Statements of Support and in Response
Published: May 20, 2021
We are deeply disappointed Iowa legislators advanced a resolution, HJR 5, to
amend the state’s constitution to say that Iowa does not secure or protect the
right to an abortion or public funding of abortion. Reproductive health services
are an essential component of routine medical care for all women, and victims
of violent crimes – domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking – have
an acute need for timely access to the full range of reproductive health services,
including abortion care. Restricting access to health care impacts all women
but also exacerbate disparities in access to care in Iowa that disproportionately
impact low-income women, especially Black, Indigenous and Women of Color.
As the state’s leading voice against intimate partner violence, we represent the collective experience of people who dedicate their lives to serving victims of violent crime. Approximately 1 in 4 women experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, and most first violent experiences occur before age 25. Reproductive coercion is an element of domestic violence that occurs when a male partner uses intimidation, threats or violence to impose his intentions upon a woman’s reproductive autonomy. This includes sabotaging contraception and coercing a woman to become pregnant and carry a pregnancy against her will.
Restricting and ultimately prohibiting access to abortion is harmful to women’s health and will not stop women from needing or obtaining an abortion. These policies have a far greater impact on the safety of health services women receive than whether women choose to terminate a pregnancy. And for victims of domestic and sexual violence – this bill negatively impacts their options for safety
Iowa service providers report that overcoming barriers to accessing abortion care increases a survivor’s risk for harm from an abusive partner. Without access to abortion care many women return to abusive relationships they would otherwise leave and carry unintended pregnancies to term at great risk to themselves and other children.
Unintended pregnancy is the primary reason women seek abortion care. It also doubles the risk for domestic abuse during pregnancy. And, regardless of the prevalence of domestic violence, homicide by a spouse or intimate partner is the number one cause of death for pregnant women.
After a year that has challenged us all and created new hurdles to safety and self-determination for survivors of violent crime, we need to work together to dismantle barriers to services for all Iowans. Crime victims have an acute need for timely access to services that enhance safety and healing, including food security, housing and healthcare. Our end goal is not only for individuals to reach safety, it is for individuals to have the ability to determine their own futures and have access to the services that would make this possible.
ICADV Staff and Board of Directors
Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community
Published: April 21, 2021
The verdict came in yesterday: Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three
counts in the murder of George Floyd. We recognize this conviction is a small
step in a larger picture of real systemic change and justice, specifically for
Black and Brown people. We are sending love to George Floyd’s family and to
all the families that continue to be impacted by police brutality and violence.
We will continue to be in solidarity with the Black community, and take action
in calling out and pushing back against white supremacy, racism, xenophobia
and oppression against communities of color. We commit to working towards a
future that lessens our reliance on the criminal legal system and support
community-based alternatives. We will work to create and support the
conditions that truly honors the value and dignity of people of color and the
freedom for all of us to thrive.
Our collective efforts must focus on investing in communities and uplifting those directly experiencing state and other forms of violence, especially Black, trans, disabled, immigrant, poor people and families who continue to be harmed.
ICADV Staff and Board of Directors
Published: July 8, 2020
This is a moment of reckoning. The murder of George Floyd broke the
collective heart of this country, and now, finally, millions of people are saying
their names: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery
- an endless list of Black Lives stolen at the hands and knees of police. The
legacies of slavery and unfulfilled civil rights, colonialism and erasure, hatred
and violence, have always been in full view. Turning away is no longer an
option. Superficial reform is not enough.
We, the undersigned sexual assault and domestic violence state coalitions call ourselves to account for the ways in which this movement, and particularly the white leadership within this movement, has repeatedly failed Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) survivors, leaders, organizations, and movements:
We have failed to listen to Black feminist liberationists and other colleagues of color in the movement who cautioned us against the consequences of choosing increased policing, prosecution, and imprisonment as the primary solution to gender-based violence.
We have promoted false solutions of reforming systems that are designed to control people, rather than real community-based solutions that support healing and liberation.
We have invested significantly in the criminal legal system, despite knowing that the vast majority of survivors choose not to engage with it and that those who do are often re-traumatized by it.
We have held up calls for “victim safety” to justify imprisonment and ignored the fact that prisons hold some of the densest per-capita populations of trauma survivors in the world.
We have ignored and dismissed transformative justice approaches to healing, accountability, and repair, approaches created by BIPOC leaders and used successfully in BIPOC communities.
We acknowledge BIPOC’s historical trauma and lived experiences of violence and center those traumas and experiences in our commitments to move forward. We affirm that BIPOC communities are not homogeneous and that opinions on what is necessary now vary in both substance and degree. We stand with the Black Women leaders in our movement, for whom isolation, risk, and hardship are now particularly acute. And we are grateful to the Black Women, Indigenous Women, and Women of Color - past and present - who have contributed mightily to our collective body of work, even as it has compromised their own health and well-being.
This moment has long been coming. We must be responsible for the ways in which our movement work directly contradicts our values. We espouse nonviolence, self-determination, freedom for all people and the right to bodily autonomy as we simultaneously contribute to a pro-arrest and oppressive system that is designed to isolate, control, and punish. We promote the ideas of equity and freedom as we ignore and minimize the real risks faced by BIPOC survivors who interact with a policing system that threatens the safety of their families and their very existence. We seek to uproot the core drivers of gender-based violence yet treat colonialism, white supremacy, racism, and transphobia as disconnected or separate from our core work.
A better world is within reach. It is being remembered and imagined in BIPOC communities around the world, and it is calling us to be a part of it. In this world:
all human beings have inherent value, even when they cause harm;
people have what they need - adequate and nutritious food, housing, quality education and healthcare, meaningful work, and time with family and friends; and
all sentient beings are connected, including Mother Earth.
It is time to transform not only oppressive institutions, but also ourselves. Divestment and reallocation must be accompanied by rigorous commitment to and participation in the community solutions and supports that are being recommended by multiple organizations
We are listening to and centering BIPOC-led groups, organizations, and communities. We join their vision of liberation and support
Remove police from schools - and support educational environments that are safe, equitable, and productive for all students
Decriminalize survival - and address mandatory arrest, failure to protect, bail (fines and fees), and the criminalization of homelessness and street economies (sex work, drug trades, etc.)
Provide safe housing for everyone - to increase affordable, quality housing, particularly for adult and youth survivors of violence, and in disenfranchised communities
Invest in care, not cops - to shift the work, resourcing, and responsibility of care into local communities
The undersigned coalitions agree that the above actions are both aspirational and essential. While timing and strategy may differ across communities, states, and sovereign nations, we commit to supporting and partnering with BIPOC leaders and organizations. We commit to standing in solidarity with sovereignty, land and water protection, and human rights. And we say resoundingly and unequivocally: BLACK LIVES MATTER!
The Coronavirus pandemic, unchecked and increased police violence, political and economic upheaval, and stay-at-home isolation have produced the “perfect storm.” We have a choice to make: run from the storm or into it. We choose to run into it and through it. We choose to come out the other side better, whole, loving, just, and more human. We have spent decades building our movement’s voice and power. How we use them now will define us in the years ahead. Let our actions show that we did not stand idly by. Let them show that we learned, changed, and will continue to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter is a centering practice for our work.
Alabama Coalition Against Rape
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
CAWS North Dakota
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin
Florida Council Against Sexual Violence
Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Jane Doe Inc. (Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence)
Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc.
Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault
New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence
New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc.
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence
Ohio Domestic Violence Network
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Violence Free Colorado
Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault