Violence against Children in the Native American Community

by hunter_c on Mars 30, 2016 - 4:45pm

In an article published on November 18th, 2014  by written by Tara Culp-Ressler entitled, “The Shocking Rates Of Violence And Abuse Facing Native American Kids” sheds light on the horrifying abuse that affects children on Native American tribal reserves. The author reports that these children’s lives are being “destroyed by relentless violence and trauma.” The abuse and trauma has resulted in these children experiencing PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Even more disturbingly, they’re experiencing this disorder at the same rate as US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, and their chances of dying before the age of 24 is doubled that of other races. These children are exposed to high rates of homelessness in their community, drug abuse, sexual abuse, violence and suicide. A reason why abuse is so high in these communities is because there is a law dating back to 1978 which prevents tribes from prosecuting offenders that don’t live on the reserve. More specifically, there is a high rate of sex offenders that are non-Native that get away with these crimes because of this law implemented in 1978.

Fortunately, the law has begun to change with an extended version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in which women now have the right to prosecute abusers who don’t live on tribal land. Although this is a step forward for women, this act does not extend itself to children, leaving them just as vulnerable as before. There have been several recommendations regarding this issue, it’s just up to the Department of Justice to implement these recommendations to protect innocent children. There is the possible issue of political controversy, but as the author points out, there are “lives are at stake.” Perhaps an act similar to the VAWA but focused on children would be the saving grace of this generation.

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Culp-Ressler, Tara. "The Shocking Rates Of Violence And Abuse Facing Native American Kids." ThinkProgress RSS. 18 Nov. 2014. Web.