Submitted by Darian Towner
With opening a new shelter, hosting a free self-defense class to the community, and continuing our advocacy, it has proved to be a busy few months at House of Hope.
In September, House of Hope opened its local shelter for women and children who are fleeing situations of intimate-partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking. With women in our state experiencing such high rates of intimate-partner violence, we are thankful that our program now has a safe place for women in these situations to take refuge.
October was National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and our program hosted the inaugural Defense and Donuts. The free self-defense class was taught by Gary Frazier and his team from 405 Fitness and was followed by a gathering with refreshments and doughnuts graciously provided by Tecumseh’s Daylight Donuts. Each individual walked away with a giveaway prize donated by various local businesses, but not before we shared with them information about both our program and new shelter.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month. The National Institute of Justice states that approximately half of Native American women have experienced stalking in their lifetime. It is important to note the abuse takes many forms, including cyberstalking. With technology continuously advancing and social media providing a public platform to disclose one’s location, many offenders use the internet to demonstrate control over an individual.
While domestic violence is a worldwide issue, Native American women experience much higher rates than other populations.
Approximately 84 percent of Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime, and more than half endured it at the hands of an intimate partner, according to National Institute of Justice. As long as this problem exists in society, programs such as ours will continue fighting for the rights and protection of individuals who experience abuse.
Please understand that love is not abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate-partner violence, sexual assault or stalking and would like more information, contact House of Hope at 405-275-3176 or visit us online at facebook.com/cpnhouseofhope.
Towner is a prevention specialist for Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s House of Hope.