Vision & Values
Incest AWARE is an alliance of survivors, supporters, and organizations on a mission to keep children safe from incest in the first place, secure safe methods of intervention, support survivors in recovery, and end recidivism by transforming people who harm. Learn more about how we plan on doing these things through our mission and values statement. Reach out to anyone in the alliance below.
Incest AWARE Mission.
The Incest AWARE Alliance is devoted to gathering and supporting any and all individuals and organizations offering services and solutions to improve methods of incest prevention, intervention, recovery, and justice by:
Procuring a website that includes historical and present anti-incest resources, as well as the contact information for all alliance members.
Providing a community organizing software for events, announcements, and community connection.
Planning meetings every two months for alliance members, as well in-person and virtual events like conferences and retreats.
Promoting evidence-based research to aid in publication efforts within the anti-incest movement.
Publishing anti-incest content to support prevention, intervention, recovery, and justice efforts.
Partnering with other individuals and organizations interested in anti-incest work.
Incest AWARE Values.
All individuals and organizations with the Incest AWARE Alliance commit to the following values. These ideals provide a direction for who we want to be and how we want to live in community. We promise to dedicate ourselves to better learning and executing these principles every day, while also recognizing the challenges of doing so. When we act in discordance with these values, we engage in accountability and reconciliation circles to remember who we are and who we want to be communally.
We embody these values by stating, “We are a commitment to…”, a methodology created by survivor activist Staci Haines to center the lifelong evolution of individual and community growth.
We are a commitment to reclaiming our shared history.
Incest AWARE recognizes that the anti-incest movement has been guided by survivors and supporters throughout history. These brave people have experienced so much oppression that their very existence and public witness have been erased. Together we are committed to uncovering and archiving the voices of our survivor ancestors and allies of the past and sharing their stories as the foundation of our present work. We will learn from their mistakes and promote their strengths as we continue to guide the anti-incest movement.
We are a commitment to equitable leadership.
Incest AWARE’s alliance includes leaders among leaders. We intentionally create an equitable community model that centers priorities determined by the community. We work to dismantle hierarchy or celebrate a central leader by recognizing the unique contributions of all members. We will continue to seek leadership models that honor all opinions and needs, as opposed to traditional methods of majority vote.
We are a commitment to global outreach.
Incest AWARE is located in the United States, so the focus of our work begins within the challenges and opportunities present within this context. However, we acknowledge that incest occurs everywhere and must be addressed differently in various social, political, cultural, religious, and economic areas. As we grow, we commit to partnering with international individuals and organizations to support the anti-incest movement in other places.
We are a commitment to child safety and empowerment.
Incest AWARE names children as the most vulnerable human population and most worthy of protection and empowerment. They are entirely dependent on their caregivers and social-political-economic contexts to ensure their safety. The younger the child, the more vulnerable they are to harm as they do not have the ability to communicate. If violence begins young and the child is isolated, the harm can be normalized. Incest AWARE seeks to promote family and social environments that inspire communities to protect all children within their care. Additionally, we provide child empowerment models that treat children as whole members of communities that are learning and growing within a protected context.
We are a commitment to survivor-centered community development.
Incest AWARE centers the lived experience of survivors in the creation of our programs. We respect the language survivors use to identify themselves, as well as recognize identity as evolving. We will change the language of our survivor members as their own preferences develop. We also respect that all survivors hold the trauma and make choices about how to respond differently. We honor the diverse choices survivors make to manage the long term intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutional consequences of this challenging history.
We recognize that no one understands the complexities and nuances of the issue better than survivors themselves. Any programs created must attempt to hold the depth and breadth of survivor experiences to the best of our ability. In order to do this, we will always invite survivors into the process of content, program, and event creation on their own terms. We will compensate them in any way we are able. The cost of participation in such work can be retriggering and retraumatizing for survivors, so we commit to creating resources where survivors are cared for during their participation with us. We commit to continuing to edit our processes and programming as we learn from survivors and improve our own understanding of the issue.
We are a commitment to building a community of supporters.
Incest AWARE embraces the participation of any who are interested in or have been impacted by the issue of incest. We commit to the education of all those within our network to ensure greater interpersonal and institutional means to end incest, offer support for survivors and others harmed by incest, and shape accountability models for those who harm.
We are a commitment to anti-racism, anti-oppression,and intersectionality.
Incest AWARE recognizes that sexual violence in the home disproportionately impacts historically marginalized communities in the United States. Children and adult survivors who are Black, Indigenous, Latine, Asian-American and Pacific Islander, or of mixed ethnic and racial identities face social and systemic discrimination, encounter increased barriers to disclosure, experience more harmful methods of intervention, lack access to culturally-affirming recovery methods, as well as confront the violence of the incarceration system. Those who are or are also LGBTQIA+, disabled, immigrants, refugees, impoverished, and/or of different body sizes come up against similar harms. Everyone is impacted by climate change, specifically those who live within neighborhoods without access to clean air, fresh food, and water. All of these compounding oppressions contribute to the increased vulnerability of children to incest and other forms of harm.
Incest AWARE takes an anti-oppressive and intersectional approach to our work to ensure that we are addressing this issue from the most complex cases to ensure everyone is included within our solutions. We recognize that our personal privileges and priorities may be the result of social and cultural conditioning depending on lived experience, sexual and gender identities, as well as religious, ethnic, racial, and class contexts. Together we commit to learning how to expand our interests and involvement to include everyone in our community, centering first those who are the most oppressed and therefore the most resilient.
We are a commitment to recognizing and healing the harm of gender and gender-based violence.
Although transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and Two-Spirit people have existed and been celebrated in a number of cultures throughout history, we recognize that the expectations of a gender binary in the United States and in other places have reduced liberty and caused harm to everyone. We invite all members to express their present and evolving names and gender identities by sharing and updating their names and pronouns. We expect that all of our members take all identities and pronoun use seriously. We commit to using the appropriate names and pronouns and apologizing when we misspeak.
When we say that sexual violence is a gender-based issue, we mean that sexual violence is driven by patriarchy, cisnormativity, and heteronormativity among other oppressive forces, while also recognizing that this issue impacts people of all gender identities. Although studies have historically focused on sexual violence between cis-men against cis-women, we have witnessed this form of abuse impacting everyone, especially those who identify LQBTQIA+. This also includes cis-men, especially those who are conditioned by patriarchal principles and toxic masculinity, as well as those who have been victimized by it.
We are a commitment to inclusivity.
Incest AWARE seeks to include members within all communities to promote diversity, as well hold and learn to address the unique complexities of the issue of incest within different social and cultural contexts. We center the intelligence and lived experiences of survivors and leaders to share what is already being done within specific areas to prevent this issue, support survivors, as well as end recidivism by people who harm. Then we will work together to improve or develop solutions.
We are a commitment to trauma-informed practices.
Our community includes individuals who have experienced a number of interpersonal and institutional harms. We recognize that our behaviors, responses, and actions may be reflective of our trauma, not our intentions, beliefs, or values. We hold ourselves and each other in empathy and accountability as we learn to dismantle conditioning caused by trauma and learn safer methods of treating ourselves and each other through trauma-informed treatment models.
We are a commitment to culturally-affirming treatment.
The diversity of our community creates a rich environment that requires a variety of culturally-affirming treatment methods to share with survivors and each other. These models for healing recognize both the harm that has been done against individuals and communities within our alliance, as well as the resilience of ancestors and present community strengths that celebrate different social and cultural contexts.
We are a commitment to procuring and providing research.
Incest AWARE will gather research from the past and procure more studies in the present to improve the understanding of the issue of incest. We will use mixed methodologies and the social-ecological approach to research that approaches the issue from individual, relational, communal, and societal perspectives to provide inclusive and integrative solutions.
We are a commitment to life-long learning and educating.
Incest AWARE acknowledges that community always offers opportunities for people to better understand each other, social issues, and solution paradigms better. We promote a learning environment where we honestly assess where we are and how we can improve our understanding of issues and opportunities that impact all within our communities. We commit to offering our lived experiences to educate each other when we have the bandwidth, as well as setting boundaries in safe ways when we feel the need to self-protect from the burden of educating others.
We are a commitment to creating safe, brave, and accountable spaces.
Incest AWARE seeks to be a safe space. However, we recognize that within the complexities of our contexts, safety is an ideal that can be difficult to actualize. When individuals or communities within our organization don’t feel safe, we commit to becoming a brave space where individuals can share how they feel. We commit as a community to supporting all of our members in becoming safer individuals. We will create empathetic accountability models that educate as opposed to isolating those who harm accidentally or intentionally.
We are a commitment to self and collective care.
We celebrate the successes of all types of support for self and collective care. From peer-to-peer support networks to professional and clinical programs, we commit to care models that honor individual needs within a community. The individual is not lost in the community and the community is not lost in the individual. Instead, we hope to hold space for individual and collective need and care.
We are a commitment to transformative justice.
Incest AWARE understands that we are all impacted by the violence within the biological and socio-economic-political environments we were raised. At times, these settings can contribute to encouraging or allowing violence by individuals within our communities. We recognize that while some people have been given too much permission to repeat violence due to lack of accountability, others have been mistreated within the accountability methods that do exist. As an organization, we commit to the belief that all members of our communities deserve to learn to be safe within dignified treatment programs. We commit to being an anti-violence organization for those who have been harmed, as well as those who harm.
We are a commitment to joy and friendship.
We believe that sustainable advocacy and activism rests on joyful community participation and contribution. We will encourage survivors and supporters who desire to join us in our work to contribute in ways that feel motivating, fun, and nourishing. We respect the need for breaks or to retire from the work whenever the survivor is ready. We will celebrate survivors in their choice not to be activists, in their work as activists, as well as in their rest when they’ve chosen to end their activism journeys. More than anything else we are a community of friends and will always center these values-aligned relationships regardless of active participation in Incest AWARE.
Learn how to prevent family incest, as well as the causes and consequences of sexual abuse in families.
Learn how to heal after family incest and connect to organizations to support you in your journey.
Learn how to support a family incest survivor through crisis, intervention, and recovery.