Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Let's keep the conversations going...

By Rich Winter

One of the things that Sacred Hoops Director Allan Bertram and I talked about during a meeting in Sioux Falls this summer was having a platform to discuss things that aren’t always discussed in Public Forums.

Things like Domestic Violence!

Domestic violence is something that occurs all to frequently in South Dakota, especially in areas of extreme poverty, like the Reservations that are in the state.

Did you know:

  • 84 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime, and more than half have endured this violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

  • More than two-thirds of the women, or 66 percent, say they have been the victims of psychological aggression by a partner.

  • Comparatively, roughly 35 percent of women and 28 percent of men in the general population of the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

  • In addition, more than half of all Native women who have experienced abuse say they have also endured sexual assault, and another 48 percent have been stalked.

  • The majority of these cases of abuse—nearly 97 percent—have been committed by non-Native individuals.

  • And until an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) passed in 2013, tribal courts in the 566 federally-recognized Native American tribes across the country did not have jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators. This meant these non-Native offenders were essentially granted immunity for their crimes.

Keep the conversations going:

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One of the really interesting news items that came out this summer was that of Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer lying about knowing that one of his assistant coaches had committed domestic violence against his spouse.

Coach Meyer knew an incident had happened and he failed to do anything about it…Under the bro-code…Meyer did the let’s keep this hush-hush, just don’t do it again plan.

That is not cool because on the other end of that scenario there was a woman that was being victimized by the bro-code…

Wanted to share a Facebook post from the WBCWS that talks about how Domestic Violence trickles down to the children that are seeing DV on a regular basis…


In homes where domestic violence and children are present, the abuse and trauma suffered carries out to the children as in a ripple effect. Many adults who struggle today with PTSD, addiction, anxiety or depression, due so as a result of trauma experienced from seeing one of their parents suffer from abuse. Growing up in a abusive home can also affect what type of relationships and partner the child who witnessed violence has as an adult. As we strive to end violence against Native women, may we remember that ending violence today helps our future generations as well.

"For many weeks after that, my father did not lay a hand on mama, but he regularly lashed out at her in other ways. He became more controlling of her. His moods were more extreme and unpredictable. Mama, who was a remarkably social person, was coerced into isolation. My father argued about trivial things. All of this created an environment that forced my three brothers and I to keep a hyper-vigilant watch over our mother. As things grew even more unpleasant, the instability I faced at home began to disrupt my studies. In a matter of months, I went from being an honors student to falling asleep during class and failing courses.

Solid role models:

One of the things I enjoyed this summer was being able to visit with some of our Sacred Hoops summer coaches. I asked a number of them about being role models and talking to their kids about some of these ‘difficult’ things. Out west we have some tremendous role models in the Sacred Hoops pipeline…guys like Eldon Marshall and Matt Rama that go out of their way to talk to their kids about being a gentlemen and treating young ladies with respect.

And so, this post this morning is really about opening up some of the stigma that is associated with domestic violence. It is ok to talk about and it is ok to tell your family or your buddies that violence against women is not ok….

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