Responding to State Violence and Intimate Violence: Abolition Feminisms

It can be hard to think beyond what we know and imagine our way into new territories of possibility. This chapter seeks to inspire you to dream new and remember old ways of preventing and intervening in interpersonal violence without relying on oppressive carceral systems. It also seeks to convey what is at stake and who gets left behind if we disregard the broader systemic context of violence and histories of colonisation, imperialism and war. We invite you to consider what this might mean for your practice. If you find yourself addressing gendered violence in your work, how do you attend to the context of state violence? What kinds of safety discourses, assumptions or policies guide your work? Where do these come from? Are they ever challenged? How might they look different and how would this shape the kinds of questions you ask or conversations you host about responding to violence?

Introducing Jill Faulkner: Jill was born in Aotearoa, and has lived on the lands of the First Nations peoples of Australia longer than she has lived on the country of her grandfather, descendant of the Ngati Te Whiti hapu of the Ati Awa iwi. Jill has worked with children, families and communities for more than 40 years. Her thinking and work are shaped by these multiple relationships and storied journeys. A therapist/activist, consultant, researcher, community practice worker, supervisor and social justice storyteller, Jill is committed to sharing knowledges.

Mimi Kim’s work challenges assumptions that have become central within the mainstream anti-violence sector. In this article, she traces histories of the anti-violence movements in the United States and the responses of women of colour and queer folks to increasing reliance on carceral policies. Mimi founded creative interventions, a portal for collecting stories and resources for alternative grassroots, community-based interventions to violence.

Alternative interventions to violence: Creative Interventions by Mimi Kim (she/her) 

Mimi Kim described above the work of Incite!, ‘a network of radical feminists of color organizing to end state violence and violence in our homes and communities’. The Critical Resistance Statement on gender violence and the prison industrial complex is a call to action for social justice movements and anyone working to address violence against women.

Rachel Herzing is a community organiser who collaborated with Mimi Kim in the Storytelling and Organizing Project. Hear about what creative interventions can look like in practice and the values that guide this work.

Creatively intervening in interpersonal and state violence: The Storytelling and Organizing Project by Rachel Herzing (she/her) [54:03]

Now we go to Palestine to learn about how male and female counsellors from the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture are addressing gendered violence in the context of occupation and oppression.

To relate to women in our proper way: Voices of Palestinian men and The journey of Palestinian women: Challenges and successes from Responding to trauma that is not past by Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture in partnership with Dulwich Centre Foundation International.

You can find the entire version of Responding to trauma that is not past here.

Founded in 2013 by three Black women, the Black Lives Matter movement has brought global attention to the racism embedded in carceral institutions, and particularly police violence and murder of Black people in America. Their work has had effects and sparked actions that have rippled across many countries. Frank Leon Roberts paints a picture of what this movement is and what it is not.

5 Ways of understanding Black Lives Matter by Frank Leon Roberts (he/him) [17:00]

And finally, we drop in to the Yirrkala and Gunyangara communities in far north Australia where women in the community are creatively responding the effects of alcohol, conflict and gendered violence in ways that embody kindness, respect and cultural knowledges.

The work of the community patrol by Djapirri Mununggirritj and Margaret Yunupingu: On behalf of the Women’s Patrols of Yirrkala and Gunyangara

Reflection questions

  • What were the significant themes that emerged in the articles and videos you engaged with in this chapter?
  • What do you imagine it is about your own social locations that had you noticing these themes?
  • How might your work support women and people of other genders to be able to see violence as a social issue rather than an individual issue? What are the narrative practices that might support this?
  • What might support you to notice when racism shows up in your workplace, practice or community? How might you respond when you notice its presence?
  • How might your practice ethics or values shift as a result of reading this chapter? What name would you give to any emerging ethics or values that you want to hold close?


This Post Has One Comment

  1. crystalsoares90

    there are many things that could support me in noticing when racism shows up at work. Paying attention to my implicit bias, own thoughts and reactions in the workplace and noticing if judgments or assumptions come up. Listen to and make space for marginalized voices and believe those experiences when they are shared. Watch for unequal treatment around me, paying attention to language used as well as nonverbal behaviors. notice how representative our teams are when compared to the populations we serve, and strategize ways to make it reflect our communities served.

Leave a Reply