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Culturally-relevant resources for Native Americans and Alaska Natives experiencing dating abuse:

Free, confidential, and culturally-relevant support for Native American and Alaska Native teens and young adults experiencing dating abuse and sexual violence is available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST through the StrongHearts Native Helpline , a partnership with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center .

Abuse in Native communities

Formal and informal efforts to oppress and displace Native peoples throughout the past and present have left a legacy of violence that sadly extends to the realm of dating abuse as well.

Studies suggest that survivors make up more than 84 percent of the entire US Native population.

Such statistics prove the urgency of addressing dating abuse now , and paying particular attention to the ways in which it appears in the communities most impacted.

Tactics of abuse commonly used against Native Americans & Alaska Natives include:

Isolation.

Abusive partners may control what you can do (including work or school and who you see or communicate with). They may use jealousy to justify attempts at isolation.

Intimidation.

Threatening looks, actions, gestures, or behaviors may be used to intimidate you. Intimidation can also include destroying property, harming pets, or flaunting weapons.

Overemphasis of gender stereotypes.

One partner may treat another like a servant or insist on making all major decisions in the relationship.

Emotional abuse.

Signs of abuse include insults, gaslighting, name-calling, humiliation, or guilt-tripping. This may also include threats to harm oneself of others, to leave the relationship, or to force you to perform illegal acts.

Minimize, lie, blame.

Tactics to abuse may include minimizing past abusive behavior, lying about it, or blaming you for the abuse. This is an effort to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and involves attempts to deflect attention.

Using children.

Kids are often mentioned in threats or manipulated in abusive situations. Threats may include harm but could also involve taking children away or calling law enforcement on you.

Financial abuse.

You may be made to give up their money or become financially dependent on the person abusing you. Abusive partners may also prevent you from working or going to school in order to further isolate them financially and socially.

Cultural abuse.

Competitions over “Indian-ness” or “blood quantum” may be signs of abusive behavior, as well as the use of culture to reinforce gender roles.

Ritual abuse.

Ritual abuse refers to the invocation of spirituality or religion as abuse, and can look different ways depending on the context and people involved. It may include prayers against you, using spirituality to emphasize gender roles, preventing you from practicing your religion, or using interpretations of religious guidance as justifications for abuse, like saying that “God doesn’t permit divorce” or that menstruation makes someone “dirty.”

Despite the ongoing oppression of US settler colonialism, Native communities have continued to flourish through the individual and collective efforts of diverse tribal communities. The StrongHearts Native Helpline was created by and for Native Americans to provide meaningful support for Native survivors facing obstacles to safety, all in the context of varying cultural beliefs, stigmas, relationships, and dynamics.

StrongHearts advocates are trained with a strong understanding of Native cultures, as well as issues of tribal sovereignty and the law. They treat every caller with the same dignity, compassion, and support as advocates from love is respect, and always maintain an accepting environment free of assumption or judgement.

Create a safety plan.