Gendered Violence Throughout Cultures

After starting a new book, Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and reading about women in other countries who deal with sex trafficking, sex work, and prostitution, I wanted to further my education on the sexual violence that occurs within Native American culture. It would have been wonderful to read how this is not much of an issue within this culture, but that’s not the case whatsoever. It’s far worse than I could have imagined, being just as bad as in other cultures.

To go back in Native culture, we already know that when white settlers came to the Natives' land they raped the Native women. This is predominant throughout history, but the horrific part is that it still is happening within Native societies, even after all the torment by white settlers, the same thing continues each and every day.

Half the Sky tells the stories of young girls who were forced into sexual labor. Some were trafficked and brought to brothels, while others did not see any other way to make money so they became a sex worker. The book talks about how even the police wouldn’t help these young girls because the men who were cops came into the brothels to have sex with the young girls each night for free. Although rape is unfortunately common in these cultures as well as in Native societies, I found it very interesting that one article I read talks mainly about the police brutality in certain Native communities in Canada. The article says that the police beat these Native women, break their limbs, and use their dogs to harshly attack the women. It deeply disturbs me that police in many different societies won’t help those in need. Instead, the people who are supposed to protect break these women even further.

Another part of this article states a situation that occurred when “an Indigenous woman was taken to a remote location outside of town and raped by four police officers.” This makes me cringe because this woman probably thought she was safe in the hands of these police officers, but instead they brutally took advantage of her.

As I further my studies within Native lifestyle, I’m saddened how much the Indigenous race has suffered for hundreds of years. The Natives were a part of a large genocide, but survived, and now they still face sexual assault and physical abuse. Gendered violence needs to stop. No matter the culture or society, we need to understand that this is not something that can go unnoticed and we need to eliminate those who commit these crimes instead of blaming the individual that was assaulted. Half the Sky is a heart-breaking book about the women who are forced into sex labor and raped when unwilling to comply with strange men. This is an issue within many societies and cultures and it’s time to open our eyes and speak out against this violence that occurs every day all around the world.