Systems Advocacy: Creating Safe, Respectful & Effective Responses Part 3


“I was so tired I could hardly think. Petrified about going to court.  The prosecutor was an angel. Kind, patient. He actually said he was sorry I got beaten up, I didn’t deserve it – no matter what. Then he said he would do the prosecution without me if I wanted. The cops did a great job investigating, documenting, and the doctor did a detailed report, so it was possible for him to go ahead without me!”

“I was a new advocate in a new domestic violence program on a reservation of about 5,500 people. Went to the police station to find out why a protection order hadn’t been served in over a week when the guy was out and about going to work, partying and stalking the woman I was trying to help. The officer checked the file and said, ‘We’d serve it, but it hasn’t come over from the court.’ I go to the clerk of courts, who looks through mounds of paper stacked on her desk. She says, ‘I’ll try to get to it by the end of the week.’ Found out that she was the only staff person handling all kinds of court documents, there was no policy for prioritizing protection orders, no computer software to track anything – papers got stacked up and added to everyday and she just started from the top and tried to work her way down.”

Getting to know individuals within other agencies is key. Relationships are integral to ending violence in every aspect of advocacy and social change. Take the time to connect as human beings, as relatives. Tillie Black Bear once said, “Sometimes we need to do some ‘subversive’ activity. Drop in and visit. Invite them for coffee or lunch. Visit, ask about their work and how it’s going. Share some information about yourself. Make a relationship. Then drop some information on them. Maybe later bring up your concerns.” This helps get past assumptions and stereotypes, makes us human to each other. It allows us to create rapport and collaborate, with the shared goal of helping our relatives. Read more…


Working to End Violence Against Native American Women

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