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  • Sexual Assault Against Native American Women

    This thread is for the disscussion of the problem of sexual assault against Native American women, and what to do about it.
    I've heard from a variety of sources in the media (although most often, from PBS and NPR) that the rate of sexual assault against Native American women and girls is at epidemic proportions, particularly in the Four Corners area.
    I've also heard that Native American women have a higher rate of being victims of rape than women of any other race in the U.S. (Hispanics being counted as seperate from NAs)
    And that by far, most of the perpertrators are non-native men (over 75%).
    The problem is that tribal police do not have the authority to arrest or charge non-native criminals.
    Apparently, typically what happens when a Native woman is sexually assaulted, she calls the tribal police, and they say that it's a matter for the local police.
    The local police say it's a matter for the state police, the state police say that it's a matter for the federal government, and the federal government says that it's a matter for the local police.
    Crimes committed by someone from one state, against someone from another state are a legal nightmare as it is.
    And when the victim lives on a reservation, that just makes the case even more difficult.
    Of the few cases like this in which the perpatrators are charged with a crime, few go to jail.
    The result is that the vermin are drawn to reservations like flies.
    However, there is legislation in congress right now which if passed, would give tribal police the authority to bring these animals to justice.
    There are a number of NA tribes who've made quite a good deal of money from opening up casinos on their land (like the Tunica-Biloxi of Mississippi).
    I think that they could afford to hire quite a few very good lobbiests in order to get this legislation passed.
    But change will only happen if the word is put out widely and loudly.
    Here are some links about it:

    Bill Bolsters Tribal Power To Prosecute Rape Cases : NPR

    WashingtonWatch.com - S. 3320, The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2008

    WashingtonWatch.com - H.R. 6583, The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2008
    Last edited by Bodica; 03-06-2009, 05:38 AM.
    I'm not responsible for my actions, I just do what the voices tell me to do.

  • #2
    Just wondering............why do you think a woman (Indian woman.......any woman) would want to discuss this in a public forum?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bodica View Post
      This thread is for the disscussion of the problem of sexual assault against Native American women, and what to do about it.
      This is an extremely sensitive matter. I would caution you to tread carefully. For the most part, we do not partake of the Jerry Springer share-all sensibilities of the dominant culture. Many will find this question inappropriate, particularly on the internet. Please, take some time to map out our cultural boundaries.

      I suggest you start your reading with Andrea Smith's Conquest: Sexual Violence and Native American Genocide.

      Originally posted by Bodica View Post
      And that by far, most of the perpertrators are non-native men (over 75%).
      And this a surprise? The dominant culture has fetishized Native women since the first -- uh -- frustrated European sailor peered over the bow of the boat at a Native woman. The oppression of the colonizer has occurred in the sexual realm too.


      Originally posted by Bodica View Post
      The problem is that tribal police do not have the authority to arrest or charge non-native criminals….
      Yes, Native sovereignty in the form of being able to enforce our laws in our communities has been eroded since ex parte Crow Dog. My concern, and I admit I am not terribly familiar with H.R. 6583, is that a lot of well-intentioned legislation has damaged tribal legal jurisdiction and sovereignty. It may seem like a good idea for example to cross deputize state law enforcement personal to have jurisdiction on the rez to allow arrest of non-Native suspects, but that authority can be a two edge sword.

      Further, sexual assault on a reservation is a federal crime. It is not for other groups in the US. It falls outside the usual realm of federal crimes and therefore seems to go beneath the radar.


      Originally posted by Bodica View Post
      There are a number of NA tribes who've made quite a good deal of money from opening up casinos on their land (like the Tunica-Biloxi of Mississippi).
      Not to say the cause isn't valid or that we don't have a responsibility to other Native nations, it gets a little old that any Native group that makes good is expected to "bring up" the rest of the "race."
      Last edited by OLChemist; 03-07-2009, 01:01 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by NancyJo View Post
        Just wondering............why do you think a woman (Indian woman.......any woman) would want to discuss this in a public forum?
        I don't really expect many (if any) victims to talk about their personal experiences openly here, I just mean discussing the issue in general.
        And not just victims discussing it, I mean the need for whole communities to start talking about it.
        I think that problems this huge need to be discussed more, in order to solve them.
        For example, for decades, some priests in the Roman Catholic Church were molesting many children in their parish.
        And since their victims rarely spoke out, it happened more and more. And when their victims did speak out, typically the priest wasn't punished, or even charged with a crime.
        The Church ussually just moved him to another parish, and he started preying on new children ("passing the trash" is what they called it).
        The Catholic Church just baisically said "This an internal matter. Let's keep it quiet. No need to involve outsiders. We'll solve it ourselves."
        And of course, it wasn't solved until a few years ago, when one victim found the courege to speak out.
        Then another victim heard about the first one, and was inspired to speak up as well, and then another, and then another...
        It was only after it became widely talked about in open, that anything serious was done about it.
        Someone has to be the first one to inspire others to speak out.
        I know that this is a very sensitive issue, and I don't want to offend anybody, but that's a gamble that I'll take, if it means that it makes a difference for just one woman.
        Last edited by Bodica; 03-11-2009, 02:36 AM.
        I'm not responsible for my actions, I just do what the voices tell me to do.

        Comment


        • #5
          after hearing from BODICA about some of the information she has passed on here, i had encouraged her to start this thread.

          yes, it is a very sensitive subject. thats why it still is prevalent to this day. no one dares to speak of it. i believe it is a subject worth bringing out into the open if only to inform one young woman enough to take the extra precaution of protecting herself. or of seeking the help she may need. why should the victim be made to feel ashamed?

          perhaps with the open discussion and sharing of information we will get something started that could eventually make a difference in changing the laws, down the road. something has to be done. if we dare not speak of it here, then where?

          i am surprised that so many of you have made a protest of this thread. i for one am glad someone had the courage to broach the subject. BODICA obviously is concerned enough to want to share the information some of us may not other wise have.

          im sure there are many out there who wouldnt bring out their personal stories....but then maybe there are those that need someone to listen. having this thread sure cant be doing any harm. it could be very informative for many. and i cant see any harm in that!
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          "Life is too short to not take the time to laugh” ~AME~
          "Who can afford NOT to laugh at themselves?" ~AME~
          "I laugh the most when i laugh at myself!” ~AME~
          "Laughter is'nt really "the best medicine"...it’s the CURE!” ~AME~
          "Give me a good laugh,... and i will give you my world!” ~AME~

          **laughin**

          Comment


          • #6
            Then by all means, discuss it with your community leaders and community.

            But just stop for a minute and take into consideration who online might be reading this.

            Comment


            • #7
              I am like minded with Nancy Jo and Ol Chemist on this topic... This is not the place for it... and we are not Jerry Springer...

              If you have concerns about this then you need to take it up with your community leaders and your tribal leaders...

              While I can understand your hope that it will protect one woman from this, nothing that has been posted would teach a woman to protect herself. This is a topic that is not for posting on a public forum where anyone can read it. If you want to help women learn to portect themselves from predators than you are goingt o have to reach out to them in a different way. Something more personal...
              Last edited by steelemagnolia63; 03-09-2009, 09:32 AM.
              Thankful for the blessing from the Creator in my life!!!!

              Life should not be measured by the number of things that we aquire on our journey but by the number of lives that we touch along that road.

              I am a bridge on the red path between my ancestors and the future. I am a bridge between my white heritage and my native heritage. A bridge joins two sides together and provides a way to move on..... A.K. O'Pry-Reynolds

              Comment


              • #8
                theres like two problems here huh? one is enforcement and the other is the actual assault.

                the enforcement part is the kicker cause it involves alot of big tribal words like rights, soverenty, treaties and so on. the cool part is the council will listen if funding is tied to these rights.. especially if its alot. good luck with that

                somebody said four corners area so were talkin bout navajo women right? i know they are pretty dominant so im alittle confused.
                thanks dad for showing me the way, teaching me the language, and not leaving my mother...*L*

                *RoUg3 MoD sTaTuS*

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by injunboy View Post
                  somebody said four corners area so were talkin bout navajo women right? i know they are pretty dominant so im alittle confused.
                  . . . i dont mean to laugh, but heck yeah, us dine' women are pretty mean, but there is also a soft side to us . . . some ppl do take advantage of that . . . i know of women who have been raped and yes its a very-very sensitive issuse. some women choose to look away and have that attitude like "nothing happened". and im sure there are many more incidentses that are unreported.

                  on the navajo rez . . you call the police, dispatch will tell you 'all the officers are on-call', so you wait and wait . . . most of the time nobody shows up . . . my personal experiance: a fren of mine was beaten and raped by her boyfriend and his friend . . they left her naked out in the boonies . . she made it to a near by house (but they had no phone or vehicle), . . . . long story short . . . the police never showed up cause they couldnt find the house, the ambulance never showed cause the dirt roads were terriable . . . my fren hasnt done a formal report, cause she's too embarrased. Thats how most women feel . . they feel like ppl will point finger or say they had it coming or some shyt like that . . .

                  Bodica is just asking a question and wants some feedback . . . so i say, ask away . . if you ask a question that offends me, ill let you know.

                  thats what u get 4 breaking my heart...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by steelemagnolia63 View Post
                    I am like minded with Nancy Jo and Ol Chemist on this topic... This is not the place for it... and we are not Jerry Springer...

                    (sure we arent jerry springer, no body suggested that....but like i said...so where do we discuss this subject or to trade information, for the ones who wish to?)

                    If you have concerns about this then you need to take it up with your community leaders and your tribal leaders...

                    (yeah thats been done....and there are victims who are too embarrassed, frustrated,isolated or scared to bring up the subject. where to turn?)

                    While I can understand your hope that it will protect one woman from this, nothing that has been posted would teach a woman to protect herself. (how about the information she posted....the web site? or conversations we hope will be started here?) This is a topic that is not for posting on a public forum where anyone can read it. If you want to help women learn to portect themselves from predators than you are goingt o have to reach out to them in a different way. Something more personal...
                    ( by opening the doors of conversation here, someone just might contact someone here in private. its happened before. speaking out here in the open with ideas is what this thread is for)

                    Originally posted by injunboy View Post
                    theres like two problems here huh? one is enforcement and the other is the actual assault. (you got that right)

                    the enforcement part is the kicker cause it involves alot of big tribal words like rights, soverenty, treaties and so on. the cool part is the council will listen if funding is tied to these rights.. especially if its alot. good luck with that ( aint that the truth!)

                    somebody said four corners area so were talkin bout navajo women right? i know they are pretty dominant so im alittle confused.
                    Originally posted by Mud_Woman View Post
                    . . . i dont mean to laugh, but heck yeah, us dine' women are pretty mean, but there is also a soft side to us . . . some ppl do take advantage of that . . . i know of women who have been raped and yes its a very-very sensitive issuse. some women choose to look away and have that attitude like "nothing happened". and im sure there are many more incidentses that are unreported.

                    on the navajo rez . . you call the police, dispatch will tell you 'all the officers are on-call', so you wait and wait . . . most of the time nobody shows up . . . my personal experiance: a fren of mine was beaten and raped by her boyfriend and his friend . . they left her naked out in the boonies . . she made it to a near by house (but they had no phone or vehicle), . . . . long story short . . . the police never showed up cause they couldnt find the house, the ambulance never showed cause the dirt roads were terriable . . . my fren hasnt done a formal report, cause she's too embarrased. Thats how most women feel . . they feel like ppl will point finger or say they had it coming or some shyt like that . . .

                    Bodica is just asking a question and wants some feedback . . . so i say, ask away . . if you ask a question that offends me, ill let you know.
                    ( thank you MUD_ WOMAN. you said just what i was thinking. i know it goes on. and each of us should do something. this thread is the least we can do. as far as trying to help NDN FEMALES that have been or might be victimized by the "system". again..no one has suggested that we talk about all the details. the way you told her story is what i was talking about. to make others aware of this horrendous tradgedy that is increasing because of the shame & fears.) this thread may not go anywhere, but i did learn a lot from the site BODICA posted here.
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    "Life is too short to not take the time to laugh” ~AME~
                    "Who can afford NOT to laugh at themselves?" ~AME~
                    "I laugh the most when i laugh at myself!” ~AME~
                    "Laughter is'nt really "the best medicine"...it’s the CURE!” ~AME~
                    "Give me a good laugh,... and i will give you my world!” ~AME~

                    **laughin**

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you very much Mud Woman, and Apache Fire.
                      The reason why I posted this thread was to draw attention to how widespread the problem is, how the current legal system contributes to the problem (it's much harder for a NA woman to get her attacker charged, prosecuted and convicted, or even to get access to proper medical treatment), and what specific changes can be made to the legal system to make it much easier for a NA woman to get justice, as well as quick and easy acess to proper medical treatment.
                      Currently, it's very bad not only in places like the Four Corners area (because it's easiest for an attacker to cross state lines there), and Standing Rock Soux Reservaion, but esspecially in Alaska.
                      NA women in Alaska have by far the highest rate of being the victems of sexual attack out of every state in America.
                      I think this is because reservations up there are the most isolated, and difficult to get to even in good weather.
                      A NA woman up there might be over 100 miles away from a hospital, or a police station.
                      Often, the only way to reach them in time, is by plane, and many reservations and towns up there just don't have the money to fly a plane over there.
                      Here's some more links:

                      Native American Women and Violence

                      Amnesty International: Widespread Rape of Indigenous Women in US

                      http://www.amnestyusa.org/askamnesty...y.php?topic=82

                      Indigenous Women's Network

                      The first one is from the National Organization For Women,
                      the second one is to a report by Amnesty International,
                      the third is to an interview by Amnesty International with a prominent NA woman who specializes in this problem,
                      and the fourth is to the Indigenious Women's Network website.
                      Last edited by Bodica; 03-11-2009, 03:14 AM.
                      I'm not responsible for my actions, I just do what the voices tell me to do.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think most of us are aware of these situations and all these kinds of terrible stats. But I don't know if this will help the problem. A physical group that can actively fight for change would be more useful....Of course any non-Native people wanting to help, should join a Native group fighting the issue, and follow the groups lead.

                        OK, I am trying to word this part carefully so please try to understand what I am saying here rather then getting stuck on words if I hurt feelings....

                        ...My mom n law runs lots of circles, and I go help her out. I have noticed somethin that makes me uncomfortable and frustrated. There is usually some non-Native there, and if that non-Native is white they seem to have this need to always want to talk about our worst statistics, usually abuse. And I mean our, not theirs. Black Women, Asian Women, they don't seem to always bring up the sexual abuse, abuse or colonalism of our people. Typically this person has read (or watched on tv) all about the horrible situations. Sometimes I just wish they would read a funny NDN book, or see a funny NDN play or show or comic...anyway. I figure it is liberal white guilt that makes them bring it up. But I wish they would explore their need to discus with us our worst issues. Why not our funniest stories? Or greatest achievements? It's like the problem with the old show "North of 60"; No matter how much humour a Native writer tried to put into the show, the white producers always wanted to make it tragic.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SuzzeQ4 View Post
                          I think most of us are aware of these situations and all these kinds of terrible stats. But I don't know if this will help the problem. A physical group that can actively fight for change would be more useful....Of course any non-Native people wanting to help, should join a Native group fighting the issue, and follow the groups lead.

                          OK, I am trying to word this part carefully so please try to understand what I am saying here rather then getting stuck on words if I hurt feelings....

                          ...My mom n law runs lots of circles, and I go help her out. I have noticed somethin that makes me uncomfortable and frustrated. There is usually some non-Native there, and if that non-Native is white they seem to have this need to always want to talk about our worst statistics, usually abuse. And I mean our, not theirs. Black Women, Asian Women, they don't seem to always bring up the sexual abuse, abuse or colonalism of our people. Typically this person has read (or watched on tv) all about the horrible situations. Sometimes I just wish they would read a funny NDN book, or see a funny NDN play or show or comic...anyway. I figure it is liberal white guilt that makes them bring it up. But I wish they would explore their need to discus with us our worst issues. Why not our funniest stories? Or greatest achievements? It's like the problem with the old show "North of 60"; No matter how much humour a Native writer tried to put into the show, the white producers always wanted to make it tragic.


                          Well, said SuzzeQ!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SuzzeQ4 View Post
                            ...My mom n law runs lots of circles, and I go help her out. I have noticed somethin that makes me uncomfortable and frustrated. There is usually some non-Native there, and if that non-Native is white they seem to have this need to always want to talk about our worst statistics, usually abuse. And I mean our, not theirs.
                            Well said.

                            There is a tendency among outsiders to frame discussions of Native communities/families/individuals in terms of pathologies. Some of this is a result of using a dominant culture yardstick to measure Native lives. Some of our deeply cultural values result behavior patterns which do not lead to wealth and being just like the Joneses, patterns can be viewed as ill-adapted to success in the dominant culture world.

                            This is not to deny that there are not real pathologies within our communities, families and lives. But, we are tired of outsiders pointing them out. We are not ostriches with our heads in the sand; we do see these things.

                            Successful solutions to Indian community problems are going to have to come from with Indian communities. Only we can look inside ourselves and make the changes, both external and internal, that will be necessary to effect lasting improvements.
                            Last edited by OLChemist; 03-11-2009, 11:34 AM. Reason: spelling

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              In terms of talking or not talking about domestic violence and sexual assault, I am biased because I used to work at a domestic violence shelter as a counselor. I found that lots of women...and some men, gay or straight...would call and want someone to talk to, but they would be ashamed, embarrassed, or think they were marking a big deal out of nothing. Talking helps a lot, but its good to do so with someone you trust- like a family member, friend, counselor, religious leader, community leader, etc.

                              Its not just bad news in the Indian community. Right now I'm finishing up my master's thesis, and I've seen many studies that conclude American Indians compared to other US racial and ethnic groups are more likely to consider their families when making decisions. Children and teens are more likely to remain abstinent or become abstinent from drinking and substance use if their families encourage or talk to them. Women are more likely to want to stop drinking or get out of an abusive relationship for their kids' sake. To me, this shows that people in our communities are aware of unhealthy behaviors, and they are trying to protect and support their kids.

                              As for pathologizing Indian health and social issues, I don't think this is exclusively an issue facing our communities. I think overall, there's a trend to pathologize and buy into biomedical "disease model" instead of looking at the community as a whole. This is because its a lot easier to "treat" or help a single individual than work to improve the community where the individual comes from. Also, if the individual then continues to have whatever problem, it becomes his or her fault...because they were already treated or cured.

                              Comment

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