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Racial Justice in Anti-Abuse Work

A future without abuse is only possible if we work to rid our society of systematic injustices like racism, xenophobia, transphobia, sexism, Islamophobia, anti Semitism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, etc. All of these -isms devalue individuals and communities and enable and support violence. As long as these power imbalances exist, not only will there be barriers to survivor safety, but these injustices may be weaponized by people who abuse. If we are working towards survivor justice, we also need to be working for justice for ALL.

Below are some resources and readings compiled by Safe Havens staff that tackle some of the many forms of  injustice. This is not meant to be an all encompassing page, but rather a jumping off point to begin or expand conversations. We have chosen to begin this page by delving into racism because of how pervasive and deep-rooted it is in our lives and society. This page is an evolving work in progress, if you have an organization, resource, or reading you would like to add to this page, please reach out via email to with the subject line Racial Justice.

Ways that Racism Impacts
People Experiencing Abuse

  • Over 84% of Native women experience violence during their lifetimes. (NCADV) This is significantly higher than other races and ethnicities

  • Police, jurors, and judges are less likely to believe Black and Brown survivors than White survivors. (NCADV)

  • “Black women are especially likely to be criminalized, prosecuted, and incarcerated while trying to navigate and survive the conditions of violence in their lives. Compared to other groups, Black women are 80% more likely to be convicted for killing their abusive partner when defending themselves from abuse.” (NCADV)

  • Batterers may exploit a partner’s limited English proficiency and/or immigration status to maintain control and power  (API-GBV)

  • Language barriers at hotlines or shelters or other places people experiencing abuse are seeking help limits their opportunities

  • Nearly half of Latinas in one study did not report abuse to authorities. Reasons for underreporting may include fear and lack of confidence in the police, shame, guilt, loyalty and/or fear of partners, fear of deportation, and previous experience with childhood victimization. (Esperanza United)

Organizations at the Intersection of Abuse and Racial Justice


The mission of the National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community is to mobilize the community to respond to and end domestic, sexual and community violence in the Black community. We actualize this mission through research, public awareness and community engagement, and resource development. Ujima serves as a resource to survivors of violence, advocates and service providers, and the community at-large

Asian Pacific Institue on Gender-Based Violence

The Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence is a culturally specific national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian/Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.  We envision a world free of gender-based violence for communities with equal opportunities for all to thrive. Our mission is to disrupt gender-based violence, which causes physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual and economic harm within AAPI communities throughout the U.S. and its territories.

Esperanza United

With nearly forty years of success, Esperanza United (EU) leverages the strengths of Latin@ communities to end gender-based violence. Founded and led by Latinas, we ground our work in listening to the community adapting to meet their changing needs. We work with the community, other service providers, and systems to ensure Latinas, their families, and our communities receive culturally relevant advocacy and quality, appropriate, and effective resources. Our mission is to mobilize Latinas and Latin@ communities to end gender-based violence.

National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. (NIWRC) is a Native-led nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against Native women and children. The NIWRC provides national leadership in ending gender-based violence in tribal communities by lifting up the collective voices of grassroots advocates and offering culturally grounded resources, technical assistance and training, and policy development to strengthen tribal sovereignty. Our mission is to provide national leadership to end violence against American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian women by supporting culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy.

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