Conviction of Colville’s mother raises justice issues facing Indigenous women
Devalue the body of indigenous women
Echo-Hawk views the lawsuit’s actions as representative of how the federal government devalues ââthe bodies of Indigenous women. She says devaluation has led indigenous women to experience the highest rates of physical and sexual violence per capita in this country.
âPenetration is rape,â Echo-Hawk said. âOur bodies matter. Rape survivors like me, we see it, we feel it, and damn, we’re going to fight it. “
The prosecution also pointed to some of Graber’s former dating partners who wrote letters claiming that he had never been sexually inappropriate with them in any way. “They couldn’t imagine that he was sexually inappropriate – let alone raping – anyone,” as proof that he could not have raped George, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge criticized the prosecution for failing to mention Graber’s ex-wife’s life restraining order, which details her accounts of her strangulation and her threatens to cut parts of her body and mutilate her. “He said that if he couldn’t have me, he would make sure that no one else wanted me,” said the police report attached to the restraining order. Among the many accounts of abuse by Graber’s ex-wife, mention is made of his arousal by beating and strangling her.
In a letter to Peterson, the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, one of the country’s oldest sexual assault coalitions and a leader in the anti-sexual violence movement since 1979, spoke of “misunderstanding and contempt. of the blame for some of the and well-documented dynamics of sexual and interpersonal violence and survival.
The organization also pointed out that 63% of rapes go unreported and that the experience of racism and police violence makes people of color even less likely to report.
According to court documents, George was once the victim of sexual misconduct and police sexual harassment so disturbing that she moved to another city for some time.
Court documents show Okanogan County Sheriff’s Detective Isaiah Holloway forcibly obtained George’s phone number and asked him to come to the hotel with him and drink, saying, “If you help me, I will help you, “according to George’s statement in September. . Holloway had nothing to do with the Graber shooting investigation, but he likely would have been the officer to respond if George had reported the rape due to the few officers working in rural Okanogan County.
Sexual assault experts request a forensic examination by a qualified sexual assault nurse examiner within 72 to 96 hours of the alleged assault in order to obtain physical evidence. But after hearing George’s account of the rape and shooting, the police sent George straight to Spokane County Jail.
Distrust of the system
Echo-Hawk calls the whole trial and the investigation that led to it a complete parody.
“Instead of ensuring that there is security on our land for our people, for our women, the Justice Department has done the exact opposite and created further distrust of the supposed justice system. “she said.
Colville Tribal Police did not respond to requests for comment by phone and email.
For George’s Indigenous supporters, in addition to seeing her as one of the missing and murdered Indigenous women, the separation from her child is a visceral reminder of American history of separating Indigenous children from their families. families.
âWe now have a mother who is missed by her family, her culture, her community, her loved ones, her land, because of this travesty of justice,â Echo-Hawk said. âThey took this mother from her child, continuing a cycle of colonial violence against Indigenous peoples. “
George’s mother is raising George’s daughter, Shynn, until her release. âI think right now Shynn is what wakes me up every day,â said Jody George, registered member of the Confederate Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Her granddaughter’s chatter and laughter could be heard in the background, trying to get her grandmother’s attention. “She’s been there every morning for me, making sure I get up and keep a smile on my face.”
“It was a complete travesty to see that instead of making sure that there is security on our land for our people, for our women, the Justice Department did the exact opposite and generated a additional mistrust in the supposed legal system “, Echo- dit Faucon.
Jody George, she would continue to stand up for not only her daughter, but all Indigenous people who are incarcerated and treated unfairly in court or in prison. âI’m going to do it for Maddesyn,â she said.
Throughout the trial, members of the coalition became close. George was able to lean on them when the going was tough and she needed someone to talk to. Judy George calls them her tribe.
“What we are seeing now is the love of indigenous communities and women’s advocates and other groups coming to hug these families,” Echo-Hawk said. âDespite all this violence, not only have we survived, but we are thriving and we will continue to do so. It is in our development that this fight for justice will never end. We will make sure our women are safe. Five hundred years ago we were the safest people on this earth, and we will be again. “