Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

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Native American tribes and communities are struggling to properly fund tribal law enforcement agencies, which leads to increased amounts of violence on tribal lands. 

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) women experience violence at much higher rates than the national average, while they represent 2% of the population. According to the National Indigenous Women's Right Resource Center, 84% of AI/AN women have experienced violence in their lifetime, including 56.15% who have suffered sexual abuse; 55.5% who have suffered physical abuse by an intimate partner; 48.4% who have experienced stalking; and 66.4% who have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner. These acts of violence increase the changes of a AI/AN woman getting murdered. AI/AN women are murdered at a rate of 10 times the national average.

There have been at least 506 cases of missing and murdered AI/AN women and girls from across 71 cities—280 were murder cases, 128 were missing person cases, and 98 had an unknown status; of these cases, two-thirds occurred from 2010-2018. [i] One hundred fifty-three of the cases identified do not have a law enforcement record. The Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) identified 96 cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), “that were tied to broader issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, police brutality, and lack of safety for sex workers”—in this report, domestic violence includes intimate partner violence and family violence.

Because these issues disproportionately affect Native American communities and are going unresolved one can assume the system works to keep these communities oppressed, and women vulnerable to violence

Those who create this violent life for  AI/AN  are usually not of the same race. According to the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice, native women experience anywhere from 80-97% of violent attacks by non-Indian perpetrators. Until recently tribal nations were unable to prosecute non-native perpetrators but with the reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2013 Native American law enforcement agencies gained that power. The Act addresses the need for an increased amount of services for victims of violence and increased response rates from all levels of justice systems. Unfortunately, the VAWA is currently up for reauthorization  and is stated to have a 53% chance of passing. We can do more for these women.

Sign this petition to tell  the United States Senate that we are not doing enough to help these women and heal the deep wounds in the native community. Tell the United States Senate that we have enough resources to fund the VAWA to aid in the search for MMIWG. Tell the Senate to pass VAWA. 

 

[i]Urban Indian Health Institute. (2018). Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Retrieved from http://www.uihi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-Report.pdf