Native American women falling through the net

// 24 April 2007

The US police are failing to protect Native American women from sexual assault and rape, according to an Amnesty report.

American Indian and Alaskan Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted – and if they report it, risk their cases being lost in a maze of different jurisdictions, the report says.

Juskwa Burnett, a support worker for Native American survivors of sexual

violence, told Amnesty: “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…which means no rape kit, etc.”

In one case, two Oklahoma women were gang-raped. Because they were made to wear blindfolds, it may not be possible to work out where the crime took place, and under which jurisdiction it falls, and they may never have their day in court.

More than one in three Native women are raped during their lifetime.

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