by Michelle Dixon-Wall RSP Project Specialist, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
In our Second Wave dash to address the epidemic of Violence Against Women, we fell short in considering needs of men and boys. Of course, we did. Though well intentioned, operating in crisis can lead to the creation of temporary, panicked fixes that become grant funded before we have fully considered outcomes evaluations or the development of service standards. We know that if “women” is in our organizational name, if we refer to all victims as “she,” or we distribute pink brochures and host websites featuring sad lady stock photos, we alienate not only male survivors but our youth, elders, the trans* community, and many others. Those are barriers that are easy to fix, fairly affordable, and not very time consuming. So, why do they often feel so challenging?
Like the last piece of vacation or any trip, unpacking is usually the least fun part. We’re forced to look at where we’ve been, how we got there, and who we’ve become as a result. If we’re lucky, we get to reminisce over the travel souvenirs collected, but much more common is the bag full of laundry waiting to be hauled down to the basement for a good washing. The latter may take more time and humility to fully unpack. Personally, I always like to put it off as long as possible.
As we unpack, we are bound to uncover many questions.
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