by Jessica Pieklo - January 3, 2013
Cantor and his GOP allies killed off the highly effective, highly popular Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) this session over a provision that would give Native American tribes limited authority to prosecute non-Native Americans accused of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes against Native women on Indian reservations. Currently, tribal courts have no jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indian defenders, which leaves the vast majority of sexual assault prosecutions handled by the Department of Justice. Cantor objected to the provision as a power transfer to non-sovereign tribal courts and along with the rest of the Tea Party, rallied the troops behind thinly-veiled racism and in-your-face misogyny that has come to define House Republicans and blocked re-authorization for the first time in almost 20 years.
The Women’s Media Center project Women Under Siege documents sexualized violence worldwide and in this must-read op-ed from September, notes the levels of sexualized violence experienced by women living on Indian Reservations parallels levels documented as war crimes in places like Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo. And for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and the rest of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, that is just fine.
Just how bad is it? One out of three Native American women report they’ve been raped or the victim of an attempted rape. According to the Department of Justice, at least 86% of those sexual assaults are reportedly perpetrated by non-Native American men. Of those reported assaults, DOJ claims to prosecute approximately 13% of those cases. …