Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:43 AM
niyad (30,481 posts)
let's apply VAWA to native american women (cantor says no)
Op-Ed: Let’s Apply the Violence Against Women Act to Native American Women
A law exists to protect Native women from violence on Indian reservations. If only Congress would reauthorize it.
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Violence against women has been called one of the most pervasive human rights crises plaguing the United States. Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has provided critical support to protect American women from domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Unfortunately, not all women in this country are protected equally under VAWA. The fact of the matter is that, because of systemic barriers in current federal law that affect jurisdiction in Indian country, many Native American women are simply not being protected from violence at all.
While VAWA has helped decrease overall rates of domestic violence by 50 percent over the past 18 years, Native women in the United States are still being subjected to domestic violence and assault at staggering rates, rates 2.5 times higher than any other group of women in the United States. One in three Native women will be raped, and three out of
five will be physically assaulted. Even worse, on some Indian reservations, Native women are being murdered at a rate 10 times the national average.
The root cause of the epidemic rates of violence against Native women is the lack of tribal government authority to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence. Non-Indians commit some 88 percent of these offenses. And this violence is occurring at a time when 76 percent or more of the residents on Indian reservations are now non-Indian, and more than 50 percent of Native women are married to non-Indians.
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For more than a century, the United States has summarily limited tribes’ ability to protect Native women from violence and to provide them with meaningful remedies. It has done so by creating a discriminatory system for administering justice in Native communities—a system highlighting this country’s failure under its federal trust responsibility to tribes and its defaulting on obligations under international human rights instruments such as the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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