During the month of October, StrongHearts Native Helpline once again is raising awareness about domestic violence and supporting and honoring survivors and victims. As in past years, StrongHearts asks that domestic violence advocates, tribal leaders, reservation and urban Indigenous community members, service providers and Indigenous organizations come together to support and strengthen the movement to prevent and end domestic violence once and for all.
According to the National Institute of Justice, domestic violence disproportionately impacts Native Americans and Alaska Natives, with more than 1.5 million Native women and 1.4 million Native men experiencing violence during their lifetime, often by non-Native perpetrators. Domestic violence has many faces: physical, sexual, emotional, cultural, financial and digital. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate; and anyone can experience domestic violence, including children, women, men, elders and LGBTQ2S+ individuals. There is also a strong connection between domestic violence and thousands of Missing and Murdered Relatives.
Native nations in the Lower 48 and Alaska Native Villages continually go underfunded for life-saving domestic violence services. Now in its fifth year of operation, StrongHearts has received more than 25,000 calls from relatives requesting critically needed support to deal with intimate partner violence.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, StrongHearts Native Helpline is dedicated to eradicating domestic and sexual violence by utilizing a core message of healing. “As traditional people, it is customary to put our loved ones before ourselves; we do this because we love them and want to take care of them,” says StrongHearts Chief Executive Officer Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). “When it comes to healing, we must make the fundamental decision to take care of ourselves and to teach our children that whatever it takes, it’s okay to love ourselves enough to heal from the trauma of domestic and sexual violence.”
“With tenacity, StrongHearts Native Helpline will continue our mission to restore power to our relatives impacted by domestic violence by providing a system of safety, sovereignty, support and healing,” says Jump. “During October and, indeed, throughout the year, we envision the restoration of our traditional lifeways where everyone is safe, domestic violence is eradicated, and sacredness is restored.”