FW: Abuse, the silent shame of Indian Country
FW: Abuse, the silent shame of Indian CountryThis isn't an Indian shame. As direct outcome of the
daily colonial violences of white occupying forces against First
Nations Peoples throughout the world, it is the invaders shame.
If any of you get the chance, see the video: 'Once Were Warriors'.
COMMENTARY: Abuse, the silent shame of Indian Country
Abusers preying on Indian women and children
TULSA OK Native American Times 12/1/2003
There is no excuse for the lack of coverage or response to the problem
of domestic violence in Indian country.
Too many Indian families suffer in pain and humiliation of past abuses
in their own families. Perpetrators living with impunity in family units
create an unbroken cycle of deep shame for too many Indian people. The
abuser is a criminal. He or she needs to be treated and prosecuted by
the proper authorities. Victims not only need protection from current
abuses, but counseling for past atrocities. Therapist have said that if
the abuse is not processed, the pain never goes away and may be repeated
through the behavior of their children's children.
This is one problem. There are many others.
Part of the problem is shame-based secrecy. Still another obstacle to
dealing with the problem is a lack of resources for victims, which too
often are women and children. Victims are traditionally the most
vulnerable and weakest members of our society. There is no funding for
sufficient follow-ups on reports and lack of law enforcement to protect
the defenseless. Tribal and BIA police officers are ill-equipped to
handle the volume of cases or have the expertise in dealing with the
sensitive nature of abuse.
Another aspect of domestic violence is the inexplicable problem of too
few reports of abuse. The reasons range from a lack of compassion from
social programs or law enforcement. Abuse cases may also fall rather low
on the law enforcement's priority scale. With murder and drugs occupying
a lot of investigating times of tribal police abuse victims are ignored.
But, that should change. Women and children are being abused at rates
far greater than any other segment of society.
The sex offender fraternity talks among themselves and what they are
saying is that Indian reservations and communities are fertile grounds
for their ugly proclivities. The word is that no one ever has to
register as a sex offender on the often-remote reservations. The abusers
also look at the reservations as places where they can prey on their
victims without fear of police. They also know that they are least
likely to be reported on or watched on Indian lands than anywhere else.
Apathy may well be the most shameful of all impediments to protecting
Indian families from abusers. It is painful to say, but domestic and
sexual abuse is accepted in some communities by everyone.
There are many problems in Indian country. Our leaders make exalted
speeches on behalf of gaming, sovereign rights, mascots, addictions and
other hot topics but in little homes all over Indian country, some
people live in stark terror. Some of these people don't have time to
worry about lofty tribal concerns; they are just trying to make it
through the night alive or just trying to leave.
It's time to make the abuses of our women and children the new priority
for tribes. Other problems will have to wait, just like our Mothers and
children had to wait.
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