An amendment which would have severely restricted protections for Native American women under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was defeated yesterday evening.
The amendment, proposed by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), would have removed a new provision of VAWA that would allow Native American tribal courts to try non-Native Americans for cases of violence against women that occur on tribal lands against members of the reservation. The amendment was defeated in a 59 to 31 vote.
Senator Coburn proposed the amendment and argued that the new provisions would eliminate the constitutional rights of non-Native Americans if they go before a tribal court. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) explained that Native American women experience abuse at a rate of two and a half times the national average, and argued that the new provisions extend constitutional rights to tribal courts. "This is about the life and death of women who need a better system to help prosecute those who are committing serious crimes against them," she said.
In late January, Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The bipartisan-supported Senate VAWA includes expanded protections for Native American women, LGBTQ individuals, students, and immigrant women. Last week, an amendment that would have removed the expanded protections was defeated in a 65 to 34 vote.
Media Resources: Associated Press 2/12/2013; Senate Roll Call Vote on Coburn Amdt No. 13 2/11/2013; Feminist 2/8/2013; 1/23/2013
5/22/2013 Army Commander Suspended for Adultery Amid Wave of Sexual Assaults - On Tuesday, Brigadier General Bryan T Roberts was suspended from his position as commander of the Fort Jackson, South Carolina training camp which trains approximately 60% of incoming female recruits pending an investigation into allegations of adultery.
Roberts was suspended following allegations of "adultery and a physical altercation." Colonel Christian Kubik, an Army spokesperson for the Training and Doctrine Command, told reporters "We don't have any evidence of any sexual assault. . . .