Raising awareness for crimes against women in our communities is arguably one of the most powerful ways we can help reduce the disproportionate rates of violence.
I ran last year because my daughter should never have to ask why women and children are subjected to such a high risk of being hurt, emotionally or physically.
She should never have to endure cruel and abusive behavior, because its common, and therefore acceptable.
She should never have to sit in a room with her cousins/sisters and wonder which one of them will be a statistic.
Since the passing of the Violence Against Women’s Act in 1994 most of our country has marveled at the 60% reduction in crimes against women. Unfortunately, tribal communities have not been able to celebrate the same feat. Just getting cases reported, investigated, and prosecuted was a priority, and we have made leaps in bounds in that effort. However, we can all agree we are not going to prosecute our way out these issues, we have to be proactive and work towards educating our fellow community members, professionals, and tribal leaders as to how a joint effort is necessary to be successful at reducing crime against women and children.
Sometimes that means having uncomfortable conversations with leaders and community members that sit in denial as to the existence of the issues. Many ask why? Why didn’t grandma help me when I asked for her guidance? We quickly forget the generational trauma and cultural genocide that has impacted our communities and elders. They had nowhere to turn when such atrocities happened. When they were physically assaulted in boarding schools, or told that they could not speak their language, or that their tradition and culture was wrong, and that continuing such practices would prevent them from being able to go home. It’s like being held hostage and having your whole belief system stripped from you.
They are tough things to talk about, and many don’t want to remember some of the difficult stories of the past. In order for us to move forward, we need to acknowledge the past, so we can break the cycle of violence so are young children are not subject to the same hardships that many of our women have faced in over the years. It doesn’t always have to be at a conference or a meeting, it can be a fun event that spreads the same powerful message through sharing and dedication.
#IWillRunForHer is another significant step towards moving forward, acknowledging HER, strengthening HER resilient spirit that brings a beautiful life into this world. The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women continues to remind us, and brings us together, to embark on a journey that cannot be completed alone. It takes a village, and I encourage you to join them this year, to grasp the feeling of positive energy, that brings hope and strength, and reminds that that 4 out of 5 is unacceptable. Cry, pray, smile, laugh, and SWEAT!
Migwetch, and please…RunForHer!