We are already halfway through October. You might not know it, but October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Are you aware of domestic violence in your life? Do you know someone who is being abused? Are you scared of someone? Don’t stay silent. It’s time to speak up and talk to someone to get help.
Domestic violence affects millions of people, women and men, girls and guys. It affects every race, religion, culture, and social status. But did you know that domestic violence affects Native American women 50% more than any other race or gender?!On some reservations, the murder rate of Native women is 10X higher than the average, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
That is why we need your voice!
You have the power to make a difference—in your own life and in the life of your family. Report domestic violence whenever you see it and whenever you experience it so that we can remove it from our culture and our lives.
You might be wondering, “What is domestic violence?”
Domestic violence is any violent or aggressive behavior in the home that involvesthe abuse of a spouse, a child, a girlfriend or a boyfriend. Many things can make domestic violence worse, including drinking, drugs, and stress.
Remember that domestic violence looks different for everyone.
It’s not just punches or black eyes. It’s yelling, belittling, and humiliation. It’s stalkingor manipulation, isolation, threats, and force of any kind. It is also stealing money, or keeping close tabs on you online, or monitoring your phone activities, non-stop texting, the silent treatment, or calling you names so often that you believe it.
If someone is being violent or manipulative to you, speak up!
You are 100% valuable and 100% worthy and 100% lovable. Do not ever let someone tell you differently! Do notlet someone treat you or talk to you with less respect or consideration than you deserve.
If you have been the victim of abuse or domestic violence, you can get help to heal. You are not alone!
Caroline Felicity Antone is a native who grew up member of the Tohono O’odham Nation. When she was 14, her mother was killed by her father. Caroline had to leave the reservation because of the domestic abuse and she did not return until after she got help.
Eventually she became a counselor to help other Natives get help for domestic violence because many Native people never get the help they need. She said, “Since our tribal members don’t know about counseling in general, it’s very difficult to get them into counseling,” she said. “The shame, the hurt, the destruction of their souls, some of them, they feel it’s their fault.”
Domestic violence is NEVER your fault. You did not do anything to deserve it and you are not responsible for someone else’s anger or rage. Do not feel shame because of someone else’s inappropriate and illegal actions. They are the ones that need to change…not you!
Every October we talk about domestic violence, but it is a problem all year long. You can reach out and get help whenever you need it. Talk to a teacher, a counselor, a medical professional, or a police officer. Whoever you trust, talk to them so that you can get the help you need. Domestic violence grows in secrecy. Shine a light on it wherever you see it.
By speaking up and asking for help, you can make a difference—in your life, in your family’s life, and in the Navajo Nation!