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Nearly all Native American women living in Seattle raped or coerced into sex: US Survey

Native American residents of River Reservation in Green Grass, South Dakota, US (Photo by Reuters)

Study findings show that 94% of Native American women living in the US city of Seattle have been raped or coerced into sex.

Almost all women among the King County Native population of Seattle have experienced sexual assault, according to a recent report by the Urban Indian Health Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have decided to finally publish a shocking 2010 study after declining to do so for many years. 

The harrowing accounts were taken from 148 Native American women surveyed in the urban setting of Seattle

Other findings of the report are almost as shocking:

  • 68% of women have experienced street harassment
  • 53% of women were homeless
  • 82% of women were raped before reaching 18 years
  • Only 20% of women had reported their cases to the police

The 2010 study was accidentally rediscovered by Urban Indian Health Institute director Abigail Echo-Hawk in 2016 but was only published recently. According to Echo-Hawk the study had not been published based on fears of portraying a negative image of the Native community. Having survived rape herself, Echo-Hawk pushed for the study to be publicized.

Among various reasons cited in the report for the phenomena are the “historical trauma” of colonialism. The report defines this as “cumulative emotional and psychological injury over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma and a history of genocide”, making reference to the history of disintegration of the Native American community in the face of colonial domination.

A similar 2016 study done by the US Department of Justice also found “flawed tribal court structure, little local law enforcement, and a lack of funding” as reasons for high sexual abuse against Native American women.

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