Greetings from JDI
We heard it, you heard it, and there’s no denying what was meant by it:
- “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has a way to try to shut it down” (Akin, MO).
- “Consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry. Some girls, they rape so easy.” (Rivard, WI)
- “On the rape thing, how does more violence on a woman’s body make it better? (Koster, WA)
- “Having a baby out of wedlock is similar to rape.” (Smith, PA)
You know that these sentiments are not just ignorant and hateful, they are also dangerous. It’s this kind of victim-blaming and misogyny that undermines efforts to create safe and secure options for victims of sexual and domestic violence. And they relieve perpetrators and society for any responsibility for violence.
Across the country, people – male and female, young and old, gay and straight, of every racial, ethnic and religious background – responded to these outrageous statements with disbelief. They pushed back with their voices, and then they pushed back with their votes.
Widespread repudiation of such statements has been a goal of our daily work for the past 30+ years: educating, informing, and providing accurate information and evidence about the facts of the prevalence and consequences of rape and domestic violence. Our other goal: to dispel the rape myths while providing alternatives to the archaic individual and societal beliefs and behaviors that contribute to sustaining a culture of rape and violence.
Yet these statements also provide clear proof that our work is far from over.
Now we need your financial support to push ahead for policies and actions that will support victims of rape, other forms of sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking. We ask for your support to continue to transform the social norms that fuel violence and hatred while also building the norms that support peace, equality, and justice.
Your past help has made the following possible:
- JDI, with our sister state and territorial coalitions, worked hard in the early 90’s to craft and secure the Violence Against Women Act, that today funds local sexual assault and domestic violence services and local, state and national prevention efforts to ensure that both prevention and response are adequate. Today, JDI continues our advocacy for VAWA and other critical policy and budget issues that affect victims, survivors and their children and communities every day.
- JDI thru our own research and analysis continues telling the story has changed the landscape and understanding of domestic violence murders. We are working with local member programs and others to prevent domestic violence homicide. Our work has changed the understanding of law enforcement, advocates, prosecutors, victims and survivors, and others that homicides aren’t inevitable; they are predictable and preventable; and we are making a difference here in Massachusetts.
- JDI with our member programs was invited to be a key partner in a national conversation about new health care screening standards for sexual assault and domestic violence.
We are embarking on our 6th statewide White Ribbon Day Campaign. We have brought men and boys of good heart to the center of our prevention strategy to build new social norms in our work to end violence against women.
None of these efforts happen without the generous support of private individuals such as you. Almost 70% of JDI’s annual budget must be raised each year. More than ever, we need your contributions to ensure that:
- ALL victims have access to rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs in every part of the Commonwealth.
- LBGTQ and immigrant victims of sexual and domestic violence and victims of color and their families receive the life saving and life changing support and services that are needed.
- JDI can continue to gather and analyze data in order to define and refine the understanding of these issues and focus on the next priorities that best support victims and communities.
- JDI and our members can continue to build and then sustain a movement of local prevention and response experts and leaders making a difference for victims and their children every day.
- JDI can build an ever greater network of informed individuals, communities and decision-makers that have an even deeper understanding of the realities that face victims and contribute to the prevalence of sexual violence and domestic violence in all communities.
- Together, we can continue to transform the beliefs that sustain violence against women.
These issues affect every community, including yours. And with your help, JDI will continue to be a leader in the movement to build the foundation of a world of justice and liberty for victims and survivors and all of us.
Please consider showing your support and commitment by making a generous gift to JDI. Whatever you can give will make a difference.
Mary R. Lauby