Information on teenage dating violence
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They know they can come onto our lands and rape us with impunity because they know that we can't touch them," Brunner says.For instance, the act would not apply to someone in the situation Brunner's teenage daughter found herself in last year.She was raped last summer by four strangers from outside the reservation.While the numbers are staggering, the reality that advocates such as Brunner see in their work and communities exposes the depth of the crisis.One of the services that Brunner provides through a group she runs, the Sacred Spirits First Nations Coalition, is outreach to local teenagers.We don't want to cause problems for our family." Not if she is raped - but when.
Closing loopholes President Obama signing a reauthorized version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law last week with new protections for Native American women represents a significant victory for women such as Brunner, who are living through an epidemic of sexual violence in their communities.
The reauthorized act seeks to address part of the crisis by extending tribal jurisdiction over non-Native Americans who commit crimes of domestic violence or sexual assault against a Native American spouse or partner.
Tribal governments in the US currently do not have jurisdiction over non-Native Americans who commit crimes on their land.
Justice Department officials told Al Jazeera the low prosecution rate is attributable to a lack of evidence, or issues with witnesses in the majority of cases.
While the reauthorized version of VAWA is without a doubt stronger than previous ones, the provisions expanding tribal jurisdiction are still narrow.
"The US government has created that atmosphere." Looking back Jurisdictional loopholes are only one part of the equation, however.