Gyasi Ross: Violence Against Women Act a significant first step

Gyasi Ross on the importance of tribal provisions in S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013:
Contrary to some belief, the Violence Against Women Act will not instantly and magically end all violence against Native women. In fact, the implementation of this complex piece of legislation will take at least a year, and in many cases (most?), it will take quite a bit longer. For our Alaska Native sisters, they still have no protections under the current Violence Against Women Act—that’s a travesty. No, the Native provisions of the Violence Against Women Act are not a magic bullet. No, we have to work to improve our communities a little bit at a time—work on stopping non-Native violence against Native women as well as Native violence against Native women.

There’s still work to do.

Additionally, there will inevitably be constitutional challenges. Unfortunately, sex offenders and woman beaters—already not known for their character— will undoubtedly do anything and everything to get out of facing the music. Instead of facing the punishment that they probably should face, the Violence Against Women Act assures that they’ll get due process on top of due process on top of due process, white-man-style. Rest assured, if a Native person is in federal court they don’t get nearly the level of protection that non-Natives will get in tribal courts, but hey, that’s the cost of doing business.

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: VAWA, a Historic Native Victory (Indian Country Today 4/8)

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