Karonienhawi Thomas: Saying no more to violence against women

"My mother told me about a presentation she saw that mentioned how one kind person can make all the difference to a victim of sexual assault. This stood out to me—that one act of kindness from one person could have such a profound effect on someone in the midst of trauma. I thought of an article I had read about infants in a Romanian orphanage who had no meaningful human contact, no mother to rock them to sleep, no father to comfort them when they were sick. The orphans who were continually unstimulated by any meaningful human contact would sometimes roll over and just pass away, some say from heartache.

A mother’s soft voice or the reassuring whisper of a father to a child is often not heard by some children in Indian country. Often, women in Indian country suffer through sexual violence without any meaningful human contact. Like the infant that turns to the wall and dies, so does part of the woman or man who is victimized. Women and children in Indian country are statistically more likely to suffer acts of violence and sexual assault than any other racial group in the United States. That distinction is a result of historical oppression picked up and internalized by our people, culminating in physical and sexual violence. It all starts with the disrespect prevalent in cartoons, movies, music, punch lines, workplaces and homes. But it’s time to stop ignoring it."

Get the Story:
Karonienhawi Thomas: Their Spirits are Torn (Indian Country Today 7/16)

Related Stories:
Ray Cook: Taking a stand to put end to violence in Indian Country (7/15)

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