Archive for January 9th, 2012

The current statistics are shocking enough, and a new clarification of definition of rape may highlight more troublesome, increased numbers of rape cases in Indian Country.

As Rob Capriccioso reports on ICTMN, the Obama Administration recently expanded the official definition of rape. That could help tell a more accurate picture of sexual assaults across the country and help define a solution.

In the past, the numbers have shown Native women are more than three and half times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape.

    That revelation was made clear January 6 when the Obama administration announced that the federal government would also begin counting rapes toward women that were done by an object or mouth on the vagina or anus without consent, and it would begin counting rapes of children and men as well. The new data will be collected for the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The new definition is more consistent with state laws and local crime reports, administration officials said.

    Obama administration officials said the new measuring methods may lead to an increase in the number of counted rapes nationwide, including those in Indian country.

    “This major policy change will lead to more accurate reporting and far more comprehensive understanding of this devastating crime,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to Obama, in a press conference call. She called the old data “incomplete,” and said that “it has not captured the true impact of this crime.”

Capriccioso also discusses in his report how decreased federal funding for certain programs inhibits the prosecution of attackers and resources available to victims of rape in Indian Country.

Jenna Cederberg

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Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s recent book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

This election ought to be about one issue, a referendum on health care reform.

Republicans say it’s about repealing Obamacare. Every candidate has pledged to repeal the law (as if presidents had such power) as a first act in office. But then what? What actions would follow to improve health care and dramatically lower the costs? Is there a conservative alternative? (I don’t see kicking young people off of Medicare as a solution – that idea doesn’t drive costs down).

But the “what next?” question remains a tough one for President Obama and the Democrats. The Affordable Care Act was a baby-step, a beginning, not an end.

This single election question matters because the cost of health care is the federal deficit. We are paying far too much for an inefficient health care system when we also have an aging population that is facing expensive medical care. Just think, if we solve this one problem, then the rest of the budget is manageable.

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