Abusing a loved one is a choice.

Based on expectations and life experiences.

Help us create better expectations and experiences to provide a different set of choices.

PEACE BEGINS AT HOME.

15th February 2012

Video

Thank you, Samantha Bee and Jon Stewart, for producing this dead-on satire about the absurd reactions to women serving on the front lines and the rates of sexual assault in the military. It really illuminates the inanity of the “fear and blame”/”women should ‘know their place’” crowd. Be sure to watch it through the ads.

9th February 2012

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What does a fearless future look like?

First off, we’ve managed to secure an extension on the deadline for our “Peace Begins At Home” license plates. Please go to this post before the end of next week to learn how to simultaneously raise needed funds for sexual and domestic violence prevention while reppin’ a sweet custom plate! (If you’re not from Virginia, please tell someone who is.)

Moving on… Lately we’ve noticed that an increasing number of people are recognizing an important aspect of our prevention work, and that is this: Starting around puberty, most girls (and some boys) are warned to constantly guard themselves against the threat of sexual assault. To this end, they are asked to navigate a litany of “safety tips”:

  • Don’t go anywhere alone after dark, 
  • Have your keys ready and only park in lit areas, 
  • Never take your eyes off your drink, 
  • Don’t get drunk, 
  • Don’t send “mixed messages”
  • Don’t get into an elevator alone with a man
  • Don’t educate yourself about sexuality (or at least don’t let anyone know about it if you are) 
  • Watch how you dress,
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Being aware of the prevalence of sexual assault in our culture is good. But how we’ve taught people to deal with it is not, because most of the suggestions listed above do very little to address sexual assault in the manner it usually occurs:

  • Indoors,
  • At various times of day,
  • Against “targets of convenience” (rather than people dressed a certain way),
  • No weapon used,
  • With a person known and trusted.

Furthermore, these “safety tips” put all of the burden for preventing sexual assault on the would-be victim, rather than where it belongs, on the would-be perpetrator. Sexual assault is not inevitable. There are people in the world who choose to perpetrate. The focus should be on them and what leads to this choice. For too long we’ve told anyone who might be a potential victim that they have to be on a heightened state of alert every time they choose an outfit, walk somewhere alone at night, or go on a date. This isn’t fair, and the frustration people feel about it was recently brought into sharp relief by  this blog post that has now gone viral.

It got us thinking. What would life be like if everyone miraculously agreed tomorrow that it simply doesn’t make sense to force, threaten, coerce, manipulate, or generally steer another person’s sexual expression when they ain’t asking for a co-pilot? What if tomorrow there was no more sexual assault?

More specifically, what is one thing that would be different or better about YOUR life if the threat of sexual assault suddenly disappeared tomorrow? What is your take on this fearless future? 

Please share your thoughts about this through your preferred social media outlets. Feel free to tag your post with #fearlessfuture. And please link back to us here. We’re trying to raise some funds with those sweet custom license plates!

31st January 2012

Post

FREE “Peace Begins At Home” license plates for abuse survivors…

The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Action Alliance is purchasing 100 license plates on behalf of sexual & domestic violence survivors who cannot afford the $25 fee. So, if you have a vehicle registered in your name in Virginia and want this awesome plate, but DON’T have $25 to buy it, keep reading because this is for you.

Go to http://www.vadv.org/secAction/bhff.html to download your license plate application. Please check the box for Special Interest and write “Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance” for the organization name.  Get your application in NO LATER THAN Wednesday, February 1.  Please put a post-it on your application with the word “survivor” written on it.  The Action Alliance will remove the post-it immediately; they just need to know that we are paying the $25 on your behalf.

Hurry, hurry, hurry - there are 100 of these, and they will go fast!  The Action Alliance is making these available on a first come, first served basis.

If you have any questions, please contact Arlene @ the Action Alliance @ 804.377.0335.

16th January 2012

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What was the best advice you ever received about dating or relationships?

Tell us how you learned to have happy, healthy relationships…while also raising awareness about the Virginia license plate fundraiser! Copy the following blurb into your Facebook or other social media status update and then fill in the blanks. If you’re on Tumblr, please RE-BLOG!

The best piece of dating or relationship advice I ever got was ___________________________. Help young people in Virginia learn the skills for healthy relationships by going to http://tinyurl.com/84cvgr2 and getting a “Peace Begins At Home” license plate!

12th January 2012

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The license to have safe, happy relationships. Now only $25.

Help fund projects to prevent abusive relationships in Virginia by purchasing a new Special Interest License Plate! We have to sell 450 of these by late January in order for the state to approve it, and we still have have quite a few plates to go.

To order it, just follow these 4 simple steps:

1. Go to: http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/vsa10.pdf to download your license plate application. (Note: When filling out the Application, please check the box for Special Interest and write “Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance” for organization name.)

2. Write a check made out to “Action Alliance” for $25 (non-personalized) or $35 for a personalized license plate.

3. Mail check and completed application to: 5008 Monument Ave., Ste. A Richmond, VA 23230

4. All pre-purchased license plates will be ready by Spring 2013. If your contact information changes during this time period, please contact the Action Alliance (804) 377-0335.

Support the prevention of teen dating violence, domestic abuse, and sexual assault. You can literally turn your car into a vehicle for change.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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12th January 2012

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WELCOME!

This Tumblr is the social media presence for the Building Healthy Futures Fund. The Fund is a statewide network of people, organizations, and companies in Virginia dedicated to establishing a funding stream for local domestic and sexual violence prevention initiatives. 

The ways in which we treat one another are learned. We choose to treat our romantic or dating partners based on the lessons we’ve leaned in that type of context. The projects we’ll be funding increase opportunities to learn the value of respect, honesty, and consent, while minimizing anything that encourages disrespect and abuse. It’s crucial that we fund projects that work with young people, their parents, and their local community institutions to determine the factors that enable this violence to occur and devise strategies to disrupt those factors - or strategies that foster positive alternatives to this violence.

We’re calling this site “Peace Begins At Home” because that’s our rally cry. “Home” can be any place where we learn about the world around us - schools, neighborhoods, faith institutions, or our actual physical homes. If we stop and think about what we’re teaching our young people - and each other - about relationships and sex in these kinds of places then we’ll make a massively positive impact on their lives, and the wider world.

The Building Healthy Futures Fund is a project of the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, a statewide non-profit organization with over 30 years of experience in these issues.