Violence against women is widespread in the United States, and Montana is no exception. The physical violence that we are subjected to takes many shapes – for example: murder, rape, battering, sexual harassment, and pornography. Less obvious, yet just as insidious, are the attitudes and values that not only tolerate violence against women, but also create and reproduce it. This violence, we believe, is firmly rooted in our society’s belief in the supremacy of men over women. That belief persists in a complex series of institutional and social arrangements that continue to define and treat women as subordinate to men.

We base our actions and interactions on the following basic tenets; we advocate for policy that supports and/or forwards them; and we work to increase public awareness on issues related to them.

We believe all women have the right to live a life free of violence or the threat of violence. Women have the right to freedom from violations of their personal autonomy and physical integrity on the street, in the home, at the workplace, and in the Coalition. Furthermore, women should not have to restrict their freedom of movement, their bodies, or their activities in order to be safe.

We believe all women have the right to make their own decisions regarding sexual and reproductive matters, lifestyles, finances, education, and employment.

We believe religious beliefs and practices are a matter of personal conscience and individual choice, and a Montana Coalition member shall neither promote nor discourage a particular religious belief in the course of his or her work.

We believe classism, racism, ableism, ageism, homophobia (and all forms of elitism) are attitudes that serve to divide people who might otherwise join forces. As such, they interfere with women’s ability to pool their efforts and reach their full potential. Our membership is open to people of all backgrounds. Furthermore, survivors of violence represent an essential constituency in our movement, and the Montana Coalition strongly encourages full participation by and equity for survivors.

In light of the above, the Montana Coalition has established the following goals:

To eliminate all forms of oppression – for example, ageism, anti-Semitism, classism, violence against women, homophobia, racism, and sexism – within the Coalition and in our members’ crisis centers and other programs. Also, the Coalition is committed to speaking out about the connections between domestic and sexual violence and other forms of oppression.

To provide support and networking opportunities, and training for organizations and community groups that provide domestic and sexual violence intervention/prevention services on the state, regional, and national levels.

To encourage increased awareness and understanding of domestic and sexual violence and the concerns of survivors and to explore and support innovative policy approaches to issues related to domestic and sexual violence.