Tribal Leaders Meet with Vice President Biden who Addresses Efforts to End Violence Against Women Attorney General Holder Announces Initiative on Indian Child Welfare Act

On March 8, 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act that includes tribal provisions.

On March 8, 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act that includes tribal provisions.

National Congress of American Indians, December 3, 2015
Washington, DC:  Vice President Joe Biden joined over 300 tribal leaders at the sixth annual White House Tribal Nations Conference today. At the opening of the conference, Vice President Biden delivered an impassioned speech about violence against women in Indian Country saying “The most horrific prison on earth is the four walls of an abused woman’s home. For far too many Native American women that is a daily reality.”
 
The Vice-President, who was the original author of the Violence Against Women Act and has been its most steadfast supporter over the past 20 years, was introduced by Councilwoman Deborah Parker from the Tulalip Tribes , “Vice President Biden has led the movement to protect women against rape and domestic violence.  Last year he helped pass the much needed protection to help Native women from violence.   Mr. Vice President, you are correct when you say no means no — no more abuse.”
 
Referring to the provisions added to VAWA in 2013 that allow tribal governments to prosecute non-Indian domestic violence offenders in certain cases, the Vice-President apologized that it took so long to give tribal governments the tools to hold offenders accountable in their communities, saying “as long as there is a single place where the abuse of power is excused as a question of jurisdiction or tolerated as a family affair, no one is truly safe, and we cannot define ourselves as a society that is civilized.”
 
The Vice President delivered a call to action saying, “Tribal governments have an inherent right, as a matter of fact they have an obligation, to protect their people. All people deserve to live free of fear.”  He urged all tribal governments to be prepared on March 7 when the law goes into effect to use their authority to aggressively prosecute domestic violence offenders. He stressed the need to change the culture that too often leaves victims asking what they did wrong and instead to focus on sending a strong message that violence against women is always unacceptable.
 
Vice President Biden also acknowledged that we have much more to do to protect Native women from violence including giving Alaska tribes the same authority and expanding the provision to cover sexual assault and other crimes. Biden called on Congress to appropriate the $25 million in grants authorized in VAWA 2013 to implement the new law. 
 
Attorney General Eric Holder followed Vice President Biden, and strongly stated the Department of Justice’s commitment to improving law enforcement in Indian country, and to institutionalizing that commitment so that it will continue.  He announced that he has implemented a Statement of Principles to guide the Department’s work with tribal nations into the future.
 
Attorney General Holder also announced a new initiative to promote compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act in partnership with the Departments of Interior and Health and Human Services.  Holder stated that the initiative is “working to actively identify state-court cases where the United States can file briefs opposing the unnecessary and illegal removal of Indian children from their families and their tribal communities.” Holder went on to explain that DOJ will work with its partners and tribes to “to promote tribes’ authority to make placement decisions affecting tribal children; to gather information about where the Indian Child Welfare Act is being systematically violated; and to take appropriate, targeted action to ensure that the next generation of great tribal leaders can grow up in homes that are not only safe and loving, but also suffused with the proud traditions of Indian cultures.”
 

Tribal Leaders Meet with Vice President Biden who Addresses Efforts to End Violence Against Women Attorney General Holder Announces Initiative on Indian Child Welfare Act

On March 8, 2013, President Barack Obama this morning signed into law the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act that includes tribal provisions.

On March 8, 2013, President Barack Obama this morning signed into law the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act that includes tribal provisions.

Press release, December 3, 2014, National Congress of American Indians
WASHINGTON, DC – Vice President Joe Biden joined over 300 tribal leaders at the sixth annual White House Tribal Nations Conference today. At the opening of the conference, Vice President Biden delivered an impassioned speech about violence against women in Indian Country saying “The most horrific prison on earth is the four walls of an abused woman’s home. For far too many Native American women that is a daily reality.”
 
The Vice-President, who was the original author of the Violence Against Women Act and has been its most steadfast supporter over the past 20 years, was introduced by Councilwoman
 from the Tulalip Tribes , “Vice President Biden has led the movement to protect women against rape and domestic violence.  Last year he helped pass the much needed protection to help Native women from violence.   Mr. Vice President, you are correct when you say no means no — no more abuse.” 
 
Referring to the provisions added to VAWA in 2013 that allow tribal governments to prosecute non-Indian domestic violence offenders in certain cases, the Vice-President apologized that it took so long to give tribal governments the tools to hold offenders accountable in their communities, saying “as long as there is a single place where the abuse of power is excused as a question of jurisdiction or tolerated as a family affair, no one is truly safe, and we cannot define ourselves as a society that is civilized.”
 
The Vice President delivered a call to action saying, “Tribal governments have an inherent right, as a matter of fact they have an obligation, to protect their people. All people deserve to live free of fear.”  He urged all tribal governments to be prepared on March 7 when the law goes into effect to use their authority to aggressively prosecute domestic violence offenders. He stressed the need to change the culture that too often leaves victims asking what they did wrong and instead to focus on sending a strong message that violence against women is always unacceptable.
 
Vice President Biden also acknowledged that we have much more to do to protect Native women from violence including giving Alaska tribes the same authority and expanding the provision to cover sexual assault and other crimes. Biden called on Congress to appropriate the $25 million in grants authorized in VAWA 2013 to implement the new law.  
 
Attorney General Eric Holder followed Vice President Biden, and strongly stated the Department of Justice’s commitment to improving law enforcement in Indian country, and to institutionalizing that commitment so that it will continue.  He announced that he has implemented a Statement of Principles to guide the Department’s work with tribal nations into the future.
 
Attorney General Holder also announced a new initiative to promote compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act in partnership with the Departments of Interior and Health and Human Services.  Holder stated that the initiative is “working to actively identify state-court cases where the United States can file briefs opposing the unnecessary and illegal removal of Indian children from their families and their tribal communities.” Holder went on to explain that DOJ will work with its partners and tribes to “to promote tribes’ authority to make placement decisions affecting tribal children; to gather information about where the Indian Child Welfare Act is being systematically violated; and to take appropriate, targeted action to ensure that the next generation of great tribal leaders can grow up in homes that are not only safe and loving, but also suffused with the proud traditions of Indian cultures.”   

Bakken: $3M in grants to address violence against women in rural, tribal communities

A Whiting Petroleum Co. pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont., on Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

A Whiting Petroleum Co. pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont., on Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

By  Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. — Federal authorities have named recipients of $3 million in grants to address violence against women in rural and tribal communities in the oil patch of North Dakota and Montana.

The money from the Office on Violence Against Women will be used to help provide services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking in the Bakken region, which has seen an increase in population and crime because of the oil boom.

Victims in a “vast rural region like the Bakken” have trouble accessing life-saving services, Associate Attorney General Tony West said.

“With this new, targeting funding, tribes and local communities will be better equipped to respond to the increased need for mental health services, legal assistance, housing and training,” West said.

The grants will be divided among the First Nations Women’s Alliance and Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana, the North Dakota Council on Abused Women’s Services, and the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

“The organizations that will receive funding through this project play a critical role in addressing violence against women in the Bakken region,” said U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who organized visits to the oil patch by two of the nation’s drug czars. “By bringing top administration officials to North Dakota to hear firsthand about the emerging challenges, great strides have been made to make sure local law enforcement and organizations receive needed support to address these challenges and help our state maintain our treasured quality of life.”

Department of Justice officials also announced that the Fort Beck and Fort Berthold reservations will each receive three-year, $450,000 grants to pay for tribal prosecutors who will be cross-designated as special U.S. attorneys.

Abused Mohawk woman fears becoming statistic among growing number of missing and murdered

By Kenneth Jackson, APTN National News
The bedside alarm clock said it was 1:58 in the morning.

That’s the exact moment when she was awoken from her bed by a man who had broken into her home and was grabbing her.

Groggy and frightened, as she lived alone with a cat, she thought she was having a nightmare.

She was.

In fact, she’d be living it for several years.

Before the sun would come up she was punched, choked, kicked and threatened to be killed by her ex-boyfriend, a Caucasian who always ridiculed her Indigenous roots.

“He said: ‘Only one of us is going to wake up tomorrow and it’s going to be me,’” the young women recounted to an APTN National News reporter who agreed to protect her identity and some details of the attack because she fears for her safety.

The Mohawk from Tyendinaga thought she was going to die, but somehow was able to survive and call police.

She gave a video statement to police and went to the hospital.

He wasn’t arrested until two days later and was then released from the station. She spent a weekend thinking he was being held for a bail hearing only to find out that wasn’t the case.

She said a police officer refused to tell her they released him.

He was charged with mischief and assault. She questions why he wasn’t charged with more.

She can no longer live in the small town near Ottawa anymore, where the abuser and his family live.

She has to quit her job and move away – far away –  from him.

“It’s not safe for me to be here anymore,” she said. “I don’t want to become a statistic. I don’t want to be another murdered First Nations woman.”

That statistic, which she refers to, is apparently climbing according to a recent study by Maryanne Pearce, an Ottawa researcher, who says she’s compiled over 800 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women dating back to 1946.

A few years ago that number was pegged at about 600 by the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Pearce, who is part Mohawk, told APTN her work was done, in part, for her doctorate in law at the University of Ottawa.

“Issues of violence against women are very important to me, so I wanted to help in any way I can,” said Pearce.

Pearce used online media stories, archives and other related work to make her list.

“Most were from 1980 and beyond, and more from 1999 onward,” she said, mainly because the Internet made it easier.

Pearce said she was inclusive and detailed as possible when collecting the date, but is upfront it can’t be 100 per cent.

“Inevitably, I will have missed cases or included case has changed and shouldn’t be there any more,” she said, adding a newspaper recently spotted two in her database that had been found alive.

But her work has sparked others to submit names she never had.

“Since the media began reporting on the research, I have also been sent emails with names or numbers of women that were omitted. One of the cases brought to my attention I have yet to be able to find in any public source,” said Pearce.

Many have called for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he won’t call one.

Pearce isn’t necessarily against an inquiry. She does question how it would work.

“I certainly understand the reasons behind calling for a national inquiry. We all want answers and action. While I am not against a national inquiry per se, I have many questions about how it would proceed and function,” she said.

That includes how it will be funded and involve the provinces and territories.

“If we did have an inquiry, would the non-binding recommendations in a report be acted upon, or sit on a shelf?” she wondered.

Still, she hopes her research can attempt to help other work in the area, and try to fill any gaps.

Shawn Brant is also from Tyendinaga, and a well-known Mohawk activist willing to stand up against what he perceives as injustices against Indigenous peoples.

Brant is about to begin a campaign “to force the federal government” to call a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

It’s what he calls the first step in a plan to protect Indigenous women in Canada.

“There’s no limit in how far we’ll go to resolve this,” said Brant.

He said that includes “direct conflict” if required.

Brant is aware of the Mohawk woman and her situation.

“I think that she models the circumstances that inevitably lead to tragedy,” he said.

Climate change is supplementing violence against women

By Tahir Hasnain, December 4, 2013. Source: EnviroCivil

Women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime and they suffer severe physical and emotional pain due to the violence and abuse. Unfortunately, climate change is making it worse and supplements violence against women. The society must do more to empower women and ensure their safety.

The world is celebrating these days the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence and calling for greater gender equality. The 16 Days of Activism is an international campaign that starts on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. Actions are taken by the civil society across the world to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international level.

Violence against women is a common phenomenon in Pakistan which affects women from all kinds of backgrounds every day. According to the 2012 report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan is the world’s third-most dangerous country for women as 90pc women face domestic violence. Many women face violence on a daily basis and this reflects the miserable condition.

Climate change (changing weather patterns) is also intensifying violence against women. The climate change has in fact exposed communities to extreme weathers i.e. rise in temperature in summer, unpredictable and unprecedented rain fall, high wind speed, etc. The community in rural areas has revealed that the climate change is putting more pressure on women as compared to men. Hence, in our efforts to end violence against women, climate change has to be addressed properly to achieve this critical goal.

Women are the front line victim of the climate crisis. Women in rural Pakistan spend most of their time in doing agricultural activities and collecting water and fuel for their families. Changing weather patterns are constantly affecting agriculture and the natural resources including forests and water. As a consequence of these changes, workload and hardships of women has increased manifold. Women now travel farther and face more risk of attack.

Women currently have less socialization due to increased work hours and economic pressures. Emotional wellbeing of women has also reduced with increased level of stress, anxiety and frustration. As a result, family disputes and domestic violence have also increased and women always argue financial problems with men and in return, the frustrated men tend to show anger and use violence against women. These disputes have also given rise to escalating divorces and court cases.

Higher temperatures are linked to increased tensions. Escalating temperatures and economic pressures have encouraged domination of men over women besides frequent incidents of violence against women (physical assault) and undue social restrictions. The climate change impact on women is well demonstrated in below mentioned figure.

Source: Shirkat Gah Study on Gender Dimensions of Climate Change: A Case Study of Coastal Community in Sindh

Source: Shirkat Gah Study on Gender Dimensions of Climate Change: A Case Study of Coastal Community in Sindh

Climate change is impacting negatively on agriculture and fishing activity and is intensifying poverty. In the backdrop of mounting economic pressures and growing poverty, women currently face marriage problems as well. Most of the marriages in poor rural communities now happened to be forced marriages. Families and the bride herself cannot choose and they have no other option but to accept and compromise completely. Escalating cases of early age marriages have also profound link with poverty.

Pakistan is confronting with climate induced natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, windstorms, droughts and cyclones since last many years. Recently, the incidents of flood disaster have increased and flood-prone communities have suffered mass internal displacement. In this regards, women suffer more problems due to their isolation from other family members. These disasters make women vulnerable to violence. A number of cases of sexual violence and abduction were reported during earthquake in 2005 and flood disaster in 2010. According to a recent report from the UN Environment Programme, rape victims and human trafficking in women and children rise steeply during disasters like floods, storms and cyclones.

Climate change is thus a serious threat and women’s concerns have to be recognized and integrated in climate change and disaster risk management policies to make them comprehensive. It is now established that Climate challenge is huge and multidimensional that demands unity, collective actions and solidarity with each other to deal with this great challenge.

In view of the useful knowledge and experiences that women possess, they should be effectively used to mitigate climate change as well as developing strategies to cope and adapt. Capacity building and empowerment of women are thus key areas to address while addressing climate change and its impacts on women.

Jackson Katz: Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue

Jackson Katz asks a very important question that gets at the root of why sexual abuse, rape and domestic abuse remain a problem: What’s going on with men?

Why you should listen to him:

Jackson Katz is an educator, author, filmmaker and cultural theorist who is a pioneer in the fields of gender violence prevention education and media literacy. He is co-founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), which enlists men in the struggle to prevent men’s violence against women. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, MVP has become a widely used sexual and domestic violence prevention initiative in college and professional athletics across North America. Katz and his MVP colleagues have also worked extensively with schools, youth sports associations and community organizations, as well as with all major branches of the U.S. military.

Katz is the creator of popular educational videos including Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity. He is the author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help and Leading Men: Presidential Campaigns and the Politics of Manhood. He has also appeared in several documentaries, including Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes and MissRepresentation.

“After I watched this talk, my first thought was, ‘If only every man, woman and teenager could see this video and hear this message.'” – Daily