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The hardships imposed by COVID-19 are numerous, impacting advocates as individuals and their ability to provide advocacy, resources and shelter to domestic violence survivors. Stay-At-Home orders, social distancing and the other necessary steps intended to offer protection from COVID-19, often escalate the danger to victims of domestic violence and create barriers to safety.
Fact Sheet: Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, and Human Trafficking in Native Hawaiian Communities
Statistics, and information on domestic violence, and human trafficking in Native Hawaiian communities by the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
Privacy, confidentiality and privileged communications are the keystones to safety for survivors of battering or domestic violence. Protecting privacy and confidentiality of victims of domestic violence is directly related to a survivor’s ability to trust, ask for advocacy, support and help. The law provides certain protections to conversations referred to as “privileged communications” between two individuals. All of these protections are important to understand as well as any legal limitations that local laws may impose.
Our whole world has changed, our whole way of life has been put on hold. These are truly trying and difficult times for so many people. Tribal domestic violence advocates are struggling to find their footing and respond as best they can under the circumstances, given the lack of resources, tribal infrastructures and an increase in domestic violence. Indigenous people and Tribal Nations experience multiple levels of trauma, including Historical Trauma. All this contributes to our response to the current pandemic.
During the period of 1979 through 1992, homicide was the third-leading cause of death of Indian females aged 15 to 34, and 75 percent were killed by family members or acquaintances. In 2005, the movement for safety of Native women resulted in the inclusion of the “Safety for Indian Women” title within the Violence Against Women Act. A study released by the U.S. Department of Justice has found that in some tribal communities, American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average.
The social, political, and cultural instability during the colonial era and American Revolution involved ongoing warfare, shifting allegiances among Indigenous and European nations, enslavement, and relocation of Indigenous people. Indigenous women and girls were particularly impacted “…as females during wartime, colonial expansion, and slavery… [are] especially vulnerable to the sexual violence that so often accompanied conquest…” (Miles, 2008).