In the mid to late 1970’s, domestic violence and sexual assault programs started popping up around Kansas, established first in some of the larger communities and then spreading out across the state. What was clear early on was that women and their children were facing nearly identical issues across the state as they sought help with the battering and rape in their lives. It was as if rapists and batterers had a “playbook” that they shared with each other.
But it was also about system issues that had long needed attention. “Fixing this” was going to involve more than providing support to victims. We would also need to speak with one voice in order to implement critical systems changes that would ultimately reduce violence against women.
In 1979, directors from domestic violence programs and sexual assault programs each began meeting separately forming two state level groups: Kansas Organization of Sexual Assault Centers (KOSAC) and Kansas Association of Domestic Violence Programs (KADVP). In 1982, KADVP incorporated, the two organizations later merged, and the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence was born. Last year, we celebrated 30 years of coalition building, collaboration, and progress.
Over the years the coalition has grown to 29 programs that provide advocacy in cities and towns across the state, in both rural and urban areas, and with the support of local communities. KCSDV has also grown, from a part-time director in 1987 working out of a converted garage in a local program, to an organization with 25 full time staff and that owns its own building. The growth has been steady and the work strong. Through the years, KCSDV has had formal collaborations with state agencies, other statewide organizations, and with elected officials. All its partners have been committed to finding ways to reduce violence against women, men, and children. Today, we are a strong, vital coalition of committed advocates working for safety, accountability and justice.