Haskell addresses sexual violence

By Shaun Hittle

Advocates, students and treatment providers converged on the Haskell Indian Nations University Campus on Wednesday and Thursday to address sexual violence in Native American communities and campuses. The event, “Sharing our Stories, Celebrating our Future,” is part of a new initiative launched by the Bureau of Indian Affairs aimed at preventing and reducing sexual abuse and domestic violence.

It’s a much needed step, said Haskell spokesman Stephen Prue.

“There is a vacuum that needs to be filled,” Prue said about a lack of current research and data into the scope of sexual violence in Native American communities.

Presentations during the two-day event touched on a variety of topics, such as domestic violence, self defense and sexual abuse. Several community agencies, such as GaDuGi and the Kansas Coalition against Sexual and Domestic Violence, participated.

Recently released federal statistics show official reports of sexual violence at Haskell are rare — the school reported just one such incident in 2011.

But those numbers mask the many unreported crimes of violence against women, Prue said. Prue said the event is the start of a development of new policies and strategies to combat sexual and domestic violence on Native American campuses across the country.

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