What We Believe
VidaAfrolatina’s Statement of Principles
- VidaAfrolatina recognizes that violence against women is based on gender discrimination. While VidaAfrolatina focuses primarily on sexual violence, we recognize that all forms of gender-based violence are interrelated. Women, children and people with non-binary gender identities are more likely to be victimized by men’s gender-based violence.
- VidaAfrolatina recognizes that domestic violence is exercised within the family or home sphere and its causes usually stem from gender stereotypes and inequality. It is commonly linked to sexual violence. VidaAfrolatina recognizes that this form of gender-based violence is the result of patriarchal structures.
- VidaAfrolatina recognizes that sexual violence is a social justice issue and a racial justice issue. Women of African descent throughout the western hemisphere are and have been disproportionately victimized since the transatlantic slave trade. Historic and ongoing systemic racism, which impedes Afrodescendant women’s well being and life chances (economic, educational, health, housing, etc.), contribute to Black women’s disproportionate vulnerability and victimization.
- VidaAfrolatina recognizes that every occurrance of sexual violence is a human rights violation.
- VidaAfrolatina recognizes the importance of women’s reproductive rights. Afrodescendant women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies autonomously and to have access to information that allows them to make informed decisions. They have the right to decide whether or not to have children, with whom, how many and how often.
- VidaAfrolatina recognizes the importance of women’s sexual rights. Afrodescendant women have the right to enjoy a freely chosen sex life, without violence, discrimination or risk. They have the right to decide for themselves when, how and with whom to have sexual relations, to express sexuality without pressure or violence, to live their sexual orientation and gender identity without discrimination. They have the right to have access to information about how to take care of oneself.
- VidaAfrolatina recognizes the importance of differentiating between reproductive and sexual rights. Women have the right to make decisions about their sexuality that are not conditioned on reproduction. Limiting women’s sexual and reproductive rights is an infringement that begets gender violence.
- VidaAfrolatina is committed to the collaborative strengthening of Afro-descendant women’s groups, organizations and movements committed to healing and to social and systemic change with the goal of eliminating sexual violence. We believe that all Afro-descendant women deserve to be safe, to have the resources they need to heal and to transform their communities and societies into safe and healthy environments.
How VidaAfrolatina Defines Sexual Violence
Sexual violence is an all-encompassing term that includes varying degrees and types of victimizations, including inappropriate touch of a sexual nature, rape and sexual abuse. Any unwanted sexual activity is a form of sexual violence. VidaAfrolatina uses a broad definition of sexual violence with the understanding that legal definitions vary widely from country to country and that some forms of sexual violence may not be classified as illegal in some jurisdictions.
Sexual violence often happens as a result of manipulation or coercion and also happens as a result of violence or force. All forms of sexual violence have in common the absence of consent. Consent is defined as voluntary agreement to or permission for a sexual act to occur or to be performed under no influence or pressure. Many factors can preclude consent, including fear, age, illness, disability, the influence of alcohol or other drugs and the lack of consciousness.
Sexual violence includes:
Child sexual abuse
Drug-facilitated sexual assault
Use of technology such as digital photos, videos, apps, and social media, to engage in harassing, unsolicited, or non-consensual sexual interactions
Rape as a tool of war
Sexual abuse by medical professionals
Multiple-perpetrator sexual assault
Unwanted sexual contact
These forms of victimization often encompass sexual violence:
Intimate partner violence