Native American women are at far greater risk of becoming victims of violence than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.

This is due, in part, to the multi-layered effects of the jurisdictional maze, colonization, governmental policies such as assimilation and boarding schools, and the resulting loss of traditional culture.

Equally disturbing is the fact that unlike most sexual assaults, in Native sexual assault cases the perpetrator and the victim are not of the same race. The reasons for these numbers is debated; some believe that they are due to the historical trauma imposed on Native families through the forced removal of children during the boarding school and foster care eras, others believe that perpetrators exploit the confusion over the jurisdiction of Native lands and intentionally seek out Native victims. Note also that 86% of perpetrators of sexually violent crimes against Native people are non-Native.

Furthermore, specific issues exist for Native American victims which include:

Helping Native people return to traditional values and beliefs about women, men, children, families, and individual roles within communities is one way to prevent violence against Native people. We can start to address the affects of domestic and sexual violence by educating our communities that violence is not a Native tradition.

Non-Native people can help prevent violence against Native communities by refusing to accept or promote negative images or hateful language regarding Native people. By understanding the effects of historical trauma and colonialism, non-Native people can prevent the continuation of discrimination which leads to the acceptance of violence against Native people.

Source: Washington Association of Sexual Assault Programs