The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) believes that gender-based violence is rooted in a patriarchal ideology which ascribes power/privilege to masculinity while disempowering and devaluing identities and ideals associated with femininity. This misogyny creates systemic and institutional gender inequality. Furthermore, such violence is fueled by the intersection of multiple forms of oppression, including but not limited to:
We are committed to confronting the roots of violence, oppression and victim blaming within ourselves, and within economic, social and political systems. We will focus our efforts on facilitating changes necessary to end oppression and violence by promoting equality among all people, guided by the following values:
Practices and values
- Social norms – We believe we must all work together to be successful in changing societal attitudes and systems that contribute to and perpetuate sexual and domestic violence. We are committed to raising awareness about and dismantling tolerance of: rape culture; unequal distribution of power; violence; unhealthy and restrictive definitions of gender roles and expectations; lack of responsibility for harmful behavior; and discrimination and intolerance in its many forms.
- Agency and empowerment – We believe all people deserve the right to self-direction and control over their own lives. We are committed to fostering and supporting the empowerment of all survivors by: listening to their diverse and unique voices; using their expertise to guide our work; promoting their leadership in the movement; and being accountable to them in the work we do.
- Collaborations – We believe there is power in collaboration and value in partnering with other social justice movements as a way to strengthen our efforts to end gender-based violence. We are committed to building and maintaining partnerships, open and honest discussion, professional interactions, and active cooperation as fundamental strategies for ending sexual and domestic violence. It is our priority to engage with, listen to, learn from and build partnerships with communities that have traditionally been marginalized or disenfranchised from our movement.
- Racial justice – Race is a social construct upon which many systems are created and reinforced in our society, with a structure that puts Whites at the center. It has affected how the movement to end gender-based violence has been constructed over the last 40 years, with the dominant narrative being that of a middle class white woman, excluding voices of color. We are committed to collaborating with communities of color to change the narrative of the future, centering people who have historically been marginalized.
- Native American/Indigenous rights – Rates of violence, sexual and domestic violence, in particular, are disproportionately higher within Native communities. Early colonization, reinforced through intentional policies, have decimated the cultures, languages, and ancestral homes of Native people and have lead to intergenerational trauma. This has resulted in significant rates of poverty, poor health, unemployment, substance use, family disruption, and suicide, among other issues. We are committed to acknowledging this historical trauma as well as on-going oppression and supporting Native people as they reclaim their culture, communities, families and sovereignty.
- LGBTQ/GSM rights – We recognize that LGBTQ individuals are often denied basic human rights including, but not limited to, access to services, supports, providers, systems, and public facilities, and experience alarmingly high rates of violence. We are committed to providing education to create equitable access to services for LGBTQ survivors of violence and lessening re-traumatization during interactions with institutions such as law enforcement, healthcare systems, and social services. We understand that in doing so, it is necessary to address institutional and interpersonal anti-LGBTQ attitudes and discrimination rooted in homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, biphobia, and cissexism (i.e., a structure that places higher value and legitimacy on bodies and experiences of those who are cisgender).
- Disability rights – We recognize that people with disabilities are at increased risk of experiencing violence and have limited access to services and support. Stereotypes suggesting that people with disabilities are unable to form intimate and/or sexual relationships can lead to victimization and/or re-traumatization, where survivors may not recognize assault as victimization or may not be believed when they disclose. We are committed to providing education to create equitable access to services for people with disabilities and to open dialogue around healthy relationships and sexuality.
- Immigration reform – Immigrant victims, either documented or undocumented, face significant barriers when seeking help. They are less likely to report crimes or seek police assistance due to fear they will be reported to federal immigration authorities and deported. Further, immigrant victims often feel trapped because of immigration laws, language barriers, social isolation, and lack of financial resources and knowledge about their rights. We are committed to advocating for comprehensive immigration reform that recognizes the human dignity of all people, to increasing access to culturally responsive social and legal systems, and to promoting awareness in the immigrant community regarding available services.
- Limiting access to firearms – In a culture that glorifies power and control and condones violence as a means to maintain it, firearms are a weapon of oppression. There is an undeniable correlation between gun violence and domestic violence. Accessibility to firearms in this country facilitates and amplifies violence as well as increases the likelihood of lethality. We are committed to ensuring that perpetrators do not have access to firearms and to educating the public about the risks associated with firearms, and their link to gender-based violence.
- Access to health care and reproductive freedom – We believe access to and choices for culturally responsive health care and reproductive freedom are fundamental rights for all individuals. We are committed to ensuring that people have information regarding primary, mental, and acute health care, access to affordable services, sex-positive education, and access to birth control and other reproductive health options.
- Economic justice – We believe that personal safety and economic security are inextricably linked for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. We support survivors in securing and maintaining resources to build economic resiliency including, but not limited to: paid sick and safe days; equal pay; living wage; the social safety net; safe and affordable housing, child care and transportation; fair access to financial institutions and loans; education and training; and workplace safety.
- Civic participation – We believe all members of society deserve to have their voice heard and to participate actively in the development and evaluation of the laws, policies and practices that affect them. We are committed to facilitating the inclusion and active participation in civic engagement of all those who have been silenced, harmed, and excluded.
- Over-criminalization – We believe the legal and criminal solutions for which we have advocated, adopted into our state and federal statutes, and perpetuated in every jurisdiction have done little to end gender-based violence. These “solutions” have done more harm than good in marginalized communities, and communities of color in particular. We are committed to listening to the voices of survivors from all communities, hearing their experiences, and looking for guidance and leadership for creating solutions to gender-based violence that values individuals, families and communities. This may include repealing or changing laws we helped create and advocating for real solutions that place marginalized individuals at the center.
- State violence and control – We believe the carceral state is the experience of marginalized people being controlled and monitored by multiple state systems up to and including incarceration. We are committed to efforts to dismantle these systems of control and surveillance.
People who are experiencing violence are often subjected to multiple forms of oppression and face multiple barriers and challenges in achieving safety and peace in their lives. Each form of oppression reinforces the other. It is therefore imperative that we examine strategies to end violence through a lens of intersectionality.