Missing, murdered inquiry must address domestic abuse: activist

OTTAWA - An Ojibway activist is calling on the federal government to include domestic abuse in a forthcoming inquiry exploring the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

See Full Article

Joan Jack, a retired lawyer who ran to lead the Assembly of First Nations in 2012, says the inquiry should include the entire spectrum of vulnerabilities faced by aboriginal women both on- and off-reserve.

"At one end you have domestic violence and at the other end you've got the serial killer," Jack said in an interview.

Some women in indigenous communities are reluctant to come forward to talk about the abuse, which is a product of colonialism and the legacy of residential schools, said Jack, who is from Berens River First Nation in Manitoba.

"I think the only way women would talk is if their comments were kept anonymous," she said. "They're scared because when you're being beaten up, it is scary."

Perpetrators may be related to people in power in tight-knit communities, she added.

"If you decide to talk ... it just doesn't affect your personal safety," Jack said. "It affects your ability to benefit from the limited resources that we have."

Jack also said she would like to see aboriginal leaders focus more on teaching indigenous men about sexism, in addition to giving them the opportunity to build self-esteem.

The high levels of violence in many communities has been on the radar of the Native Women's Association of Canada for decades, said president Dawn Lavell-Harvard.

"We don't have the same supports as other communities and then the increased vulnerability when our women go to urban and rural settings and level the communities and things are even worse," Lavell-Harvard said.

The inquiry will need to examine the complete picture in order to be effective, she added.

On Tuesday, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett emphasized that the inquiry would need to examine the root causes of the violence, going beyond a mere tally of missing and murdered women.

The issue of domestic violence is still "almost routinely linked" to the effects of residential schools, as well as the effects of child abuse and the child welfare system, she noted.

"Unfortunately in some families, you will end up with the perpetrator and the victim," Bennett said.

"Even though the statistics will show that indigenous women are slightly less likely to be killed by an intimate partner or former partner, all of these issues have to be dealt with.

"The bottom line that I heard the most often was, 'Hurt people with hurt people."'

Lavell-Harvard said the government should take immediate action to provide more shelter spaces for indigenous women in crisis.

"That needs to be addressed right away," she said.

Bennett said the government is aware of a need for more safe houses and additional shelter space both for indigenous communities and in the urban centres.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Palestinian teen shot dead in Israeli raid on West Bank

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM - Health authorities said a 16-year-old Palestinian died early Wednesday after being wounded during clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a wave of violence that has persisted for months. Source
  • Russia launches fresh offensive, wants sanctions relief to free up Ukraine food supply routes

    World News CBC News
    Russian forces launched offensives on towns in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, with constant mortar bombardment destroying several houses and killing civilians, Ukrainian officials said, as Russia focuses its attack on the industrial Donbas region. Russia has been focused on attempting to seize the separatist-claimed Donbas's two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, and trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket on the main eastern front, according to Ukrainian officials. Source
  • Winnipeg River, already flowing at a record volume, slated to rise even higher

    Canada News CBC News
    The Winnipeg River is flowing at a record volume in Manitoba because officials no longer have any other option to control flooding across a vast swath of northwestern Ontario and northern Minnesota. Flooding on the Winnipeg River, which is running at about three-and-a-half times higher its usual volume this time of year, has already forced hundreds of people from their homes and washed out roads in Whiteshell Provincial Park. Source
  • How one stone gave a Halifax-area park heritage status

    Canada News CBC News
    A hulking, rocking chunk of granite that's been attracting visitors for two centuries and is rumoured to have caught the attention of royalty has had its historical importance to the Halifax area set in stone. The Halifax Regional Municipality awarded heritage status last week to the Rocking Stone and the surrounding Kidston Lake Park in the community of Spryfield. Source
  • Ukraine updates: Russian shelling kills 6 civilians

    World News CTV News
    What's happening in Ukraine today and how are countries around the world responding? Read live updates on Vladimir Putin and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. KYIV, Ukraine -- A regional governor in eastern Ukraine says at least six civilians have been killed by the latest Russian shelling. Source
  • Ukraine updates: Ukraine remains defiant about peace terms

    World News CTV News
    What's happening in Ukraine today and how are countries around the world responding? Read live updates on Vladimir Putin and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. DAVOS, Switzerland -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his country will not give up land in return for an end to the war with Russia following its invasion. Source
  • Wharf of reserve base in St. John's collapsing into sink holes, set for demolition

    Canada News CBC News
    After years of speculation, the Department of National Defence has confirmed a significant section of a naval reserve base in St. John's is set for demolition. HMCS Cabot consists of two large buildings on the south side of St. Source
  • What's a derecho and why is it so destructive? The science behind this powerful storm

    Canada News CBC News
    When Canadian tornado expert David Sills studied the forecast on Saturday morning, he never expected the line of storms headed for Windsor, Ont., would soon strengthen into Canada's first derecho in decades, wreaking havoc across southern Ontario and Quebec. Source
  • Where has Doug Ford been during Ottawa emergencies? Someplace else

    Canada News CBC News
    With just about a week left until election day, Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford was supposed to make his first — and presumably only — campaign stop in Ottawa on Thursday. But after a devastating storm ripped through the capital and the surrounding areas in eastern Ontario, Ford's Ottawa trip was cancelled. Source
  • Conservative leadership candidates gather in Quebec for final debate of the race

    Canada News CBC News
    Conservative leadership candidates will gather tonight for the final official debate of the race — a French-language contest that will challenge the candidates' languages skills as they fight for the top job. Tonight's debate in Laval, Que. is the last campaign event where candidates will have a chance to convince would-be voters to take out party memberships before the June 3 deadline. Source