By: Cat Walker, U.S. Legislative Fellow to Bolivia
|Indigenous leader speaking at the workshop|
I stood at the front of the room, overwhelmed by how familiar her words were to me. As part of my work with Fundación CONSTRUIR, an organization that strives to protect the civil rights of indigenous communities, I was asked to provide presentations at local NGOs on best practices for working with domestic violence survivors. At first, this task seemed daunting. Certainly, I figured, the best practices that apply for service providers in the United States would not apply worldwide. I imagined that, in a country where domestic violence protections were just written into law less than two years ago, I would find service providers and survivors facing a completely distinct set of challenges than what we encounter at my organization in Washington, D.C., where we benefit from some of the most progressive domestic violence legislation in the country.
However, as I listened to the stories of the women I encountered, I was surprised to find that indigenous survivors of intimate partner violence in Bolivia experience many of the same outrageous injustices as the majority of my clients, who live in the capital of one of the most powerful nations in the world.