A group of activists in the Seattle area banded together in August 1999 to create an organization that would undermine the root causes of sexual violence. By January 2000, these activists established Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA), an organization spearheaded by survivors who are marginalized from mainstream sexual assault services.
CARA creates spaces for our constituencies — including people who are young, of color, queer, incarcerated, poor, and/or have disabilities — to invest in the power of collective action, critical dialogue, and community organizing to undermine rape, abuse, and oppression.
CARA pushes a broad agenda for liberation and social justice while prioritizing anti-rape work as the center of our organizing. CARA is spearheaded by survivors of sexual and domestic violence who have led organizing efforts against forced institutionalization of people with disabilities, against racist sterilization abuse of women of color and poor women, and against the alarming criminalization of young people. Organizers and activists demonstrate how these issues are intricately connected to the process of undermining sexual violence.
CARA also uses community organizing as a tool to reconnect people to each other with a common goal of building safe, supportive, and accountable communities. Community members participate in support group facilitation training; in-depth dialogue about family/friend-based accountability strategies; and projects that emphasize positive sexuality.