No Perfect Victims Network Gathering @ 2017 Allied Media Conference in Detroit

Between 1977 and 2007, the population of U.S women prisoners grew by 800% with an annual growth rate doubling that of men over many years. The vast majority of incarcerated and criminalized women (trans and non-trans) have previous histories of domestic and sexual abuse. This gathering will engage participants on how to pro-actively support and advocate for survivors who live at the intersection of gender violence and criminalization. We will highlight the experiences of grassroots organizations and defense committees in supporting those who don’t fall into the “perfect victim” narrative and we will share a new toolkit for those who want to do similar work. Participants will learn how to use digital organizing to raise awareness, funds and gain supporters for their campaigns. This network gathering is invite only.
Coordinators of this network gathering are Mariame Kaba, Stacy Suh, Tasasha Henderson, and Ash Stephens.

We are calling for criminalized survivors, formerly incarcerated people, organizers, activists, educators, artists, anti-domestic/sexual violence workers, legal service providers, and others to
join us for discussion and strategizing.

Our vision for this gathering is to:

  • Continue to build on a shared analysis of the criminalization of survival
  • Hear directly from criminalized survivors of violence such as Marissa Alexander, Cherelle Baldwin and others about their experiences
  • Strategize about how to deepen local efforts and build a long-term national/transnational agenda through coalition building and cross-movement coordination
  • Identify successful coalitional strategies between efforts inside and outside of prisons and detention centers

During this network gathering we will be addressing the following questions:

  • How do you build defense committees to support criminalized survivors of violence?
  • What lessons have we learned about how to effectively organize with and advocate for criminalized survivors?
  • What can the anti-prison and the anti-gender-based violence movements learn from criminalized survivors of violence?
  • How can we build collective power locally and globally?
  • How do we strategically plan for a decarceral agenda that is both responsive to and transcends the current political moment (meaning, strategies that are aware of movements against the Trumpian fascist turn, but also going for the long-term revolutionary goals that we want)?
  • How can we strategically source local and national resources to support criminalized survivors and their families?
  • How can/do we best use art and media in our organizing work?

Participants who attend this gathering can expect to strengthen their understanding and analytical framework around gender violence and criminalization. We will think through how to collectively develop alternative responses to gender violence that don’t rely on the state. Finally participants will learn how to run defense campaigns with/for criminalized survivors of violence.

We encourage our network gathering participants to propose presentations and workshops to Allied Media Conference tracks and practice spaces. This network gathering is limited to 60 participants. To find out more and learn how to register email Mariame Kaba at

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