Sexual violence remains an issue for Native American communities throughout the U.S.

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Monday-Friday
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 10:41 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has granted $3.2 million to build the Peaceful Means Center on the Pine Ridge reservation and collaborate with IMpower United to teach youth sexual violence prevention strategies and self-building.

“We have a really big group of people that came together, to put together a proposal to establish the peaceful means center here to implement IMpower to every single K-12. student here on the reservation and then go to other reservations,” said Associate Professor Katie Edwards of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

According to Peaceful Means, Center Director Jozee Campos 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will have sexual violence encounter in their life. The program will help stop the increase in these generational curses from continuing to happen.

“We’re aware that unfortunately, sexual assault is often overlooked when working with trauma and in any kind of addiction or treatment prevention initiatives, mental health issues,” said Research Associate Leon Leader Charge of Peaceful Means.

Sexual violence impacts native youth at rates higher than other ethnic groups in the U.S. and the Impower United program reduced sexual assault by 80% on another reservation in South Dakota.

“We’re going to be teaching these kids how to say no effectively we’re going to teach them you know, like how to talk your way out of trouble. And if your nose if whenever you say no if that’s not respected, we’re going to be teaching these kids how to physically defend themselves, especially when their no is not respected,” said Thea Dubray Program facilitator for Peaceful Means.

Peaceful Means is currently in the preparation stages, and plan to start the program this fall.