My name is Charon and I am a member of the Comanche Nation. I am also a survivor of sexual assault. Not all healthcare is the same, and I personally know the challenges Native women face when it comes to receiving care after a sexual assault.
As someone who runs a Women’s Shelter and Resource Center, I know that when a person does not disclose that they have been raped, they carry it around for a lifetime. The trauma of a rape can create such a burden that it can crush your dreams and aspirations.
It’s important to have both physical and psychological healthcare. I create safe spaces for people to disclose assault, so that when they disclose in a timely manner, law enforcement can get involved and forensic exams can happen. The sooner a person discloses their trauma, the sooner they begin their journey to healing.
My shelter makes a difference by working with young people who have been raped. We work to create safe spaces so survivors can get the help they need, but there is so much more the government could be doing to support Native women.
As a rape survivor and a survivor of domestic violence I understand that our aspirations for the future and self-worth are detoured. When I help someone who has gone through this, I can actually see a change in them — they begin to smile and talk about the future. The more Native women have access to rape kits, follow-up care and support services, the more quickly our communities can heal.