Message from KCSDV Executive Director
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As many of you know, KCSDV hosted an event at our office on Friday, September 14th to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. We were thrilled to see almost 200 old friends, new friends, community partners, advocates, and their friends and family. Many shared stories, kind words, and encouragement for the work that has been done and that which continues. Programs across the state incorporated KCSDV’s 30th Anniversary into their own events. I was honored to attend events hosted by the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) in Kansas City, Emporia’s SOS, Inc., and the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center in Hutchinson.
It is hard to put in to words the gratitude that I feel and that many others feel about the compassion, commitment, and collaboration that have gone into these last 30 years of coalition-building. I know I speak for all of us at KCSDV when I say – thank you! Thank you for the cards and notes, thank you for your support throughout the years, and thank you for standing with KCSDV and with survivors in Kansas.
Every one of us has played a role. You may be a community member who has given a victim the hotline number or provided comfort and safety. You may be a teacher who has responded appropriately to a child afraid to go home. You may be a law enforcement officer who has put his or her life on the line to keep a family safe. You may be an advocate who has listened and supported and listened some more. You may be a public official or legislator who has gone the extra mile to make sure our policies and laws protect victims and our communities. You may be someone who has donated the funds to keep the work going. You may be the scout leader who has encouraged boys to choose respect.
And, all of us know today that the real work is done every day by survivors of sexual and domestic violence who get up each morning and try to figure out how to recover from the trauma they have experienced or who try to keep their families together and their children safe.
Ending domestic violence and sexual assault is a community responsibility. We must all do our part.
As I asked on the 14th, I ask again - where do we go from here? How will we stay energized for the future? I am constantly telling staff this is a marathon not a race. There is so much to be done, even in the face of having done so much. It is difficult not to be overwhelmed.
Here’s what I think is on our plate:
Survivors and victims and their families will always need safety and support. We must sustain that work.
Allied professionals and advocates will always need information and training in order to provide this safety and support. We must sustain that work.
But, primary prevention is really our next big piece of work. For eons, women and children have been subjected to abuse and trauma because our culture, our laws, our religions all said it was okay. Two centuries ago, courts told men how they should beat their wives not that they couldn’t. Thirty years ago, it was legal to rape your wife. Today, that is not the case in Kansas. This is culture change.
As we have moved forward with our primary prevention work, research shows us that changing our attitudes and beliefs about violence against women and girls will lead to real change. Teaching our children about healthy and respectful relationships will lead to real change. Involving men and boys in the work of ending violence against women will lead to real change. Raising the social status of women will lead to real change. This is what will end domestic and sexual violence.
So, Stand with Us, as we end sexual and domestic violence against women, children and men. Commit yourselves for the long haul. Stand with Us as we lead the way toward real change. Only with the help of all of you, and with the work of all of us, will we be able to make the real change we need.
Event pictures at Shutterfly.com