Nov 282006
 
Authors: Stephanie Gerlach

One in three Native American women will be raped, according to a Department of Justice study.

In addition, they are three times more likely than the general population to experience violent victimization.

Roe Bubar, an associate professor from the School of Social Work, presented the gruesome statistics and details about the violence native women endure in America.

“I think the issue that native women are battered, raped and stalked is pretty dramatic and there needs to be more done about it,” she said.

Bubar, who specializes in sexual assault and violence, walked the audience of just more than 40 people through the reasons why sexual assault against native women is such an issue and why it isn’t being stopped.

In the past year, Bubar conducted a focus group made up of 10 native women from different tribes who were all professionals and activists involved in addressing sexual assault in their communities. Bubar said one of her participants explained the reason for this perpetuating cycle: “We’re invisible.'”

The issues these women face are under covered, underreported and under addressed in the United States, Bubar said.

“It’s a hard issue, especially with inadequate funding and law enforcement not being adequately staffed to address the issues,” she said.

Reservations, which Bubar called Indian Country, have historically always been under-funded, which has made it a crippled system.

Even though Native Americans have IHS (Indian Health Services) to help them with health care, the program is severely under-funded.

Some students and members of the community said they learned more about what this group of people deals with on a daily basis around the country.

“When someone thinks of race, most people think in black and white,” said Meghan Mansfield, a junior liberal arts major. Through events like this, it opens people’s eyes to the fact that there are other races out there that struggle.”

This presentation was sponsored by Native American Student Services as part of Native American Awareness month.

Ty Smith, the director of NASS, said they want to highlight the Native American faculty on staff and the important research they do. He also said the nature of Bubar’s subject is overlooked and unknown by many.

“It’s just so important to get this information out there and to educate people about this issue,” he said.

Bubar agreed.

“Education is a huge part in understanding what goes on within the Native American community,” she said. “People should make a concerted effort to educate themselves on Native issues.”

The Native American Awareness month events will conclude Thursday with the opening of a new exhibit in the Duhesa Lounge. All students, faculty and community members are welcome and encouraged to join in the festivities.

Staff writer Stephanie Gerlach can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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General sexual assault statistics:

-One in five women have experienced attempted or completed rape

-Women ages 16-24 experience higher per capita rates of intimacy violence: 16 per 1,000

Native women sexual assault statistics:

-One in three Native American women will be raped

-Native Americans experience more than three times the violent victimization of the general population

-Six out of 10 will be physically assaulted

-Native American women are primarily assaulted by non-native assailants

-Homicide is the third leading cause of death to Native American women ages 15-34

Source: Roe Burbar and the U.S. Department of Justice

Duhesa Lounge Exhibition Opening Ceremony

Thursday, Nov. 30

4 to 6 p.m.

Duhesa Lounge in the Lory Student Center, second floor

Hosted by Native American Student Services

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