StrongHearts Native Helpline Honors October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month
In October, Domestic Violence Awareness sheds light on victim-survivors and calls for an end to violence inflicted on Indigenous peoples.
Every October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), advocates and communities across Indian Country and the United States rally together to honor survivors of domestic violence and support abuse prevention.
In 2020, StrongHearts Native Helpline once again calls on advocates, tribal leaders, reservation and urban Indian community members, service providers and Native organizations to support the movement to prevent and end domestic violence, which disproportionately affects millions of Natives every year.
Violence against Indigenous peoples began with European contact and has continued to this day, adding up to more than 500 years of abuse. Domestic violence, which continues as a tool of colonization, represents a lack of respect for Native peoples.
Native women and men in the United States experience domestic violence at alarming rates, with more than four in five Natives having experienced some form of violence in their lifetime and more than half experiencing physical violence by an intimate partner in the past year.
Domestic violence has many faces: physical, sexual, emotional, cultural, financial and digital. It doesn’t discriminate and includes violence against children, elders, LGBTQ2S individuals. There is also a strong connection between domestic violence and thousands of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.
Native nations in the Lower 48 and Alaska Native Villages continually go underfunded for life-saving domestic violence services. Now in its fourth year of operation, StrongHearts has received more than 9,103 phone calls and online chats requesting critically-needed support to deal with intimate partner violence. Of the phone calls, 5,010 were received in 2019 — a 396.04% increase from 2018.
This year during the Covid-19 pandemic, conversations focused on domestic violence have attracted international media and public attention. Alarming increases in domestic violence have been documented worldwide, due to victims and their abusers being trapped in close quarters while sheltering in place during quarantines. In August, in an effort to help Natives affected by all forms of violence during this uncertain and dangerous time, StrongHearts added sexual violence advocacy to its existing domestic and dating violence outreach services.
“We must continue to heighten public awareness of the issues of violence in Indian Country,” says StrongHearts Native Helpline Director Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). “StrongHearts Native Helpline urges all individuals not only during October but throughout the year to believe survivors, speak out and take action against abuse, and to share supportive resources with their loved ones and communities in a concentrated effort to put an end to domestic violence forever.”
Need to talk? StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-762-8483) is a culturally-appropriate domestic, dating and sexual violence helpline for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Trained with an understanding of Native cultures, sovereignty and traditions, Native advocates offer peer support and a connection to Native resources every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Callers reaching out after hours may connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline by selecting option one. Domestic violence is not our traditional way, and it is never okay.
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
Help amplify Native voices by using hashtag #NativeDVAM throughout Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Native voices deserve to be heard.
This month, we are participating in the #1Thing Campaign. One thing you can do to #BeAGoodRelative is to walk beside those you need you. Visit our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more information.
In honor of DVAM, join StrongHearts, NIWRC, and AKNWRC for the #HonorMyVoice Twitter Chaton October 6 from 12 to 1 p.m. CT. Help us honor the voices of Native survivors of #DV and Tribal advocates as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Join us and be heard using hashtag #HonorMyVoice! Follow @StrongHeartsDV on Twitter for more details.
Help honor survivors and raise awareness of domestic violence by wearing purple on #PurpleThursday, October 22! Share photos of yourself wearing purple—shawls, clothes, hats, nail polish or jewelry—online using the hashtag #PurpleThursday.
Join us on October 28 at 1 p.m. CT for Domestic Violence: Updates and Perspectives in the Native Community, a Facebook Live Panel Discussion. Tune on our Facebook page and share the live stream!