Richmond Hosts Anti-Violence Regional Academy
Read More: Virginia Anti-Violence Project
On Saturday August 4, nearly 100 advocates, service providers, program leaders, and LGBTQ community members gathered in Richmond for a day of discussion, workshops, and networking about best practices in serving LGBTQ survivors of violence and preventing violence in LGBTQ communities. The day-long Anti-Violence Regional Academy was co-sponsored by Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP), Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Gay Community Center of Richmond, Southerners on New Ground, and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).
The Academy was preceded by a two-day national meeting of leaders in LGBTQ survivor services and violence prevention, representing programs from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kansas City, Denver, Milwaukee, Chicago, St Louis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, Washington, New York City, Boston, Burlington and other locales. The national meeting came for the first time into the South. Accentuating the Southern context, the meeting was held at the historic Linden Row Inn, and Richmond historian Beth Marshack gave a talk about LGBTQ history in Richmond including discussion of how different LGBTQ communities in Virginia have faced violence.
Recent data (from 2011) released by NCAVP show an 11% increase in the number of murders iof LGBTQ, and among those reporting, transgender women, people of color, youth/young adults faced the most severe hate violence. Regarding many forms of violence experienced by LGBTQ hate violence, sexual violence, and partner violence – another national report found that LGBTQ victims do not have consistent access to culturally competent services to prevent or help victims recover from violence.
Virginia Anti-Violence Project’s research (from 2008) found that over one third of Virginian LGBTQ people responding to a community survey reported experiencing sexual violence as a child or young person, and over one quarter reported experiencing sexual violence as an adult.
Forty-one percent had been in an abusive relationship at some time in their life and almost one third of respondents had been stalked. More than half of Virginian LGBTQ persons participating in the survey had experienced hate violence or harassment based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or because of gender identity/expression.
By bringing the national meeting and Academy to Richmond the Virginia Project (VAVP) hopes to build an expanded Board and a broader coalition of volunteers and allies, and to catalyze activity around Virginia to help serve survivors of violence and to prevent violence.
Ted Heck, a founder of the Virginia organization, said “It’s so exciting to have been able to bring all this national expertise to Virginia. Folks came from all over the state, from as far away as Wise County, to attend these workshops. I’m so glad VAVP could play a key role in making this happen.”
Virginia Anti-Violence Project is a 501.C3 organization with an organizational mission to address and end violence, with a specific focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities across Virginia. Most current Board members are rooted in the Richmond metro area, with other Board members living in Lynchburg, and rural Albemarle County.
The Board is currently expanding, and seeking interested volunteers. Interest in joining the Board and other volunteer roles may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Edward Strickler’s Anabaptist ancestors were among the first euro-settlers in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He lives in rural Albemarle County with his partner of 30 years.
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