Vi Waln: Stopping the cycle of violence in our communities

Vi Waln

Sicangu Scribe
By Vi Waln
LCT Columnist

Another October came to a close last week. We’ve witnessed a lot of events commemorating Domestic Violence Awareness in our communities over the last few weeks. Yet, bringing real awareness to our community means we have to do more to recognize domestic violence as a serious issue every single day.

Statistics show that: “On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, that’s more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.”

We live in a time where complicated issues contribute to the violence many of us suffer or witness in our home and community. One of the biggest issues affecting many of our people is intergenerational trauma. An issue linked to intergenerational trauma is unresolved childhood anger. People who can’t or won’t deal with their unresolved childhood anger could easily fly into bouts of dangerous blind rage when they become adults.

How we grow up is not our fault, as it is basically beyond our control. However, what we do as adults to understand the underlying issues affecting us, as well as choosing how to work on healing ourselves, is definitely our responsibility. Our childhood abuse experience doesn’t give us a right to abuse our family members when we are adults. We have a responsibility to stop the cycle of violence.

This summer, Darrell Stead carried a red Silent Witness silhouette bearing the photo of his late cousin, Cori Stead, during a memorial walk on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Photo by Vi Waln / Lakota Country Times

There are countless teens and adults living on the Rez today walking around with unresolved anger. They are like time bombs – they could explode any second. For instance, I’ve heard many people say “I don’t like to get mad because I’m scared of what I might do.” There are constructive ways to deal with unresolved anger in a healthy manner. Again, it is our personal responsibility to work on our inner issues we’ve carried into adulthood.

People have to realize that anger comes from within. No one can make you angry, you do it all on your own. If you have not learned how to deal with your anger, it can come out at the most inopportune time, prompting you to do something you will regret. Your unresolved anger could also cost you your freedom. That is, you will definitely find yourself locked in a prison cell after an episode of losing all self-control and killing your companion.

I can’t understand what prompts men (or women) to become so angry that they are driven to murder their spouse. There is no excuse for domestic abuse. The fear generated by an abusive partner compares to no other emotion we might experience. Our relatives trapped in relationships fraught with domestic violence need our help, especially the women or children who suffer regular physical, emotional, mental, sexual or spiritual abuse from men who haven’t learned how to deal with their unresolved anger.

Visit the Lakota Country Times and subscribe today

We can no longer turn a blind eye to people who need help to get out of an abusive domestic situation. Women who need help getting away from a violent abuser can call the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society Shelter for help at (605) 856-2317. Advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer calls.

The national help hotline for domestic violence victims is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or you can chat online with a caring advocate at The national sexual assault hotline number is 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or you can chat also online with an advocate at If you are a teenager suffering from dating violence, you can call 1-866-331-9474. Teens needing help can also text ‘loveis’ to 22522, or chat with an advocate online at

Encourage people living in violent situations to get help. If you witness someone being physically abused please call law enforcement to report it. Our Lakota children, as well as our unborn generations, are depending on us to stop the cycle of domestic violence.

Find the award-winning Lakota Country Times on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter.

Related Stories:
Vi Waln: We all bear responsibility to discuss domestic violence (10/20)
Vi Waln: Domestic violence comes in many forms on reservation (10/5)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud residents walk to honor victim (7/16)

Join the Conversation