Friday, May 17, 2013

"Hunting" On The Reservation

"Sexual violence scars Native American women"
- Kavitha Chekuru, Aljazeera English

"New law aims to protect indigenous women on US reservations from sky-high rates of sexual assault and offender impunity."

This is a really important read that examines the massive level of sexual violence Native women are subjected to in America. It reveals the long and painful shadow that genocide, colonization, brutal wars and forced displacement cast on contemporary Native American life, and the lack of laws to protect the most vulnerable. Chekuru writes:
Indigenous women in the US experience some of the highest rates of sexual assault in the country. According to the US Department of Justice, nearly half of all Native American women have been raped, beaten, or stalked by an intimate partner; one in three will be raped in their lifetime; and on some reservations, women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than the national average.

According to the Department of Justice, 86 percent of rapes and sexual assaults against Native American women are committed by non-Native American men.
The US House of Representatives' recent re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with new protections for Native American women "will address part of the crisis" but still falls short:
The reauthorised act seeks to address part of the crisis by extending tribal jurisdiction over non-Native Americans who commit crimes of domestic violence or sexual assault against a Native American spouse or partner. Tribal governments in the US currently do not have jurisdiction over non-Native Americans who commit crimes on their land. 

[But] for instance, the act would not apply to someone in the situation Brunner's teenage daughter found herself in last year. She was raped last summer by four strangers from outside the reservation. 

"I call it hunting - non-natives come here hunting. They know they can come onto our lands and rape us with impunity because they know that we can't touch them," Brunner says. "The US government has created that atmosphere."

Euro-American injustice against indigenous nations (across the world) is still awaiting redress.

To quote Anthony Burgess, a colonist himself, “Colonialism. The enforced spread of the rule of reason. But who is going to spread it among the colonizers?”
 

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