Demanding Justice for Native Women

Gosia Wozniacka Uncategorized

Last year, when I wrote a story about domestic violence in rural areas, I came across a stark statistic: a survey conducted by the Women’s Foundation of Oregon had found that 100 percent of the respondents at the Umatilla Reservation said they knew someone affected by domestic violence, the only location in Oregon with such a high percentage. I had heard about the epidemic of violence claiming the lives of Native women across the nation. Here was a chance to write about its impacts in Oregon. I was also introduced to Desireé Coyote, Umatilla’s Family Violence Services program manager, who would be my guide during this story. I had pitched the idea to Cascadia Magazine, a cool online publication dedicated to the stories of the Pacific Northwest. I drove from Portland to Pendleton (a 4-hour drive each way) while more than 8 months pregnant because I thought the story was important. It took me a long time to write it – my son arrived before I was able to finish the draft. But I stuck with it and eventually finished the piece. The fact that Congress dragged its feet on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) helped keep it fresh. I put my heart into this story, and I thank those who spoke about their experiences. 

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