A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Angela Yannelli: Assessing the positive as we find common ground to prevent domestic violence

I turned on the news recently like so many of us do to start our day. It wasn’t much different than other days — rising COVID-19 cases and deaths, the transition of power in our nation unsettled, confusion among our elected officials, and a divide in our country centered around the rights and humanity of the oppressed.

So I turned off the television and began to take assessment of what we can be thankful for and what the future can look like and I realized that while I had been dwelling on all the “crises” happening around us, hope and opportunity were on the doorstep waiting to take residence.

The anti-violence movement could not have a better champion than the President-Elect. Not only is he the author of the Violance Against Women Act in 1994, but he has worked with our movement for over 25 years to secure protections for survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.

Not only do we have an longstanding ally in the highest office of the land, we have witnessed history with the first woman — the first Black and South Asian American person — ever elected Vice-President.

Our national network of state coalitions has already begun to re-establish connections with the President-Elect and to plan future policy work.

Amid the uncertainty created by the pandemic, institutionalized oppression, and politics is the opportunity to imagine the world we want to create together. For KCADV, we imagine a world without intimate partner violence and we invite you to imagine alongside us.

Angela Yannelli

We are not confined to doing things the same way just because “that is how they have always been done.” If there is nothing else we have learned from 2020, we have learned that people are resourceful, resilient, and adaptable. 
It is time to harness this power and envision a “new normal” for the fight to end gender-based violence and every other intersecting form of oppression. Advocacy agencies, victim service providers, state social services, law enforcement and courts must learn the facts, take accountability for their own failures, and be willing to make change toward meaningful solutions. 
This means being willing to come to the table, hear each other’s perspectives, find common ground, and develop strategies that can continually move the needle toward a society free of violence. 

We are prepared and eager to do this work and we are thankful for the opportunities and hope that are on the horizon.

Angela Yannelli is CEO of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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