FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2012 (Ottawa, ON) Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada encourages everyone to observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6 as an important day to remember and honour those Inuit women and girls who have lost their lives to violence.
Rebecca Kudloo noted “December 6 is a solemn day and this year marks the 21st anniversary since the naming of this day in Canada. This important day is also a reminder of the loss of life of so many vibrant and loved Inuit women and girls. It has been one week since the brutal murder of a young Igloolik woman, and many others will be remembered today.”
All Canadians are encouraged to observe a minute of silence on December 6 and to wear a white or purple ribbon as an expression of their commitment to end violence against women. In Canada, there are approximately 55,000 Inuit living in 53 communities in the North and as well as south of 60. ‘Inuit Nunangat’ is the Inuktitut term for ‘Inuit homeland,’ an expanse comprising more than one-third of Canada’s land mass, extending from Nunatsiavut in northern Labrador to the Northwest Territories.
The amount of violence and victimization of Inuit women and girls is occurring at an alarming rate here in Canada. According to the Statistics Canada report released December 4, 2012, Nunavut experiences a per capita homicide rate that is 12 times higher than the rest of Canada compared to seven per cent nationally.
Overcrowded housing and the lack of housing options, poverty, lack of employment and/or skills, substance abuse and the lasting effects of colonization, residential schooling and intergenerational trauma are all key issues that further contribute to Inuit women being vulnerable to ongoing abuse. The extreme housing crisis across the Arctic often means that for women living with violence in the home there may be no other safe housing options, and the cost of air travel to seek safety in another community can be prohibitively expensive.
“We need access to the basic range of health and social services taken for granted by other Canadians,” said Rebecca Kudloo, Interim President of Pauktuutit. “We need safe shelters and supports for victims of violence. We need multi-year funding to develop and deliver Inuit-specific programs, and support for what we know will work in our communities. We need tools to intervene in cases of child sexual abuse and supports for victims to heal and prevent the ongoing cycle of abuse. We need trained Inuit professionals to work with our people. We want the same quality of life – and personal safety – as other Canadians” she added.
Pauktuutit recently presented Inuit priorities and concerns to the provincial and territorial governments in attendance at the third National Aboriginal Women’s Summit held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on November 1. For example, more than 70 per cent of Inuit communities do not have safe shelters for women and children, which has directly resulted in the loss of lives. In Winnipeg, Ms. Kudloo had the opportunity to collaborate with Inuit leaders and solidify the priorities to move forward on action to address violence against Inuit women and girls. While no concrete decisions came out of the most recent National Aboriginal Women’s Summit, there is a shared commitment to continue the discussion.
For more information on the work Pauktuutit is conducting to prevent abuse and violence, please visit www.pauktuutit.ca
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada