FCASV Insight June 2020

FCASV Insight June 2020  

FCASV Statement on Oppression and Racial Justice

FCASV’s commitment to social justice is long-standing. “Social Justice” is the first of our five core values. Each of the last three years, our annual leadership institute has addressed the intersection of sexual violence and other oppressions. Our board’s recent strategic planning work was shaped around a diversity, equity, and inclusion framework, and a determination to live out our values in everything we do. And yet, we have struggled to respond in a meaningful way to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. With our silence, we are complicit in systemic racism and the oppression of Black and indigenous people that began more than four centuries ago.

FCASV is committed to anti-oppression work and racial justice. This is a constant journey, an ongoing movement. It is not just a single moment. We are dedicated to listening to our communities, making space for each other, and owning when we don’t have all the answers. Right now, we don't have all the answers. But one thing we do know: We stand with the unrest of the Black community; we stand with those who fight injustice; we stand with the protesters who march for the lives lost and the futures we need to protect; we stand with the protesters who demand a world without violence and systemic racism. We stand with Black Lives Matter.

Dismantling white supremacy and the systems that uphold it is a shared responsibility. It is a lifelong commitment. For some of us, that commitment began a long time ago. For others, this is new. Wherever you are, we join you, and invite you to join us, in living out this commitment.

FCASV supports those who want to learn more about the intersections of sexual violence and racism. Black and brown people have been oppressed for centuries. We must acknowledge that pain, realize the impact of generational trauma, and never allow ourselves to go back. We can only move forward. Together. We must make space for healing.

So, we will be creating space for all of us to learn and grow together, and space to heal from the traumas associated with racism and oppression. No doubt, the work will be uncomfortable. It may be painful. But our commitment to ending sexual violence requires that we address systemic racism, within our own organizations, and in our communities. And, we are right here with you on this journey, every step of the way.

Here’s how we are going to begin:

FCASV will hold space for people of color working in sexual violence programs to process racism and oppression experienced every day, space for healing. An invitation to the first meeting is forthcoming.

FCASV will hold space for white people working in sexual violence programs who want to become actively anti-racist and allies with people of color. An invitation to that first meeting is forthcoming.

FCASV will provide resources for those beginning this journey, as well as for those who have been involved in anti-racism work for years. Resources include:

A list of anti-racism films, podcasts, and other media. For that list, click here.

A list of anti-racism books and other reading material, including a glossary of terms having to do with racism and systemic oppression. For that list, click here.

A schedule of virtual meetings to continue anti-racist work. That schedule is forthcoming.

As we continue growing into this work, we remember the names of those who were killed, and honor those whose names and deaths have been forgotten.

In solidarity and service,

Jennifer L. Dritt

Executive Director

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SIP

SHEROS: Remembering Local Activists Lost at the Hands of Violence

While we navigate collectively through traumas onset by COVID-19, social unrest, and the rise of sexual and domestic violence, FCASV and community members are mourning the loss of two esteemed local activists. In June, Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau (19) and American Associations of Retired Persons (AARP) volunteer Victoria Sims (75), were victims of a double homicide in Tallahassee, FL.

 

Oluwatoyin-Salau-

Toyin Salau speaking at a BLM police reform protest in Tallahassee, FL.

Toyin recently gained notoriety for her voice in local protest, following the shooting deaths of George Floyd and Tony McDade. Her passionate speeches and unapologetic approach towards discrimination and systemic racism induced a wave of support from her peers and supporters alike. Aside from vocalization for the Black and LGBTQ community, she experienced her own battles with sexual abuse and misogynoir. Toyin used her personal trauma as fuel to push for change amongst those who need it most. Regarded as a powerful leader and resilient friend—in her short 19 years of life, Toyin has left a permanent mark in the minds and hearts of many.

victoria-vicki-sims

Victoria 'Vicki' Sims was a pillar of the Tallahassee volunteer community, leaving behind lasting memories.

Victoria Sims was an active volunteer with AARP for over 10 years. As a retiree of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, Ms. Sims spent most of her years as a dedicated advocate for elderly Americans. She was also a committed volunteer with the Second Harvest of the Big Bend and other community causes. Described as fierce, generous, and sweet by her AARP family—Ms. Sims embodied the ideals necessary to be of good service and leave a lasting imprint on our community.

FCASV sends our condolences to the families, friends, and supporters of both women, whose lives were tragically taken. As a coalition dedicated to ending violence in all forms, it is our mission to continue this work in recognition of their names.

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Sheltering at home, social distancing…a new normal.

In April, as we adjusted to new realities to curb the spread of COVID-19, Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2020 had a much different look. With the onset of social distancing, FCASV launched a SAAM Virtual Gallery to connect and acknowledge survivors--reminding supporters that we are apart but not alone. Virtual submissions included peer-to-survivor letters, a teal flag campaign, and original pieces from survivors to encourage the voices of others. Limited contact with trusted friends, loved ones, and supporters creates a barrier for many sexual assault survivors. The SAAM Virtual Gallery allowed community members to stay connected through self-expression.

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SBB group

Palm Beach County Victim Service Center staff.

Program Highlights: Standing with Survivors During SAAM 2020

Cabin fever was no threat to the commitment of advocates and sexual assault programs across the state. FCASV applauds our sexual assault program staff for the dedication they have shown, despite tight social restrictions. Impacts of COVID-19 pushed many of us to honor SAAM in innovative ways—in a joint effort to keep our communities safe. From SAAM virtual book clubs to weekly podcasts—program members rose to the occasion—blending both traditional and alternative ways to honor SAAM and survivors. We commend the flexibility and unwavering support of our partnering staff. Well done!

 

 

FOH 2020 - cropped

Palm Beach County Victim Service Center staff.

SAAP 3

Fort Pierce Sexual Assault Assistance Program (SAAP)--servicing Martin, Indian River, and Okeechobee counties.

SAAP 5

Sexual Assault Assistance Program staff.

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Feeding Survivors SAAM

Feeding Survivors & Celebrating Awareness

The Volusia Rape Crisis Center (VRCC) has continued to support our surviving community. During SAAM, VRCC staff practiced social distancing by administering planned, step by step door pick up for food items. This helped to keep clients and staff safe. Bags filled with toiletries and clean clothes have also been provided to help clients who are challenged due to triggers caused by COVID-19 and their past traumas. Kudos to VRCC staff for providing aid, encouragement, and reminding survivors in our community that they are not alone.

 

 

 

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Michelle Jeter

FCASV Welcomes New Employees

Michelle Jeter, Administrator

A native Houstonian, Michelle comes to us with experience working as a staffing coordinator and event manager where she managed corporate events. Most recently as a project manager at HPE, she managed projects and coordinated high-level company events and executive level meetings. Despite her degree in horticulture from Texas A&M University, Michelle does not have a green thumb, and warns her backyard looks nothing like a spread from Better Homes and Gardens magazine. She does, however, have a minor in business, and uses those skills to plant a solid foundation for her clients.

What is the most interesting part of your role?
The many hats I wear. I support Jennifer Dritt specifically but I’m always happy to support FCASV with any operational and administrative needs. My duties vary day to day depending on the organization’s needs. It’s fun and keeps me on my toes!

What place have you visited that is the most memorable?
Enchanted Rock, Fredericksburg, Texas. My dad and I would go camping there. In February 2020, my husband, daughter and myself all visited Enchanted Rock. My husband and daughter took a picture in the same spot as my dad and I did 15 years ago. It was extremely special. My dad is no longer here with us and it was such a great moment.

What have you always wanted to try but have not done?
Jump out of an airplane, although I know I will never do it.

What is your favorite movie of all time?
Legally Blonde AND Father of the Bride. Classics!

 

DeShayla

DeShayla Strachan, Staff Attorney

DeShayla joined the FCASV team in February of this year and serves as Staff Attorney in our Tampa, FL office. DeShayla has extensive knowledge of the justice system through her former roles as a prosecutor and attorney for the Department of Children and Families Children’s Legal Services. Aside from legal practices, DeShayla has also worked as a former journalist.

What are three words that best describe you?
Three words that best describe me are: hard-working, dependable, and dedicated.

What is the most challenging thing about your role?
The most challenging thing about my role is having to tell survivors when we can’t handle a case or give them bad news about a current case.

How do you define success?
I define success as getting up more times than you fall down. Persistence and finishing strong.

What tv show/movie are you ashamed to admit that you love?
A show I’m ashamed to admit I love is Big Bang Theory.

 

April Scott

April Scott, Statewide Victim Services Coordinator

April was born and raised in New York and moved to Atlanta to attend Georgia State University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Her passion for supporting survivors of power-based violence developed in college and through her internship with the Women’s Resource Center. For the past three years, April worked as a Victim Advocate with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, where she also managed a team of volunteers as the Lead Advocate. April has also served as a Communications Officer and Child Protection Investigator.

What do you like the most about your role?
While there are many parts about my role that I love, I enjoy assisting our legal staff with the discovery process and case preparation. I love researching and investigating.

If you were stuck on an island, what three things would you bring?
If I were stuck on an island, I would definitely bring bug spray. I’m sure there are more useful things to have but I cannot deal with bugs (especially mosquitos) so bug spray is a must. I would also bring a book for entertainment and a knife to help with food and shelter.

How do you balance your career and family?
Having a balance with my career and my family is extremely important for me, especially having two active toddlers. Creating a routine, setting boundaries, and being organized has helped me quite a bit. Self-care and support from my family also helps me to maintain a balance.

 

This project was supported by subgrant No. COHK4 awarded by the state administering office for the STOP Formula Grant Program. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.