A new Amnesty International report finds that one in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime, twice the national average for non-Native women. The report, “Maze of Injustice: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women in the USA,” is based on research carried out by Amnesty International USA during 2005 and 2006 in Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Alaska.
Authors of the report concluded that the high rate of rape results primarily from a lack of government funding, limited staffing, and confusion regarding tribal and county jurisdiction in cases of sexual assault. Even when reported, many of these rape cases fail to be prosecuted because, even though over 86 percent of rapes against Native women are committed by non-Native men, tribal councils have no jurisdiction over non-Native offenders, the US Department of Justice reports.
In an interview with Amnesty International, Juana Majel from the National Congress of American Indians, expressed the range of suffering Native women endure, saying, “Violence against Indian women occurs as a gauntlet in the lives of Indian women: at one end verbal abuse and at the other murder. Most Indian women do not report such crimes because of the belief that nothing will be done.”