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Mary Annette Pember: Native women affected by cutbacks at IHS

Red Silent Witness silhouettes represent victims of domestic violence. Photo from White Buffalo Calf Woman Society / Facebook

With the Indian Health Service cutting back care at the Rosebud Service Unit, independent journalist Mary Annette Pember looks at the impact on Native women:
The impact from Rosebud Hospital’s reduction in emergency room hours continues to expand as sexual assault victims on the Rosebud Reservation struggle to find services at local hospitals.

Janet Routzen, executive director of the White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing services to domestic violence and sexual assault victims on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota reports that local victims of sexual assault are being diverted from the Rosebud Hospital to off reservation hospitals located up to 100 miles away.

“We are concerned that women won’t go through with reporting sexual assault if they are forced to run all over the place to report a rape,” Routzen said.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to all other races.

Routzen reported that sexual assault victims from the Rosebud Reservation were recently denied rape kit services at the Cherry County Hospital in Valentine, Nebraska. A December 5 press release issued by Indian Health Service advised patients seeking emergency room services at the Rosebud Hospital from midnight to 7 a.m. to go to hospitals in Winner, South Dakota or Valentine, Nebraska.

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Sexual Assault Victims Suffering Because of Reduced ER Hours (Indian Country Today 12/29)

Related Stories:
Lakota Country Times: IHS restricts care at Rosebud hospital (12/24)

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