Our Values

In Response to the President's Draft Budget 3.17.17

This week the President released the framework for his proposed FY18 budget which calls for a cut of 18% to programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and a 4% cut to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). If these cuts were applied across the board to all programs at HHS and DOJ, approximately 260,000 fewer victims of domestic violence and sexual assault would be able to access shelters and supportive services provided by VAWA and FVPSA funding streams.

The budget framework would also eliminate programs that help victims fleeing domestic violence achieve safety and stability, such as the Legal Services Corporation, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the HOME affordable housing program, and the Community Development Block Grants that fund shelter, housing, economic opportunities and supportive services in communities across the nation. It reduces funding for the important Women's, Infants, and Children Food and Nutrition Service (WIC) program, and would eliminate the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness which has brought federal agencies together to address the strong connection between domestic violence and homelessness.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence reports investments in the federal programs to address domestic and sexual violence have been incredibly successful. VAWA saved an estimated $12.6 billion in net averted costs in its first six years alone. Reporting of domestic violence has increased as much as 51 percent. The rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 63 percent and the number of women killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 23 percent. A 2010 study demonstrated that an increase in the availability of legal services is associated with a decrease in intimate partner homicide. Another study found that VAWA funds, particularly the ones supporting law enforcement, were associated with a reduction in rape and aggravated assault.

Investments in VAWA and FVPSA have long enjoyed bi-partisan support. We encourage NC members of the Senate and House of Representatives to actively support strong investment in these critical life-saving services.
Racial Justice

Safe Alliance is deeply concerned that people of color live each day in danger; danger of being discriminated against, falsely accused, unjustly punished or even killed due to the implicit bias and institutional racism embedded in our society. This situation significantly impacts victims of domestic and sexual violence. Many people of color live in fear,  not only of reaching out for help in an emergency, but also in fear of facing continued barriers and trauma as they attempt to access support and resources required to rebuild their lives.

Safe Alliance stands in solidarity with communities of color.  We engage in and support efforts within criminal justice, human services and all systems in regard to dismantling racism, ending discrimination and building supportive organizations that will serve and protect all people while holding perpetrators of violence accountable.

We believe, as Nobel Peace Prize recipient Tawakkoi Karman is quoted, that peace does not mean just to stop wars, but also to stop oppression and injustice. Together we will achieve our vision of safer and more peaceful communities join us! 
The Realities of Sexual Assault

Lady Gaga.  Gabrielle Union.  Bill Cosby. Jerry Sandusky. These public figures have accelerated our national conversation around sexual violence even though the alleged abuse was not recent.

Why would a victim wait so long to disclose or decide not to disclose abuse at all? Imagine you are a victim. A part of you is violated that was once private, once yours.  Now you must tell an officer you've never met before about the most intimate details of your victimization. Then you must endure an invasive and sometimes painful medical exam and treatment. Then your body, the evidence, must be photographed. And then comes the worst part- you must prove to the justice system that this happened. You must find words to describe the unspeakable. And your body, the evidence, is there every step of the way, reliving the trauma again and again. There is no escape and it may be years before the perpetrator is brought to justice if it happens at all.

And how else does disclosing affect your life? You may be questioned or judged by others.  While sexual violence can occur anywhere, half of sexual assaults occur within one mile of where the victim lives in a home, a care center, a school, a faith community or a public place. Four out of five rapes are committed not by a stranger but by someone who is known to the victim a friend, a partner, a relative or a caregiver.  And often when they speak out, the victim is not believed. Trust is broken.  Hope fades.
So there are many challenges around disclosing abuse. As a community we must change this dynamic and it begins with understanding the realities of sexual violence.
Who is the typical rapist?  Fifty two percent are white. Their average age is 31. More than 1 in 5 imprisoned rapists report they are married.

Who are the victims?  1 in 2 women, 1 in 5 men and over 1 in 2 transgender people will experience some form of sexual violence during their lifetime.  Children are also victimized, some before they are  old enough to speak and most before they are developmentally capable of understanding what is happening.  1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

What do all sexual abuse survivors have in common? They need and deserve our support.    April is national Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As a community we need to extend beyond awareness and take action. Learn about sexual assault. Invite a speaker to educate your community group. Volunteer or donate to your local sexual assault organization (Safe Alliance) or child advocacy center (Pat's Place).  Urge elected officials to support legislation assisting survivors and holding perpetrators accountable. Educate youth that sexual abuse is a crime and teach them how to support one another as they work to end it. Ensure all people know how to access help should they ever be the victim of this insidious crime.

Although we may be unaware, we all know someone who has been victimized by sexual violence. Now is the time to seize the momentum around this issue. Take action today to help put an end to this preventable tragedy.
Domestic Violence and ICE

Last week a victim of domestic violence in El Paso Texas was applying for  a protective order from an abusive boyfriend when she was arrested at the courthouse by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. Media reports suggest officers learned of her presence from a tip made by her abuser.
Safe Alliance is saddened and extremely concerned about these actions. We call upon ICE and our federal government to put an end to such tactics immediately.  An abuser's greatest power comes when governments allow an abuser to manipulate our systems to further control, threaten, abuse and even kill victims.  This is especially true for undocumented victims whose abusers threaten to turn them in to authorities who will deport them if they seek help just as the abuser in El Paso is alleged to have done.
It is imperative that all victims feel that they can reach out for support, not only from shelters and hotlines, but also from law enforcement and courts. In a moment of crisis, access to both private and public services may be a victim's only tangible lifeline.

It is not an exaggeration to say this is a matter of life and death. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This equates to more than 10 million people annually.  The National Network to End Domestic Violence reports that 3 women in our country die each day due to domestic violence.

As a country we cannot condone actions that we know will make these numbers increase, as the decision to arrest an immigrant seeking a protective order in the court house will almost certainly do. We must rise to protest actions that bar victims from accessing safety.  The issue is real for all of us documented, undocumented, and citizen alike.  Unsafe homes result in unsafe communities. We must work together to ensure safety for everyone. We ask all government leaders at all levels to support victims of domestic violence and take action now!
In Response to HB2

As an organization that cares about and works every day to end sexual and domestic violence, Safe Alliance favors laws and policies that protect all people from discrimination.
 
Nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people have existed for a long time. Over 200 municipalities and 18 states have nondiscrimination laws that have protected people from discrimination without creating harm. None of those jurisdictions have seen a rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues due to nondiscrimination laws. Those protections have not weakened public safety or criminal laws, nor have they compromised their enforcement.
 
We believe in respecting the identities of transgender people. Transgender people already experience extremely high rates of sexual violence. As advocates committed to ending sexual assault and domestic violence of every kind, we do not support any law or policy that could put anyone at greater risk for assault or harassment. That is why we support transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections.
 
It is natural to be concerned about safety and privacy. As advocates and survivors, we know the threat of sexual assault is real and pervasive. Every time we hear of someone who speaks of their assault or abuse, we feel their pain. The safety fears that many have, especially those who are survivors, are not baseless or irrational, nor should they be dismissed. However, discriminating against transgender people does not decrease the risk of sexual assault.
 
Our focus is to serve and protect victims and potential victims. We will only accomplish our goal of ending sexual and domestic violence by treating all people, including those who are transgender, with fairness and respect. 

In an emergency please dial 911

To reach a domestic violence or rape crisis hotline 24/7 call the appropriate number below

Mecklenburg and Lake Norman
Domestic Violence Crisis Line:
704 332 2513
Mecklenburg and Lake Norman
Rape Crisis Line:
704 375 9900
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