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An audience member asked her about Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s opposition to a portion of the Violence Against Women Act that would allow the federal government to intrude on tribal lands and prosecute offenders.

“There’s a staggering amount of [sexual] violence on tribal lands and tribal communities within our country. It’s just astronomical,” Fluke said.

A typical tribal court, she said, will only prosecute members of its own tribe.

“It’s really terrible,” Fluke said. “It’s sexual assault, domestic violence, gender-related violence. And part of that the reason for that is there’s a cultural impunity. There’s an understanding that those crimes won’t be prosecuted. And they’re not prosecuted.”

The New York Times reported in May 2012 that U.S. Department of Justice statistics show one-third of American Indian women have been the victims of rape or attempted rape — a sexual assault rate that is more than twice the average nationwide.

Nicole LaFond contributed to this story.

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