We’ve reported before on award-winning West Seattle advocate/educator Bettie Williams-Watson and her nonprofit Multi-Communities, working with survivors of sexual assault and abuse. An announcement from the mayor’s office today includes word of new funding for Multi-Communities. As explained at the start of the announcement:
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced $100,000 in additional 2019 funding in the second quarter’s supplementary budget for education and prevention programs seeking to address gender-based violence in Seattle. The funding will support existing organizations to build their capacity and advance youth programming, education programs for boys and men, and programs focused on marginalized populations, including Latinx, Black and African American, and Native American and Indigenous communities.
“We must do more to prevent and end gender-based violence,” said Mayor Durkan. “We have a responsibility to invest in programs that work to stop this violence from occurring in the first place, especially for communities most impacted. Seattle stands up for survivors, and our services must be available and accessible for all. To the survivors in our city: We believe you, and we will fight for you.”
The City of Seattle invests more than $10 million annually in gender-based violence services, including prevention, legal, intervention, housing, and offender accountability services. The Mayor’s $100,000 mid-2019 investment supports upstream programming to prevent the violence from taking place at all and will focus on programming for Latinx, Black and African American, and Native American and Indigenous communities.
A significant percentage of gender-based violence fatalities occur when the victim is 21 years or younger, and these victims often meet their perpetrator in middle or high school. Additionally, language barriers, lack of culturally relevant services, threats of deportation, and fear of isolation put marginalized communities at an increased risk of experiencing gender-based violence. Women of color and Native women are two-to-three times more likely to experience a gender-based, violence-related fatality than their white counterparts.
As part of the $100,000, Williams-Watson’s organization will work in partnership with other organizations led by the Filipino Community of Seattle on what the announcement describes as “the Access to Advocacy outreach and mobilization projects. These projects work to prevent gender-based violence in marginalized communities including Native American and Indigenous, Latinx, and African American and Black communities.” We spotlighted Williams-Watson and her work in this WSB story last year.