Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

A Grim How-To Manual Steps In to Help Native American Women Where the Government Won't


Two years ago, a young mother sat across from Charon Asetoyer in her office in Lake Andes, South Dakota. The mother had arrived at the shelter for battered women where Asetoyer worked. She lived on the Yankton Sioux Reservation and was seeking refuge for herself and her 11-year-old daughter. Asetoyer, a Native woman herself, had been working on behalf of Native girls and women for more than two decades. In spite of her years of experience, one question the mother asked caught her off guard: “What should I tell my daughter when she’s raped?”

“It just got to me, it was so matter of fact: I have a daughter and she will be raped,” Asetoyer told TakePart.


Though the question was blunt, it made sense to her: One in three Native women report being raped in their lifetime, according to the Department of Justice. For Native girls and women, Asetoyer says, sexual assault and rape is considered almost inevitable. And because of complicated jurisdictional laws that divide tribal and federal law, prosecuting non-Native perpetrators is so rare as to be almost nonexistent.


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