The AHA signed the below letter organized by the Friends Committee on National Legislation that asks Congress to hold hearings on the high levels of sexual assault cases against Native Americans.
July 13, 2012
Representative Doc Hastings
Chair, House Natural Resources Committee
Representative Don Young
Chair, Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs
Dear Representatives Hastings and Young,
The undersigned faith-based and humanist organizations urge you to schedule an oversight hearing to investigate the high rates of sexual assault of women in Indian country and the low rate of prosecution for non-tribal, non-Indian perpetrators of these crimes. On May 30, 2012, Rep. Ed Markey and Rep. Don Boren submitted a letter appealing for such a hearing, and we write to express our full support for their request.
The high level of sexual violence against Native American women on reservations is a serious issue plaguing Indian Country. About 34 percent of American Indian or Alaska Native women will be raped in their lifetime, and 39 percent will be subject to domestic violence (compared to national averages of 20 and 25 percent, respectively). Despite the progress made under the Tribal Law and Order Act signed into law in 2010, non-Indians who sexually assault Indian women are still generally not prosecuted and brought to justice because tribal governments have no authority to prosecute non-Indian offenders.
Especially in light of the fact that Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization is currently being negotiated and has the potential to include specific protections for Native Americans, we believe that such a hearing will provide a public forum to
(1) Inform Congress and the public about this pressing issue that Indian Country faces, and
(2) Establish a record in the House that shows the factual basis for the inclusion of a provision to protect this particularly vulnerable population of women.
Thank you for your consideration.
Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns of the Presbyterian Church USA
American Baptist Women’s Ministries, American Baptist Church USA
American Friends Service Committee, Northeast Region
American Humanist Association
Be Free Ministries
Center of Concern
Church Women United
Council on American Indian Ministries, United Church of Christ
Disciples Women – Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Faith Trust Institute
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Islamic Social Services Association – USA
Jewish Women International
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA
Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness
Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Inc
Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society
United Methodist Women
Representative Ed Markey, Ranking Member, House Natural Resources Committee
Representative Dan Boren, Ranking Member, House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska