November 21, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is calling on all partners and concerned citizens to join them in recognizing the tragic outcome of the complaints filed by Indigenous women in Val-d’Or and other rural regions against members of the Quebec police force. In support of these women and Quebec Native Women Inc. (QNW), this event is dedicated to raising awareness of systemic violence against Indigenous women, demonstrating support for the brave women who came forward with their allegations of abuse, and addressing the issue of police accountability.
What: We Believe You; Standing With The Sisters of Val-d’Or
When: 6:00pm Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
Where: The Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario
After media attention was brought to a number of complaints regarding sexual violence and abuse of power by Quebec police officers in Val-d’Or and other rural regions in October of 2015, an investigation failed to produce any charges. The Crown has cited a lack of evidence as the reason for this disappointing outcome.
A recently released report by the United Nations (UN) has urged Canada to address the “continued high prevalence” of gender-based violence, with special regard to that against Indigenous women and girls. A “very low” number of cases involving violence against women combined with low rates of prosecution and conviction against perpetrators are systemic failures identified by the UN as being specific to Canada. Failures to press charges after abuses are reported, as seen in Val-d’Or, are exemplary of why women aren’t coming forward.
“If you can’t go to police expecting to be protected, that’s going to lead to such despair and depression and anger … and disrupt any growing positive relationship with the policing system,” said NWAC President Francyne Joe on the subject of Val-d’Or and its greater scope.
NWAC will host speakers including NWAC President Francyne Joe and Executive Director Lynne Groulx . A mirror event will be hosted by Quebec Native Women Inc. (QNW) in Montreal. Viviane Michel, President of Quebec Native Women, said this week “We issue a message to the Quebec population to believe these women. Show these women, these victims, that there is someone, somewhere, who believes them.”
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.
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