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Spread this Meme: Pretty Bird Woman House


In 2004, Jackie Brown Otter founded Pretty Bird Woman House, a women's shelter at the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota. The shelter is named after Brown Otter's sister, who was kidnapped, raped and beaten to death in 2001.

According to Amnesty Intn'l report,

High levels of sexual violence on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation take place in a context of high rates of poverty and crime... The unemployment rate on the Reservation is 71 per cent. Crime rates on the Reservation often exceed those of its surrounding areas. According to FBI figures, in 2005 South Dakota had the fourth highest rate of "forcible rapes" of women of any US state.

As a special bonus to the Lakota Sioux Reservation, there are sufficient desensitization to crime and confusion over Tribal/Non-Tribal jurisdiction at Standing Rock to create rape tourism. Says Andrea Smith, an Assistant Professor of Native Studies at the University of Michigan,

[N]on-Native perpetrators often seek out a reservation place because they know they can inflict violence without much happening to them.

Against these odds, Pretty Bird Woman House is staffed by three people-- a nurse, a volunteer, and a part-time employee-- and from January to October of this year, they managed to:

-- answer 397 crisis calls
-- give emergency shelter to 188 women and 132 children
-- help 23 women obtain restraining orders, 10 get divorces, and 16 get medical assistance
-- provide court advocacy support for 28 women
-- conduct community education programs for 360 women.

A few weeks ago, PBWH's phone lines were cut, the office was ransacked, and the building was burnt down.

Everyone was away from the house at the time, but all possessions were lost, and-- because PBWH's grant from the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence is predicated on its ability to shelter women-- its funding is also lost. Now everybody's trying to pick up the pieces.

Click here for the full story.

How you can help:

1. Donate what you can for a new house.

Pretty Bird Woman House already has two potential replacement houses in mind. Both offer significantly more space than the previous building... full basements, storage room and would house more than double the families and women than their previous building. Both buildings have yards which means possible playgrounds for children.

One house has a major advantage in location - a police station across the street.

Because of difficulties obtaining loans (banks are allergic to both Native Americans and poverty) the best solution lies in purchasing the house outright. The Tribal Council could hold the mortgage but coming up with the mortgage payments every month creates an ongoing problem. Since both houses are on the market, they could be gone anytime. Depressed property values on Standing Rock mean that $60,000 gets the house. An additional $10,000 is required to make them secure, with proper fencing, video cameras, reinforced doors and other measures.


Since 10/25, the drive for donations for PBWH has garnered 17% of the $70,000 goal; the drive ends January 2008-- so consider donating in someone's name as a Christmas present. Donations can be made here.

2. Donate material goods-- clothing, toiletries, non-perishables, etc.

USPS to:
Pretty Bird Woman House
P.O. Box 596
McLaughlin, SD 57642

or FedEx, UPS, DHL ship to:
Pretty Bird Woman House
302 Sale Barn Rd.
McLaughlin SD 57642

3. Spread this meme.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
alestar
Nov. 13th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
Both of those things would be ++ excellent. Although I am not nearly so serious, usually, as I have been lately; but you can always hang out at your leisure.
(Deleted comment)
alestar
Nov. 13th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
I ♥ you. :(
(Deleted comment)
alestar
Nov. 13th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
It is the sadface of sincerity, but I'm not very good at expressing that.... Hmm. What if there were three sadfaces in a row?

You are the best. :( :( :(
ceresi
Nov. 13th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
You are lovely. ♥
alestar
Nov. 14th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
I got the link from you, so I am the moon to your sun. ;)
bossymarmalade
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for posting about this -- I had no idea it was happening, and linked to your entry in my journal. So consider item #3 done!
alestar
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Sorry for the late reply. Just so you know, PBWH has now reached 35% of its $70k goal. That's the power of communication. :)
lisacharly
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
I'm going to be making a box of supplies to ship out this weekend. Thanks for posting this.
alestar
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
adannu
Nov. 14th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I'll pass this on in my mundane lj, which gets more readers. And you may want to point out that folks might want to check into whether their employers have a matching program for donations to qualified charities. I believe mine will match donations to qualified 501(c)3 organizations.
alestar
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
I'm looking into that with my own company (Pilot Oil)-- that's an excellent suggestion. The need evidenced in the articles is pretty unambiguous; I'm hoping even corporate types will be sympathetic.
alaskan_blue
Nov. 14th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
Rape... Tourism...

Everyday I lose more and more faith in humanity. :-(
alestar
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
Well, I wouldn't just yet, actually. The truth is that things are getting better. The reason for "rape tourism"-- meaning that people leave their own towns and go to this Reservation, where they can get away with it-- is that they CAN'T get away with it in their own towns.

Rates of violent crime, inc. rape, generally rise and fall in proportion to rates of poverty and unemployment. If you were raised in a hostile environment; if you didn't get proper healthcare, nourishment, or education at important development stages in your life; if you feel helpless or unempowered, you're going to do (demented) things in order to feel powerful. Furthermore, if you're exposed to suffering everyday, you develop callouses; you may care less when you witness or cause suffering, or, even if you do care, you may feel powerless to change it.

Whereas the middle class, despite its rough edges, is making subtle improvements on this dynamic. According to this chart, from Surjit S. Bhalla's Second Among Equals, the middle class is growing, not diminishing, and the middle class does feel empowered to effect change, though it isn't sure how.

While this is a statement about humanity, the statement is merely that the human is a giant awkward animal, lumbering along on its brutal trial-by-error Earth adventure.

I'll tell you this, which is something my father told me when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with despair for humanity:

"In dark times, there is only one thing that any man can do, and in fact it is the best thing that anyone can ever do-- that is to maintain your own moral authority."
ex_ciannait
Nov. 14th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. As a Native woman and someone who spent her childhood in many similar such shelters, I want to do everything I can to help. I've posted a link here, as well as to the DailyKos diary and the donate flash widget. I'm of course going to be sending some money their way as well.

I never would've known about this otherwise - thank you.
alestar
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Just so you know, PBWH has now reached 35% of its $70k goal. So thank you again. :)
grey_sterling
Nov. 14th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
I saw this a couple times on my flist but I wasn't sure where it originated from till someone mentioned it in another post. Thank you. <3
alestar
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
:)

Spread the word-- esp. with gift holidays coming up. PBWH has now reached 35% of its $70k goal. We're gettin' there.
(Deleted comment)
alestar
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

And remember, even if you can't afford a cash donation, you can mention the drive to folks in your community or (as grey_sterling suggests in her comment) to any company/corporation to which you might be connected; or you could ask someone to make a donation in your name instead of whatever crappy holiday present they might have gotten you. ;)

At this point, attention is just as important (if not more important) than cold cash.

Thank you for your help!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)
burn rape and pillage
As usual the government looks the other way. It's because they consider us indians as nothing. It will someday grow to the point where the state has to move in the national gaurd to the reservation. Then people will open there eyes to what our tax money is getting every one. In their eyes we are just a bunch of drunken savages.Would the tribe treat this as an act of war (civil unrest)The government needs to follow every dollar coming here to standing rock because the money is not going to where it is suppose to go (all areas)
pebblin
Dec. 7th, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
I just donated some dough to them for you. Merry Christmas, Boo.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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