An Affront to Our Shared Humanity: The 112th Congress' Failure to Enact Senate Bill 1925
Federal Lawyer, Vol. 60, p. 4, 2013
3 Pages Posted: 10 May 2013
Date Written: May 9, 2013
One in three American Indian women is raped or is a victim of attempted rape. American Indian women experience domestic violence at twice the rate of other women in the United States. At some places in the United States, American Indian women face domestic violence at twelve times the rate of other American women. President Barack Obama referred to the extreme level of domestic violence facing American Indian women as "an affront to our shared humanity." In reaction to this startling and horrific reality, the United States Senate passed Senate Bill 1925, which would have extended the protections of the Violence Against Women Act to aid American Indian women in Indian country. However, on January 1, 2013, the United States House of Representatives let Senate Bill 1925 lapse without bringing the Bill for a vote in the House. As a result, American Indian women must continue to endure a harsh reality where many face domestic violence on a daily basis.
Two questions may arise from an examination of the atrocity of domestic violence against women and the House’s failure to vote on Senate Bill 1925. First, why is it that American Indian women face higher rates of domestic violence than their non-Native counterparts? And, second, why did Senate Bill 1925 and the protections it offered American Indian women prove controversial and ultimately fail? This article addresses both of these questions.
Keywords: domestic violence, VAWA, Violence Against Women Reauthorization, Indian country, Indian women, Native Americans, American Indians, tribes
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