This Spring, the new revised Violence Against Women Act was passed. This was an historic moment that finally allows for ALL women, not just some, to be protected under the law from violence. Native American Indians, undocumented immigrants and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities are all very vulnerable populations and will finally be offered some measure of protection under the law.
The statistics are staggering; 1 out of 3 Native women will be raped in her life time and immigrant women face a higher rate of battering, but are less able to report the crime due to their legal status. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, at least 86 percent of the perpetrators of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women are non-Native men. Often victims of abuse who identify as anything other than straight have a very hard time receiving services due to personal attitudes or lack of experience in working with LGBT victims. We will try and gather as many stories from these communities as we can.
As I prepare for this journey, I am trying to learn. Domestic Violence is a huge issue and if I stop to think about how much I don’t know, I might never do anything. But here is a promise…I will go anyway, I will learn as much as I can along the way and I will collect as many stories of resilience in the face of violence that I can. I know that art is healing. I know that we must try.
The featured image above by Pia Bramley, is from an excellent article called “Rape on the Reservation” by Louise Erdrich from the New York Times