Do white men really travel to Indian reservations with the intent of raping Native American women?
“(N)on-Native perpetrators often seek out a reservation place because they know they can inflict violence without much happening to them.”
From the Amnesty International report:Maze of injustice: The failure to protect indigenous women from violence page 34
Doesn't this diary title overstate the problem?
Data gathered by the United States Department of Justice shows Native American women are more than 2.5x likely to be sexually assaulted/raped than other women in the United States. 86% of Native American survivors report that the perpetrator was white.Source pp. 3-4
Is there something I can do today - right now that will make a difference?
Yes. Keep reading.
Are these perpetraters aware of and deliberately manipulating the confusing mess of jurisdictional issues to get away with the crime?
Support workers told Amnesty International about the rapes of two Native American women in 2005 in Oklahoma. In both cases the women were raped by three non-Native men. Other similarities between the crimes were reported: the alleged perpetrators, who wore condoms, blindfolded the victims and made them take a bath. Because the women were blindfolded, support workers were concerned that the women would be unable to say whether the rapes took place on federal, state or tribal land. There was concern that, because of the jurisdictional complexities in Oklahoma, uncertainty about exactly where these crimes took place might affect the ability of these women to obtain justice.
You must be exaggerating these jurisdictional issues. The police take care of things, right?
When an emergency call comes in, the sheriff will say ‘but this is Indian land.’ Tribal police will show up and say the reverse. Then, they just bicker and don’t do the job. Many times, this is what occurs. And it doesn’t always get resolved, which means no rape (sexual assault evidence) kit, etc.
Okay, they don't go after the perpetrator if they can't identify the perpetrator. But if they know who it is, the police go get him, right?
Rhea, a Native American woman from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation (North and South Dakota) told Amnesty International about the experience of her friend, a 21-year-old Native American woman, who was raped and severely beaten by four men in February 2003... According to Rhea, a Standing Rock Police Department (SRPD) officer came to the hospital and questioned her friend while she could still talk. She died two weeks after the rape. Rhea says she spoke to the police officer a year later; he told her the rape case was closed. “The perpetrators are still walking around,” she told Amnesty International...
This is a national disgrace! Isn't anyone doing anything to stop this from happening? Is there any hope for change?
Amnesty International has obviously been on the case. Additionally, in the United States Senate, Byron Dorgan has introduced The Tribal Law And Order Act to address these issues. Believe me, I will be writing diaries on this issue and keep you updated.
Has anything anyone has done actually made a difference?
Last year the netroots (primarily Daily Kos and Street Prophets) raised $87,000 for a Lakota Sioux women's shelter, Pretty Bird Woman House. We bought them a new house when arson destroyed their old house. You can read the whole story at The Pretty Bird Woman House Blog.
Is there anything I can do right now, today?
Pretty Bird Woman House is not the only shelter that has been in jeopardy. We are currently raising money for My Sister Friends' House - Mita Maske Ti Ki, another Lakota/Dakota women's shelter in South Dakota. They have lost their grant funding and face closure by September if they don't get enough funding to continue to operate as a shelter. They need $11,000 by August 31st to operate through September.
The end goal is $35,000 by September 30th - three months of operating expenses as they apply for grant funding and get established out on their own.
They have applied for several grants which are extremely competitive. There is no certainty that My Sister Friends' House will get any funding at all from them at this time, but if we bloggers, readers and commenters, can fund them through the next three months, that buys them the time to get more permanent funding.
Please, if you can afford to do so:
DONATE - button is in upper right hand corner of webpage.
Checks can go to:
Mita Maske Ti Ki
(My Sister Friends' House)
PO Box 2141
Sioux Falls, SD 57101