TRIGGER WARNING: DOMESTIC ABUSE AND VIOLENCE
As an Indigenous woman it's something I know is always a possibility, every time the face of another missing woman or girl pops up on my social media, I hope it's not someone I know or someone close to anyone I care about. My heart breaks with each post I share hoping that the photo will later be plastered with "FOUND".
Violence against our women is an epidemic. It's one that has affected us since our people came into contact with the first settlers. This doesn't mean nothing bad happened to women before contact but it surely did not happen at same rate.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) multiple studies have catalogued the violence against our women and the failings that have led to these rates. Amnesty Internationals second study on this issue, "more than half (56.1%) of American Indian/Alaska Native women have experienced rape in their lifetime; they are over twice as likely to be raped than non-hispanic white women in the...the USA fails to collect adequate and consistent data on violence against AI/AN women..." A 2016 study done by the National Institute if Justice (NIJ) , "more than four in five American Indian and Alaskan Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime ." Government accountability office released a report stating, "Twenty-seven of the 132 tribal law enforcement agencies...reported initiating investigations involving human trafficking from 2014 to 2016 and six of 61 major city law enforcement agencies reported initiating human trafficking investigations..." All of these studies show our women are experiencing violence at disproportionate rates and the government is failing to deal with it appropriately, even with the new Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The VAWA does not fix issues with funding in Indian country. The requested funding was not given in full, this lack of funding means services are unavailable which negatively affects the communities VAWA is intended to help.
What needs to happen now is continuing the fight to keep our women sacred. Don't stop, keep pushing for more, keep pushing for tribal sovereignty, keep pushing for treaties to be upheld, keep pushing for land back. No more stolen sisters!