June is Pride Month and as we stand with and celebrate our LGBTQ+ friends and community members, we also reflect on the fact that LGBTQ+ folks often experience high rates of relationship abuse and sexual violence and may face significant challenges when seeking help.

Some of the tactics of relationship abuse within an LGTQ+ relationship look similar to tactics used in heterosexual abusive relationships – attempting to maintain power and control through threats of physical or sexual violence, emotional abuse, financial abuse, isolation, and using children. There are tactics of maintaining power and control that are specific to LGBTQ+ relationships, like threats of outing a partner or humiliating one’s partner because of their identity.

LGBTQ+ individuals may experience hate-related violence, which can include sexual violence. We know that trans women and bisexual women face higher rates of sexual violence than others within LGBTQ+ communities. LGBTQ+ youth are more than twice as likely to experience homelessness as their non-LGBTQ+ peers.

We know that abuse and violence thrive in inequitable environments and homophobia and transphobia often intensify the impacts of abuse. Those within the LGBTQ+ communities experience systemic discrimination in housing, jobs, and access to resources. Furthermore, LGBTQ+ individuals may have experienced barriers or discrimination when seeking help after relationship abuse or sexual violence.

Everyone deserves a relationship, home, and a life free from abuse and violence. CADA is here to support all survivors of domestic and sexual violence. We are committed to providing support and services that are affirming and welcoming to all individuals.
Each month, CADA contributes an article to the regional magazine, River Valley Woman. This month River Valley Woman did their annual “Man Issue” where they highlight local men contributing to the community. For this issue of River Valley Woman, Kristen and Jason sat down for a chat about his role in local anti-violence work and his role as a leader of CADA.

Kristen: What got you interested in this line of work?
Jason: I started at CADA right after grad school. A mentor of mine was a board member at the time and encouraged me to get involved with CADA. I was, and still am, very interested in how we define masculinity in our culture and how that can result in gender-based violence. Also, my experiences growing up made me very aware of how multigenerational violence and trauma can impact people. When I started, I was excited and hopeful that I could use some of my experiences, skills, and identities to make a positive impact in the anti-violence movement locally in my community.

Kristen: What part of this work are you most passionate about?
Jason: Our work requires people working at different levels of advocacy all at once. We need frontline advocates working with individuals in crisis and we need people advocating for systems and legislative changes. I’m really passionate about making systems-level changes. Also, as an Executive Director, I tend to be a bit of nerd when it comes to nonprofit leadership strategies and finding innovative tools to grow our organization. I enjoy gathering data, analyzing it, and brainstorming what we can do differently to have a greater impact in our community. That said, I recognize that institutional changes often take longer than we’d like, particularly in the nonprofit sector. Although it’s quite challenging, I also find it rewarding.

Kristen: Who or what inspires and motivates you?
Jason: At the end of the day, the people we serve through our mission inspire and motivate me. I know that we, as a community, can continue to do better and do more to support victims and survivors. We’re talking about our neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members. Victims and survivors deserve the most robust and high-quality services. Keeping that in mind is often what keeps me going.

May: Supervised Visitation Awareness Month
On May 14th, CADA's Keep Me Safe team wore orange for Supervised Visitation Awareness Month.

CADA's Keep Me Safe Parenting Time Centers provide a safe and nurturing place for children to visit their non-custodial parent. We strive to provide a positive, healthy, and nurturing environment where children and their parents can be assured that the parenting time and supervised exchange will be conflict-free. We provide a safe space that allows individuals to explore family relationships rooted in respect and non-violence.

CADA’s Keep Me Safe centers provide services that are critical to families and increase community safety in our region. Supervised parenting time has lots of benefits for children and families. For a child, seeing their visiting parent can decrease a child’s feelings of rejection, decreases the child’s fear of not seeing their parent again, helps continue and build the parent/child relationship.

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