VAWA Reauthorization is a Testament to the Power of Survivors

Partners & Friends,

After years of bold advocacy from diverse coalitions, yesterday President Biden signed an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law. This overdue renewal will provide funding for organizations offering lifesaving programs, services, and resources to survivors of gendered and sexualized violence, including expanded provisions for those who have long been invisibilized yet disproportionately impacted like Indigenous, immigrant, and trans women. These much needed funds will go a long way, and we have survivors from communities across the country to thank for it.

As we celebrate this victory, we cannot forget the fact that the original VAWA was passed under the premise that carceral responses to domestic violence keep us safe. Our grantee partners, many of whom are often the first line of defense in their communities, have made it clear: an increase in funds for policing is just further investment in a violent system that harms survivors, instead of supporting them. To end increasingly pervasive gendered and racialized violence, we must resource the community-rooted solutions that truly keep us safe.

Collective Future Fund calls on philanthropy to reject narratives that define violence narrowly as individual, interpersonal acts and instead recognize the scale and interconnectedness of violence as experienced by survivors. We cannot disconnect domestic and sexual violence from the overarching crises of state violence — mass incarceration, police brutality, family separation, the imprisonment of sexual assault survivors for acts of self-defense — that disproportionately harm survivors of color.

Philanthropic donors should fulfill their commitments to racial and gender justice and meet this historic moment by funding the organizations led by survivors, QTBIPOC women and gender expansive people that are cultivating community, building impactful movements, and sustaining transformational work.

We look forward to joining together with you in this work.

In community,

Aleyamma Mathew

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