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FreeButterfliesCrop660x_img_2014 Resources About Dismantling Oppression

Resources About Dismantling Oppression

Domestic violence work, at its core, is about empowering people who are victimized by their intimate partners and assisting them to access the resources that will help to connect them to safety and justice.

Oppression and Injustice Make Domestic Violence Possible

Systems of oppression keep injustices like domestic violence in place. Dismantling or taking apart such systems is an important part of our work as advocates. To create a just society for victims of domestic violence, advocates and allies must seek to create a just society for everyone. This creative work allows all of us to address problems that result from violence and change community norms that allow violence to happen.

Unequal treatment may be based on or referred to as "isms:"

Religion/Christianism (Anti-Semitism)
Sexual orientation/Heterosexism
Socio-economic class/Classism

Unequal treatment may be based on other identities, too.

Intersectionality of Oppression

People may fit into more than one group, and be subject to more than one type of oppression. This is referred to as the "intersectionality of oppression.” One group may have power and advantages over another, leaving some people with access to fewer resources and at higher risk for abuse, including domestic violence.

Communities can organize to address violence. People can learn to address the “isms” and inequalities within their community.

The following resources provide more information on what dismantling oppression means within our collective work to prevent violence.


Faith-Trust Institute: Faith-Trust Institute is an international, multifaith organization working to end sexual and domestic violence. The institute provides communities and advocates with the tools and knowledge they need to address the religious and cultural issues related to abuse. FaithTrust Institute works with many communities, including Asian and Pacific Islander, Buddhist, Jewish, Latino/a, Muslim, Black, Anglo, Indigenous, Protestant and Roman Catholic.

Girls Transform the World Campaign is a collection of voices from thousands of girls, women and male allies around the world who are interested in improving girls' access to education and other opportunities to unleash their potential. The effort to gather these voices was led by World Pulse. World Pulse is an action media network powered by women from 190 countries. They believe that when women are heard, they will change the world. Through a growing web-based platform, women are speaking out and connecting to create solutions from the frontlines of today’s most pressing issues. Their programs nurture community, provide media and empowerment training, and channel rising voices to influential forums.

Paul Kivel’s website has a variety of social justice, community organizing and anti-oppression resources, particularly for working with youth. This social justice educator, activist and writer has been an innovative leader in violence prevention for more than 35 years.

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond is a national and international collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation. The People’s Institute, through training, technical assistance and consultations helps individuals, communities, organizations and institutions move beyond addressing the symptoms of racism to undoing the causes of racism so as to create a more just and equitable society.

Recommended Readings

"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," by Peggy McIntosh. Published in Peace and Freedom, pages 10-12, July/August, 1989.

"Adultism," Paul Kivel.

"Are You Mentoring for Social Justice?" Paul Kivel. 2004.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire. Published in New York, New York by Continuum,1970.

Pedagogy and the Politics of Hope: Theory, Culture, and Schooling, by Henry Giroux. Published by Westview Press, 1997.

"In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning," by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer. Published in Phi Delta Kappan, pages 593-599, May 1996.

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