Domestic Violence is unacceptable and should not be taken lightly. Legal definitions of domestic violence vary, but it is characterized by a pattern of abusive behavior involving power and control. The Cherokee Code provides relief through criminal charges or a civil no contact order for individuals who have experienced physical or emotional abuse by an intimate partner or household member.
Domestic violence can be physical abuse or sexual abuse, but may also take the form of emotional abuse, financial/ economic abuse, and psychological abuse. Abusive behaviors can include but are not limited to: intimidation, manipulation, humiliation, isolation, terrorizing, coercion, threating, blaming, or physically injuring a person or animal.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), an average of twenty (20) people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute in the United States. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims yearly. Every nine seconds a woman is beaten or assaulted. Intimate partner violence is responsible for 15 percent of all violent crime and 19 percent of intimate partner violence involves a weapon. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent.
The North Carolina Council for Women and Youth Involvement published a statistical report for July 2016- June 2017 on Domestic Violence related incidents occurring in North Carolina. There were 99,164 crisis hotline calls answered and 10,440 victims received shelter services. Nearly 3,900 victims were referred to other shelters for lack of resources and available space. Services provided by North Carolina Domestic Violence Agencies include: information, advocacy, job counseling, job training, financial and health education.
American Indians and Alaskan Native women are at a significantly higher risk for domestic violence, physical and sexual assault, and murder. According to a study from the National Institute of Justice, approximately 84 percent of American Indian and Alaskan Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime including 66 percent who have been victims of psychological abuse. Fifty-nine (59) percent of Native women report being in relationships with non- Native men and approximately two-thirds of Native women who are sexually assaulted are attacked by non-Native men. The rate of interracial violence experienced by American Indians and Alaskan Natives is far higher than the rate experienced by African American or Caucasian victims.
Until the expanded version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) passed in 2013, tribal courts in the 567 federally recognized Native American tribes across the country did not have jurisdiction over non- Native offenders. Simply put, these non- Native offenders were essentially granted immunity for their crimes. Currently, some tribes, including the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, that meet due process requirements have been granted jurisdiction over non- Natives who commit violence against women on tribal lands.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, have questions or need assistance there is help available 24/7. Call the EBCI Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program Walkingstick Shelter 359-6830 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
– EBCI Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program