Mary Annette Pember: Native women work with youth offenders on Rosebud Sioux Reservation

A walk organized by the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society in South Dakota. Photo: WBCWS

Independent journalist Mary Annette Pember reports on efforts by the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society to work with youth sex offenders on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota;
“Beyond losing your child, hearing that they have been acting out sexually against other children is the worst news you can get,” says Janet Routzen, executive director of the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society (WBCWS) on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

In addition to providing services and shelter to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society provides sexual assault advocacy services, conducts education and outreach among community and youth groups and helps coordinate counseling. In 2014, it conducted a community-needs assessment with the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) that found “the overall rate of sexual assault was extremely high on the Reservation and that youth sexual behavior problems, including child-on-child sexual assault were a serious issue that needs to be addressed.”

According to the DOJ, Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than women from other ethnicities. There is a dearth of data regarding rates of sexual violence against Native children but according to the DOJ, Native youth experience child abuse at 15.9 per one thousand compared to 10.7 percent for white youth.

“This is that thing under the rock that nobody wants to talk about,” says Routzen who worked as Rosebud tribal prosecutor before joining WBCWS

Read More on the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Native Youth Sex Offenders and Victims Not Hopelessly Broken (Indian Country Media Network 3/24)

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