Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Current TV's "Vanguard" Explores Rape on the Reservation

Current TV’s Vanguard continues its fourth season with Rape on the Reservation, premiering TONIGHT, June 2 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Correspondent Mariana van Zeller visits the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota to explore the persistent instances of abuse and rape of Native women. The documentary delves into the harrowing stories of women victimized on the reservation, as well as the difficulties they face attempting to seek justice.

Van Zeller goes in-depth with the mother of 19-year-old “Marquita,” who was raped and beaten to death in an abandoned house on the reservation in 2009, and “Donna,” who reveals the frightening retaliation she faced from her accused rapists’ family after pressing charges.

Van Zeller also gets law enforcement’s point of view; during a ride-along with tribal police, an officer admits that the police force is too understaffed to handle the number of calls that come in – many for sexual assault. The victims, their families, and the community also address how perception of women fuels the cycle of violence.

Difficulties exist on a federal level, as well: sexual assaults and homicides on a reservation fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. In 2006, the government declined to prosecute 65% of all major crime cases on reservations.

A 2007 Amnesty International study cites the following statistics:
* One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime.
* Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be the victim of a sexual assault than any other woman in the United States.

This is absolutely must-see TV. Often difficult and painful to watch, it's definitely an eye-opener into the secrets of life on the reservations. Current TV's Vanguard is bringing to light these atrocities against women, which can no longer be ignored or swept under the carpet.

Tune in tonight and discover this heartbreaking truth at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

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