Year End Campaign
As the year comes to an end the Center for Anti-Violence Education reflects on our impact over the past twelve month. We invite you to learn about the issues we deal with and the individuals we help through our work.
Please consider making a year-end gift to continue to make our work possible.
In 1948, The United Nations declared the fundamental human rights of all people and all nations. This was a groundbreaking step towards the rights of marginalized people to live safely and free from violence - our core mission here at the Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE).
Throughout history, progress to make our best laws a reality for everyone, particularly the most vulnerable among us, has advanced through the tireless efforts of groups of people and the movements they forge. When we look back at 2018 in the United States, we see countless, courageous efforts to prevent our own government from dismantling protections of even the most basic of human rights.
The urgency of protections for transgender people to live safely and free from violence exemplifies today’s struggles. In the fall, the White House revealed plans to create a new, very narrow, legal definition of sex that would further dismantle civil rights protections for people who are transgender, gender non-conforming or born intersex. And though judicial rulings have blocked efforts of the Trump administration to ban Transgender people from the military, the government has enforced limiting conditions, and persists in pushing through the ban. As this has been happening, another 26 transgender people were documented as murdered, though few murders reached the mainstream press.
In the midst of acts of repression, courageous people and groups are working to claim basic rights. Like never before, the rights of transgender people, not only to be protected but to exist, are part of national political conversations. In Massachusetts, transgender rights were protected by popular vote for the first time in our nation’s history. More LGBT candidates ran for political office this election season – and many won, including transgender candidates in New Hampshire and Colorado.
Reflecting on the past year, I am bolstered by every one of you who has worked to resist the denial of fundamental rights and protections. So please, give to CAE this holiday season. When your safety and rights are a national political question, self-defense also means social action. CAE’s young Pride Protectors and Peer Educators need your support to keep learning to be guardians of their safety, as well as advocates for the safety of our communities.
Katya immigrated to the United States in her 20s to be a professional dancer. She soon found herself in a relationship where physical violence became the norm. She stayed with this boyfriend for six years, until fear for her life surpassed the security she’d hoped for with him. Fortunately, Katya got out of that relationship. As she was settling into her new life, she was referred to the Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE) for our empowerment self-defense course. This course is tailored to the realities of survivors. Learning physical, verbal and emotional self-defense techniques with a safe and brave community supports survivors to experience their courage and claim their power. This is a vital step on the path to healing.
One in three women face violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lives and one in four face severe violence. This is even more dire for immigrant women: 51% of intimate partner homicide victims in New York were foreign-born. Perpetrators of violence seek others’ vulnerabilities to exploit and abuse. The vulnerability of one’s immigration status is real. Language barriers and immigration status prevent many immigrant women from accessing social services, reporting violence to authorities, or even successfully finding information about their rights.
Today Katya works as a dance teacher and a choreographer. While she continues to work through the multiple repercussions of this past abuse, she reports that through training with CAE, she got her self-confidence back. She feels stronger, more aware and more skilled to avert potentially violent situations.
Tristen’s first connection to the Center for Anti-Violence Education was through the empowerment self-defense program we ran at the drop-in center for homeless LGBTQ youth where he regularly showed up. He was going back and forth between living on the streets and with his sometime boyfriend. Tristen did not miss a single self-defense class and at the end of the 20-week program, he announced to our instructor that he knew he had the right to be safe. For him, this understanding was radical.
LGBTQ youth are eight times more likely to become homeless than non-LGBTQ youth. Once homeless, these young people are also eight times more likely to experience violence and harassment on the streets because of their identity. Mental health issues, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are also represented in higher rates among this population. At the same time, support services for relationship violence among LGBTQ youth are limited.
Once Tristen started talking about the abusive relationship he was in, he created a safety plan, built up his courage and figured out how to safely leave that relationship. This was three years ago. Despite some ongoing ups and downs,Tristen went on to train as one of our Pride Protectors - a youth leader who builds tools to de-escalate violence, and gains experience as an activist, learning to speak up and speak out for the safety of others. Tristen looks back and says that what made all of it possible, was what he gained through that first 20-week program - awareness of his self-worth, self-esteem and knowledge of his rights to be safe.
At the Center for Anti-Violence Education we know that everyone has a right to feel safe, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, place of birth, or race. Please give to help us make that right a reality for everyone.