Leave it to a congressman from the ex-Confederacy, where the white rape of black women has a long and sordid history, to hold up the Violence Against Women Act in order to protect white men from prosecution by tribal courts if they rape a Native American woman.
Yes that’s right. Eric Cantor is the holding up VAWA for that reason. Republicans have been fighting it tooth and nail because the new act would expand protections to immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans. They are caving on the first two. But about Native Americans, Cantor refuses to budge. Here’s the low-down.
Leahy explained the provision, probably the least understood of the three additions in the Senate bill: It gives tribal courts limited jurisdiction to oversee domestic violence offenses committed against Native American women by non-Native American men on tribal lands. Currently, federal and state law enforcement have jurisdiction over domestic violence on tribal lands, but in many cases, they are hours away and lack the resources to respond to those cases. Tribal courts, meanwhile, are on site and familiar with tribal laws, but lack the jurisdiction to address domestic violence on tribal lands when it is carried out by a non-Native American individual.
That means non-Native American men who abuse Native American women on tribal lands are essentially “immune from the law, and they know it,” Leahy said.
The standoff over including VAWA protections for Native American women comes at a time of appallingly high levels of violence on tribal lands. One in three Native American women have been raped or experienced attempted rape, the New York Times reported in March, and the rate of sexual assault on Native American women is more than twice the national average. President Barack Obama has called violence on tribal lands “an affront to our shared humanity.”
Of the Native American women who are raped, 86 percent of them are raped by non-Native men, according to an Amnesty International report. That statistic is precisely what the Senate’s tribal provision targets.
For all intents and purposes, Eric Cantor is coming out as the defender of (mostly) whites raping non-white women. I’d say this is especially reprehensible. But it’s Cantor so it’s par for the course.
Again, the coming Republican coalition is just around the corner……