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America's Wire: Native women left vulnerable to violent crime

"A gap in law enforcement on Native American lands creates an environment in which Native women suffer a higher rate of violence than any demographic in the United States, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Census Bureau and advocacy organizations. The Justice Department has found that Native women are victims of violent crime at 3-1/2 times the national average, with advocates saying the actual figure is much higher because many victims mistrust authorities and don’t report such crime.The department says 70 percent of sexual assaults are never reported.

Jurisdictional conflicts make it difficult to arrest and prosecute non-Natives for crimes committed against Natives.Complications with investigations and court proceedings involving sexual assault and domestic violence cases further decrease likelihood of prosecutions.

“It’s almost like non-Native people have a license to brutalize Native women,” says Tina Olson,co-director of Mending the Sacred Hoop in Duluth, Minn.According to its website, the group works “to end violence against Native women and children while restoring the safety, sovereignty, and sacredness of Native women.”

The Census Bureau has determined that 39 percent of Native women are victims of domestic violence at least once. Moreover, it says, victims often use the term “domestic violence” to describe more vicious attacks."

Get the Story:
Law Enforcement Gaps Leave Native Women Vulnerable to Rape and Domestic Violence (America’s Wire 9/21)

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