I was recently reading a Turtle Talk blog entry titled Help Raise Awareness about the Epidemic of Violence against Native Women in the U.S. The entry was inspired by an initiative of the Indian Law Resource Center called Strong Women, Strong Nations. This initiative recently produced a PSA which I believe will shock you, check it out:
Every time I watch this video and read the onscreen statistics I picture my mom, my sisters, and fiance. I think:
“Was one of them a victim of a rape?” “Was one of them subject to domestic violence” “Was one of them physically assaulted?”
Then I think:
“Did all of them experience one of these forms of violence?”
As I type these questions I get angry. How could this be tolerated? Why is this accepted? Given the statistics stated and the fact that crimes like domestic abuse and rape go underreported, I know that the Native women in my life have experienced some form of violence which they haven’t expressed. Given the close friendships that I have with several Native women, I know that violence has disrupted and damaged their lives.
I’m very encouraged by the Strong Women, Strong Nations initiative and its attempts to build awareness of this epidemic. Please check out their resource page as well as their take action page. It will take initiatives like this one to break down the tolerance and acceptance that violence against women has built up. It will take Native people saying to themselves that enough is enough. It will take collective action by communities and loving by individuals to defeat this epidemic.
We, Native men and men of all ethnicities, also need to do our part. Growing up I was fortunate to have been raised in a home free of violence and abuse, but I am one of a few. The pains of the past are difficult to overcome, however, the joy of the future will never come unless we forgive those who have hurt us. Although I’ve not been touched by relational violence, I have experienced emotional abuse. If I didn’t move past that emotional pain, which lingers for longer than a bruise, then I would not be able to experience the utter joy and fulfillment that is my relationship with my fiance. We have to remember that we’re raising the next generation of men, boys today that deserve a home free from emotional and physical pain. Talk to the women in your lives, support them, love them, and value their companionship.
- What Every Man Can Do (preventviolence.wordpress.com)