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Domestic Violence Shelter In Martin Receives Grant

Chynna Lockett

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. South Dakota is home to about 40 domestic violence shelters and a new one is expected to open soon in the town of Martin. Organizers say the shelter will serve the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently awarded the shelter a $440,000  dollar grant. The organizers say that’s spread over three years.

Kimmie Clausen is the Executive Director of the Wild Horse Butte Community Development Cooperation in Martin.  Wild Horse Butte is a non-profit that oversees the Sacred Shawl domestic violence shelter.
Clausen says by the end of the summer shelter was built and furnished but unable to open because the faculty could not afford to hire a full time staff.

“If we were starting from scratch right now without the facility that we already have ready, that money sure wouldn’t go very far,” says Clausen.

She says the federal grant money allows the organization to start helping victims.

“It takes a multitude of different partners out there to really make it work, otherwise it’s not going to happen. And it takes a huge diligence of the staff and the people that really care about the children and the women of our community to just push thru and make it work,” Clausen says.

Clausen says domestic violence and sexual assault are a problem both on the reservation and at a national level. She says this shelter fills a gap for many victims on Pine Ridge who had to travel long distances for services before.

“You would think that there is a lot of funding out there for domestic violence and that is not the case. Very, very limited funding both private foundation and federal government. And it’s always just a really hard thing. You know, I just wish that everybody would look. They always say what would you do without federal funds if you weren’t funded again. What people need to realize that we have no tax base. So without federal, I mean, there’s just no way. There’s just no way that we can run these organizations without that input from the federal government,” says Clausen.

Clausen says she expects to have the shelter officially open near the end of the month.

Click play below to hear the full interview.