The organizer of an anti-violence march says the greatest threat to the safety of aboriginal women is aboriginal men. Conrad Burns says, “ I think we have lost our way”
He led a group of more than a dozen people to the legislature this morning carrying signs that read, “ Rise up against Violence” The 400 kilometer trek began in Prince Albert a week ago and ended in Regina this morning.
According to status of women Canada Aboriginal women are three times more likely to be abused and in almost all of the cases the abuser is an aboriginal man. Similar statistics are contained in the RCMP’s report into missing and murdered aboriginal women. It found that more than 90% of murdered aboriginal women were killed by a spouse, family member or acquaintance.
Burns says it is time for a major shift in attitude.
“It’s time to change that statistic and realize that abuse is not the right way to deal with things because abuse is one way of imposing your power on someone else, your hurt on someone else and if you love yourself you won’t hurt someone else, you will just show love.” He says.
One of the marchers is Debbie Chaboyer. She grew up in an abusive home, then later ended up in an abusive relationship. She finally got the courage to walk away. She does not want the cycle of violence and abuse to continue.
“I want to make a change for my grandkids, I want to make it stop, and I want to be able to speak about it.” She says. “ She says the abuse is wrong, the violence is wrong, its 2015 and we are getting strong and we are not going to stand up against abuse.”
In reponse to the RCMP’s report into missing and murdered aboriginal women, the force has set up 10 domestic violence units near reserves where women are at high risk. 6 of them are in Saskatchewan, but the RCMP will not identity them because it does not want to stigmatize the reserves.