Targeting of Indigenous Women 2g - Sexual Violence in Native America


‘I don’t know any woman in my community who has not been raped’: Sexual violence in Native America

In her book The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America, Sarah Deer writes that she heard this statement more than once in her work in Native communities.

‘I call it hunting – non-natives come here hunting. They know they can come onto our lands and rape us with impunity because they know that we can’t touch them.’ 

Lisa Brunner, advocate

Charon Asetoyer (Comanche) and other women from Canadian reservations  explained the severity of rape this way: Native women ‘talk to their daughters about what to do when they are sexually assaulted, not if they are sexually assaulted, but when.’ (Deer, 2015)


Indigenous women face the highest rates of violence per capita out of any other group. In the U.S, while the majority of sexual assaults against white and African American women were intraracial, ‘rape and sexual assault victimisations’ of Indigenous American and Alaskan women were more likely to be interracial, with a significant proportion of them being white male perpetrators. (Bachman et al, 2008)

  • In national averages, Indigenous women are twice as likely to be stalked than non-Indigenous women in the US.
  • Six in ten Indigenous women will be physically assaulted (Whitebear).
  • A 2007 report by Amnesty International ‘Maze of Injustice‘ cites data gathered by the US Department of Justice suggesting that Native American and Alaskan Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than non-Indigenous women in the U.S.
  • Based on data from a 2011 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 27.5% of American Indian and Alaska Native women had been raped in their lifetime while 55.0% experienced sexual violence other than rape in the course of their lifetimes.


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