More than half of American Indian and Alaska Native women (56%) experience sexual assault. The vast majority (96%) are assaulted by a non-Native perpetrator. For centuries, colonizers / the US government have stripped Indigenous folks of power and resources — and continue to do so today. This disempowerment and exploitation makes Native folks especially vulnerable to sexual and relationship abuse (as well as poverty, health issues, pollution, and ongoing land insecurity).
In other words, the system is really fucked up and people are getting hurt. So, what can we do?
1. Learn about these issues.
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center has a great list of readings on sexual assault and relationship abuse among Indigenous folks.
2. Volunteer with an organization working against sexual assault in Indigenous communities. Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition has some great opportunities.
3. Donate to an organization that supports Indigenous folks who have experienced sexual assault, like StrongHearts Native Helpline.
4. Learn how to support someone in your life who has experienced assault/abuse.
5. Come together with your community to see what can be done to work towards making things right. Talk to your friends and family about these issues. Ask if they are willing to join you in brainstorming ways to help.
Plus, here is a free printable flyer I made to spread awareness in your community.
Tip: Remember humility as you attempt to help with this (or any) issue, especially if you're not Native and/or you're a man. It is not constructive to approach helping from a "savior" mentality. A good rule of thumb is to focus on doing the most good, as opposed to doing what will make you feel good about yourself or look good to others.
This article was written by Pleasure Pie founder Nicole Mazzeo. Nicole is a sex educator and zine maker with a passion for sex-positivity.