<i>Restoring the Circle</i> Campaign to End Sexual Assault Against American Indian Women Will Compliment Joe Biden’s <i>1 is 2 Many</i> Initiative

Restoring the Circle Campaign to End Sexual Assault Against American Indian Women Will Compliment Joe Biden’s 1 is 2 Many Initiative

ICTMN Staff
10/15/12

In September 2011, Vice President Joe Biden launched the “1 is 2 Many” initiative to raise awareness of the need to reduce dating violence and sexual assault among women ages 16-24.

Now the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) has partnered with the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to supplement his campaign with a streamlined focus: preventing rape and sexual assault of young American Indian women.

The nationwide campaign “Restoring the Circle: Ending Violence and Abuse on Tribal College and University Campuses” will proactively address sexual assault and dating violence on three of 37 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)—Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas; Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The three TCUs, which have a combined reach to approximately 3,600 American Indian students, will work toward the initiative's ambitious goal: "ensuring young American Indian women can pursue their education free from violence," states an AIHEC press release.

The TCUs are committed to:

1) creating campus-wide policies for students and faculty that addresses gender-based violence and sexual violence;
2) developing response protocols for campus police and dormitory/housing programs;
3) organizing awareness training for students, faculty, and the entire campus community; and
4) initiating a public relations campaign to stop gender-based abuse and sexual violence.

On October 11, campaign officials hosted a one-day training and a kick-off event at Haskell Indian Nations University to educate the entire TCU community about the effects of violence and abuse on all students.

The training is based on existing programming from United Tribes Technical College, which employs mainstream tactics of education and prevention along with traditional healing tools. Most critically, it celebrates tribal communities’ courage, resilience and strength, the press release states.

“TCUs are catalysts for change in our tribal communities—making it only natural for these institutions to take the responsibility in ‘Restoring the Circle,’" said Carrie L. Billy, AIHEC president and CEO. "TCUs are leading efforts to preserve and revitalize our Native languages, develop innovative economic opportunities, improve community health, and protect our land.”

In addition to efforts by the TCUs, the BIA and BIE will help broaden outreach to tribal reservations and American Indian communities across the U.S.

For more information about the Restoring the Circle campaign, visit AIHEC’s website at www.aihec.org.

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shethebear's picture
shethebear
Submitted by shethebear on
An effort to make a national initiative to end violence against women is pretty exciting. The fact that the “1 is 2 Many” initiative is coming from the White House tells me one of two things: 1. That this administration is serious about listening to women and helping address issues we face, or 2. This is an initiative that the administration hopes to gain votes in the election with, or both. Upon reading this article a few questions immediately burst into my head. The article states that the “1 is 2 Many” initiative seeks to reduce dating violence and sexual assault among women 16-24. I wonder if the “Restoring the Circle: Ending Violence and Abuse on Tribal College and University Campuses” campaign’s demographic is also this same age range as Biden’s initiative. According statistics released by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted by the age of 18. In light of this, I wonder what are the average student age ranges in TCUs and if they will be able to reach and aid the large age demographic of women being assaulted. According to Violence Against Native Women: A Guide for Practitioner Action, 1 in 3 native women are sexually assaulted. Perhaps age, in the case of our native communities, may not have as much to do with the likely hood of sexual assaults on women. As I look at this article over and over again, each time I come away with more questions and feeling a little more skeptical. The article states that the Restoring the Circle campaign will proactively address sexual assault and dating violence, organize awareness training for students, faculty, and the entire campus community, and that the training is based on existing programming from United Tribes Technical College, which employs mainstream tactics of education and prevention along with traditional healing tools. All of this sounds really good, but I wonder what this program or training will look like. How will this approach be different from the mainstream approach that is given around the country? Will it be the same old sexual assault prevention that is given to audiences across the country coupled with a bit of traditional healing tools? Who’s traditional healing tools? Will it vary from community to community? Also will it be the same sexual assault advice that often puts the burden of prevention solely on the shoulders of women and give little if any responsibility to men? Will they be asking our men to take a stand? The AIHEC press release also states that the TCUs are committed to initiating a public relations campaign to stop gender-based abuse and sexual violence. The article also states that the BIA and BIE will also help to broaden outreach to tribal reservations and American Indian communities across the U.S. I believe it’s important to educate our young about this issue so that we have an even better chance of stopping this epidemic. I wonder also if the BIE and BIA will be making an effort to educate in the k-12 grade schools. Given that the Restoring the Circle Campaign will also be reaching out to tribal reservations and communities across the U.S. I would have liked to hear more about what the campaign will look like in community settings? Will it look similar to what will be done at the TCUs or will it have a different approach? Will the campaign seek also to work with tribal councils to create policies or regulations surrounding sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence? Will the campaign work to further the programs within native urban community centers such as the American Indian Center of Chicago? How do they also plan to reach native urban populations that have no native community centers? On the whole the development of the “1 is 2 Many” initiative and the “Restoring the Circle” campaign is exciting news. However, I was left with more questions than answers and wished the article went into much greater detail.

ppmickey's picture
ppmickey
Submitted by ppmickey on
I wouldn't hold my breath with this administration in the White House doing much of anything than make promises they won't or can't keep on the issues of violence against women in any setting, especially if it's Native American women. I'm 1/8th Cherokee and was stalked when I was in high school and sexually assaulted as an adult. I guess that would put me into the statics too. I married a law enforcement officer, ironically, about a year after my assault. He's 1/8th Lakota Sioux and is very against violence towards women and children. After nearly 30 years of marriage, I couldn't ask for a better husband or friend. By the way...we're voting Republican this year. Promises haven't been kept and I don't feel the current administration puts their money where there promises go. Although we don't believe in the Mormon religion, we've been around many Mormons and appreciate how they greatly love their families and how important values are to them. I think it's time for a change. It's too bad Hillary Clinton isn't running because she's taken the fall for our Presidents' lack of action. That clearly shows his position on how he feels about women. Don't forget to vote.
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