Immigrant Women, Native American Women and Rape

Last time I wrote, I talked about the hypocrisy of being pissed about the Redskins name (and boy did I get ripped apart on Facebook). That was largely prompted by the research I was doing for an article I helped write for DREAM — while we’re arguing about a professional football team, Native American women are suffering from the highest rates of sexual assault in the nation. Did you know when it is hunting season, there are higher rates of rape and prostitution, because no one has jurisdiction to prosecute the perps? Here’s an excerpt from the article:

As the NFL scandals keep breaking and a greater degree of attention is placed on violence against women, it is my hope that groups which do not get much attention in this conversation are brought more to the forefront: Native American and immigrant women, two groups who not only face the usual obstacles of shame and other social pressures to reporting sexual assault, but also institutional ones that have been placed on them by our government. Although there are ways to address this, the same political cowardice that leads Congress to take a break when they should be voting on whether or not we go to war has been controlling the debate on sexual assault and women’s rights.

When the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) went up to be renewed, politicians like Marco Rubio (R-FL) filibustered it, claiming he had problems with issues of sovereignty with Native American tribes, as well as immigration visas for women. When Marco Rubio was filibustering, he claimed one of his main concerns was relinquishing jurisdiction for crimes committed by non-Indians to Indian tribal courts. In reality, he was needlessly extending the suffering of Native women — women who are primarily victimized by non-Indians. Native American women are victims of sexual assault at rates of over four times the national average and 80 percent of the perpetrators aren’t Native American. In fact, 75 percent of those living on reservations in the United States are non-Indian — a fact that Rubio and his cohorts must not have researched when they cited concerns over non-Indians being subjected to all-Native juries.

Check out the full article here.

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