Report: Rape cases on Indian reservations go uninvestigated
Amnesty International study on the issue entitled: “Maze of Injustice The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA”. Link.
Some of the statistics in the report are simply chilling. Including the fact that a vast majority of sexual assault and rape cases against Native women are committed by strangers and outsiders (which is at odds with the typical rape statistics), and that 1 in 3 Native Americans will be raped in their lifetimes
I’d like to point out this current case involving an indigenous woman in Canada: Link. It’s been over just 12 months now, and still nothing done, nothing found. A man has started a Facebook group about her murder here: Link. and on Facebook: Link. I’d like to see some closure brought for her and her family. It is sickening to hear of the double standard that police have in the U.S. and Canada, and even Australia in regards to native peoples assaults, rapes and murders. They are not second hand citizens. They are not “throw-aways”. They deserve just as much justice as anyone. Here also is a link of a Doctor’s group lifting the reward money to catch her rapists/killers: Link.
Here are some excerpts from the Amnesty Report:
This report is based on research carried out during 2005 and 2006 by Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) in consultation with Native American and Alaska Native organizations and individuals. The research draws on Amnesty International’s interviews with survivors of sexual violence and their families, activists, support workers, service providers and health workers. A number of women spoke to Amnesty International on condition that their anonymity was guaranteed. Some have asked that certain details not be made public. In order to respect their wishes, details of names and locations on file with Amnesty International have been withheld.
Amnesty International also interviewed officials across the USA, including tribal, state and federal law enforcement officials and prosecutors, as well as tribal judges. Amnesty International met representatives from the federal agencies which share responsibility with tribal authorities for addressing or responding to crimes in Indian Country (defined as reservations, trust land, and communities) 1. Amnesty International sent questionnaires to the 93 individual US Attorneys, who prosecute crimes within Indian Country at federal level, seeking information on prosecution rates for crimes of sexual violence committed against Indigenous women. Amnesty International was informed by the Executive Office of US Attorneys that individual US attorneys would not be permitted to participate in the survey.
Amnesty International conducted a review of existing government and non-governmental reports, including studies conducted by the US Department of Justice, law review articles and media reports of sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women. It also reviewed federal and state case law and legislation.
Amnesty International conducted detailed research in three locations with different policing and judicial arrangements (see Chapter 4: Issues of jurisdiction): the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North and South Dakota, the State of Oklahoma and the State of Alaska. Each location was selected for its specific jurisdictional characteristics. The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation illustrates the challenges involved in policing a vast, rural reservation where tribal and federal authorities have jurisdiction. Oklahoma presents a very different situation, composed for the most part of parcels of tribal lands intersected by state land where tribal, state or federal authorities may have jurisdiction. In Alaska, federal authorities have transferred their jurisdiction to state authorities so that only tribal and state authorities have jurisdiction.
Amnesty International has focused its research on response to crimes of sexual violence on tribal lands and in neighbouring areas. The experiences of Indigenous women living far from tribal lands or in urban settings, therefore, are not reflected extensively in this report. According to the 2000 US Census, 56 per cent of Native American and Alaska Native people live outside Indian Country.2 Just under 10 per cent of Native Americans live in large urban centres.3 The available information points to high rates of sexual violence and a lack of culturally appropriate services in towns and cities. This is of sufficient concern to merit urgent further research.
Chapter 1: Introduction
“In July 2006 an Alaska Native woman in Fairbanks reported to the police that she had been raped by a non-Native man. She gave a description of the alleged perpetrator and city police officers told her that they were going to look for him. She waited for the police to return and when they failed to do so, she went to the emergency room for treatment. A support worker told Amnesty International that the woman had bruises all over her body and was so traumatized that she was talking very quickly. She said that, although the woman was not drunk, the Sexual Assault Response Team nevertheless “treated her like a drunk Native woman first and a rape victim second”. The support worker described how the woman was given some painkillers and some money to go to a non-Native shelter, which turned her away because they also assumed that she was drunk: “This is why Native women don’t report. It’s creating a breeding ground for sexual predators.”
Interview with Alaska Native support worker (identity withheld), July 2006 Violence against women is one of the most pervasive human rights abuses. It is also one of the most hidden. It takes place in intimate relationships, within the family and at the hands of strangers and it affects women in every country in the world.
“Violence against Indian women occurs as a gauntlet in the lives of Indian women: at one end verbal abuse and at the other murder. Most Indian women do not report such crimes because of the belief that nothing will be done.”
Juana Majel, National Congress of American Indians, and Karen Artichoker, Cangleska, Inc.-Sacred Circle6
Most women who are beaten or raped don’t report to the police. They just shower and go to the clinic [for treatment].”
Native American survivor of sexual violence (identity withheld), February 2006
“Indigenous women or women from racially or ethnically marginalized groups may fear State authority, if the police have traditionally used coercive and violent means of criminal enforcement in their communities.”
Radhika Coomaraswamy, then UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, July 200112
“Della Brown, a 33-year-old Alaska Native woman, was raped, mutilated and murdered. Her body was discovered in an abandoned shed in Anchorage in September 2000. Her skull was so pulverized the coroner compared her head to a “bag of ice”. Police believe a number of people walked through the shed, lighting matches in order to view her battered remains, but did not report the murder to the Anchorage police. To date, no one has been brought to justice for the rape and murder of Della Brown.19″
I meant to post about the atrocities suffered by the Native/Aboriginal women months ago. This post languished in my drafts for months. I feel that it is never too late to speak up for those who are brutalized just because they are “invisible” in the eyes, minds and hearts of so many people.
It’s never too late.
COLONIALISM AND GENDER VIOLENCE IN THE LIVES OF NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN WOMEN:
RISK FACTORS FOR PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND RAPE AMONG SIX NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES:
FOR INDIAN VICTIMS OF SEXAUL ASSAULT, A TANGELED LEGAL PATH: