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Women and Men Fight Domestic Violence Together
an article by Janene Yazzie

Video: To The Indigenous Woman

Revitalizing the sacred responsibility of building and maintaining respectful relationships, Indigenous men in the United States are joining the fight against the endemic culture of domestic violence. The Indigenous comedy group known as the 1491’s, in collaboration with the Indian Law Resource Center, has created a powerful and inspiring video tribute entitled “To the Indigenous Woman”. The message is simple; the effects and causes of violence against women are so pervasive, that they should be addressed in partnership with men. Written in the form of a poem, the message is founded on love, empathy, and relatedness reminding us that the effects of domestic and sexual violence is not a problem faced by women in isolation, but a shared experience of both genders.

click on photo to enlarge

This is an important development in the struggle for gender equality within American Indian communities. For generations women have had no recourse for the violence they experienced within the home. Instead, a pervasive culture of silence has created communities complacent to the violence endured by women and children. Seeking help requires women to break this silence, but most times instead of aid they are met with hostility and rejection as they find themselves ostracized, and shamed by their community. Ironically they are accused of violating the sanctity of the home and of their families, for talking about their private lives in the public sphere.

For Indigenous women in America this has been especially damaging, leading to the horrifying statistics which indicate that 1 in 3 Native American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) has introduced H.R. 4154 the Stand Against Violence and Empower (SAVE) Native Women Act. The video created by 1491s complements this legislation by reaching a broader audience through the use of social media, art, and youth outreach. This public dialogue of the issues women face should be encouraged because of the potential it creates to support positive collaboration between the genders.


Question(s) related to this article:

What role should men play to stop violence against women?,

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No More Steubenvilles: How To Raise Boys to be Kind Men

What can we do to help young men respect women, recognize consent, and have healthy sexual relationships? Teach them kindness to others—and the courage to go against the crowd.

by Kim Simon
posted Mar 18, 2013

When Max was just a few months old, I sat cross-legged on the floor with him in a circle of other mothers.  The facilitator for our “Mommy and Me” playgroup would throw a question out to the group, and we would each volley back an answer.

“What quality do you want to instill in your child?  What personality characteristic would you most like for your son to be known for?” she asked.

One by one, the mothers answered.  “Athletic”, “Good sense of humor”, “Brave”, “Smart”, “Strong”.

The answers blended together until it was my turn to speak.  I looked down at the tiny human wiggling around on the blanket in front of me, his perfectly round nose, his full lips that mirrored mine.  I stroked the top of his very bald head, and said with confidence: “kind”.

I want my son to grow up to be kind.

The eyes of the other mothers turned toward me.  “That’s not always a word that you hear used for boys” one said.  “But yes, you’re right … so I guess, me too”.  At the end of the day, we wanted our tiny, fragile, helpless baby boys to grow up to be kind. . ...more.

This report was posted on August 5, 2012.