- By Native News Online Staff
EAGAN, Minn. — Reaching the mark and every milestone with determination and dedication, StrongHearts Native Helpline is preparing to launch sexual violence advocacy on Aug. 3. Adding this type of advocacy will address a long-standing need in Indian Country.
“It’s an atrocity that Native Americans continue to experience the highest rates of sexual violence across the nation and until now, there hasn’t been a national culturally-appropriate service for them,” said Anna Nicolosi, operations manager. “In response, we have developed advocacy training to prepare our advocates to meet the needs that are unique to Native Americans and Alaska Natives.”
According to the National Institute of Justice research, 84 percent of Native women experience violence in their lifetimes, while 56 percent experience sexual violence. Of those victims who experienced sexual violence, an astounding 97 percent were victimized by non-Native perpetrators. Additionally, 82 percent of Native men experience violence in their lifetimes, while 28 percent experience sexual violence.
The dispiriting truth is that when compared to other races in the United States, Native American women are twice as likely to experience sexual assault or rape and most likely at the hands of a non-Native. It’s an extension of abuse that began with European contact and has continued to this day, adding up to more than 500 years of abuse. This continued tool of colonization represents a lack of respect for Native peoples and an assault on humanity.
StrongHearts advocates are prepared to handle the devastating impacts of sexual violence in Indian Country and will continue to provide peer to peer support, crisis intervention, assistance with safety planning, education and referrals to Native-centered resources. For free, confidential and anonymous advocacy, call 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) or visit StrongHearts Native Helpline online at strongheartshelpline.org daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Callers reaching out to StrongHearts outside of operating hours may connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline by choosing option one.
StrongHearts Native Helpline is a culturally-appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available by calling 1-844-762-8483 or clicking on the Chat Now icon on strongheartshelpline.org daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. StrongHearts Native Helpline is a collaborative effort of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.
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