The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence strongly urges the House Ethics Committee to recommend the expulsion of Representative David Stringer. This is based on Representative Stringer’s racist comments and lack of transparency around previous sex offense indictments. The people of Arizona deserve leadership that instills faith and integrity in the state legislature. This requires high ethical standards and a commitment to represent all constituents. If citizens and survivors cannot trust that sexual and domestic violence related issues will be met without bias or dishonesty, it lessens their confidence in the ability of the State to appropriately respond to community needs in situations of violence. This is especially true for survivors of color, who face significant barriers reporting sexual and domestic violence victimization and accessing appropriate services due to systemic racism and prejudice. It is our hope the House Ethics Committee works swiftly and decisively to restore faith in the integrity of the House of Representatives.
The deadline to submit comments on the proposed Title IX changes has been pushed back to January 30, 2019. In order to do a last push for public comments on this important issue, please review the information below on the proposed changes to Title IX and use the sample tweets to get others to submit comments during our ACESDV Tweetstorm January 28 at noon!
These proposed Title IX changes hurt survivors:
- By limiting the definition of sexual harassment to the point where survivors experiences will be discounted unless they experience endure severe, repeated, or escalating harassment which denies students their schooling and impacts their futures. This means that, under the proposed new definition, schools will be held to a lesser standard in addressing the harassment of students-including minors-under its care than addressing harassment of adult employees.
- Sexual harassment and assault is already widely under-reported. By limiting who can receive a report, students are forced to seek out an authority figure they may never have met and may not be easily accessible. This forces the survivor to discuss the worst experience of their lives to a stranger instead of a school employee with which there may be previous rapport. This is likely to further decrease the amount of reports creating an unsafe overall environment.
- By increasing the burden of proof through setting a higher standard than preponderance of the evidence, the proposed changes tilts proceedings to unfairly benefit respondents, making it even more difficult for those reporting abuse to attain safety.
- By allowing third party cross examinations that creates gross inequities if one party can afford a lawyer and the other cannot.
- By ignoring assault and harassment that happens off campus by students, survivors will have less options and support to deal with the experience caused by a fellow student. This is especially true since 87% of students live off campus. 41% of college sexual assaults involve off-campus parties. Only 8% of rapes occur on school property (NWLC, 2018)
Please join us for our tweetstorm to encourage others to comment on these proposed changes. You can use these sample tweets as a guide:
The administration wants to limit reporting. Tell them no! Survivor’s voices need to be heard #handsoffix #ProtectTitleIX
The proposed TitleIX changes will make schools less responsive to sexual harassment of students then their employees. Stop these changes. #ProtectTitleIX acesdv.org.
Send a message to the administration that the proposed changes to TitleIX make things worse not better for those experiencing campus sexual assault #ProtectTitleIX #HandsoffIX
Campus sexual assault survivors already do not feel safe reporting. The administration wants to make that worse. Stop them #ProtectTitleIX Learn how: HandsOffIX.org
Tell this administration that you #BelieveSurvivors. Submit a comment on the proposed changed to #ProtectTitleIX. Learn more at HandsOffIX.org
Tell the administration it’s time to stop investing on backwards false solutions like their proposed changes to TitleIX. #ProtectTitleIX. Learn more acesdv.org/civicengagenment.
The administration wants to bring the bad days of “boys will be boys” back to campuses with proposed rules changes on Title IX. #ProtectTitleIX by telling them no Learn more acesdv.org/civicengagenment.
With only a couple of days left it is important to make your voice heard by submitting a comment on her proposed Title IX rule. #ProtectTitleIX Learn how: HandsOffIX.org
Our partners at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence shared this helpful FAQ on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Shutdown:
With VAWA technically expiring at the same time as the government shutdown, we have noticed that there is some confusion and misinformation about the impact of these two events. Please see below for clarification.
Does VAWA funding run out in a shutdown?
Technically no, but problems may arise with accessing funds if the shutdown lasts. The Administration is on a reduced staff during a shutdown. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will stay open until further notice. If the shutdown extends beyond that time, it will be challenging for organizations dependent on VAWA funds to access those funds. This could mean that victims cannot access lifesaving services if the shutdown continues for any length of time.
VAWA expired when the Continuing Resolution expired. What does that mean for the protections and programs in the law?
We have worked for two years with Congress to urge passage of a Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act that would provide critical enhancements and improvements to the law. The law technically expired on December 21st. The protections enshrined in VAWA, however, continue to exist despite its expiration.
The funding will very likely continue, once an FY 2019 funding bill is complete. VAWA funds would have been safe in a continuing resolution like the Senate passed.
The government shutdown, not the lapse in authorization, is the most significant threat to continued VAWA funds.
What should Congress do?
The most urgent issue for victim service providers and the survivors they serve is access to continued grant funds. Congress must pass a funding bill (like the Senate passed on December 20th) that extends government funding until February 8, 2019. The President and Congress must end the shutdown to ensure continued access to lifesaving services.
When they return for the 116th Congress, Members of Congress should begin work on a bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to build on current protections and increase access to justice and safety for all survivors.
Can I do anything?
Feel free to weigh in on the shutdown with your Members of Congress and reassure survivors that they will have access to services for now. Contact NAESV if you have any questions.
At a survivor speakout we hosted this year, a survivor of sexual violence said these powerful words about sexual and domestic violence survivors: “We are told we should be silent when it’s inconvenient for those in power.” It’s true there is a long legacy in the United States of silencing, shaming, and ignoring the voices of domestic and sexual violence survivors. Yet, in 2018, the world watched as survivors refused to be silenced at an unprecedented scale, and the sexual and domestic violence community both in Arizona and nationwide stood with survivors and elevated their voices.
The momentum of the #MeToo Movement continued into 2018, where we witnessed the issue of sexual violence get both local and national attention, beginning with numerous Arizona women coming forward publicly with sexual harassment claims against former Representative Don Shooter, and ending with the dramatic Senate Judiciary Hearing with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In both instances, we were inspired by the courage, resiliency, and tenacity of survivors who refused to be silenced, who advocated for change, and who came together to support each other with love and compassion.
In response to these situations, ACESDV stood with survivors fighting to keep perpetrators out of positions of political power. We held survivor speakouts and solidarity circles, provided advocacy and referrals to survivors through our Sexual and Domestic Violence Services Helpline, and engaged in community actions and media interviews demanding accountability for perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence. We watched as the experiences of survivors were dismissed and disbelieved, reinforcing the continued need for advocacy and education. We are guided by the wise words of a survivor speaking in a solidarity circle during the hearing of Judge Kavanaugh: “Feel your anger and your sadness, in that – is your power.”
In 2018, we were dedicated to using our power to address the roots of violence and transform our society into one centered around equity, diversity, interconnectedness, and fierce love. We know if we want to end sexual and domestic violence, we must engage men, stand with survivors of color, and empower youth. Accordingly, 2018 was the founding year of our Men Against Patriarchy and Oppression (MAPO) Committee, a male-led workgroup focused on ending toxic masculinity, changing harmful gender norms, and providing new avenues for men to get involved in the movement to end gendered violence. It was also the first year of our Youth Advocates Institute, a youth-led initiative building youths’ leadership and advocacy skills in order to promote culture change and healthy relationships among their peers. In addition, ACESDV worked with grassroots partners to build community capacity to connect LGBTQ migrant survivors and immigrant survivors with services, and educate community members about consent, bystander intervention, and healthy sexuality.
Over the past year, we were reminded more than ever how important it is to stand with survivors and continue the fight to end sexual and domestic violence. We are incredibly grateful to do this work. While our efforts can sometimes seem daunting, ACESDV is dedicated to supporting survivors and centering their experiences to create meaningful social change. We need your help to do so. In the powerful words of one sexual assault survivor: “We have to fight for compassion, love, and support in a world where it’s dying.”
With your gift, you are sending a message that you too #BelieveSurvivors and will continue to be in solidarity with the 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men who have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, and the 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men who have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
Other ways your gift can help:
$35 enables one Victim Services Specialist to spend one hour on the phone with a survivor of sexual or domestic violence.
$50 supports one hour of public policy advocacy at the Arizona State Capitol.
$100 sends one domestic violence advocate to the 40-Hour Sharing Experience domestic violence training.
$250 sponsors materials for the Young Advocates Institute Southwest youth-led social justice camp.
$500 supports travel assistance for one rural ACESDV member program to attend a training.
$1000 sponsors an entire 5-day Sexual Violence Core Advocacy Training.
Consider purchasing a paper peace dove through the Gift of Peace Campaign at Jacksons Car Wash and Food Stores throughout the Metro Phoenix area through December 25th. Purchases using your Fry’s Reward Card are also great, as is shopping through AmazonSmile. Every little bit will support us as we head into 2019.
Thank you for your continued support of our mission to end sexual and domestic violence in Arizona by dismantling oppression and promoting equity among all people!
Allie Bones, MSW
Chief Executive Officer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Allie Bones
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Opposes Proposed Changes to Title IX
Phoenix, AZ – 11/19/18. The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) strongly opposes the proposed changes to Title IX put forth by the Trump administration. These changes jeopardize the safety of those experiencing sexual harassment and assault in public schools and colleges. Secretary DeVos must listen to survivors of sexual violence and the advocacy community when considering changing these important regulations.
Title IX is part of a civil rights law that was instituted to protect students from gender-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault, and governs how federally funded educational institutions handle these cases. The proposed changes significantly limit the definition of sexual harassment, essentially requiring students to miss class and/or drop out of school entirely before the sexual harassment case would qualify under Title IX. It would also allow schools to ignore sexual harassment and assault that occur off-campus. Additionally, the proposed changes allow schools to treat Title IX cases like criminal charges, where the burden of proof is much higher. This creates undue burden on survivors in cases where there is limited evidence, enabling schools to ignore these cases, which will cause a hostile environment for student survivors.
What’s more, the proposed changes allow survivors to be cross-examined by the accused through a third party, which will increase barriers to reporting and further traumatize survivors. Additionally, the proposed changes severely limit who can take a report of sexual harassment and assault. This means that unless the student reports to specific employees, they are not guaranteed assistance and/or protections of any kind.
These proposed changes limit the school’s accountability and create an environment of impunity for those causing sexual harm. ACESDV stands with survivors opposing these changes and asks the Trump administration to focus on real solutions to campus sexual violence, instead of rolling back needed protections.
For additional information please contact the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence at 602-279-2900. To speak with a Victim Specialist please contact the Sexual and Domestic Violence Services Helpline at 800-782-6400 or via chat at www.acesdv.org/get-help-now.
Jacksons Food Stores Raises Funds to End Sexual and Domestic Violence in Arizona
‘Peace Doves’ Funds will support Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence
PHEONIX, AZ. (Nov. 21, 2018) – Jacksons Food Stores announced today their annual campaign to help end domestic violence in six Western states, including Arizona. Now through December 25, customers can donate an amount of their choice and purchase a peace dove that will be hung in the convenience stores around the state.
The company will provide matching funds to leverage customer donations to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, a 501c3 nonprofit, as well as similar organizations in five other states.
“Last year, Jacksons Gift of Peace campaign raised almost $8,000 from the generosity of Jacksons customers that number was then matched by Jacksons Food Stores to give the coalition a grand total of almost $16,000 to stop domestic violence in Arizona communities, and this year, we are excited to provide even more support.” said Katrina Lemmon, advertising and promotions manager for Jacksons Food Stores.
The Gift of Peace campaign is currently underway at Jacksons Food Stores in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington, with funds going toward ending domestic violence in each state through a local organization.
Customers can make a tax-deductible donation toward a peace dove at any neighborhood Jacksons Food Store. Then, customers can write the name of a loved one or their names and the paper dove will be hung up in the store. Doves are available in $1, $5, and $10 increments, and will be matched by Jacksons Food Stores. Last year, the campaign raised over $160,000 across all six states, and this year, the company hopes to raise even more.
All Arizona customer contributions will go to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence and will directly help support families and individuals affected by sexual and domestic violence, including teens experiencing dating abuse, as well as prevention services, according to Christa Steiner, community engagement manager.
“We are so thankful to Jacksons for the Gift of Peace campaign,” Steiner said. “It sends a powerful message to survivors and the community when they see the peace doves in the stores around Arizona, and the donations mean so much to our organizations.”
Jacksons Food Stores, Inc. headquartered in Meridian, Idaho, was founded in Caldwell, Idaho in 1975 as a single service station. Jacksons has grown to be a nationally recognized chain of over 230+ Chevron, Shell, and Texaco branded convenience stores in six western states. All company operations currently employ approximately 3,000 associates.
About Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual Domestic Violence works to dismantle oppression and promote equity among all people, focusing on increasing public awareness about sexual and domestic violence and enhancing the safety of and services for survivors. Learn more at acesdv.org.
To say that we are disappointed and heartbroken would be an understatement. We had hoped for a different outcome than the one that has just occurred.
At the same time, we are filled with love and awe for the survivors, sisters and brothers, who bravely, courageously and boldly stood in their power to share the darkest secrets of their past. They turned their shame into activism, their anger into calls, and their silence into speak-outs. For this, we are forever changed, and forever grateful.
Now, it is time to turn our attention to elections. The last day to register to vote for the upcoming general election is this Tuesday, October 9th. Vote by mail ballots will be arriving in mailboxes soon after that. And then the mid-term elections will be here on Tuesday, November 6th.
We have work to do. The Violence Against Women Act is up for reauthorization. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act will hopefully be reauthorized this coming week. We need to fight for state funding for sexual violence prevention and response services. We need rape crisis centers and services for victims all across the state. Policies at every level of government impact victims of sexual and domestic violence daily.
The only way for us to continue to make an impact towards the end of sexual and domestic violence is to ensure that those in positions of power represent our voices and take our issues and concerns seriously. Engage with candidates. Ask questions. Be informed. And then vote.
Like our lives depend on it.
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Tasha Menaker, Chief Strategy Officer
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
p: 602-279-2900 x426
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Holds Emergency Town Hall Tonight: October 1, 2018
Phoenix, Arizona – October 1, 2018. With a vote on the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination looming tomorrow, the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) and community partners are hosting an emergency town hall tonight Monday, 10/1/18 at 6pm titled “Enough is Enough: Survivors Must be Believed”.
In order to center the voices of community and speak truth to power, this free event will be held at the South Mountain Community Center, 212 E Alta Vista Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85042.
This event, in collaboration with Creosote Partners, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, Poder in Action, and Trans Queer Pueblo, sends the message that enough is enough, survivors must be believed and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice should not move forward.
It is our hope the entire community can unite in justice to participate in this important discussion.
About the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence is the designated dual issue coalition in Arizona addressing both sexual and domestic violence for over 35 years. Our purpose is to increase public awareness about the issues of sexual and domestic violence, enhance the safety of and services for sexual and domestic violence victims and survivors and end sexual and domestic violence in Arizona communities. We do this by providing education & training, technical assistance, advocating at the legislature in public policy as well as providing assistance to survivors and advocates through our Sexual and Domestic Violence Services Helpline. www.acesdv.org
The courage shown by Dr. Ford at this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing was beyond anything that should ever be expected from a survivor of sexual assault. She was described by members of the committee as being heroic and a role model for survivors everywhere. We cannot agree more.
What was concerning for us to witness was the questioning of the victim by Rachel Mitchell, on leave from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Ms. Mitchell questioned Dr. Ford in a manner inconsistent with principles of trauma-informed interviewing. She jarringly jumped from topic to topic and continually questioned the timeline of events, focusing on details that are often difficult for sexual assault survivors to recall. Furthermore, Ms. Mitchell focused on Dr. Ford’s motivation for coming forward, clearly trying to connect her disclosure to a partisan scheme. Dr. Ford was not on trial, yet the questioning transpired as through she were under cross-examination. As we watched the hearing with sexual assault survivors from our communities, they shared how emotional and revictimizing it was to watch Dr. Ford be treated as though she was a defendant.
Given that Ms. Mitchell discontinued questioning early in Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony, it was clear her presence was a partisan tactic to undermine Dr. Ford’s credibility and suggest her disclosure was part of a political conspiracy instead of an extremely courageous act of civic responsibility. Any prosecutor who agreed to participate in such a process inherently allowed themselves to become a pawn of a partisan scheme rooted in concern over optics of an all-male panel questioning the female victim.
In light of this, we have serious concerns about the impact of this hearing on survivors nationwide, and especially within our local community of Maricopa County. How can sexual assault survivors have confidence they will be treated with respect, have their reports believed, and their cases taken seriously? As was pointed out during the hearing, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office’s own protocol for appropriately responding to sexual assault cases outlined characteristics of trauma-informed interviewing that were completely absent from Ms. Mitchell’s questioning. The effects of this will have practical impacts long after this hearing and political circus ends.
This hearing was an egregious display designed to humiliate, undermine, and discredit Dr. Ford. It sent a loud message to all sexual assault survivors. We commend Dr. Ford’s strength and courage—it was inspiring to watch as she stood in the face of a patriarchal system designed to silence victims. We stand with her and all survivors today and every day.
Over the last week, I have watched with disgust the Senate Judiciary Committee’s treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And now that two more brave women have come forward with an additional allegation against Kavanaugh, it’s even more urgent to #BelieveSurvivors.
At this juncture, there is only one appropriate way to move forward: this Thursday’s hearings must be cancelled to allow for these allegations to be investigated thoroughly.
Senator Flake, we listened to your comments on the floor this morning with great interest. Unfortunately, your words came up short, yet again. It’s time to call off tomorrow’s hearing and to call for a proper investigation into these extremely serious allegations.
It is extremely concerning to us that the committee charged with considering and passing the Violence Against Women Act, which is again up for reauthorization, has not appropriately handled the allegations or Dr. Ford since this story broke. From questioning the women’s memory and suggesting that perhaps they were attacked by someone else, to comments that suggest that it happened so long ago, it shouldn’t ruin his life, it wasn’t that serious, and on and on. Tweets and comments from leaders on the Judiciary Committee have us wondering just how much progress has been made since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act 24 years ago, and why they feel that communities and systems should be held to higher standards of responses to sexual violence than they are.
For sexual assault survivors, their callousness feels gut-wrenching.
Fewer than three out of every 100 rapes are ever brought to justice in court. Our president made the horrific claim that there’s no way the assault was “as bad as she says” because she would have reported it to law enforcement otherwise. But let me be clear: disclosing one’s experience with sexual violence does not make it more or less real. That trauma informs the way one experiences the world, and viral news of sexual assault exacerbates it.
Senators, and Judiciary leadership in particular, have treated these survivors as though they are on trial, rather than Kavanaugh. But this is not a trial and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is not a defendant. The inclusion of a prosecutor confuses this hearing with something criminal in nature, which this hearing is not – in fact, the Senators have refused calls for an independent investigation. Why then bring in a prosecutor if they don’t want the issue to be handled by the FBI?
Senator Flake, it’s time for you to show that you are committed to addressing violence against women—and to properly vetting Judge Kavanaugh, as you would any Supreme Court nominee. You can stop tomorrow’s planned hearing and call for an investigation to be opened today. Survivors are counting on you to do the right thing.