Date of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Type

Honors Project

School

College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Ryan LeCount

Abstract

Sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence have effected American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) women throughout time. Recent research has concluded that AIAN individuals are more than two times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other racial or ethnic group. This may be due to a number of factors such as historical trauma, tribal law discrepancies, and intimate partner violence as previous research has examined but other factors need to be analyzed. In this qualitative study, eight participants were interviewed on their thoughts on the topic of sexual assault and why they believe these rates are significantly higher on AIAN women. This study found that not one factor can be identified as the cause of the rates of sexual assault, but it is many different factors together. These factors range from the prominence of social silence, the lack of proper resources and the normalization of sexual assault in AIAN communities. While there is still much to be done and researched to gain a better understanding of why these rates of sexual assault against AIAN women are significantly higher than other racial and ethnic groups, this study serves to acknowledge the possible factors that may affect these rates.