October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month across the country, and everyone is finding ways to bring awareness to families and individuals, including here on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Domestic violence is a big issue for Native American women, both on and off the reservation.
They have the highest rate of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
What makes domestic violence worse is that children often witness these events many times or are even a part of them.
To begin Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a kick-off event was held at the Round House Café on October 1. People were asked to wear purple that day to spread awareness about domestic violence.
Other events are scheduled throughout the month:
October 9: Family Fun Night at the Salt River Community Building. Featuring a presentation on bullying and cyber-bullying by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, along with dinner and entertainment by Bird Singing and Dancing by the River. Open to everyone.
October 13: A presentation from the Tribal Prosecutor’s Office will discuss mandatory reporting, domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. The presentation will be held at the Health Annex Building east of the Salt River Clinic starting at 10 a.m. Seating is limited to 25; please RSVP to Vurlene Notsinneh-Bowekaty, health educator in domestic violence.
October 14: A presentation on human sex trafficking at the Health Annex Building at 11:30 a.m. Sex trafficking is something that is growing among Native American communities, and with the Super Bowl coming back to the state, it is expected to increase here in the Valley. Seating is limited to 25; please RSVP if you would like to attend.
October 21: Catch “In Her Shoes,” a presentation about domestic violence during which participants step into a victim’s shoes and experience how the victim goes to several programs to get assistance and guidance needed to overcome the issue. The event will be held at the Health Annex Building from 10 a.m. to noon; lunch is included.
“It [shows] participants why the victims many times end up staying in the [violent] relationship,” said Notsinneh-Bowekaty. “It will actually take the people through numerous demonstrations of what [a victim of domestic violence] goes through on a daily basis.”
October 29: The last event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month will be a Zumbathon, at 5:30 p.m. at the Salt River Community Building.
For more information about domestic violence or to RSVP for events held in the Health Annex Building, call (480) 362-2706/5616.