Violence occurs in a world, based on the mythology that some people matter more than others; that some people deserve more power and control than others. This falsehood begins at a structural and societal level, and extends down to the interpersonal.
Domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of trauma exist because sexism and misogyny exists; because racism exists; because homophobia and transphobia exists; because other forms of discrimination and marginalization exist.
In order to take on a truly anti-violence stance, one must begin with anti-oppression. This means always looking at the broad societal landscape when understanding trauma, as well as advocating for change:
- Uplifting the voices and experiences of people of color and LGBTQ.
- Consistently recognizing the impact of oppression on people’s lives, and working to reduce barriers.
- Learning and understanding how marginalization shows up, not just around interpersonal violence, but in the law enforcement, judicial, medical, and social systems that are theoretically in place to combat this violence.
All practitioners must take on introspective reflection at their own dominant and marginalized identities when approaching this work.
As a white, cis, gay woman, my lived experience gives me a deep understanding of what it means to navigate sexism and homophobia.
At the same time, I benefit from a racially dominant identity in a country rooted in white supremacy. I do not face the same dangers, threats, and barriers experienced in the trans community, or among people of color. I have and continue to access resources and opportunities available to me within this structure, including the very education and training allowing me to do this work.
The work of anti-oppression is ongoing. I consider this lens central to our work together because it is the water we are all swimming in.