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

  • 1 dead, 7 hurt after Ohio fair spinning ride Fire Ball breaks apart

    World News CBC News
    A swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball broke apart on the opening day of the Ohio state fair on Wednesday, hurtling people through the air, killing at least one and injuring seven others. Source
  • Travellers warned of possibly tainted alcohol in Mexico

    World News Toronto Sun
    MILWAUKEE — The U.S. State Department is warning tourists going to Mexico about reports of tainted or substandard alcohol causing drinkers to become sick or pass out. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported about travellers becoming sick after drinking alcohol at Mexican resorts. Source
  • Video captures moment ride breaks apart at Ohio State Fair; 1 killed, 7 hurt

    World News Toronto Sun
    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball broke apart on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday, hurling people through the air, killing at least one and injuring seven others. Source
  • WATCH: Cellphone video shot by California inmates shows escape [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Video shot by three inmates with a smuggled cellphone shows their methodical escape through a vent at the maximum-security wing of a Southern California jail last year, along with scenes from their days on the run. Source
  • Teen pleads not guilty in fatal crash streamed on Instagram [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS BANOS, Calif. — A California teenager pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges of vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving after she lost control of her car while livestreaming on Instagram and recording a crash that killed her younger sister. Source
  • Video captures moment ride malfunctions at Ohio State Fair; 1 killed, 7 hurt

    World News Toronto Sun
    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball broke apart on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday, hurling people through the air, killing at least one and injuring seven others. Source
  • Argentina sentences 4 ex-judges for dictatorship-era crimes

    World News CTV News
    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Four former federal judges in Argentina were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for crimes against humanity committed during the country's last dictatorship in a ruling human rights groups are calling historic for punishing the regime's civilian accomplices. Source
  • B.C. wildfire forces evacuations, threatens structures near Kamloops

    Canada News CTV News
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- A rapidly-moving wildfire has forced people to flee dozens of properties east of Kamloops, B.C. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation order for 39 properties in Monte Lake Wednesday night, saying a fire burning in the area posed an "imminent threat" to people and property. Source
  • Cellphone video shot by California inmates shows escape

    World News CTV News
    SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Video shot by three inmates with a smuggled cellphone shows their methodical escape through a vent at the maximum-security wing of a Southern California jail last year, along with scenes from their days on the run. Source
  • North Korea mysteriously cancels beer fest, but unveils new brew

    World News CTV News
    PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- North Korea has suddenly cancelled a popular monthlong beer festival, but people won't be going thirsty in a country where brews are cheap and carry the ruling family's seal of approval. Source