What is Happening to Native American Women?

  *** DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that the opinions in this piece do not reflect the official stance and views of Her Campus, Her Campus Oklahoma nor The University of Oklahoma.*** 

Photo by Last Real Indians 

With the start of the Kavanaugh hearing and the rise of the #MeToo movement, people are finally beginning to talk about sexual violence. While these are both popular topics circulating the media, there is one thing that no one is talking about: what is happening to Native women in America?

Native women are going missing at an alarming rate, and nobody seems to care.

According to a 2016 National Institute of Justice Report, 56 percent of Native women experience sexual violence during their lifetime, while 38 percent of these women did not receive any type of victim services. The high rates of sexual violence are connected to Native women going missing, and many even murdered.

On some reservations, Native women are murdered at 10 times the national average.

So, why is this happening?

The majority of these women were sexually assaulted by men who are not Native.

When Native women who live on reservations are missing or murdered, the investigating is at the discretion of tribal law enforcement.

In Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, the Supreme Court ruled that tribal law enforcement does not have jurisdiction over non-tribal citizens. This means that Native tribes cannot legally prosecute any non-Native offenders, even if these crimes were committed on tribal lands.

Although we may know the number of women who have survived sexual violence, nobody knows how many of women have gone missing.

I am a Native woman. I am not just a person writing about about something I am indifferent about. This is a huge problem, and it is time people start recognizing these women as worthy of defending.

Lately, many people have been talking about believing women. However, if we do not start paying attention, there will be no Native women left to believe. This is a problem that is bigger than the amount of attention it currently gets. These women deserve more, and it is time people start taking notice.