Coercive Animal Abuse Identified in Native American Populations
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind to analyze the prevalence of animal abuse employed as a form of psychological aggression among American Indian and Alaska Native victims of intimate partner violence, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has reported compelling statistics. In reporting the prevalence of sexual violence, physical violence, stalking, and psychological aggression, the NIJ reported that 16.8% of Native American female victims and 2.4% of male victims reported that they had experienced threats of having their pets hurt or taken away. The NIJ’s measures of psychological aggression by intimate partners include expressive aggression, control of reproductive or sexual health, and coercive control, of which threats to pets comprise one significant criterion. Key findings of the report include: • 84.3% of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime; 39.8% experienced violence within the past year. • 66.4% of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime; 25.5% had experienced it in the past year. • Among men, the rates were 73.0% and 27.3%, respectively. • Among victims, lifetime rates of psychological aggression were 91% of women and 88% of men. • More than 1.2 million American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced psychological aggression by intimate partners over their lifetime. They are 1.3 times as likely to have experienced psychological aggression as white women. Besides threats to animals, other forms of coercive control included: • Being kept from seeing or talking to family or friends • Having decisions made for them • Being tracked by questions about locations and actions • Threats of physical harm • Threats of the perpetrators hurting themselves • Threats or actual harm to loved ones • Threats of having children taken away • Being kept from leaving the house • Having something that was important to them destroyed The increased risk of violence resulted in significant numbers of men and women who needed medical care but were unable to access such services. Other adverse impacts – including fear for safety, physical injuries and missing work or school – were significantly higher than for white populations. The report is based on the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted in 2010 by the CDC with information from 2,473 women and 1,505 men who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native. —
Rosay, A.B. (2016). Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men: 2010 Findings from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.