Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rape on the Reservation

(Watch the video to get a better understanding of what is really going on for Native women, and the attitudes of the men, living on reservations located in the United States of America.)

Many of us who live in cities or metropolitan areas probably don’t give much thought to Indian reservations, or Native Americans, except to think in terms of western movies, casinos, and turquoise jewelry or kuchina dolls. What we have failed to do is to take notice of how far this population has come in terms of being “westernized.”

Once a proud and free people, many of the youth have lost the culture and the old ways taught to each upcoming generation. The old ways of the ancients have been lost, giving way to a totally new mindset and culture, and instead of having the ability to live freely and govern themselves, Natives are hampered by boundaries and laws set by our government.  

Many reservations are like a free for all for crime, in which reporting and prosecution has been handled, not by the tribe itself, but by the federal government, the FBI, and is historically given very low priority, therefore seeing justice running rampantly out of control. Violent crime towards women, in particular, rape, sexual assault and domestic violence has been virtually ignored and seldom prosecuted, especially when perpetrated by someone from outside the reservation.

After filming the documentary, Vanguard ( questioned the statistics and what they found was quite different than what was earlier reported, citing an error in the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the blog post linked corrects those statistics as well as states:
So with the 86 percent stat debunked, we had to ask ourselves, “Is this a dead story? Should we move on?" But this is what I value the most about working with Vanguard—instead of dismissing the story, we said to ourselves, “OK, well this doesn’t change the fact that Indian women are being raped at a rate 2.5 times the national average. So let’s forget about trying to tell the story of 'who' and focus on how we can tell the story of why.” 

On July 29, 2010 The Tribal Law and Order Act was enacted which will allow tribal jurisdiction over non-Natives and offenders for the crimes of sexual violence.  It also allows tribal police access to the government’s database, NCIC, as well as funding and programs to help those who are affected by sexual and domestic violence.

This is only a beginning, a small step, but one long awaited, and probably taken for granted by those of us who don’t think too much about victims outside of our own small piece of the world.  Yes, abuse is everywhere, and yes, many victims fall short in finding justice, and it's going to take everyone who comes in contact with either the victims or the perpetrators to enforce this law, use the resources wisely, and make sure that another treaty isn't broken.
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  1. "More than 86 percent of the offenders are non-Indians, and more than 70 percent are white."

    These stats are actually very false and based on really bad research...but people continue to throw it around because it fans the flames of racism. As one of the co-producers of Rape on the Reservation we made a conscious choice not to make mention of this statistic because it doesn't highlight the true nature of the circumstances faced by native woman - do what we did - call around...see how many advocates and woman you can find that have been raped by a white man.

    Yes, that native women live under such dire circumstances on reservations is tragic and things need to change - but to make these changes we need to know the true nature of these crimes - if we allow bad research and bad stats to inform our policy we'll just continue to chase our tails.

  2. It seems as though the statistics are erroneous considering the significance of this issue. There is no such thing as a "true statistic," just "confident statistics." Go back to your stats teacher and tell them they failed. Discrediting the author on these statistics is demeaning and a detriment to the movement dedicated to stopping sexual violence.

  3. Hi James,

    Are you saying bad statistics shouldn't be questioned for the sake of the topic? That doesn't make any sense.

    Besides...the above statistic is neither true nor "confident". It is worse than bad. It is just plain wrong - very egregiously wrong.

    "In Long’s new study both federal and state crime data for South Dakota was included. The results indicated that Indian men were the perpetrators in 83 percent of sexual assault crimes against Indian women. At first, this statistic may also seem shocking, but it’s actually very similar to what you will find for all other racial groups in America."

    The author of this blog should take note. Ms. Magazine corrected this error.

  4. As the author of this blog, I truly appreciate the comments and corrections. I tried to wrap my own head around the documentary, shocking to say the least. If I've quoted wrong statistics, I stand corrected and will remove them.

    I'll edit and include the link to the Vanguard blog, which should go along with the video.

    I appreciate you all taking the time to correct me. I hope you will also take the time to read articles by our other great victim's rights authors here!


  5. While I understand that sexual assault is truly a huge issue in Indian Country - I want to make clear the fact that I LOVE my life on the reservation. I live on a reservation in South Dakota and my life is full of family, friends, education, and ceremony. Every day is sacred - and I can look out my front door and see our community's sweatlodge or horses and deer grazing on prairie. This is where I CHOOSE to raise my children in sipte of the many social pathologies with which my people are labeled. I would not want to raise them anywhere else. Here they have their people, their language, and their homeland. It is a beautiful way of living and I hope that people can see that side of it, too!


    Those stats aren't wrong or based on bad research. It comes directly from NDN women. The DOJ stats don't distinguish what land the rapes occured on, so to claim the stats are wrong based on Rez land is ridiculous.

  7. Thank you, again, for bringing more information to this article. We may never know the "correct" numbers, but does it really matter so much as long as these atrocities are occurring, either on the reservations, or within the general public.

    Linda, I very much respect your decision and thank you for bringing readers another side of the story. You show them the sense of community and heritage which should be held in the highest esteem. I applaud you and love the fact that you and others are doing everything possible to preserve your heritage and way of life.

    I received a lengthy email from someone who lived in Rosebud, but had to leave due to the very instances portrayed in this documentary. It was difficult to read, and my heart goes out to her as she struggled for years to identify with other victims. All she could find at the time to compare her situation to was Holocaust survivors. She has grown, but is now facing the same thing happening over again to younger members of her family.

    Rape is a horrible crime to a woman, no matter where it takes place, and the best that I can do is make others aware of it, whether the statistics are correct or not is of no consequence to any woman who is a victim of rape.

  8. I will love to share my testimony with all my viewers because i never thought i would have another chance with my boyfriend, the man i wanted to marry left me for another woman, and when i called him, he never picked my calls,he deleted me on his Facebook account and then set the status to having a girlfriend with the other chick. I was devastated. I went to three spell casters before doctor and i had really lost hope. i lost a lot of money with them and got no results. so when i came to hector i was really leery of him and didn’t think he could help me. i though it is too good to be true, because all the other spell casters were supposedly good and none of them helped me. i saw the testimonials and read the other testimonials and decided to get the consultation. he said he could help me, but my chances of getting my ex were very low and he didn’t recommend it at all. But i insisted that he at least give me the chance to work with him and try and if it didn’t work, i wouldn’t be upset and i would move on with my life. He agreed. Since he is in jersey and im in nyc, i decided i would go in person to have my spells cast. he is a really sweet and gentle man, when i met him i was really surprised. he looks very young, and i had my doubts whether or not he would be able to help me. But i figured i came all that way and i said i would try so i tried it. He called a spirit to talk with me and do the work, it was a woman spirit and when it came it totally transformed hector’s face. that is when i thought to myself that it might just work. the spirit gave me some advice and did the spells. i had a separation spell and a reunion spell done. the spirit said it would take a while for my ex to leave his new girl but once he did, he would come to me very quickly. She gave me some things to take home and do. I did them, but i was really nervous. i think i messed up a few times and i told t and she said just keep going and i would be fine. so i did. it was like 6 or 7 weeks later and i saw that my ex unblocked me from Facebook. I saw he had changed his status again to single. so i was super excited because i took this to mean that he had split up with the other girl. about 10 days after that my ex called me. At first, it was weird between us. he wanted to see me. so i went to meet up with him. he didn’t ask me back then. i got very anxious and told t, and she said to stay calm and everything would turn out okay. So i did the best i could although i was still worried. We met up a few more times after that, and still he didn’t ask me back out. so i got a consultation with hector and he said to expect my ex to ask me back out within two weeks from the consultation. i listened, but i wasn’t sure it would happen. then it was almost 2 weeks later, and i though, damn, hector was wrong. But the next day (there was like 2 days left from it being 2 weeks) my ex called and we got together. He asked me if i would be willing to try our relationship again, which of course i said yes. that was about 3 weeks ago, and so far we have been doing okay, we still have a lot of things to work out, but i am very happy. hector is the real deal and i am so glad that i found him and i recommend him to anyone who needs help. thank you so much doctor you saved my life!
    Reply ?you can as we contact her email


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