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"Stand up for what is right even if you stand alone."  
- Suzy Kassem

As an organization, ICADV condemns institutional racism and homophobia acted out on people’s bodies at the hands of law enforcement and also rejects violence perpetrated against officers and other government representatives. This should not need to be said.

 

What DOES need to be said is that white and straight allies can no longer grieve without action and stand by as if these acts do not affect them. Below is a short list of suggestions for things you can do today to create a more just, safe and peaceful community.

 

1. Diversify your newsfeed. There are hundreds of news sources out there.

Try these: Colorlines.com, theRoot.comLGBTQnation.com, Advocate.com and Truth-Out.org.

 

2. Read a book. Click here for a list of 18 books focused on how to be an effective ally.

 

3. Talk with someone who looks, believes or loves differently than you. Say hello, chat about other things, share cookies, get to know them as a

    whole person.

 

4. Question the assumptions and stereotypes you learned growing up. Question them compassionately when you hear them repeated by others.

 

5. Talk to your children. Help them to see and question racism, homophobia, and other oppressive belief systems. Give them tools for peace. Show

    them the complexity and beauty of all kinds of people through diverse books, movies, and experiences.

 

6. Make a donation. Support the anti-racism and LGBT-rights organizations of your choice.

 

7. Write a brief letter to the editor. Promote social justice and encouraging other white/straight allies to listen to and stand with minorities in  their communities.

 

8. Review employment and hiring practices. If you are a supervisor, take the time to recruit and retain a diverse qualified staff.

 

9. Ask your faith leaders to take a public stand against social injustice. Raise up your faith community’s role in resistance to harm.

 

10. Vote.

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Action Alerts!

 

March 23, 2017

 

The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) appreciates the desire of bill supporters to address a pervasive problem and understands why many view this bill as important. However, we respectfully disagree with this approach and urge legislators to reject this legislation. Our opposition to this bill is a disagreement over a specific public policy response to domestic violence. We remain unwavering in our support for all victims and our desire to advance public policies that protect victims, hold offenders accountable, and ultimately, stop and prevent domestic violence.

 

For decades, we supported efforts to prioritize criminal legal interventions to treat domestic violence as a serious crime. We believe legal remedies now available save lives and provide safety for victims of relationship violence. We do not believe HF 263 improves this response. Despite some success in addressing the needs of some victims, the unintended consequences of the persistent and narrow focus on this approach have exacerbated racial disparities in our legal system and have helped sustain inequality in our social systems and communities.  

 

Research shows longer sentences do not deter violent crime and do not reduce recidivism but they will discourage many victims from seeking help and will increase staggering racial disparities in Iowa’s criminal justice system.  By providing some redress to some people, our criminal legal system creates the appearance of success without changing the social contexts that perpetuate relationship violence.

 

We cannot support efforts that continue to prioritize a response to relationship violence that isn’t equipped to reduce violent behavior and does absolutely nothing for the vast majority of victims who do not, or cannot, seek safety or find justice in the criminal legal system. Prison punishes offenders – but it doesn’t make abusers less dangerous, which is a problem because 95% return to Iowa communities. 

 

To illustrate our position, think of intimate partner violence as a disease: if 1 in 3 women, 1 in 7 men still suffer from a life-threatening disease that generally strikes before age 25, we would urge policymakers to start looking beyond treatment…and toward finding a cure. That is what we are asking.

Even if the criminal legal system worked perfectly, our nation is over-relying on a treatment that by design cannot cure the epidemic. When we relentlessly pursue perfecting only one intervention that doesn’t work terribly well…then for most survivors, it’s like saying what abusers say to them all the time, i.e. you are not worthy. If you don’t or won’t or can’t access our legal system…you are not worthy of our attention.

 

Survivors are incredibly strong, resilient individuals managing an untenable situation. Some don’t call the police because it increases their danger. Some call police because they want the violence to stop but they don’t want a partner in prison because the second income prevents homelessness and keeps their kids in school. For others, the risk of losing their children, their jobs, or being deported poses more danger than the abuse they endure.

Inequality is a root cause of domestic violence. If we want to stop and prevent domestic violence, instead of only treating it, we must challenge policymakers and communities to prioritize efforts that advance equality, end racial disparities, and promote economic and social justice. In other words, we cannot end or prevent domestic violence by addressing only one form of inequality. When we focus efforts on lifting up those carrying the heaviest burden of disparity, then all survivors will be served.

 

Rather than see this as expanding what already seems an overwhelming task and asking ourselves to do more, changing domestic abuse work to focus on disparities and marginalized communities broadens the number of hands involved in promoting social change. 

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February 8, 2017

 

The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) condemns any policy that closes our nation’s door on survivors of violence, whether that be domestic abuse, sexual abuse, war or state sponsored violence. Furthermore, we uphold the dignity and rights of all people, including immigrants and Muslims.

 

The United States holds freedom of religion as one of our highest values, and yet, recent executive orders from the White House exclude immigrants and refugees based on their religious background, and order the construction of a wall that is not only impossible to implement, but insults one of our most important international partnerships.

 

The facts are clear: immigrants commit less crime than U.S. born individuals, support our economy and enhance our communities. Immigrants are the heart of the American story.

 

Historically, Iowa has been a place of refuge and opportunity for immigrants, who in return, enrich our communities with their industry and culture. Iowa is renowned for its focus on families and family values. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies are in direct contradiction to those values. They break apart families, they endanger survivors of violence and they weaken our communities by eroding the bonds between us.

 

We call on our supporters and allies to take an active role to protest and rescind these policies, and we welcome opportunities to engage in collaborative efforts to advance our agenda of social justice for all.

 

The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) are deeply concerned about House Study Bill 67 (HSB 67) and the impact it would have on Iowa’s immigrant community and their families. The bill, if enacted, would prohibit cities, counties, and public schools and universities from providing sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.

 

Already, local officials in Iowa City have “adopted a policy that denies allocation of local resources to federal immigration enforcement,” as reported by the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2k34WqL). In addition, the Register reported yesterday (February 7) that “Des Moines Public Schools will act as ‘sanctuaries’ for undocumented students, barring staff from asking about their immigration status…” (http://dmreg.co/2krPMtB)

 

IowaCASA and ICADV fear that anti-sanctuary laws in Iowa would force immigrant survivors of sexual violence and domestic assault out of their Iowa communities where they have found support and safety.

 

“As anti-violence organizations, we know that oppression is one of the root causes of sexual violence and domestic assault,” said Beth Barnhill, Executive Director for IowaCASA. “As coalitions that regularly work with immigrant communities, we have a responsibility to challenge discriminatory policies, practices, and procedures that marginalize, exclude, or dehumanize others. As such, we stand with Iowa’s immigrant communities and will continue to support immigrant survivors in any way we possibly can.”

 

“Our coalitions and our member programs will continue to collectively and intentionally work to end policies that negatively impact Iowa’s immigrant communities and their families,” added Laurie Schipper, Executive Director for ICADV. “This kind of discriminatory and unnecessary legislation makes it more difficult for immigrant survivors to find the support and help they need. We must do better to protect and support immigrant survivors, many of whom have fled to Iowa from countries where violence is all too prevalent to begin with.”

 

Both coalitions have encouraged crisis centers for both sexual violence and domestic assault to support immigrant survivors seeking services. As a general rule, advocates who provide resources to survivors do not ask about current immigration status.

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January 30, 3017

 

The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) condemns any policy that closes our nation’s door on survivors of violence, whether that be domestic abuse, sexual abuse, war or state sponsored violence. Furthermore, we uphold the dignity and rights of all people, including immigrants and Muslims.

 

The United States holds freedom of religion as one of our highest values, and yet, recent executive orders from the White House exclude immigrants and refugees based on their religious background, and order the construction of a wall that is not only impossible to implement, but insults one of our most important international partnerships.

 

The facts are clear: immigrants commit less crime than U.S. born individuals, support our economy and enhance our communities. Immigrants are the heart of the American story.

 

Historically, Iowa has been a place of refuge and opportunity for immigrants, who in return, enrich our communities with their industry and culture. Iowa is renowned for its focus on families and family values. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies are in direct contradiction to those values. They break apart families, they endanger survivors of violence and they weaken our communities by eroding the bonds between us.

 

We call on our supporters and allies to take an active role to protest and rescind these policies, and we welcome opportunities to engage in collaborative efforts to advance our agenda of social justice for all.