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Opinion
Giago: Domestic violence from a male perspective


"As a Lakota man now in his seventh decade, one that has been an observer of Indian people and issues as a journalist for more than 40 years, I would like to expand upon the series of articles by Ms. [Jodi] Rave, but from an Indian male perspective. As one might not gather from the series, most of us are not women abusers or wife beaters.

For the past 40 years I have employed Indian people, both men and women. I employed them in a coffee and donut shop I owned when I was young and I have employed them for the many jobs it takes to publish a weekly newspaper over the past 26 years.

I didn�t keep statistics, but I did make certain observations simply because of the number of women I had in my employ. Yes, I did have women employees that lived in an abusive atmosphere. When they came to work wearing dark glasses to cover the bruises around their eyes I often sat them down and talked to them.

Now mind you, in nearly every case, these female employees of mine were the breadwinners. They were the ones who held the jobs and brought home the paycheck. Their husbands or significant others were the stay-at-homes who did nothing to help support their family.

Much of the abuse usually happened right after a payday. The workingwomen go out with their husbands or boyfriends to a local watering hole to unwind, which of course means getting drunk. At some point in the evening the woman realizes her kids are home alone and she has to get home to carry out her duties as a mother. If her spouse or boyfriend has not confiscated her paycheck by then, her attempt at leaving the party seems to be reason enough for him to make a grab at getting the money from her purse so that he can continue to party.

When the women come to work the next day broke and bruised, I always talked to them. �Why are you letting this bum live off of you? You are a good and decent woman and yet you have this terrible guy living in your house with your children taking your paycheck every week and blowing it on booze while you and your children go without? Why are you letting this happen?�"

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: Unraveling the source of domestic violence in Indian country (The Native American Times 10/2)

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