk Teams. Prosecution of offenders with or without victim participation. Coordinated Community Responses (CCR).
When I see the titles and descriptions of conferences, trainings, or webinars to address domestic violence, these are the words I have most often seen in recent years. What you will see is a long list of “innovative” strategies to improve a community’s response to domestic violence or sexual assault. What you rarely hear a speaker start by saying is, “This is what we learned from the victims in our community and this is how we partnered with them to develop this strategy that helped to solve a problem they identified.”
I see this troubling trend developing in the effort to address domestic violence or sexual for three reasons:
When a community seeks to address domestic violence the first source of what should be done to address it in a community should be women who have been battered in that community. Instead, local leaders look for the “solution” outside of their community. There is not a shortage of consultants or trainers who will “sell” a community a solution to ending domestic violence.
I have worked as an advocate, director and trainer to address domestic violence since 1997. In recent years I have seen the voices of too many men and a number of women use domestic violence and sexual assault work to promote themselves, their own business and books, and/or financial reward get louder and the voices and experiences of women who are battered and sexually assaulted minimized. In the United States, women came together as part of a collective social movement to address the inequality they were experiencing and the lack of accountability for men who were beating and killing women with impunity. Women came together to unite their voices in solidarity about their lived experience of violence in their homes, workplace and communities.
Here are a few questions for us to consider and reflect on: