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She didn’t tell them, then; she was scared and ashamed. She awoke to someone tugging down her pants, reaching between her legs; she struggled and kicked, and he lumbered out of the room.
In fact, Jane says, she’s been grabbed, chased, followed, and molested so much in her short life that she’s now made it a habit to lock the bedroom door at night and shove a chair under the knob so no one can come in; she’ll wait up, trembling, until everyone at a party is passed out cold before she can comfortably fall asleep.
Sometimes people pressed charges; most of the time, though, nothing happened.
“These perverts travel from village to village, from potlatches to dances,” Jane says.
The impact that Jane and her peers made at the conference seemed to launch a new era of transparency in Alaska about domestic and sexual violence; the media splash that followed drew a groundswell of support both for the 4-H youth and for recent state efforts to both document and prevent these crimes.
But a few months later, when Erickson asked the kids if they thought their presentation had made a difference in Tanana, they all shrugged and made “zero” signs with their hands.
At first, she just wanted to give Tanana’s kids a place to do things with their hands, to go on field trips, to feel supported.Tribal elders who commanded respect, but whose behavior didn’t.