Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bona Fide Good Cause Alert

If you're looking for a worthy target for your charitable donations this week, please go read about Pretty Bird Woman House, a domestic violence and rape shelter for abused women and their children on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota. Native American women experience sexual assault at a rate several times higher than other American women, and law enforcement in their cases is generally grossly ineffective. Pretty Bird Woman House, named after the murdered sister of the woman who started the shelter, was burned to the ground by arsonists who broke in to steal electronic equipment, leaving many victimized women with no place to turn for shelter and aid. The people who run the shelter are attempting to buy replacement property in a safer location and have started a 501(c)3 fundraising campaign; they need another $9k or so by Friday to make the purchase happen.
PBWH provides emergency shelter, advocacy support, and educational programs for women on the Standing Rock reservation who have been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Its services are badly needed; according to the Amnesty International report Maze of Injustice - The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA:
High levels of sexual violence on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation take place in a context of high rates of poverty and crime. South Dakota has the highest poverty rate for Native American women in the USA with 45.3 per cent living in poverty. 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.

The whole thing is well documented and explained on the PBWH website. Give it a look and think about including the women of Standing Rock Reservation in your charitable giving this year.

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