A Cry for Help, a blog posted earlier this month, introduced Robin LeBeau, the sexual assault coordinator at one of our partners on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. She is one of several women who want to help Native American women find their voice. Read on to hear Robin share about the rapidly expanding services offered at Sacred Heart Center...
I believe the key to fulfilling Sacred Heart’s mission to eradicate violence and oppressive practices is equipping people with the necessary tools and resources to break the cycle.
We cannot continue having a revolving door, where the abuser returns to the abuse. In order for true social change, empowerment, and justice to occur, we need the continued resources to make it happen.
A victim needs to be offered options for housing, employment, counseling, and other support so that she can break free from the cycle of abuse. When there is no housing, her only way to survive is to go back to the abuser who has the home, and homes are necessary for survival.
My personal mission to support these issues throughout Indian Country is to provide the message about:
breaking the cycle
empowering women to take back their lives
and encouraging others to not be bystanders
Social change belongs to all of us, and we need to encourage one another to be active participants who make the idea of change a reality.
Many positive things happen here at Sacred Heart. We provide direct services that allow victims to obtain goals such as counseling, treatment, support groups, and work. Helping women regain the control over their own lives and rebuild their independence is the most positive thing that happens.
Some women come in with their children and have absolutely nothing. We are able to give them a sense of comfort that although they are experiencing trauma, a new beginning is happening.
We give them a small amount of donated clothes and personal hygiene supplies, and we provide them with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. I would also like to stress that the advocate team here at Sacred Heart strives to make a difference every day by continuing their training and sharpening their skills.
Most people imagine shelter life to be some sort of cold, institutionalized setting, so we strive to create a more comfortable, cozy atmosphere. This is rather challenging due to the lack of space. It would be amazing to give children a place to truly experience the joy of free movement with various educational activities, toys, art centers, and recreational equipment.
Ideally, this would be a space where nine children were not fighting over one bike and one scooter, but rather there would be enough resources to enable them to be children during a difficult time in their lives.
People who are experiencing trauma, recovering from drug and alcohol addictions, or dealing with mental health issues need a calming space outside of the confines of their own rooms. As of right now, space is a high priority because our Sexual Assault and Outreach programs are rapidly expanding, so I am extremely excited about our future.
Being a child survivor of physical and sexual assault, I have made it my personal mission to give back to society as a whole, not just to Indian Country.
I want to empower people to love one another, to find their own voice, and to work every avenue in order to have a healthy relationship with all mankind.
Knowing this horrendous abuse has plagued our Nation has made the fight to “Break the Cycle” truly become a reality for me.