2 thoughts on “Week 8 Day 1 Discussion Question 4

  • April 4, 2022 at 10:24 am

    According to Andrea Smith, “Because Indian bodies are ‘dirty,’ they are considered sexually violable and ‘rapable,’ and the rape of bodies that are considered inherently impure or dirty simply does not count.” She then gives the example of prostitutes where they are almost never believed when they are raped because society has constructed the idea that these women’s bodies are “undeserving of integrity.” In other words, Indigenous women’s bodies are not “entitled to bodily integrity.” Smith asserts that Native peoples are not seen as “real” people and that Native American identity is itself under the control of the colonizer and is always subject to “challenge or eradication.” Not only are there these terrible arguments for why the raping of indigenous women is not a serious matter, but colonizers argue that the subjugation of Native women is critical to the success of economic, political, and cultural colonization. There was also the belief that “Native women can only be free while under the dominion of white men” and many white colonizers that raped Indigenous women claimed that the real rapists were Native American men. Essentially, colonizers created any reason that they could to completely devalue and take all integrity away from Indigenous women’s bodies, and this is why any sort of rape was in most cases not even viewed as rape.

    • April 4, 2022 at 2:10 pm

      Hope has summarized the issue very concisely. One area for addition is looking at the ambiguity surrounding the process for seeking justice.

      As Hope commented on how, “Indigenous women’s bodies are not “entitled to bodily integrity.”” it is interesting to look into how systems of law support this characterization.

      In a New york times Op ed, Louise Erdrich noted that, “federal prosecutors decline to prosecute 67 percent of sexual abuse cases, according to the Government Accountability Office. More than 80 percent of sex crimes on reservations are committed by non-Indian men”.

      The fact that the overwhelming institutional response is to invalidate and ignore crimes commited once again highlights how native women are treated as inferior and discrediting their experiences is a justifiable sacrifice in the name of ‘keeping the peace’.

      Even the consequences of a successful conviction are mired by legal red-tape preventing tribal courts from enacting proper sentencing when facing members outside of the community. “tribal courts face major restrictions, including a one-year limit on sentences regardless of the crime and almost no jurisdiction over non-Indians.” Again, a clear indication of what Hope was talking about in terms of, “colonizers [creating] reasons that they could to completely devalue and take all integrity away from Indigenous women”.

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