UNL awards $3.2 million to help indigenous youth with trauma from sexual abuse

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN): The University of Nebraska-Lincoln awarded $3.2 million to a new project aiming to protect indigenous youth.

The project aims to establish an indigenous-led sexual violence prevention center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, with eventual expansion to Nebraska.

The University has two intricate pieces in developing the project, Associate Professor Katie Edwards and Cultural Outreach Manager, Ramona Harrington.

Founder and Executive Director of Impower, Lee Paiva, will also assist with the initiative.

“This is really building off of a lot of other work that we’ve done there off of some pilot work with the Impower program specifically,” Edwards said.

Harrington emphasized the importance of having conversations with native youth that experience trauma to reduce their feelings of isolation.

“It’s just needed to help them, to give them a voice and to learn about consent and rape,” Harrington said.

The group says the immediate mobilization of research and prevention will help the youth see the world differently regardless of their circumstances.

“My goal in Pine Ridge is, I want to see all these kids get to adulthood without anybody attacking them, abusing them, sexually assaulting them,” Paiva said.  “I want to give them the tools that I have, that I use, or would use in those situations.”

The center, which is still in its formative stages, will be named by the indigenous community further into its conception.

More details about the project and sexual abuse prevention be found here at CYFS Research Network.

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