Violence is a system of power and control
over an intimate partner. Domestic violence includes any and all forms
of abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional. The motivation is always to
control another person's thoughts and behavior.
Domestic Violence Against an Adult Can Include:
- Pushing or shoving
- Hitting or slapping
- Strangling or restraining by force.
- Pulling hair.
- Punching, kicking.
- Twisting arms, tripping.
- Using a weapon, i.e. gun, knife, blunt object, lighted
- Forcing or coercing a sexual activity that is not wanted or
consented to (rape, oral sex, anal sex).
- Forced prostitution.
- Repeated accusations of sexual activity with others, i.e.
calling partner whore or slut.
- Intimidation--putting the victim in fear by using looks,
actions, gestures, loud voice, destroying property.
- Isolation--controlling what the victim does, who the victim sees
and talks to, and where the victim goes.
- Putting the victim down, name calling, mind games.
- Economic abuse--trying to keep the victim from getting or
keeping a job, making a partner ask or beg for money, taking money,
controlling the checkbook and bank accounts.
- Threats--making threats to hurt the victim or the children, to
take the children, and/or commit suicide.
- Using Children--making the victim feel guilty about the
children, using the children to relay messages, using visitations as a
way to further harass or abuse, labeling the victim as a bad or
victims of domestic violence feel?
- Fear - Fears for personal safety and the safety of the children
are often overwhelming.
- Confusion - The victim may believe her partner when he promises
to change or to stop abusing her. The victim may feel confused over the
change in the partner's behavior from day to day.
- Shame and Guilt - Victims are told that they deserve the abuse,
and they try to change their behavior to stop the abuse. This makes
victims feel progressively worse about themselves, because nothing they
do stops the abuse. Victims may be ashamed about staying in the
relationship. Each abusive incident progressively lowers a victim's
self-esteem and initiative to leave the situation.
- Minimization of the Abuse - The abuser constantly tells the
victim that the abuse is deserved, or even that it did not occur at all.
Victims begin to think they may be exaggerating and may begin to view
the abuse as "normal."
- Trapped, powerless - When all control is taken away, it takes
all a victim's energy merely to survive and protect the children.
Leaving is seen as an unattainable goal.
battered Women Stay?
The above question, "Why do battered women stay?" more accurately
reflects society's reality. Gender also plays a large role in the power
imbalance that forces woman to stay in abusive relationships more often
Asking why she stays is an important question to answer, but it is also
important to examine society's need to ask it. We ask this question
because we have a need to place blame somewhere. It is easier to blame
the victim of a crime than to hold the perpetrator accountable,
especially in the complicated context of domestic violence.
However, society must get past this stumbling block, and begin to view
victims of domestic violence consistently with compassion, and that
means acceptance of their life choices and a conscious refusal to pass
judgment. We also need to be mindful of the statistics, and be aware
that leaving does not mean safety.
A battered woman stays because of:
- Fear for her safety and the safety of her children. 75%
of domestic assaults occur at the point of separation or divorce. (U.S.
Department of Justice) A woman is murdered in this county by a stalking
ex-husband or boyfriend every two hours. (de Becker, Public Radio
interview, July 9, 1997) Leaving is the most potentially deadly time.
- Fear that her children will be taken from her. Batterers
threaten that they will take the children from the victim either legally
or illegally if she dares to leave the relationship
- No transportation --A rural battered women often cannot
leave her home because of lack of transportation. She may not have
access to a vehicle, or a driver's license. Even if she does have a
vehicle, she may be reluctant to drive to appointments with service
providers for fear the abuser will check mileage. In addition, many
rural and remote residents live on gravel backroads, and road conditions
are often poor. Maintenance and snow removal may be intermittent or
- Economic -- In rural areas, as in other areas, poverty is
devastating. Poverty in rural areas is often harsher than professionals
may realize because of the lack of available services and safety nets.
Seasonal jobs mean unemployment during the off-season, with little
chance of finding other employment. Rural areas have few, if any, job
- Nowhere to go in the short term - Rural battered women
may not have access to a shelter, or the nearest one may be more than an
hour away. Going to a shelter means uprooting children from school and
- No permanent housing -- For rural battered women, leaving
a batterer means leaving the community because of a lack of permanent
housing. Staying in the community often means living is sub-standard or
- Security -- Many rural women have never lived anywhere
else, and leaving the security of a family is a giant step into the
- Livelihood/Lifestyle -- Many battered women are business
partners in the farming or ranching operation. Children are begging to
return -- It is difficult to ignore the pleas of children to return to
their homes, even when a battered women knows that the situation is
- No childcare -- Rural areas face a severe shortage of
childcare. Mothers who work outside the home often have to piece
together childcare arrangements that includes friends and relatives, or
they must transport their children to another community where childcare
is available. Mothers are often worried about the emotional and physical
well-being of their young children. This is one more obstacle that
rural battered women face.
- Religious reasons -- Churches are the social fabric of
small towns and rural communities. Many rural women are deeply
religious, and deeply opposed to breaking up the family.
- Extended Family -- Family plays a huge role in the lives
of rural and remote people. Family provides comfort and security, and
sometimes is one of the only social outlets. Homes, businesses, and
farms are often intertwined among extended family members. Preserving
the relationship is vital to the emotional and financial health of each
individual. Divorce wreaks havoc on this intricate structure. Battered
women are often pressured to stay in abusive relationships for the sake
of the family.
- Generational Effects of Domestic Violence -- Isolation
can be pronounced in rural communities, and the family is often a closed
unit. If a battered woman grew up witnessing violence she may face
additional barriers to leaving within her own family.
Violence Against Native American
The rate of violent crime estimated against Native Americans is well
above that of other U.S. racial or ethnic groups and more than two times
the national average.
From: American Indians and Crime Report
US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics-Perry 2004
Approximately 60% of the Native American population in ND resides on one
of four reservations and 41% of the Native American population in ND is
under the age of 20. Even though as a whole Native Americans comprise
only 5%, violent victimization occurs at an alarming rate both on and
off the reservations.
From: North Dakota Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence State
Violence against Native Americans can be largely attributed to the
immigration of Europeans to North America beginning over 600 years ago.
This began the change in the status of Native women, once held as
leaders, considered sacred and much respected; the Europeans enforced
their values and perpetuated the belief that violence against women,
particularly their partner was acceptable.
This began the downward spiral into assimilation. Led by the belief that
the European, or "white man's way" was the best way; Native Americans
were forced onto reservations and to give up many of their long
practiced traditions and cultural beliefs.
This was also a time when children were removed from their parents and
forced into Catholic boarding schools. They were often raped, abused and
forced to develop a different value and belief system. This system has
created lifelong implications for generations to come. This often
includes loss of traditional parenting, the introduction of alcohol and
violence as well as the idea of ownership.
Native men went from experiencing the non-violent way of living to
witnessing violence; adopting "white man" stereotypes and treating women
and children as property. The status of Native American women also
began to shift at this point. Rape, abuse and murder became common
practice against Native women. Women were no longer considered sacred.
As a result of these changes, violence and oppression have become the
norm and efforts to end the violence are still in their early stages. To
continue to combat the violence that is now seen as "normal;" many
people are working to restore traditional values and cultural beliefs.
One of the most important of those values is that women are sacred.
Adapted from: Praxis International
Native culture is grounded in the knowledge that we are all related,
that the values of respect, compassion and non-violence are integral to
our survival, and that women truly are sacred. Historically among Indian
people, what we now call "confidentiality" was the practice of honoring
individual?s life changes and paths and the right to walk through the
world with freedom, safety and respect. We have an alternative to
utilizing the hierarchical medical model of dominant society as a basis
for the way we do our work. The work in Indian Country to end violence
against Native women and their children is powerful when the indigenous
culture, beliefs and worldview are used as models.
Sacred Circle, National Resource Center to End Violence Against
Rural women living on reservations face unique challenges when dealing
with violence. Not only are there generally a limited number of police
officers to respond to calls that cover vast distances, but on tribal
lands there are often unresolved jurisdictional issues about who will
respond to the calls. Many tribes do not have jails, so there is very
little they can do to enforce laws. In addition to these complicated
jurisdictional barriers, many Native women have limited access to
telephones, transportation, emergency services, or accessible roads,
especially in inclimate weather.
Rebecca St. George
Mending the Sacred Hoop Technical Assistance Project, Duluth, MN: Feb.
In 2001 more than 588,000 American women were victims of non-fatal
violence committed by an intimate partner.
Other Race Offenders:
At least 70% of violence experienced by Native Americans is committed by
persons not of the same race?substantially higher than for whites or
The average violent crime rate among American Indians per year is
approximately 2.5 times higher than the national rate.
The average rate of rape and sexual assault among American Indians per
year is 3.5 times higher than all other races.
Native American victims reported at a rate more than double that of all
races. (All races: 11 per 1,000; Native Americans: 35 per 1,000)
Native American victims reported at a rate more than double that of
all races. (All races: 31 per 1,000; Native Americans: 70 per 1,000)
Seventeen percent of Native American women have been stalked
Violent crime rate among Native American Women was 98 per 1,000. More
than twice that of whites (40 per 1,000) or blacks (56 per 1,000).
Native American's victim-offender relationship was about the same as
that reported by all other races.
Native American victims of intimate and family violence are more likely
than victims of all other races to be injured and need hospital care.
(Medical costs were more than $21 million over a 4-year period.)
Race of Offender:
At least 70% of the violence victimizations experienced by Native
Americans are committed by persons not of the same race - substantially
higher rate of interracial violence than experienced by white or black
From: American Indians and Crime Report
US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics - Feb. 1999
Although these statistics are
national statistics, they don't reflect what occurs most commonly
around North Dakota. In fact, quite the opposite has been observed. Most
of the reported intimate partner offenses committed against Native
Americans are being perpetrated by other Native Americans.
Local and State
Resources to End Violence Against Native Women
First Nation's Women's Alliance
P.O. Box 162
Tokio, ND 58379-0162
*Please see ND Guide to Services for a complete list of local domestic
violence and sexual assault programs around the state.
Resources to End Violence Against Native Women
722 St. Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
Ph: (605) 341-2050 605) 341-2050
Toll Free: 1-877-RED-ROAD 1-877-RED-ROAD
Fax: (605) 341-2472
Mending the Sacred Hoop Technical Assistance Project
202 E Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802
Ph: (218) 722-2781 (218) 722-2781
Fax: (218) 722-5775
Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center
2300 15th Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Ph: (612) 728-2000 (612) 728-2000
Fax (612) 728-2039
White Bison, INC.
6145 Lehman Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Ph: (719) 548-1000
Fax (719) 548-9407
1208 San Pedro NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Ph: (505) 268-5863 (505) 268-5863
American Indian Law Center, Inc.
PO Box 4456 Station A
Albuquerque, NM 87196
Ph: (505) 277-5462 (505) 277-5462
Fax (505) 277-1035
Cangleska, Inc (outreach services)
PO Box 3003
Pine Ridge, SD 57770
Ph: (605) 867-1035 (605) 867-1035
Fax (605) 867-1728