Fort Belknap domestic violence awareness walks set at multiple locations
Last updated 10/14/2019 at 11:25am
Fort Belknap Indian Community and nearby communities are hosting the tribes’ annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk Friday to help bring light to the issue of domestic violence and to let people know help is available and people who are willing to help.
“Domestic violence is a huge issue, and it’s really sad because people think it’s normal now because it happens so often, but it’s not and it’s not OK,” organizer and Fort Belknap Tiwahe Initiative Domestic Violence Crime Advocate Kayla Horn said. “… Hopefully they will come forward knowing that.”
The event will be held simultaneously at four locations: the Fort Belknap Agency air strip, Lodge Pole powwow grounds, Hays Kills at Night Building and at the Dodson Public School building, she said. The walk will start at 5:30 p.m. She added that, this year, each participant will be given a glow stick. She said the glow sticks represent illuminating survivors of domestic violence and shining light on the issue.
She said the walk will start at the same time at each location. Each location will also be giving away free T-shirts, bags of candy for children, drinks and snacks for all participants. She added that the Tiwahe Initiative and the Fort Belknap Child Support Enforcement Program are sponsoring the event.
The T-shirts will also have the name of the event and the slogan, “Illuminate Our Survivors,” written across the shirt, she said. The shirt will also feature the picture which is featured on the poster, she said. The picture is of a family — two children, a mother and a father — holding hands and was drawn by Diana Bigby, program manager for the Tobacco Use Prevention program at Fort Belknap.
Horn said the Tiwahe program has paid for the shirts so they are completely free to participants.
The event will not have any set speakers, Horn said. Instead, whoever is taking lead at each location will have a short speech about domestic violence and provide insight into the issue. After they are done they will also open the event for public comment for anyone who is willing to share their personal experiences with domestic violence. She added that, in the past, a number of people have shared stories about their lives, and she feels it is a good way for people just to let it out.
“It’s really healthy,” she said.
The public comment portion of the event will be followed by a prayer and then the walk, she said. The walks can be different for everyone, she added. The walk at the Agency will be half-a-mile while the walk at the Kills at Night building will only be a few blocks.
Horn said she started working as an advocate in August and someone had asked her if Fort Belknap was going to host a walk this year. She then spoke to other advocates in other departments and decide to host the walk. She added that usually someone hosts the walk annual walk for the Fort Belknap community.
If someone is experiencing domestic violence they should either contact the Fort Belknap Police Department at 353-2205 or contact her directly at 353-8383, she said.
The Tiwahe Initiative is a program which helps people who are experiencing domestic violence obtain orders of protections, transportation, either to court or other appointments and relocation to shelters if needed or in case of emergency, a hotel room if the individual needs help immediately.
Horn said she hopes everyone attends this event because domestic violence is something that affects everyone, not just the person who is being abused, but friends and family, she said. If a child is exposed to domestic violence at a young age they can possibly carry violent behavior to their future relationships, she added.
“As a community we need to heal together in order to move forward,” she said.