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Defunding the Police Means Justice for Survivors Too

Written By: CQ, TBTN Board of Directors

** Content/Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, Police Violence **

Following the murder of #GeorgeFloyd at the hands of a police officer, the world changed, erupting in protests demanding accountability and the dismantling of a centuries-old system that claims to serve and protect, while actively refusing to be accountable to its community, especially that of Black, Brown, Indigenous, Queer, Transgender and Disabled people. Sac TBTN released a statement, joining in solidarity and declaring with conviction that #BlackLivesMatter while transforming our social media platforms to spread the word of various actions happening in Sacramento. 

As a black queer woman, I took it to the streets, participating in and supporting actions throughout Sacramento, and spending a lot of time providing emotional and educational labor via social media. As an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and sex trafficking for several years, I found myself being asked the same series of questions:

  • “Isn’t rape your thing? How can you support defunding the police?”
  • “What about rape victims? Who is going to help them?”
  • “How can you protest the police?”

Before I could begin to answer, this post happened:

An image of a tweet with the question, “But what about rape and domestic violence, don’t we need cops for that?” with the answer, “In my 5+ years as a domestic violence counselor, there was not one instance where I saw a victim of either sexual assault, rape, or domestic violence get the help they needed by the police.”

Shortly after, my inbox exploded with messages from people who simply could not comprehend this. Ultimately one thing was clear: the world STILL doesn’t know how much law enforcement negatively impacts survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. So I’d like to share as well as declare that there are several intersections with Sac TBTN and V-Day Sacramento’s platforms in regards to law enforcement’s abuse of power. Here are the stats:

  • Sexual misconduct is the 2nd most frequent form of abuse after police brutality/excessive force.
  • A police officer is caught in an act of sexual misconduct with someone in their custody once every 5 days.
  • 40% of police officers are perpetrators of domestic violence. 
  • In 35 states it is legal for police to “define consent” and sexually assault people in their custody.
  • 60% of all reported jail and prison rapes have been committed by a correctional officer.
  • Only 23% of sexual assaults are reported to police. Fewer than 6% of those reports lead to arrest. Only 1% result in convictions.
  • Half of arrests involving police officers were for sexual misconduct involving minors.
  • 3 out of 5 women that have been sexually assaulted by police are women of color.
  • 40% of police sexual misconduct involves targeting survivors of domestic violence. The rest involves extorting sex workers, sex trafficking victims and transgender women under the threat of prostitution charges if they do not cooperate.
  • There are nearly 14,000 untested rape kits in California, 500 in Sacramento.

There’s more, but that’s probably enough for now. Below is a list of resources as well as 700 credible cases of sexual misconduct from law enforcement personnel over the course of 10 years. 

As you can see, rape and domestic violence are not only beyond policing but a part of the culture of policing. Who do you go to when the rapist is a cop? Because THAT’S what we need. The police officers that aren’t rapists don’t have the skills to assist someone that has just been through trauma and have a long track record of handling these cases inadequately, leaving survivors feeling invalidated and/or further violated and traumatized. Defunding the police is the first step in establishing alternatives that are supportive and affirming and will lead to restorative justice for survivors, by releasing city funds that could be dedicated to this effort.

So what can you do? It’s actually very simple: Do your part to support the Movement for Black Lives and Defunding the Police. There are countless resources available online that you can find on ways to get involved that go beyond marching in the streets, but here’s one action that you can take RIGHT NOW: Call and email your city leadership. 

The City of Sacramento currently gives the Sacramento Police Department nearly 50% of the ENTIRE city budget. The City Council also intends on giving 47% of Measure U funds that were promised to the community to the police ON TOP of what they already receive. Looking at the big picture, you will see that this wildly disproportionate spread of funds is the main reason our communities lack resources for our youth, poor, disabled, unhoused, schools, mentally ill, all of which includes survivors, with Black, Brown, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ communities taking the biggest hit. There is a special City Council meeting on policing taking place on Wednesday, 7/1. Call, write and show up however you can to demand that the City Council #GiveItBack! 

Learn more about #GiveItBackSac AND what you can do about it: (#GiveItBackSac info sourced from Black Justice Sacramento on Facebook –


700 Sexual Misconduct Cases –

Bureau of Justice Statistics –


National Sexual Violence Resource Center Library Catalog –


National Center for Women & Policing –

Unlawful Shield –

Cato Institute –

The Crime Report –

Police Sexual Misconduct: A National Scale Study of Arrested Officers –

End the Backlog –

A Statement From the Board of Directors

Originally published May 30, 2020

The vision of Sacramento Take Back the Night is a world free of violence. This includes the racial and systematic violence committed against the Black community and against communities of color in Sacramento and across the country.

We condemn and abhor the murders of #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, #AhmaudArbery, #TonyMcDade, and other Black lives lost to police violence and white supremacy.

We say with conviction that #BLACKLIVESMATTER.

We stand with communities of color who are hurting, mourning, and angry at yet another life lost to police brutality.

We stand with those demanding justice for Black lives lost to police violence and white supremacy, and an end to the system that regularly targets and brutalizes Black people and other people of color. 

We stand with grassroots efforts in Sacramento and around the country that protest, organize, agitate, and influence to bring about a more just and violence-free world.

We commit to using our network and platform to continue raising awareness of police brutality and other forms of state-sanctioned violence. 

Here are immediate ways that you can help:

In Solidarity,

Sacramento Take Back the Night Board of Directors

Sacramento’s 39th Annual Rally and March

Event on Saturday October 13, 2018
CONTACT: Anita Ross, Sacramento TBTN Organizer, [email protected]
Sacramento’s 39th Annual Rally and March to end sexual, gender-based, and all forms of violence. 
#WeMarchTogether #BelieveSurvivors
Over 500 expected to gather.
Sacramento, CA (October 11, 2018) – On Second Saturday, October 13, 2018 Sacramento’s 39th Annual Take Back the Night Rally and March will take place at the Sacramento Native American Health Center, Inc. (2020 J Street, Sacramento) from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. This event is aimed at empowering our community to resist and end sexual, gender-based, and all forms of violence through community-led action.
Keyko Torres, a board member of the Sacramento Take Back the Night organization, says “From Weinstein to Kavanaugh, from #MeToo to #TimesUp, the fight against gender-based violence and sexual assault is being highlighted in the media and has become the forefront of our conversations. With so many survivors coming forward and out of the shadows, Take Back the Night is very important, as it connects us to our local resources, provides a safe space, and says “We believe you, we believe survivors.”
While the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to SCOTUS is extremely disappointing to so many, the one silver lining is that more survivors of sexual violence are speaking up and coming together to bring about change. One of the event organizers, Anita Ross, recently emceed a candlelight vigil for survivors at the state capitol, and says “The most eye-opening moment of the night was when I asked how many of us were a part of the MeToo movement and it looked like at least 80% of the crowd had their hands up.”  Speaking up is part of the healing process for a survivor and so the fight for resisting and ending sexual violence will only get stronger.
This year’s event will feature powerful community leaders, activists, performers and survivors who are ready to send a strong message that survivors will not go quietly.
The Sacramento Take Back the Night event features three major components: A resource fair, featuring over 35 community organizations, a rally and a march.  The rally will open with a Miwok Blessing and speakers include:
  • Anita Ross, Emcee: Women for Equality
  • Elaine Whitefeather:  A Community For Peace
  • Ebony Ava Harper: California Endowment
  • Marissa Barrera: Activist
  • Eddie Carmona: PICO California
  • Jameer Sale: PSL
  • Desiree Rojas: Sacramento Labor Council For Latin American Advancement
  • Maggy Krell: Planned Parenthood
Performers include:
  • Danzantes: Folklórico Dance
  • Kate Livoni:  Folk Music
  • Niki Jones: Spoken Word
  • Blyue Rose Dance Project: Dance
  • Tanya Faison & Brrazey Liberty: Music & Spoken Word
  • Fenix Drum: Music & Dance
  • Spacewalker:  Folk/Soul/Synth Music
What:  Sacramento’s 39th Annual Take Back the Night Rally & March
When: October 13th, 2018
Start Time: 5:30pm | March through Midtown: 8:30pm
Where: Sacramento Native American Health Center, Inc. (2020 J Street, Sacramento)