Speeches, informational booths and presentations part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month event

Emma Hughes

Gila River Indian News


Since 1981, October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which first began as a “Day of Unity” by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


The intent was to connect advocates for survivors of abuse across the nation who were working to end domestic violence. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state and national levels. It has since grown to be a federally observed month of awareness and action on domestic violence.


Outreach events have been held around the Gila River Indian Community in honor of Domestic Violence month. On Oct. 12, District One held an informational event with presenters and informational booths. Oct. 25, a walk/run was held at the District Six Service Center, District Three held a candle light vigil on Monday evening, Oct. 28, along with traditional dancers at the domestic violence shelter.


District 4 Community Council Representative Monica Antone attended the event and shared stories and provided positive affirmations to encourage anyone on their journey of wellness.

“One in three Native American women are exposed to domestic violence, we’re hoping to reduce those numbers for us here [Gila River]; if anyone needs the shelter or a safe haven that’s what we’re there for,” said Sharon James-Tiger, Victim Services Administrator. She has been with the program since April, working to partner with different programs. She discussed the events, “our purpose was to get out information regarding the domestic violence shelter, what we do, the services we provide,” said James-Tiger.


The final event of the month took place on Tuesday, Oct. 29., at the Governance Center in Sacaton. Lt. Gov. Robert Stone began the event with a prayer and Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis shared some words, “we’re all family and we’re all a Community; we all have to support each other,” said Gov. Lewis. Informational booths, raffles and lunch were provided. Crime Victim Services was invited out to demonstrate “in her shoes” an experiential activity that follows the life of a victim and what they may go through. “We plan to hold events on a monthly basis in the Community, not just on domestic violence but any kind of prevention,” said James-Tiger.