Community organizing and fostering partnerships with sectors and agencies beyond our anti-sexual violence movement is a familiar practice for rape crisis centers. There have been decades and generations of community organizing and solidarity led by movement leaders, with complex interventions made by Black, brown, and indigenous movement makers whose wisdom and legacy inspire us.
If the twin global pandemics of 2020 of racism and COVID have taught us anything, it is that transformative change and support is possible if we stand up for each other, uplift and amplify each other’s voices, and collaborate and partner together with agencies within and beyond the anti-sexual violence movement. We have the collective power to create social change, shift cultural norms, and create survivor-centered spaces and programs throughout our diverse communities.
In order to expand our local sexual assault response efforts, this blueprint provides a nonprescriptive roadmap to how we can build collaborative relationships with community partners within and outside the anti-sexual violence movement. It identifies best practices, models, and resources for creating, encouraging, and preserving community collaborations both in conventional and innovative ways, hence strengthening the capacity of our sexual assault programs and bridging the gaps with other social service organizations and institutions.
As Lilla Watson, an Aboriginal elder, activist, and educator from Queensland, Australia, captures our vision of collective power, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
ValorUS strongly believes that we are all a part of the solution to end sexual violence and when we collaborate, we can collectively strengthen our statewide safety net and support the incredible and invaluable education and advocacy provided by our sexual assault programs. We really hope this practical blueprint helps strengthen and mobilize sexual assault awareness among your local service providers beyond the sexual assault field.