StrongHearts Native Helpline adds sexual violence advocacy

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/03/2020 10:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
StrongHearts Native Helpline adds sexual violence advocacy COURTESY
EGAN, Minn. – Reaching the mark and every milestone with determination and dedication, StrongHearts Native Helpline launched sexual violence advocacy at 8 a.m. CST on Aug. 3.

Adding this type of advocacy will address a long-standing need in Indian Country, StrongHeart officials said.

“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,” Anna Nicolosi, operations manager, said. “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% of Native women experience violence in their lifetimes, while 56% experience sexual violence. Of those victims who experienced sexual violence – 97% were victimized by non-Native perpetrators. Additionally, 82% of Native men experience violence in their lifetimes, while 28% 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 over 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. CST. Callers reaching out to StrongHearts outside of operating hours may connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline by choosing option one.

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