FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FRIDAY, March 29, 2013CONTACT: Janelle Moos, Executive Director
CAWS RESPONSE TO CONGRESSMAN CRAMER’S VISIT
BISMARCK- The reality of sexual assault and domestic violence can be overwhelming, but talking about the devastating effects on victims and their families is the first step. American Indian women living on reservations experience unique challenges that intensify the epidemic of violence against them. In a 2008 CDC study, 39% of Native women surveyed identified as victims of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, a rate higher than any other race or
ethnicity surveyed. Further, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs at least 70% of the violent victimizations experienced by American Indians are committed by persons not of the same race.
The hard fought provisions included in the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)addressing the tribal populations are a key part of the legislation and we are disappointed Congressman Cramer did not take the opportunity this week to lend his support to the good work being done by victim assistance providers on our ND reservations. We stand in strong support of our tribal allies in the field and commend the important work they are doing to stop domestic violence and sexual assault on the reservations and across our entire state.
We see this as a great opportunity to provide education about both the myths surrounding our reservations as well as the laws and resources which are now available to assist them in ending the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault.
We appreciate Congressman Cramer’s support of the reauthorization of VAWA and understand he is reaching out to Melissa Merrick and has apologized for the tone of his remarks. We appreciate this gesture. Janelle Moos, the Executive Director of CAWS North Dakota, visited with the Congressman earlier today and has invited him and his staff to visit any of the 21 programs, especially those working on the reservations, in order to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face ensuring victims have access to safety and justice. We hope that this willall lead to a greater understanding of the work of victim assistance providers and to more respectful dialogue in the future.
ABOUT CAWS North Dakota:
CAWS North Dakota is a membership organization representing the 21 domestic violence and sexual assault crisis centers throughout the state. It is the mission of CAWS North Dakota to provide leadership and support in the identification, intervention, and prevention of domestic and sexual violence. For more information, please visitwww.ndcaws.org.