Wyandotte Nation focuses on supporting domestic violence victims

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NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — There was a special proclamation ceremony Wednesday involving a program in Northeast Oklahoma.

That program is the Wyandotte Nation Domestic Violence Program. The organization continues to show its support for victims of sexual assault. And now, it wants to take it a step further.

Ronnie Gilmore Chief of Wyandotte Police, said, “I think that a lot of people don’t recognize how disproportionate domestic violence is in the Native American community.”

Wyandotte Nation Second Chief Norman Hildebrand signed a proclamation today for the tribe’s commitment to raising awareness about sexual assault.

“I think a lot of people realize these advocacy programs exist. Many in the law enforcement don’t know that these advocacy programs exist or what they can do with victims in these cases.”

The event also recognized April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Lisa Arnold Family Violence Prevention Program Supervisor, said, “Sexual assault is a problem nation wide. I mean 1 in 3 women in America have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime and when you look at those figures it’s staggering. You know it’s not just an isolated problem for one community it’s for everybody.”

Arnold stated with the spike of covid, there has been an increase in cases.

“People need to know they don’t need to be silent. You know, if they’ve gone through something like this then they need to know they can come to us. They can reach out to help and that we can provide all sorts of help regardless whether or not they even decided to press charges we’re here. We’re available.”

The program accompanies victims when they have sexual assault examinations. They also accompany victims when they have to get protection orders or meet with law enforcement.

“Domestic violence hits home for me. I was a victim of domestic violence and you know at that time when I went through it, I didn’t realize there were resources to reach out too that I could potentially get some help and not go through it alone. So I went through those things by myself not realizing there was a way out.”

The program will also have a display up by the Turtle Star Casino that will display flags for each sexual assault offender in the area, to bring attention to the seriousness of the issue.

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