Domestic Violence

Women and girls in Indian country go missing and are involved in homicides at a far greater rate than any other demographic of people in Montana. That’s according to testimony today in the legislative State-Tribal Relations Committee, which is studying the issue. 

Marchers, including Sen. Steve Daines, in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Walk in Lame Deer, Montana May 5, 2017.
Courtesy Sen. Steve Daines

U.S. Justice Department data shows Native women are 10 times as likely to be murdered as other Americans. They’re four times as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted.

“It is a human tragedy and it's also a stain on these United States; on the consciousness of this country that allows this to continue to happen,” says Jacqueline Agtuca with the Lame Deer-based National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

Missoula YWCA

Missoula County authorities on Monday charged a 30-year-old man with making good on a threat to kill his girlfriend. Emmanuel Gomez is accused of deliberate homicide for the death of 26-year-old Charlie Wyrick.

Wyrick went missing a few days before Christmas. Prosecutors allege Gomez regularly abused Wyrick. They say she feared Gomez would kill her, and that he did when she tried to leave him.

As heartbreaking as the accusations are, Cindy Weese says they’re not unique. Weese is the executive director of the YWCA of Missoula. Hear our interview with her below:

Montana Capitol in Helena.
William Marcus

People in Montana who are out of work because of domestic violence will soon be able to get the same unemployment benefits as others who lose their jobs.

Montana Legislature

Kelsen Young, director of the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says Montana law treats someone who hurts their dog more harshly than someone who hurts their spouse.

“If you look at abuse toward animals, first offense misdemeanor, second offense felony. Here in current law you have to be convicted of partner/family member assault three times for it to be a felony.”