1704 N. 2nd St. Occupied Lands, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Sexual Violence, the State, and COVID-19

Sexual Violence, the State, and COVID-19
By bonnabella.xvx

The legacy of colonialism is predicated on sexual violence.
What was once and still is a mechanism of control used by settlers to terrorize Indigenous communities, is now happening in the homes of our relatives.
Taking into account everything this crisis has brought the world – we know now more than ever that the colonial State is set up to perpetuate violence against and within the communities that have suffered the most due to colonialism – Black/Indigenous Peoples of Color (BIPOC).
One of the most significant triggers of sexual violence is economic stress.  Abusers of all kind are taking full advantage of the strain the wage workers of the world are dealing with.  But who are really the most financially, food and shelter-dependent people in the State? Our children.
The population most at risk of being sexually abused right now is children.  Abusers have full time access to financially, food and shelter dependent victims trapped inside their home.  Meanwhile, landlords are soliciting sexual favors of their vulnerable tenants to ensure access to shelter.
The State says, “stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.”  For many, home is not safer. Not when home means being financially, food and shelter-dependent on abusers.
We know rates of sexual violence against victims, particularly children, were more than alarming pre-COVID-19.  What data has captured, and is by no means complete, is that 63,000 children a year are victims of sexual abuse, more than half of Indigenous womxn are violently abused by their intimate partner, and 22% of unsheltered, trans, two spirit individuals who accessed State sanctioned shelters were sexually assaulted by staff or residents.
Let’s make this very clear, if it were not for dependence on a system that has for centuries failed us, turned BIPOC into cogs in a machine, poisoned us with the introduction of alcohol and sexual and domestic violence, would we be where we are now?  Would we be as worried about our relatives trapped in the homes of abusers are scumlords?
We can sit here all day and talk about these issues, and we have, for centuries.  Survivors of not only sexual and domestic violence, but also of State colonial violence, have been leading the way in these conversations since European terrorists stepped foot on this continent.  The fact of the matter is, womxn and two spirit survivors who make up the majority of advocates pushing for a world free of sexual violence have not been heard.
It’s time for cis-men, who make up 98% of the perpetrators of violent crimes, to do something.  Change needs to come from and be led by men – because if womxn and two spirit survivors were able to make the change, we would have done it by now with all the effort we’ve put forth.
Men need to help create a world where all men and boys are loving and respectful and all womxn, girls, and two spirit adults and children are valued and safe.
Men need to help create a world where the perpetuation of men’s violence against womxn, girls, and two spirit individuals is seen as no different than the colonial violence first perpetrated by European settlers on our womxn, children and two spirit relatives, and our greatest caregiver – Mother Earth.
Men need to help create a world where matriarchy is restored and colonialism is abolished.   
 The fight to end sexual assault and interpersonal/gender-based violence in our communities is our shared struggle. Responsibility and accountability doesn’t begin or end when violations are perpetuated, but is must be a deep part of what and who we are every day.
Some steps:
* Honor consent.
* Honor & respect (and assist in reinforcing) personal boundaries.
* Learn, listen, and build understandings about and directly confront the root-causes of gender-based violence such as hetero-patriarchy, historical trauma, colonialism, white supremacy, capitalism, internalized oppression, and eco-cide.
* Challenge sexist, homophobic, and transphobic behavior in all its forms.
* Honor two spirit and trans relatives.
* Practice survivorcentricism and provide fierce care, sensitivity, compassion, understanding & other means of support.
* Respect survivor autonomy.
* Don’t perpetuate victim-blaming
* Don’t perpetuate or enable apologist behaviors.
* Engage in transformative and restorative justice processes.
* Support survivors’ healing & ensure access to necessary services.
* Teach young boys & men about consent and honoring boundaries.
* Confront abusive humor and language.
* Check machismo, manarchism, mansplaining, and other shit actions/behaviors.
* Recognize that abuse can not only be physical but also psychological, verbal, economic, indirect & internalized.
* Recognize that gender-based violence is not a personal or individual issue but a breakdown in our communities & cultures.
* Work towards total abolition of rape culture.
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If our movements are to be truly liberatory we must not hesitate to engage in this critical struggle. This is all of our responsibility.
#mmiwgt2s #nomorestolensisters #smashcolonialism #smashheteropatriarchy

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