National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault

LGBTQITraditionally, American Indian/Alaska Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) people were held in high esteem by their communities.

 

Two spirit people served as tribal leaders, medicine people, traditional healers, and mediators. They were frequently viewed as sacred people who embodied both male and female spirits.  Their wise counsel was often sought after because of their ability to view and solve important issues holistically.  Unfortunately, colonization has eroded some of the sacred, unique status afforded to two spirit persons. American Indian/Alaska Native LGBTQI victims now suffer rates of sexual violence significantly higher than the general population in the United States.

 

American Indian/Alaska Native LGBTQI women, in particular, suffer some of this nation’s highest rates of sexual violence. In a recent study of 152 American Indian/Alaska Native two spirit women, 85% reported being sexually assaulted at least once during their lifetimes. Seventy-four percent of the perpetrators of this sexual violence  were family members or acquaintances. Thirty-eight percent of the surveyed two spirit AI/AN women reported experiencing both physical and sexual assaults by both strangers and family members.

 

As shocking as these numbers may be, the reality is that sexual violence against American Indian/Alaska Native LGBTQI persons is rarely reported to law enforcement or healthcare providers. There are many reasons that LGBTQI victims do not report these crimes. Frequently, perpetrators may be family members and there may be considerable pressure to protect the perpetrator. Victims may fear being blamed or shamed for their own victimization. Fear that confidentiality may be breached in small communities and the perception that they likely will not receive increased safety and justice within the criminal justice system are also factors. Some perpetrators may even use threats to “out” the two spirit victim to their friends, family, peers, or coworkers to coerce the victim not to report the crime.   

 

Mistrust of law enforcement and healthcare systems are frequently cited as disincentives to reporting. Previous encounters with an unwelcoming or biased healthcare provider or law enforcement officer can prevent a victim from accessing those systems. Unaddressed healthcare consequences of sexual violence can result in lifelong, adverse health issues for victims. Unreported crimes of sexual violence can allow serial rapists to prey upon communities.

 

Some Indian Country perpetrators abuse antiquated tribal codes and current federal practices to escape punishment (i.e., some tribal codes criminalize only penile-vaginal penetration as a sex crime; non-Indian perpetrators may not be tried in tribal courts; and there is a high declination rate of federal prosecutions for sexual violence crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian Country, etc.). Two spirit victims may find themselves ineligible for some victim services –such as shelters- because they are male or because they are the same gender as the perpetrator.

 

Mistrust of law enforcement and healthcare systems are frequently cited as disincentives to reporting.

 

Previous encounters with an unwelcoming or biased healthcare provider or law enforcement officer can prevent a victim from accessing those systems. Unaddressed healthcare consequences of sexual violence can result in lifelong, adverse health issues for victims. Unreported crimes of sexual violence can allow serial rapists to prey upon communities.

 

Some Indian Country perpetrators abuse antiquated tribal codes and current federal practices to escape punishment (i.e., some tribal codes criminalize only penile-vaginal penetration as a sex crime; non-Indian perpetrators may not be tried in tribal courts; and there is a high declination rate of federal prosecutions for sexual violence crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian Country, etc.). Two spirit victims may find themselves ineligible for some victim services –such as shelters- because they are male or because they are the same gender as the perpetrator.

 

 

 

 

Publications:


Medical Resources- 5

Other Resources - 8

 

Full Publication List

 

 

  • Featured Publications

 

Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence

 

Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence

 

This National Institute of Justice Research Report compares intimate partner victimization rates across gender, race, and same-sex and opposite-sex cohabitants and examines the rate of injury, victims' use of medical services, and other risk factors.

 

 

Hate Crime Victimization, 2003-2011

 

Hate Crime Victimization

 

This report, authored and compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, discusses the frequency and prevalence of hate crimes in the United States between 2003 and 2011.

 

 

Promising Practices Against Hate Crimes: Five State and Local Demonstration Projects (May 2000)

 

Promising Practices Against Hate Crimes

 

The five demonstration programs described in this Bureau of Justice Assistance monograph are among the United States's most promising models for confronting and reducing hate crime. One program provides training to law enforcement professionals; another addresses the needs of hate crime victims; and three focus on bias among youths, with an emphasis on removing hate from public schools.

 

 

Sexual Violence Information for GLBTetc Communities and Supportive Others

 

Intimate Partner Violence Against AHTNA

 

This pamphlet, authored and distributed by Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) addresses sexual assault victimization amongst two-spirited individuals.

 

National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault, a project by the Southwest Center for Law and Policy © 2013

This project was supported by  Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessary represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice. All rights reserved. | Privacy policy