In a perfect world women wouldn’t need more acts and bills protecting them from perpetual rape cases. However this is an imperfect world, and the U.S spent much too long ignoring the cries for help of women from all backgrounds. It’s about time, that now the government is finally standing up for violence against women for women of all diversities.
As reported by The New York Times “a growing number of Native American women wear red shawls to powwows to honor survivors of sexual violence. The shawls, a traditional symbol of nurturing, flow toward the earth. Everyone rises, not only in respect… [but] acknowledging the outward spiral of the violations women suffer.”
Native American women are just one of the few minority groups in America that will be affected by the new revised Violence Against Women Act that has been passed in Senate and just recently in the House. The next step is for Obama to approve the act, who MSN news said the president has previously “said he would sign the bill ‘as soon as it hits my desk.’”
The bill created in 1994 has since been revised with adding assaults like date rape to its list of violent acts against women, that should be prosecuted. After several years of debate, the House and Senate just recently passed the new extensions of this bill. The newly passed VAWA will help service previously unrecognized groups of women.
CNN reports that “1 in 3 women worldwide, about one billion, will be beaten or raped in her lifetime”. Narrowing down to just the U.S., CNN also said that “one in three native women will be raped their lifetime…Three in five will be physically assaulted, and native women also are killed at a rate 10 times the national average”.
Prosecution laws get disabled on Indian reservations because The New York Times has found that rape violence done by non-Natives on reservations are inept to justice in tribal courts. The New York Times also found that over 80 percent of sex crimes on reservations are being committed by non-Indian men, as if they target women on the reservations because they know they are immune to prosecution by the tribal courts.
The VAWA unrevised was useless to other minorities, other than just Native Americans. CNN found that undocumented immigrants are at a very high risk for domestic abuse. Revisions of the VAWA will have more programs to help immigrants as well.
Another group that the VAWA will extend a hand out to is the LGBT community. According to the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, “about 45% of LGBT victims were turned away when they sought help from a domestic violence shelter and nearly 55% of those who sought protections orders were denied them.”
MSN news reported that the extension of this law that focused on helping lesbians, gays, transgender, Native Americans, and immigrants is what made the House hesitate on passing this bill. The senate passed the VAWA two weeks ago, and just this week the House was able to compromise its political beliefs for the sake of women’s protection.
The Senate version of the bill will stop letting non-Indians get away with rape on reservation and will allow the right to effective counsel and trial by an impartial jury, according to CNN.
MSN news said this bill will also authorize programs dealing with sexual assault on college campuses and reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
The injustice of rape on Native American reservations is especially treacherous. The lack of prosecution to rapists on reservations has actually attracted non-Indian sexual predators to tribal areas, said the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center.
Some Republicans, like Senator Charles E. Grassley, can be hesitant to allow tribal courts to have much jurisdiction because. Grassley told the New York Times that a jury on an Indian reservation is “going to be made up of Indians right?” So the way Grassley sees it, he said, “the non-Indian doesn’t get a fair trial.”
This would almost be a fair statement except that the New York Times reminds readers that Grassley is ignoring “the fact that most Native defendants tried in the United State face Indian-free juries”, and that “most reservations have substantial non-Indian populations, and Native families are often mixed”.
Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore, a rape victim herself, quoted a 19th century civil rights activist to CNN news. Moore said, in reference to Native American, undocumented immigrants, and LGBT women; “Ain’t they women?”
All my information for this article came from these sites… http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/opinion/native-americans-and-the-violence-against-women-act.html?_r=1
Along with the featured picture that came from the New York Times article that I gave the link to.
*PS-YES, this was an opinion piece I wrote so it is biased. But hopefully still informative to you.