January 21, 2007

Native women victimized

Deer:  Domestic violence in Indian country

The numbers:'The average annual rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence from 1993 to 2004 was highest for American Indian and Alaskan [sic] Native females at 18.2 victimizations per 1,000 females aged 12 and older.''

Compared to the overall statistic, 2.6 victimizations per 1,000 individuals in 2004, Native women are seven times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than all other women.

For those who follow these kinds of statistics, these numbers should not be too surprising. Every national study in the past 15 years that has looked at levels of victimization throughout society has put Native women at the top of the list. Other studies have shown that more than 60 percent of Native women will be the victims of violent assault during their lifetimes and more than one-third of Native women will be the victims of rape.
Beyond the numbers: It is important to look beyond the numbers when discussing domestic violence. Every victim is a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an auntie, a friend, a wife, a mother--not merely a statistic. Violence ripples through a community. Unresolved violence can often be at the source of alcohol addiction and drug abuse, particularly when victims seek to find relief from the pain they feel.

Grass-roots advocacy programs for Native women have become critical avenues of intervention for victims. The federal Violence Against Women Act, originally passed in 1994, has recently improved dramatically in terms of addressing the unique needs of Native women by providing additional resources to grass-roots organizations.


Anonymous said...

"It is important to look beyond the numbers when discussing domestic violence. Every victim is a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an auntie, a friend, a wife, a mother--not merely a statistic."

You'd think that with so much ripple effect, the cycle of abuse would end itself, because ultimately everyone suffers. This might sound silly, but I believe Anger Management should be taught as a subject at school from an early age. Maybe then the "stronger beats the weaker" mindset will finally be a pattern that is recognized and broken once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the problem seems to be much deeper than anger management. Most batterers manage their "anger" just fine. They don't batter their bosses. They don't batter their friends. They focus their violence on their partner.

Rob said...

More generally, what about teaching more life skills in school? Including the skills to deal with people--i.e., conflict management. I think a class like that would be more useful than a class like trigonometry or physics.

Anyway, thanks for joining us, Sarah.

Anonymous said...

As you might know, The Indian Education Policy was established in the late 1870's. A hermeneutics study of it's earliest document(s) would undoubtedly reveal the true nature of this Policy. It was genocidal in purpose.
With that said, I believe Tribes must be involved. There must be a Tribal system of governance regarding the implementation of American Indian Learning theories and such.
secondly, I believe Rob is on the right track, life skills and conflict management would be a must in drafting a new policy...
Before I go on, I want to turn you on to some fine authors who have addressed these issues:
Paulo Freire.
Pedagogy of the oppressed
Don Trent Jacobs.
Back to teaching virtures.
Greg Cayete
Look to the Mountainan an Ecology of Indigenous Education
Steven Douglas Neurwirth
The Imagined Savage: The American Indian and the New England mind 1620-1675 Doctoral Dissertation Washington University

And last but not least:
Erick H. Erikson
Childhood and Society

I believe that once you pour over these books and papers you will descry the kind of DAMAGE the Federal Government has done to the Indigenous Peoples of America and just how, along with the Catholic Church, it has been able to oppress and dominate a people who by nature, were to care for this land and teach generations to live in that same manner.
The oppressed are internalizing the treatment handed down by the oppressors i.e., The Federal Government and its Indian Policy. Unfortunately, it is up to the individual to manage the sickness and disease caused by this...
To break the cycle as it were.
And, it will take a combined effort to abolish the Local BIA in your area...
writerfella should be the first one to look into this.