Choctaw Nation urges family violence victims to get help - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Choctaw Nation urges family violence victims to get help

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Domestic violence survivor Carolyn Steelman encouraged other victims to seek help. (KTEN) Domestic violence survivor Carolyn Steelman encouraged other victims to seek help. (KTEN)
Choctaw Nation held its first Flowers on the Pond event to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (KTEN) Choctaw Nation held its first Flowers on the Pond event to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (KTEN)

DURANT, Okla. -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Choctaw Nation held a Flowers on the Pond vigil Tuesday to honor survivors, and to let them know they are not alone.

"It's just a big, big relief that I'm not alone," said Carolyn Steelman. She added a flower for herself and for all the other victims, sharing her story publicly for just the second time.

"Get help," Steelman urged. "Don't be afraid, because... I mean, hey... what else do you got to lose? That's what I had to tell myself. I had to push myself to go get help, to go talk to somebody."

Numbers show Native American women experience domestic violence at a rate 2.5 times the national average, but the problem is all around us. One in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic violence in the United States.

That's where the Choctaw Nation comes in.

"We'll help guide and help them through this process, dealing with the law enforcement, all those things," said Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton. "But the main thing is for them to speak up."

No matter what side of the Red River you live on, there are places to to find help. Choctaw Nation offers many programs in its 10-county region, whether or not you are a tribal member. 

"Our programs' doors are open to anyone," said Anna Marcy of Family Violence Prevention. "If you are seeking help from intimate partner violence or wanting to leave an intimate partner violence relationship, our doors are open; come talk to us."

Their philosophy: When you know better, you do better. Step away and get help.

Need help? In Oklahoma, call Choctaw Nation Children and Family Services at 800-522-6170 or the Oklahoma Safe Line at 800-522-7233. In Texas or anywhere, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

Call 911 first in any emergency situation.

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