Searching for Awareness during Domestic Violence Awareness Month
By Tibissum Rice
LCO ICW/Family Services
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. According to the United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, the definition of domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner. The prevalence of Domestic Violence is arguably one of the top health concerns in the country and affects every race, gender, and socio-economic background. Education is key to preventing Domestic Violence, promoting healthy behaviors within the community, and motivating social change.
Under normal circumstances, community service providers would plan large gatherings to provide Domestic Violence awareness and education to the entire community. However, since COVID-19 has been increasing in our community and large gatherings are not being held in order to help protect the health of all participants and staff- an opportunity to be creative emerged.
LCO Indian Child Welfare & Family Services has collaborated with several community service providers; Native Connections, Oakwood Haven, Circles of Care, Mino Maajisewin, and PFS to sponsor a community event that provides education about Domestic Violence. This great team of providers has developed an activity which allows for social distancing while providing education to a large variable audience in a way that would engage the community to get outside and have fun. The event is a Family Adventure Hunt called “Searching for Awareness.”
Everyone is welcome to participate. Ten small, wooden, red dresses have been displayed throughout the LCO Community and in the City of Hayward. The first dress is located at the LCO Tribal Office. Each dress has information about Domestic Violence as well as a hint for where to find the next dress. The goal is for individuals to find the dresses, take pictures of each one and send their pictures to the LCO Behavioral Health Facebook Messenger. The message is the individual’s entry into a prize drawing. The grand prize is a 50” Smart TV. “Searching for Awareness” started on October 5, 2020 and will continue through October 31, 2020.
The red dresses have a significance related to Domestic Violence. They are a quiet respect paid to the Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women of North America. The design of the dress is a traditional Native American Ribbon Dress, painted red with a purple ribbon around the skirt and sleeves. The dress form was drafted by Hayward High School Senior Abigail Fear, cut out by Town of Bass Lake Supervisor Marshal Savitski, and decorated by staff from LCO Indian Child Welfare & Family Services and Circles of Care.
The LCO Indian Child Welfare & Family Services Department extends a huge thank-you to our partners and community members who all collaborated to make this event a reality. We also thank the community for their time and participation.