Monthly Archives: April 2013

Stand Against Racism: VAWA’s A Starting Point With Further to Go

Today the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism annual event brings together hundreds of thousands of people across the nation, from all walks of life, to call attention to the legacy of discrimination and raise awareness that racism still exists. In the four days leading up to the Stand Against Racism, we examined how discrimination and institutional racism can block violence survivors from accessing housing services and other resources. We've compiled the series for you here, co-authored by YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish's GirlsFirst and Volunteer Services Coordinator Nanyonjo Mukungu, and YWCA Walla Walla's Communications Coordinator Sara Rasmussen, who became friends while students at Whitman College. Will you take a stand alongside Nanyonjo and Sara? Reading their blog posts is one important way to grow awareness and sharing one or more posts with others is a great way to continue to build that awareness.

Stand Against Racism: What Now?

In our final Stand Against Racism post, Nanyonjo, our YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Americorps volunteer, reflects on her own healing process as a survivor of sexual violence. She found support in her community of friends and two organizations that gave her the tools to understand the importance of personal and community accountability. In Nanyonjo's words, "It is a continuous process to be an ally to a survivor, not an end goal. In order for the process of justice to begin, we must examine the way our own communities further rape culture, victim blaming, and the silencing of survivors." Unfortunately not all survivors of violence receive the same support which too often leads to instability and homelessness. Nan calls us to examine how systems of privilege and oppression shape our everyday lives and work towards a world without domestic and sexual violence.

Stand Against Racism: LGBTQ Community Faces Institutionalized Discrimination

With its expansion and renewal earlier this year, the Violence Against Women Act made an important step in ensuring that its protections and services fully include and extend to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. But changes in the law won't instantly end discrimination against LGBTQ community members and create access to services they need. As YWCA Walla Walla Communications Coordinator Sara Rasmussen points out in this third installment of our Stand Against Racism blog series, we need to continue to shift the cultures of law enforcement, service providers and shelters, amongst staff as well as those they serve, in order to protect and better meet the needs of the LGBTQ community.

Stand Against Racism: Domestic & Sexual Violence Within Communities of Color

"As a black woman aware of the way communities of color are treated by the police, I was afraid of reporting my rape," writes guest blogger Nanyonjo Mukungu. When she did go to the authorities, they refused to report her case. 

This second post in our Stand Against Racism blog series shares Nanyonjo's personal experience of being re-traumatized by police when she tried to seek justice for sexual assault. Her story is not unique; she writes about how violence survivors who already face oppression -- such as racial, class-based and gender expression discrimination -- are at particular risk of being denied victim status. When victims are not treated as such, they face barriers to accessing the resources they need to heal and remain stably housed.

Stand Against Racism: VAWA in Context

This year's reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) will continue to bring the United States closer to decreasing the incidence of and improving the services for domestic violence and sexual assault. The expansion and renewal of VAWA was essential—and it’s great that we can move forward with it. But there are many needs that the law has yet to meet. This post by YWCA Walla Walla Communications Coordinator Sara Rasmussen considers the improvements made in the current version of VAWA, as well as its limitations. Sara also introduces you to our Stand Against Racism blog series, which will examine how discrimination and institutional racism create barriers for violence survivors trying to access housing services and resources.

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