Despite these hard economic times, one hopes that each of us can find reasons to celebrate. It may be the birth of a child or our parent’s 60th birthday. In these hard economic times, we also continue to mourn our losses, whether it be diminished job security or violence in the home.
Within this dichotomy, there lies a common thread. This thread lies with our mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters. Women, who give birth to leaders and artists, and who in their turn, birth movements and progress.
From birth to death, from first steps to graduation, sexual and reproductive justice touches all of us. It intersects all aspects of our lives, and yet we continue to confront resistance, deprivation and even violence over our most intimate and profound life choices.
Reproductive justice, one of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum’s (NAPAWF) key issues, exists when all people have the social, political and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies and sexuality for ourselves, our families and our communities.
In our communities, topics of sex and sexuality are often taboo. Parents and teens may avoid discussions of contraception, pregnancy, interpersonal violence or sexual identity. In the workplace, women often make choices between family and career or precariously balance between the two.
Furthermore, young API women generally have no voice in public discourse on policies and laws that directly impact our choice or our rights around sexuality and reproduction. Part of NAPAWF Seattle Chapter’s work is to advocate for the sexual health and reproductive rights of Asian and Pacific Islander women and transgender women. To help give voice to members of our communities, we employed young women to talk to other young and transgender women about these health issues.
On August 23, 2010, our researchers shared their experiences and their findings from our Sexual and Reproductive Health Survey. Some of those included:
- “We didn’t talk about sex, and if we did, it always turned into an argument.”
- “…I just wish someone would have told me or talked openly about [sex and sexuality] with me, not to deter me but so I could have been prepared…”
- “…I didn’t get any sexual assault education, sexuality, boundary setting or healthy relationships education ‘til college but by that time I’d been assaulted and was dealing with the after affects…”
With the information from our survey, and building on the experiences of our researchers, NAPAWF Seattle is able to increase collective knowledge of the needs of our community. More importantly, our young API women are able to engage in self-reflective inquiry that will seed and grow the movement.
The Seattle Chapter of NAPAWF is dedicated to forging a grassroots progressive movement for social and economic justice and the political empowerment of Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls. NAPAWF unites our diverse communities through organizing, education, and advocacy. Please check out the Seattle Chapter website at www.napawf.org. If you would like to get involved, send us an e-mail at [email protected].