Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the NAAV is asking if you are truly aware of the scope and impact that domestic violence has on your community. More than 1.5 million American Indian and Alaska Native women across the country have experienced violence in their lifetime. Yes, you read that right, a million.
Here in Oklahoma, we have 25 tribal domestic violence and sexual assault programs that are constantly working to help not only their tribal members, but ANY person that has been a victim of domestic violence/sexual assault. This might seem like a never ending struggle, but there are actually ways that community members can rise up together to show that they are unified in rejecting domestic violence.
Together we can change a culture of violence to one of respect.
Don’t victim blame. Victims of abuse did not do anything to deserve what happened to them.
If you silence a victim, you are giving power to the abuser.
Do not objectify women. People should be treated with respect and empathy.
It is easy to shrug off a friend’s derogatory comments about women, but being a true friend means calling someone out when they are acting inappropriately. It means so much more when you hear it from someone that cares about you.
Increase your general knowledge of domestic violence. Your tribal programs are constantly trying to educate and connect with people that care.
Actively resist rigid gender roles. Stop saying harmful phrases like, “take it like a man” or “stop acting like a girl”. Do you really believe that men are weak if they show emotion? Do you really believe that girls are not powerful and resilient?
Stop using diminutives like “sugar”, “baby”, or “sweetheart” when addressing women. Would you call your boss “hun”? You may not be intending to do harm, but the language and how you use it can be powerful. Everyone deserves a chance to be heard without being made to feel like they are being dismissed because of their gender.
Teach your sons to not take rejection so harshly. The current culture says that men should feel like failures if they are rejected. It also says that men should be proactive and relentless in their pursuit of women. Women are not prizes to be won.
Understand that respect is a lifelong commitment to learning.
A culture of respect looks like a community of people that support each other and use every opportunity they can to become more understanding of the issues they face as individuals. It is a safe and stable place that uses Native ceremonies to bring tribes together.
It takes all tribes & all people to achieve this culture of respect. How will you use your voice to create this transformation?
Left click on the image to save it to your phone/computer and don’t forget to use the hashtag #Unify2Change.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #Unify2Change when you post about Domestic Violence Awareness Month to promote conversation and engagement.