Our Year in Review – 2018
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The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault has a vision for a stronger California. We lead our work with prevention because we know that it is possible and achievable. The #metoo movement is a necessary awakening for society to face the impact of sexual assault as evidenced by its global response. This facilitated opportunities for growth and bolstered support for our field. This support enables us to create changes in our schools, communities, places of worship, media, military, and places of work.
California Rape Crisis Center Programs (RCCs) are serving survivors and servicing cities, schools, workplaces, social groups, and public spaces. CALCASA supports and showcases their accomplishments in order to build awareness, knowledge, and capacity to end sexual violence. CALCASA is committed to ending sexual violence through a multifaceted approach of prevention, intervention, education, research, advocacy, and public policy.
Our diverse approaches reflect the different systems and forms of oppression that contribute to sexual violence in our cities, state, and nation.
At CALCASA we intentionally honor culturally diverse perspectives, experiences, and autonomy of people and the value they bring. This year we were able to collaborate with faith-rooted communities. CALCASA hosted a pilot project in collaboration with Samaritan Safe Church. Groups were formed from six different California churches where leaders were able to build and foster pathways to address sexual violence prevention in their congregations. We all share a commitment for building safe environments for our families. We are proud to partner beyond our specific field to take part in addressing violence in our communities.
This year CALCASA hosted the 2018 National Sexual Assault Conference (NSAC) in Anaheim, California, where over 1,800 people explored the theme of “Bold Moves to End Sexual Violence in One Generation.” NSAC featured culturally diverse perspectives and experiences including “me too.” movement founder Tarana Burke, Black Women’s Blueprint’s Farah Tanis; and youth, labor, immigration rights, Native American, and trans activists working to end sexual violence.
In 2018 CALCASA succeeded in providing a Spanish monolingual, culturally appropriate training aimed at helping build the capacity of the TransLatin@ Coalition to address sexual and domestic violence.
CALCASA unapologetically challenges the status quo and seeks new ways of thinking. For example, our national project PreventConnect is always creating opportunities to explore what’s on the horizon including new research, and new program strategies. The 2018 podcast series reflects this transformative approach, featuring emerging leaders and all of the unorthodox spaces where prevention is happening. PreventConnect held 21 web conferences in 2018 that reached more than 4,500 attendees.
In an era where our use of technology evolves rapidly it is necessary for us to find solutions for uncharted territory. In 2018 CALCASA partnered with Break the Cycle on a national project, Ending Tech Abuse Across Generations (eTAG). This project was developed to provide training and technical assistance for professionals on the use/misuse of technology in sexual assault, domestic violence, dating, violence and stalking (including cyber-stalking) cases. This year we created a website, created print resources and tools, hosted three web conferences, and developed three informative podcasts for criminal justice professionals, to address the need for information on abuse through technology.
We believe in asserting the dignity of all people. Through our Building Refuge for Immigrant Detainees through Governance and Engagement (BRIDGE) program, we were able to strengthen partnerships between local communities and immigration detention facilities. Three California communities participate to improve their intervention responses and prevention protocols for immigrant survivors. Our influence goes further when we have increased access to systems, especially those that determine the outcomes for immigrants.
Advancing PREA the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is CALCASA’s initiative with Just Detention International (JDI). We are jointly working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and select RCCs to strengthen partnerships dedicated to upholding the rights of incarcerated survivors. This year’s efforts culminated in California becoming one of the only states to offer inmates confidential free non-recorded, not monitored phone calls between detained survivors and RCC’s. In order to find allies within immigration detention and CDCR, we chose to intentionally step into discomfort and take risks to assert the dignity of survivors in detention.
Through the California Immigration Legal Assistance Project (CILAP), CALCASA worked collaboratively with partners including the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP), and three local programs to address gaps in access to legal services for immigrant farmworkers. In 2018 our project provided civil legal assistance to 199 farmworkers and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence through legal services including: restraining orders, immigration relief (U VISA and VAWA) and family law (divorce, custody, visitation). Our leadership in establishing this project has helped to create a network where RCCs and member agencies partner with pro bono attorneys to provide legal support to survivors.
We are fearless and this year we took a bold step with our budget advocacy campaign. Together with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, we were able to boost funding for rape crisis center programs from $45,000 to $5,045,000. We had never before joined forces to request an increased investment by our state, but we knew we were stronger working together and our efforts prove the value of taking risks and being fearless. We were not the only entity in California seeking a percentage of the state’s growing budget surplus, but we remain one of the few who succeeded. Our collective advocacy at the state capitol bolstered our efforts to end sexual and domestic violence in California.
On the journey to end sexual violence we have continued to initiate and sustain dynamic partnerships with change influencers. CALCASA is a founding partner of RALIANCE, a national partnership dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation. RALIANCE worked with Uber to support adopting policies to support survivors of sexual violence, provide specialized training and resources, enhance safety features, and provide community education. In 2018 RALIANCE released several key reports: sharing findings from a national survey on the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, recommendations for research and evaluation on sport’s role to prevent gender-based violence, and guidance for creating messages to make the case for prevention.
CALCASA is a significant part of the national conversation on sexual violence. As a member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, we contribute to the ongoing work to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and in 2018 we were part of the mobilization to oppose Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
This report is a capsule of our triumphs in 2018. We look forward to 2019, and the possibilities it holds to end sexual violence in all forms for all people.
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