Shelter-in-place measurements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can also increase the likelihood of women and men being trapped in domestic and/or sexual abuse situations at home. Despite the threat of the virus itself, stay-at-home orders and the suspension of community rituals and events have been attributed to a rise in domestic and sexual abuse in both rural Native reservation communities as well as for urban American Indians.
The Indian Health Service has partnered with StrongHearts Native Helpline to support American Indians facing abusive situations. Be aware, computer usage can be monitored and a phone call, if possible, can often be a safer option when seeking help from a domestic abuse situation. StrongHearts can be reached between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Central Time daily through their helpline at 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483). If it is safe to visit the website, survivors can also chat online with the helpline.
StrongHearts and Indian Health Services recommends abuse survivors contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, call 1-800-799-7233, or text LOVEIS to 22522 for help outside of business hours. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline is monitored 24/7.
Additionally, Indian Health Services has identified several other resources for women and men suffering from abusive domestic situations through their webpage. StrongHearts also features educational resources for identifying different physical and non-physical forms of abuse and manipulation for American Indian people, in addition to offering insight into the factors essential to forming healthy relationships.
By Carolina Wasinger