- By Native News Online Staff
EAGAN, Minn. — A new report that tracked contacts to the StrongHearts Native Helpline for one year revealed that 90 percent of those seeking help to deal with sexual violence were American Indian and Alaska Native females.
The report covers the first full year StrongHearts added sexual violence advocacy to the services it provides. The report documented contacts made to the helpline from Aug. 3, 2020 through Aug. 3, 2021 for help for sexual violence across the United States.
Data collected for the report reveals sexual violence survivors who reached out to StrongHearts are mostly females between the ages of 25 to 48 who have been hurt by an intimate partner and are seeking peer support.
Sexual violence is an umbrella term that refers to any sexual contact without the consent of all involved parties.
“Sexual violence has plagued Native communities for centuries and a disparity of services and resources renders the victim invisible,” Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), director, StrongHearts Native Helpline said. “In order to assist our relatives on their healing journey, we must address violence on every level.”
The report charted the following age demographics and areas of need. Of all Native American and Alaska Native contacts who experienced sexual violence:
- 35 percent were 25 to 36 years of age.
- 32 percent were 37 to 48 years of age.
- 19 percent were 13 to 24 years of age.
- 15 percent were 49 to 60+ years of age.
The top three needs of Native American and Alaska Native sexual violence victim survivors are listed in order of prevalence:
- 64 percent needed peer support.
- 33 percent needed legal advocacy.
- 28 percent needed shelter.
“The information gleaned from these numbers will be used to further develop advocate training and to gear it toward meeting the needs of victim-survivors of domestic and sexual violence,” concluded Jump. “Native peoples have been underserved with little to no access to resources. We intend to bridge the gap between victim services and those who need them.”
The report only reflects data that was self-disclosed by the contact seeking help from the helpline.
The report was made possible through a grant from the Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
StrongHearts Native Helpline partners with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.
StrongHearts Native Helpline is a 24/7 culturally-appropriate domestic, dating and sexual violence helpline for Native Americans and Alaska Natives, available by calling or texting 1-844-762-8483 or clicking on the chat icon at stronheartshelpline.org.
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