From INCITE!,a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing:
What counts as “violence against women”?
INCITE! identifies “violence against women of color” as a combination of “violence directed at communities,” such as police violence, war, and colonialism, and “violence within communities,” such as rape and domestic violence.
We are told to call the police and rely on the criminal justice system to address violence within our communities. However, if police and prisons facilitate or perpetrate violence against us rather than increase our safety, how do we re-imagine a radical anti-violence movement?
Fact: Although the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, the mass proliferation of prisons has not lead to a decrease in crime rates, or to a decrease in the amount of violence perpetrated against women. Prisons have never had an effect on decreasing crime in society.
Fact: Over $100 billion is spent each year to support a prison industrial complex from funds that could otherwise go to support education and social services. This money almost equals the amount spent to support the US military industrial complex.
Fact: Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. People of color constitute over 70 percent of state and federal prisoners. Over 2/3 of men of color in California between the ages of 18 and 30 have been arrested.
As we build a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities, it is critical that we ask ourselves the following questions:
1. How can we develop an anti-violence movement that simultaneously struggles against state violence, including violence as a result of:
- prisons and police
- reproductive violence
- poverty and economic exploitation
- environmental violence
2. How can we develop responses to sexual and domestic violence in our communities that do not solely depend on a racist, classist, sexist, and homophobic criminal justice system and fuel the right-wing agenda of “getting tough on crime” through the proliferation of prisons, unrestrained police brutality, and the mass incarceration of communities of color?
3. How do we build coalitions across movements?
Join INCITE! as we work to create a movement that opposes ALL forms of violence.