Choctaw Nation to Assist, Educate for Domestic Violence Month
Two years ago, at an inaugural candlelight vigil held at Tvshka Homma, Chief Gary Batton became the first chief in Choctaw history to sign a proclamation recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the seriousness of abuse within families.
Understanding the hardship brought on by violence taking place in some families, Chief Batton again has declared October 2016 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The proclamation, dated Oct. 3, 2016, was signed to draw attention to the need for preventative steps and the healing process for these victims.
The proclamation states in part, “Whereas, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime, for Native women that number is 1 in 3. And, approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year. And, the strength of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma relies on healthy, peaceful families and the safety of its members. Domestic violence is not to be excused or tolerated in any manner or situation.”
Chief Batton is urging “all employees and members of the Tribe to work toward strengthening families and homes, and to speak out against domestic violence, and make our communities safer for all Tribal members.”
Shawna Folsom, Director of Choctaw Nation Children & Family Services, said, “I think one thing we would like to focus on is the support that our leadership has given us. The leaders and Choctaw Nation have made Domestic Violence Awareness, a priority within the Choctaw Nation.”
Children & Family Services provides the following information: Domestic Abuse is about power and control by any intimate partner – controlling through a pattern of abusive behavior. Violence doesn’t care about race, gender, religion, or economic status. It can happen to anyone, anywhere. We need to honor what is sacred. Domestic violence is not among our traditions.
Typical examples of abuse are, of course, physical violence, the threat of physical violence, sexual assault, and stalking. But also included are verbal and emotional abuse, withholding money, forbidding employment, and not allowing contact with family and friends.
Choctaw Nation programs have no fewer than 15 events planned for the month ahead throughout the 10 ½ county service area of southeast Oklahoma. Admission is free to most, and many are open to the public. Victims, concerned family members, teenagers (especially girls who are dating), those working in related fields, and anyone wanting to know more about the subject is encouraged to participate.
Domestic Violence Candlelight Vigil – Oct. 3, 6:00 p.m., Market Square, Durant. It is open to the public.
Choctaws on Choctaw Avenue – Oct. 3, 7:00 p.m., McAlester. Choctaw Nation IHS’s Homakbi Ribbon is the host. Mayor John Browne will sign a proclamation; refreshments served, and informational and promotional items available. Purple lights, the designated color for Domestic Violence Awareness, will line Choctaw Street in October.
Movie Night & Candlelight Vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness, Oct. 3, 8:00 p.m., Booth at Carl Albert State College, Poteau. It is open to the public.
Domestic Violence Awareness Booth, Oct. 5, Courthouse, Hugo. It is open to the public.
Meltdown Challenge & Candlelight Vigil, Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m., Eastern Oklahoma State College, Wilburton. It is open to the public.
Women’s Self-defense Classes – Oct. 11, 1-4 p.m. & 5:00-8:00 p.m., Choctaw Casino Resort Event Center, Grant. The Choctaw Nation IHS’s Homakbi Ribbon, Project Strong, and Path of Hope are providing the free classes for all female tribal employees and a guest. Enrollment: Jannell McDonald, Learning, and Development, 580-775-8950.
Domestic Violence Awareness Day – Oct. 12, Wheelock. Public invited.
Paint for a Purpose – Oct. 17, The Art Spot, McAlester. Hosted by Homakbi Ribbon. Registration at The Art Spot, 918-938-1683. Proceeds benefit Hope House Women’s Shelter, McAlester.
Domestic Violence Awareness Booth – Oct. 17, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Carl Albert State College, Poteau. It is open to the public.
Teen Dating Zombie Challenge – Oct. 17, Harvest Carnival, Tvshka Homma. Choctaw Nation Youth Advisory Board is hosting. Public invited.
The Third Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk, Oct. 19, 1:00 p.m. Choctaw Nation Wellness Center Walking Trail, Hugo. Hosted by Choctaw Nation Victims Services.
Color Run – Oct. 22, McAlester. Untimed fun run. Bringing awareness to domestic violence, teen dating violence, suicide prevention, bullying, etc. Public invited. Partnered with Pitts. Co., Atoka County Youth Advisory Board.
Domestic Violence Awareness Booth, Oct. 25, Courthouse, Idabel. Public invited.
Domestic Violence Awareness Booth, Oct. 26, Courthouse, Antlers. Public invited.
Remember My Name: Candlelight Vigil, Oct. 27, informative program with well-known speakers, Tvshka Homma. Public invited.
There is also a Self-esteem Day with a full slate of activities for domestic violence clients. It’s a private event to protect confidentiality.
For assistance with domestic violence or additional information, contact:
· Choctaw Nation Outreach Services, 800-522-6170 or 580-924-8280 Ext. 6053 and 6038
· Project Empower, 580-326-8304 Ext. 6042
· Victims Assistance, 580-326-8304 Ext. 6038
· Project House, 580-326-8304 Ext. 6040
· Choctaw Nation Children & Family Services, 918-429-7693, 580-889-1955, or 580-924-8280 Ext. 2663
· Choctaw Nation Project SAFE, 580-924-8280 in Durant, and 918-567-4265 in Talihina
· Choctaw Nation Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative, 918-302-0052
· Choctaw Nation Family Violence Prevention Services, 918-429-7693 in McAlester, 580-889-1955 in Atoka, 580-584-3150 in Broken Bow, 918-647-0770 in Poteau, and 580- 924-8280 Ext. 2663 & 2499 in Durant