Insiders think Minnesota is still a few years away from having enough support to pass the Survivors Justice Act. Can the Survivor Justice Act be passed sooner to have traumatic backgrounds be taken into account in criminal situations, as is happening for veterans?
What else are grassroots advocates hoping to see change in Minnesota policy and support, such as supportive housing policy?
All photographs by Sarah Whiting, Minnesota Women’s Press
VIDEO: Kissy Coakley — founder of Kissy’s Stay Put services, described the work she does with women in Minnesota who have been traumatized by domestic violence or sexual assault and are facing incarceration or attempting re-entry because of it
Solutions for Healing and Change
How can we begin to create healing and actual change in Minnesota, for both survivors and offenders?
Can we support men in redefining masculinity?
Jon Heath — men’s group facilitator of the Pathways to Family Peace, a program of Global Rights for Women alongside Melissa Scaia, described the work and transformation opportunities of offenders
Leah Robshaw Robinson of Friends for a Nonviolent World brought a team with the Alternatives to Violence Project that leads workshops that create change with incarcerated people who were locked into patterns of committing violence.
Diane Rosenfeld, author of “The Bonobo Sisterhood: Revolution Through Female Alliance,” described a pilot program of the Bonobo Sisterhood Alliance that we will develop collectively in Minnesota with community partners using our new Values & Vision media platform to amplify statewide conversations, story sharing, solutions, and action steps.
Our gender-based violence discussions will continue, if we have the underwriting and member support. Topics we also would like to discuss in the future:
- Can we adjust the mandatory arrest law so that victims of trauma are not arrested?
- Given the number of times firearms are used in domestic violence situations, why aren’t we tracking whether offenders have guns? How do we change that Minnesota statute?
- Where are the needs greatest for housing to protect survivors?
Diane Rosenfeld’s Bonobo Sisterhood Alliance
In our inaugural Values & Vision Zoom conversation, Minnesota Women’s Press outreach director Crystal Brown explained: “The idea behind the Bonobo Sisterhood is that everybody is your sister, whether you know her, whether you like her, whether you are related to her. When a call goes out — if a woman needs housing, in whatever type of violent situation she happens to be in — she has women around her who support and go with her, whether it is to the courtroom, to fill out paperwork, to feel safe when she is moving if the perpetrator is still there. She’s not alone in in her journey of feeling safe.
“In terms of the housing piece, it is also about having a detainment center for perpetrators, a kind of pre-prison, pre-jail, pre-court space so that the woman and her children can stay in the house and figure things out. Men would be evaluated, they would get mental health support, they would still be able to work so that they’re still paying for home and children expenses.”
Reproductive Health Care Freedom (story coming)
Rev. Kelli Clement and Rep. Esther Agbaje had a conversation with Changemakers Alliance outreach director Crystal Brown (left to right) about next steps in securing Minnesota as a safe haven for reproductive health care — beyond safeguards from the new PRO Act . Rep. Agbaje’s Reproductive Freedom Defense Act will protect patients seeking health care in Minnesota, including visitors from other states.
Thanks to Women’s Foundation of Minnesota for supporting stories about reproductive justice. Women’s Foundation has been listening, advocating, and supporting leaders to work for racial and gender justice since 1983.
Thanks to our underwriter, Family Tree Clinic, and event sponsors that included Canvas Health, ERA MN, Sabrina Fay/Confetti financial
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