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"I spoke out to put a face to the issue for the millions of women, men and children who suffer in silence and to say that you are not alone. Help is available." ~ Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor (Photo by Christopher Mason)

Statement of Unity

The members of Jane Doe Inc. join in coalition to strengthen our statewide network of services and to effect broad-based social change. Recognizing that our continued strength lies in our capacity to work collectively, we agree to the following principles of unity, and make the following commitments to our coalition:

Principles of Unity

• We believe that the conditions that foster domestic violence and sexual assault lie in the continued sexist and racist hierarchical structure of our society, and in the continued acceptance of violence as a means to achieve power and control. We believe that other forms of oppression, including but not limited to heterosexism, ageism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and classism also foster sexual and domestic violence and rob individuals of choices of self-determination. We are committed to ending all forms of oppression.
• We acknowledge that women and children constitute the vast majority of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We also recognize that domestic violence and sexual assault occur across boundaries of gender, sexual orientation, and gender presentation, and that the victims of these crimes also include children who witness violence, family members, bystanders, partners, and others.
• We believe that the voices of survivors should drive the work of our organizations, and of all organizations working to end domestic violence and sexual assault. We believe that survivors of rape and abuse are not only capable of complete healing, but have special insights to share and teach the larger community about violence and about healing from violence. We further believe in survivors’ leadership and direction in the movement to eliminate violence in our communities.
• We actively embrace and support the rights of all survivors to:
• Immediate, safe, nonjudgmental, confidential, and culturally appropriate crisis services for themselves and their children.
• Long-term support and services in their journey to independence and healing for themselves and their children.
• Full, ongoing information and counseling to understand all the options available to them.
• Complete confidentiality in their communications with their advocates and counselors.
• Self-determination in all personal decisions.
• Control over whether or not personal information and/or counseling records will be used within the legal system.
• Identify their own gender and sexual orientation.
• We believe that the perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence must be held fully responsible for their actions.

Statements of Commitment

Individually and collectively, we commit:
• To implement our Principles of Unity in our programs, in our communities, and through our coalition activities.
• To work collectively to create and support public policy and budget initiatives at the state and national levels. We recognize the critical importance of a unified budget and legislative strategy in the national and state political arenas, and that our collective power is dissipated through fragmentation and division in our advocacy. We agree not to seek new legislative earmarking of state or federal funds for our individual programs, except as part of a coordinated coalition strategy.
• To actively support the member programs of our coalition through information sharing and other means, and to assist programs struggling to meet the needs of their communities.
• To participate in coalition activities, through caucuses, working groups, committees, training and other means, including lobbying and other public events.
• To actively support the existence of a coordinated statewide network of community-based domestic violence and sexual assault programs that:
• Embrace and integrate connections between sexual assault and domestic violence, ensuring that these parallel issues receive equal attention and equitable support.
• Respond effectively to the needs of all survivors, regardless of our own immediate capacity and regardless of a survivor’s age, race, ethnicity, immigration status, economic status, physical or mental ability or impairment, family status, religion, primary language, sexual orientation, gender presentation, or gender.
• Actively work to build effective and functional collaborations that improve our communities, acting as catalysts for change.
• Reflect the diversity of our communities among board, staff, and volunteers.
• Embrace their responsibility to proactively work toward integrating culturally appropriate services for groups that have been marginalized, including establishing policies and services that address the safety concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender survivors.

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