Violence against Native women is an enormous problem across Indian country. Not only does it have devastating effects on individuals and communities, it also presents some unique challenges in the work to end violence against women. Violence Against Native Women fact sheet
The origins of domestic violence are disputed across many of those working to end violence against Native women. We know that since the arrival of colonization and it’s resulting impacts, violence against Native women has become a common occurrence across Indian Country. Violence against Native women is not considered natural in Indigenous societies and is a fairly new phenomenon. The most commonly held belief is that while many Native Nations had experiences with women being mistreated or battered by intimate partners, the practice was not common nor was it tolerated. Through the arrival of colonization, it gave rise to the widespread crisis being experienced across Indian Country today.
Our histories shape who we are. We will never be able to go back and be who we were prior to colonization, nor do we want to. We must take our pasts and use them as guides to shape our way as we move into the future. Work today includes identifying and centralizing our native values and beliefs. One of the more generally recognized beliefs is that women are sacred. Women are Sacred grows out of our stories and our teachings. When something is held as being sacred, it is to be respected, honored and held with the high regard of its power. Women have been historically viewed as the backbone of indigenous societies. (Ybanez, 2006)
U.S. Department of Justice Statistics
Native American women are raped at a rate more than double that of rapes reported by all races on an annual average. (All races: 2 per 1,000, Native Americans: 7 per 1,000)
The rate of violent crime experienced by Native American women is nearly 50% higher than that reported by black males aged 12 and over.
Violent crime rate among Native American women was 98 per 1,000 - more than twice that of whites (40 per 1,000) or blacks 56 per 1,000)
At least 70% of violence experienced by Native Americans are committed by persons not of the same race…. Substantially higher than for whites or blacks.
American Indian women were victimized by an intimate at rates higher than those for all other females (whites at 8.1 per 1,000; Indians at 23.2 per 1,000)
Overall intimate partner violence against women has been declining since 1993, however, for Native American women, the rates are three times higher than non-Native women. According to the United States Department of Justice, Native women are victims of non-fatal intimate partner violence at rates of 18.2 per 1,000 compared to 6.3 for Caucasian women and 8.2 for women of African descent. Native American victims of intimate and family violence are more likely than victims of all other races to be severely injured and need hospital care. Medical costs exceeded $21 million over a 4-year period. As well, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Native American women are twice as likely to be murdered by a family member.
Increasing poverty caused by eroding employment opportunities and declining public assistance.
Lack of affordable housing.
Lack of affordable health care.
The NCH noted that "homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked" because when resources are limited, people often lose their housing. It adds, "Being poor means being an illness, an accident or a paycheck away from living on the streets."