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Minnesota Women's Press: On Sarah Deer, Changemaker

By Mary Turck
Minnesota Women's Press

The Beginning and End of Rape (Sarah Deer)One in three Native women will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime, compared to one woman in five in the general population. 

"Native women can expect to be raped. They can expect their daughters to be raped," says Sarah Deer. 

The William Mitchell law professor has been working to end rape and violence against women - especially Native women - since she was a 20-year-old volunteer at a rape crisis center in Lawrence, Kansas, where Haskell Indian Nations University is located. 

"The women who called our hotline, who were raped on campus or back on their homeland, never found solace or support," Deer recalls. "This was so pervasive that women were not surprised when they were raped." 

Those women remain with her because they are the reasons for her life work. "I may not remember names," she says, "but I remember faces." 

In her 2015 book, "The Beginning and End of Rape," Deer writes, "Indigenous people across the world share a common experience - namely, an intrusion on their lands and culture by an exterior, hostile outsider. Rape victims experience the same dynamic, but it is played out on their bodies and souls rather than on the land." 

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