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I Hagan Famalåo’an Guåhan response to sexual violence

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GUÅHAN, Marianas (Press Release) — I Hagan Famalåo’an Guåhán resides on the mission “To enhance, promote, protect, and foster the social, economic, cultural spiritual, and political well-being of CHamoru women, girls, and gender-diverse people within the overall Guåhan community.”

In some ways, we experience disempowerment as a community, but we are not broken. Innately, our cultural values are our guides as we move forward. We know what is right and what is honorable, and, in the face of sexual violence, the truth can no longer be silenced at the expense of our girls and boys, young women and young men, sisters, and mothers. We make our stance clear — we do not condone sexual assault, harassment, rape, stalking, domestic violence and abuse.

We believe there is no excuse for acts of sexual perpetration, because rape is rape. Sexual violence exists in every realm, in every profession, in every culture, in every family, behind closed and open doors. Sexual violence is here, is happening, and is very real. Violence, as we’ve experienced as an indigenous people is institutionalized in ways that allow perpetrators to remain unhinged in the face of justice. As a community, sexual violence has worn through our social fabric continuously through generations — hurting and violating our girls and women in vicious cycles of abuse. We call on our leaders and justice system to do more to protect all survivors of these violent acts.

We must always reflect on our history and work to shape a better future. CHamoru women have survived sexual violence in times of peace and in times of war. They were taken from their homes and made comfort women during World War II. We remember them. The Catholic Church and the Boys Scouts of America remain in legal proceedings — accountable to the survivors of countless priests and other authority figures in those organizations. Statistically, perpetrators are more commonly individuals who are known and trusted. Unfortunately, here on Guåhan, we are no strangers to this violence.

I Hagan Famalåo’an Guåhán is a promise to our girls and women that there is movement to break this cycle of abuse and harm upon them. We are a collection of CHamoru women who will always put our sisterhood first. To our baby girls, our sisters, our mothers: In Li’e’ Hamyo (we see you)! In Hingok Hamyo (we hear you)! In Hengge Hamyo ( we believe you)! To the women who have spoken up against their perpetrators, we stand in awe of your bravery and courage and will follow your lead. Enough is enough!  Basta i sexual assault!

For more information, call Terilynn Francisco at 671-486-8374 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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