Analysis

INCITE!'s Dangerous Intersections

A family at a park.

Underlying our work is a framework we call dangerous intersections. That means women, gender non-conforming, and trans people of color live in the dangerous intersections of sexism and racism, as well as other oppressions. For example:
 
  • Women of color who survive sexual or intimate partner violence are often told that they must pit themselves against their communities to address that violence.
  • Communities of color often advocate that women keep silent about sexual and intimate partner violence in order to maintain a united front against racism.
  • Women, gender-nonconforming and trans people of color also experience institutionalized violence (including law enforcement violence, incarceration, and sterilization abuse).

Movements against sexual and domestic violence have been critical in breaking the silence around violence against women. But as these movements are increasingly professionalized and de-politicized, they're often reluctant to address how violence operates in institutionalized ways and against oppressed people.

INCITE! recognizes that it is impossible to seriously address sexual and intimate partner violence within communities of color without addressing these larger structures of violence (including militarism, attacks on immigrants’ rights and Indigenous treaty rights, the proliferation of prisons, economic neo-colonialism, the medical industry, and more). So our organizing is focused on places where state violence and sexual/intimate partner violence intersect.

Can't existing movements just become more inclusive?

Yes, they can. But many of them were specifically and deeply designed with the interests of white middle-class women in mind. Instead of being included in a movement intended for someone else, we choose an alternate option: to place women, gender-nonconforming and trans people of color at the center. That means letting go of our assumptions about what a domestic violence program should look like, and instead asking: what would it take to end violence against us? What would this movement look like?

When we shift the center to ourselves, suddenly it becomes urgent to address state and institutional violence too. This perspective it great for everyone, because it's dangerous for anyone to rely on oppressive institutions to end violence in their communities.

Also, when we keep shifting our focus to communities that face intersecting forms of oppression, we gain a wider, deeper view of the diverse strategies needed to end all forms of violence.

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