Picture credit: The United Nations End Violence Against Women Campaign
As many of you know, my partner for the past 15 years is Walkingfox, who is a Mohegan from Connecticut.
This morning while posting his weekly Blog on his website, the story left me both sad and disgusted.
It was about the many rapes and lack of punishment of Native American Women on Reservations.
Here are statistics from the National Native American Bar Association of some very disturbing numbers for Crimes committed against Native Women: Violence Against Native Women
So, as this is still Women’s History month, I would like to offer you more about this very serious, ongoing problem that is happening to so many Women, but is out of the mainstream American News and you may not know anything about it at all.
Indeed, these are the kinds of stories that will most likely not ever be shown on your, local news, unless you live on a Reservation.
If these hideous crimes were being committed in other Countries, we would, as a Nation, be filled with rage, up in arms, you only need recall when a woman in India was gang raped on a Bus last year, there was an instant rush, an avalanche of rage here over this brutal rape.
So, where is the rage for Native Women in this Country?
Kathryn Rice, of the Pawnee Nation, who spoke recently at UCA about Sex Crimes Against Native American Women in America, stated that Native Women living on Reservations face these brutal statistics:
“one in three will be raped in their lifetime.”
And, if you are wondering how that number compares with Non Native Women, their number is, 1 in 6.
Another stunning quote from the recent speech by Kathryn Rice:
“Indian women are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from sexual abuse than any minority group. ”
If you are interested, here are some numbers for Global rape statistics: Rape Statistics
You will notice, that Native American Women were not included on this website page, and yes I sent them off a little note asking them why?
So, now for some conclusions.
After reading countless stories, one particular fact was often repeated, the victims were usually raped by off Reservation people, making the chance of any conviction all but impossible, as only the US Government can prosecute the criminal.
This well-known fact may be the primary reason so many non natives commit this crime, they know full well, that they will never be put in jail or brought to justice.
For entirely too long in this Country, Native Women had been considered easy targets of countless, brutal, violent crimes, primarily because of the way our History has presented and demeaned them.
The ugly past of this Country, has kept Native Women fighting to retain their dignity, while a living in a world frequently controlled by Non Natives who do not respect them and take their anger out on them with little fear of reprisal, because they can.
Another often repeated term was, ” An epidemic of sexual violence.”
Well, if this was a viral epidemic, immediate and definite steps would be taken by all affected parties, right?
So then, what is the answer for the ugly crime of ” Sexual Violence “ against Native Women?
How can Native Women protect themselves and stop this cycle of brutality, this madness?
In my opinion, changing the current laws must be the first step to stopping this and it is beginning already with the recent new words written into the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
But the law may need to be tweaked again, with even stronger language this time, further applying to all Reservations and their Tribal Rights and Responsibilities, when it comes to contending with violence against their women and what they can legally do about it.
But it must continue right on to the Reservations as well. Women must collectively have open discussions about what they are going to do for themselves to change this.
All over the world, Indigenous Women are now learning how to demonstrate that they are quite capable of forming all kinds of groups to address problems for a myriad of other cultural Issues, the time has come and even passed, for rape to be one of them.
When women join together, when they act and speak with one voice, they can conquer any obstacle, I know how strong they/we are.
Now it is time for women to let the rest of the World know too.
Here are some places to learn more:
Native American Women and Violence
Speaker Sheds Light On Sex Crimes
Sexual Violence Scars Native American women
For Native American Women, Scourge of Rape, Rare Justice
Rape on Native American Reservations
Rape Cases On Indian Lands Go Uninvestigated
Native American Women and Rape – An Escalating Crisis on Tribal Lands