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An Online Resource Library on Gender-Based Violence.

No Exceptions Made: Sexual Assault Against Native American Women and the Denial of Reproductive Healthcare

General Material

According to the United States Department of Justice, a staggering 34% of all Native American2 women have reported being sexually assaulted.3 Native American women are nearly three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women of any other ethnic group in the United States.4 Despite these statistics, sexual assault against Native American women is an epidemic largely ignored by the federal government. Effectively addressing widespread sexual assault against Native American women necessitates a multi-layered approach that appreciates the severity of the epidemic of sexual assault and its impact on the broader Native American population. Eradicating sexual assault against Native American women will require a coordinated effort by federal, state, and tribal governments, which examines both legal remedies and public health interventions while simultaneously recognizing the marginalization of Native American people within the United States. Generally, the discussions surrounding the eradication of sexual assault against Native American women focus on the legal barriers to the prosecution, the punishment of offenders, and the governments failure to prioritize this issue. While this is a crucial piece of the puzzle, the focus must broaden to recognize that the cycle of violence against Native American women is perpetuated when women are denied access to reproductive healthcare services, including abortion, in the aftermath of sexual assault.