Clan Star | Sunday, January 30, 2011
CHEROKEE, N.C. — At 64 years-old, Matilda Black Bear, better known as Tillie, refers to herself as a “classic case” in regards to her story of domestic violence. She was 26 years old when she entered into a relationship that turned violent. She knew after the first week that she had to get out, but it took her three years to leave.
“In the ’70s there were no services for victims, let alone any laws to hold perpetrators accountable,” recalls Tillie. “I went to the police and to the judges and they didn’t know what to do with me.”
According to U.S. Department of Justice Statistics, not much has changed in nearly 40 years. Tillie’s story is shared by thousands of Native women in the United States. One out of three Native women will be raped in her lifetime, and three out of four will be physically assaulted.