Healing Together: Equity Blueprint (October 2021)

“Men, we have to do better. Even healthy, conscious, and loving men can oppress with our silence. It is problematic that domestic violence is frequently framed as a ‘women’s issue,’ when boys grow into men who were shaped by early exposure to violence and men are those most often perpetrating partner violence. My earliest childhood memory is fearing for my mother’s life at the age of three as I witnessed her being violently attacked by my father. Men — we have a responsibility to replace relationships of power with relationships of meaning. We must heal and unlearn the negative male socialization due to legacies of colonialism.”

- George Galvis, Co-founder and Executive Director of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice

“My culture, background, and upbringing is rooted in the strengths and needs of the collective. Removal is not our way. As a professional in the work, I was inundated, even indoctrinated, with the alternative. This approach... this fight... this celebration of collective liberation... is the first time in decades I, as a Black woman, have been seen.”

- Colsaria Henderson, Advocate, Survivor, Board President of California Partnership to End Domestic Violence

This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we’re elevating and honoring the work of anti-violence advocates, grassroots organizations, and community leaders organizing to end all forms of patriarchal violence including gender-based violence, misogyny, and state violence. With generous support from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMoC) has joined with local and national partners to advance Healing Together, a campaign focused on shifting our understanding of and approach to ending intimate partner violence. 

Healing Together builds on the groundbreaking work of INCITE!, a network of radical feminists of color, inclusive of more than 90 gender and racial justice organizations. Collectively, Healing Together partners are engaging and supporting men and people who have caused harm in taking steps to break cycles of violence; advocating for policies that shift away from punishment systems that perpetuate violence — while securing investments in community-based responses that are healing-centered and culturally-rooted; and furthering prevention by addressing the root causes of violence in relationships, families, and communities.  

ABMoC launched the campaign in 2019 with the publication of a policy paper, Healing Together: Shifting Approaches to End Intimate Partner Violence, along with a policy paper summary. Over the last two years, Healing Together partners have collaborated on the development of several tools for organizations engaging men in the work to end patriarchal violence and foster healing. These resources include a:​​​​

  • facilitator’s guide for hosting men’s circles — both in-person and virtually
  • self-assessment tool for organizations that are interested in offering men’s nonviolence programs;
  • conversation guide for community members engaging with someone who has used violence against a partner and wants help to stop; and an
  • evaluation tool that organizations offering nonviolence programs can use to learn from participants about their experience in the program and what improvements can be made to better support people in ending cycles of violence and cultivating safety and accountability.

The campaign has also made important strides in the California Capitol by advancing the CRISES Act, which, if signed by the Governor, will provide millions of dollars to community-based organizations for nonpolice responses to intimate partner violence and other emergencies. The campaign also secured the legislature’s approval to task the state auditor with assessing batterer intervention programs in select counties in California. The audit will evaluate if these programs are effective in reducing the recurrence of violence; the efficacy of probation departments as program administrators; and the extent to which these programs are informed by a public health lens and recognize the social conditions that contribute to violence. 

On the ground, grassroots leaders are challenging policies that promote state violence as a response to partner violence and winning investments in community-based systems of safety and support. 

  • As an anchor of Justice LA, Dignity & Power Now is developing a pilot program in collaboration with Los Angeles County that will support both survivors and individuals facing charges in getting the services they need to be safe and healthy.  Currently, survivors don’t receive support unless there is a conviction; and for the person accused of causing harm, they are not connected to any supportive programs.
  • In Fresno, Faith in the Valley is engaging youth and community members around gender-based violence and creating short documentaries.  These videos are catalyzing local systems change as policymakers hear from directly impacted people about the need for community-based healing and support. 
  • In Contra Costa County, our partners at RYSE Center were a part of the early development of the Collective Healing and Transformation (CHAT) Project, which is a community-based domestic violence intervention program that is outside of the criminal-legal system and engages the whole family through restorative justice as a safe, alternative response to violence. RYSE works with young people experiencing domestic violence and other dimensions of interpersonal violence throughout all their programs and services.
  • And in Oakland and Sacramento, the Anti Police-Terror Project is operating MH First, a cutting-edge new model for nonpolice response to crises. The goal of MH First is to respond to mental health crises, including, but not limited to psychiatric emergencies, substance use support, and domestic violence safety planning. 

These efforts are just a few examples of the groundswell of interest in shifting approaches to end partner violence. From domestic violence practitioners, to racial justice advocates, to system leaders, all across California and the nation anti-violence advocates and organizers are working to abolish inadequate and harmful state interventions, expand community infrastructure to create safety, and address the root causes of harm to interrupt and prevent cycles of violence.

Learn more about the Healing Together campaign and join us in creating safe and accountable communities by focusing on gender justice, racial equity, and healing — instead of punishment — to end intimate partner violence. 

In solidarity,

The Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Team