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Do Native communities have a sex abuse problem?

Jun 13, 2020 | Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse often begins when a person is young and may last for years because the person is afraid to tell anyone. This cycle of abuse allows for it to continue, sometimes leading to a serious problem within a community. 

According to the Great Falls Tribune, the issue of sex abuse is one with which the Native community struggles. Unless a victim is strong enough to speak out, it often continues and additional people fall prey. You likely have not heard of such issues because this community likes to contain its problems and not let outsiders find out. 

Staggering statistics 

The reality is that sexual abuse happens to every one in three Native women. Abuse is something this community has grown to know since the 1800s when the government sent children away from parents to boarding schools. In those schools, such abuse was rampant. 

Due to the trauma of the abuse, these children often grew up to become offenders themselves. The cycle started and is still going. 

Silent culture 

A major reason why you do not hear about these issues is that the Native community is very tightknit. They fear one bad report could tarnish the whole community. Those coming forward with accusations often faced harsh interrogations and accusations that they were lying. Those in authority will sweep the incidents under the rug and pretend they never happened, leaving victims feeling like they suffered through abuse again. 

Speaking out 

A change in the culture will only come when people begin speaking out and overcoming those old attitudes. There are some people in the community working to make things different and to free abuse victims from the pain and embarrassment so they can speak their truth.