Violence Against Women Act Must Protect Native American Women

Congressional Republicans headed by Eric Cantor are stalling on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Senate has already passed a bill that increases protection for Native, LGBT and undocumented immigrant women. The

Congressional Republicans headed by Eric Cantor are stalling on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Senate has already passed a bill that increases protection for Native, LGBT and undocumented immigrant women.

The reason they're stalling? Seems the GOP has a problem with the protections for Native American women:

VAWA, which has been reauthorized consistently for 18 years with little fanfare, was, for the first time, left to expire in Sept. 2011. The sticking point has been new protections for three particularly vulnerable groups: undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBT community and Native Americans. The additions are supported by Democrats and opposed by House Republicans, who are calling them politically driven. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill in April with the additional protections, and House Republicans passed their own bill in May that omitted those three provisions. Since then, the issue has gone nowhere...

But two sources familiar with negotiations on VAWA, both of whom requested anonymity given the sensitive nature of talks, have told HuffPost that Cantor is refusing to accept any added protections for Native American women that would give expanded jurisdiction to tribes, and is pressuring Democrats to concede on that front.

There is something we can do: Raise our voices to demand justice and protection for our sisters.

The Indian Law Resource Center has been fighting for a stronger VAWA which will increase protections for Native women. They have an online petition.

Contact your senators and representatives and urge them to pass a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that protects Native American women.

As Obama stated in 2012:

"it is unconscionable that crime rates in Indian Country are more than twice the national average and up to 20 times the national average on some reservations. And all of you believe, like I do, that when one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes, that is an assault on our national conscience; it is an affront to our shared humanity; it is something that we cannot allow to continue."

Denise Oliver Velez has much, much more on this at Daily Kos, particularly the historical background that makes our Native American sisters the group of women who are the most likely to be raped, assaulted or murdered. In fact, one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetime.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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