Why are Indigenous Women Missing and being Found Murdered?

Category: Culture
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Did you know that Native American women are the smallest racial minority in the United States? Both Indigenous men and women have been subjected to sexual terror, but sexual violence doesn’t affect Native men and women the same. The crisis of murdered and missing Native women and girls raises questions around why is this still a crisis, who is responsible, and what can we do to prevent it? According to Canadian Journal of Women and Law, “Indigenous women are about 3-3.5 times more likely to be victims of a violent crime than any other women, and the violence they face is often more severe” page 340 ( Bailey and Shayan). When a native woman suffers from abuse, this abuse is based on her identity as a woman and as a Native. Missing and murdered Indigenous women is an issue that is currently affecting these women in the United States and Canada. Indigenous women are targeted for hatred and violent crimes. Digital technologies help interlocking oppressions of racism, sexism, and of course the legacy of colonialism to contribute to their victimization.

While violence towards women affects a broad spectrum of women and girls, Indigenous women and girls are particularly more vulnerable to stalking and intimate partner violence. Technology is culturally coded with forms of discrimination which intensifies these existing inequalities. New evidence found by Canadian Journal of Women and Law discovered, “Digital communications allow these victims to be stalked through technology which means, electronic records, text messaging, web search engines and social media strengthen the ability for the abuser to monitor these women” page 327 (Bailey and Shayan). This complicates how these women experience abuse and how they are able to protect. Canada recently reported that 98 percent of supervised Canadian anti-violence workers record that they had “supported women and girls who have been vulnerable, or intimidated via technology”. Then 72 percent have helped support women and girls whose accounts that have been hacked. This statistic raises concerns about online privacy and confidentiality for the Indigenous girls and women.

Emerging research demonstrates the role that technology plays in, and how digital communications technologies are used to traffick Indigenous women and girls. The internet and cell phones are being used for human trafficking of young girls and women in numerous ways. One of the more popular ways traffickers use the internet is to recruit these girls, mostly in rural areas, often promising a job in a big city. Traffickers have also used social media platforms like Facebook and Craigslist to “advertise” trafficked youth. Obviously, technology is only one of the factors of Native American girls and women being vulnerable to human trafficking, but it’s definitely the most crucial. Traffickers also track their victims’ recent activities through messages and the history of their phone log. International studies recorded by Canadian Journal of Women and Law demonstrated, “that being young, female, poor, socially or culturally excluded, and undereducated, as well as coming from “dysfunctional” families and having experiences with state institutions such as child welfare system, increase vulnerability to being targeted by traffickers” page 329 (Bailey and Shayan). These are all examples of root causes and the failure of the state to the missing and murdered Indigenous women crisis itself. Or what role, if any, are the internet providers playing or what actions should they be taking to address the crisis of human trafficking. What role is society taking to address this ongoing problem?

The lack of recommending technology measures to improve policing and justice mechanisms has also lead to the unresolved cases of missing and murdered Native women. Decades later and authorities still struggle with taking action. The police use different types of technology to handle investigations. DNA collection programs and social media are the two I am going to focus on. Voluntary DNA collections help aid criminal investigations and may offer closure to hurting families, but it doesn’t address the cause of these violent acts towards Indigenous women and girls. The targeted women provide their DNA and personal information to police teams and unmarked vans. These police officers try to build a bond with the women by offering water, support services, and information about the community. The social media platforms will hopefully draw awareness to unsolved cases and help locate missing women. This could also act as an alert to missing Indigenous women and girls that they are a priority and they are important.

On the 17th of August 2014, Tina Fontaine’s body was pulled out of the Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ever since her name has become widely known with the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. If she was white would you know who she was? If she was white would this still be a crisis? If I am being honest writing this paper really just ticked me off. The whole time all I could think about was, what is society doing to help prevent murders of women and young girls. As a woman, what am I doing to help? International Women’s day was just the other day to help encourage each other and our voices, but what are we doing for those who don’t have a voice?

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Why are Indigenous Women Missing and Being Found Murdered?. (2019, Aug 02). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/why-are-indigenous-women-missing-and-being-found-murdered/

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