Stopping Rape in Indian Country
I hope you'll read an important OpEd in today's New York Times about a little known and gravely overlooked subject. One of my favorite Dartmouth professors, Bruce Duthu, has an article today about the astronomical rate of rape in Indian country, and proposes some solid solutions. I am planning on doing an independent study with Prof. Duthu next year about this very topic, and his Native Americans and the Law class is one of the best courses I've had yet. Here is an excerpt from his OpEd:
One in three American Indian women will be raped in their lifetimes, statistics gathered by the United States Department of Justice show. But the odds of the crimes against them ever being prosecuted are low, largely because of the complex jurisdictional rules that operate on Indian lands. Approximately 275 Indian tribes have their own court systems, but federal law forbids them to prosecute non-Indians. Cases involving non-Indian offenders must be referred to federal or state prosecutors, who often lack the time and resources to pursue them.
The situation is unfair to Indian victims of all crimes — burglary, arson, assault, etc. But the problem is greatest in the realm of sexual violence because rapes and other sexual assaults on American Indian women are overwhelmingly interracial. More than 80 percent of Indian victims identify their attacker as non-Indian. (Sexual violence against white and African-American women, in contrast, is primarily intraracial.) And American Indian women who live on tribal lands are more than twice as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted as other women in the United States, Justice Department statistics show.
But Prof. Duthu isn't one to just list problems and spread doom and gloom. Read the whole thing for solutions.