The recent discussion of sexual violence in American society has sparked a fiery debate over how to create change for women everywhere. A topic which was once a whisper in the back of the room has become a national discussion of women's rights. But what about the rampant sexual violence towards Native American women? There is no #MeToo conversation inclusive of the atrocities which Native American women are facing.
Society has been so focused on a relatable narrative when creating #MeToo, that America has completely sidelined and consequently exacerbated the issues of the Native American community. Just because the poverty which Natives face is not relatable in the way the middle and upper-middle class stories of #MeToo are, does not mean that the stories of the more powerful are the only ones worth listening to.
According to Amnesty International, Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual violence, yet there seems to be no hashtag or mass movement inclusive of them. These high rates of sexual violence, mixed with low rates of prosecution, have created a vicious and shocking cycle of violence on reservations. The severe sexual violence being experienced by Native American women is a widespread and pressing issue that is lacking proper attention and legislative action and it's truly appalling.
In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, 94% of the nearly 300 Native American women surveyed reported being raped in their lives. This figure is absolutely terrifying. To put this into a more local context, the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona has had "more rapes [between 2008-2014] reported than in San Diego, Detroit or Denver," according to FBI's reports. This issue has plagued Natives for generations but remains overlooked and undiscussed by the majority of Americans. The #MeToo discussion revolves the idea of a relatable platform, but just because poverty isn't relatable does not entail that those in poverty should not receive justice. It's baffling how an issue can be this salient to one group of people yet go completely unnoticed by another.
To break the issue down, tribal courts have several large obstacles preventing them from acting as an effective means of justice. The main difficulty is the inability to prosecute non-Natives. Even though in "86% of the reported cases of rape against American Indian women, survivors report non-Native perpetrators,” justice cannot be served because tribes don't have the jurisdiction to prosecute. One can only imagine the frustration of a minority group which cannot receive justice in the face of a more socioeconomically powerful perpetrator.
Most recently, the Violence Against Women's Act of 1994 created an amendment in 2013 to give tribal courts the right to prosecute non-Natives who committ domestic and dating violence. This amendment fails to take into consideration however, that most rape cases against Native women are not domestic or dating violence. It seems inconceivable how such injustice is occurring but the media and movements like #MeToo simply aren't aware of it. In order to affect change for women everywhere, everyone's issues must be accounted for, even if issue of those in poverty aren't "relatable."
In the search for justice, tribes often send cases they do have jurisdiction over to U.S. Justice Department. In his New York Times Article, Timothy Williams cites that the Justice Department however did not pursue 65% of rape charges on reservations and 61% of cases involving the sexual abuse of Native children in 2012. So, while Native American women are two and a half times more likely to be raped, only one-third of them have a chance at receiving the justice they deserve. It almost feels as though it comes from a place of elitism that there are very few cases in which Natives can receive justice because they don't have jurisdiction over a seemingly untouchable group of richer people.
Sexual violence and the lack of prosecution to address it in the Native American community is a crisis which will never improve if continued to be left alone. Nothing will change until tribal courts have the power to fully enact law and order in their communities. It's been shown that the U.S. Justice Department ignores the issue and the U.S. public is unaware that this is even happening. With the current efforts which are being made to empower and protect women, American society has gotten lost in framing the issue to be relatable to the point where they have forgotten an entire group of people.
Until the public has been made aware of the severity of this issue, no legislation will be passed to help these women and the elitist injustice will continue. #MeToo is meant to give a voice to victims of sexual violence, but this mission will never be successful until the plight of Native American women has been heard.
- White Feminism Is Rampant In Hollywood And It Is Toxic ›
- Why Intersectional Feminism Is So Important ›
- Why the 'Native American Seductress' Costume Needs to DIE ›
- The American Paradox: Colonial-Settler Capitalism Vs Native ... ›
- America, We Need To Stop Leaving Native Americans Out Of Our ... ›
- Christopher Columbus: Villain ›
- The Fight To Vote: How The Women's Rights Movement Left Out ... ›
- American Indian Issues Are Marginalized ›
- 5 Native American Women that You Might Not Know, But Should ›
- Which Native American Birth Totem Are You? ›
- 13 Things You Realize As A Native American in College ›
- The Hunting Ground: Bringing Awareness To The Sexual Violence ... ›
- The Politicized Representation of Sexual Violence in Media Today ›
- Sexual Assault Is Not A Topic To Throw Behind Your Shoulder ›
- Famous NFL Players Still Playing Who Have Been Accused Of ... ›
- How You Can Help Women Living With War And Sexual Violence ›
- sexual assault ›
- #MeToo, Seriously ›
- You Don't Have To Share Your #MeToo Story ›
- The Truth About the #MeToo Movement ›
- Here's To Hoping The #MeToo Campaign Does More Than Create ... ›
- The #MeToo Movement Is One More Invalid Accusation Away From ... ›
- 4 Issues I Have With #MeToo ›
- Why The #MeToo Movement Is A Big Deal ›
- #MeToo Should Not Only Be About Women ›
- Why Is "Me Too" All Over My Facebook? ›
- #YouToo? ›
- #MeToo Movement from a Guy's Point of View ›
- #MeToo Is An Empowering Movement That Has Turned Into An ... ›
- The #MeToo Movement Is Important, But Overlooks The Root Of The ... ›
- White Feminism Isn't the Problem (but You Might Be if You Think So ... ›
- White feminism isn't feminism. And it's not forgivable - The Boston ... ›
- What Is White Feminism? Here Are 7 Sneaky Ways It Shows Up Into ... ›
- WHITE FEMINISM - SHOWING UP FOR RACIAL JUSTICE ›
- What Is Toxic White Feminism? - When Feminism Is White Supremacy ›
- What does intersectional feminism actually mean? | IWDA ›
- 'Intersectional feminism'. What the hell is it? (And why you should care) ›
- For Native Americans Facing Sexual Assault, Justice Feels Out Of ... ›
- Native American Rape Survivors Tell How Deck Is Stacked Against ... ›
- Sexual Assault: A Horrifying Reality for Native American Girls ›
- Pocahontas Is a Rape Victim, Not a Sex Symbol | Bitch Media ›
- Not an Indian Tradition: The Sexual Colonization of Native Peoples ›
- 94 per cent of Native American women say they have been raped or ... ›
- Maze of Injustice – Amnesty International USA ›
- Native Americans Struggle With High Rate of Rape - The New York ... ›
- Murdered and missing Native American women challenge police ... ›
- Native American women still have the highest rates of rape and ... ›
- #NotInvisible: Why are Native American women vanishing? ›
- Why do so many Native American women go missing? Congress ... ›
- Ending Violence Against Native Women | Indian Law Resource Center ›
- Native American Women Are Facing a Crisis - The New York Times ›
- What is Sexual Violence? ›
- Preventing Sexual Violence |Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC ›
- The #MeToo Movement: News and Reporting on Sexual ... ›
- #metoo : NPR ›
- News about #metoo on Twitter ›
- The #MeToo Moment - The New York Times ›
- Me Too movement - Wikipedia ›
- Me Too Movement ›
- The Problem with #MeToo - YouTube ›
- MeToo backlash: Will 2019 be the Year of Men? — Quartz ›
- Where #MeToo goes off the rails - Chicago Tribune ›
- The problem with #MeToo? The backlash - The Globe and Mail ›
- #MeToo: why women are worried about the movement - Vox ›