The Forgotten Victims Of Domestic ViolenceMay 18, 2011 No Comments
As we all know, victims of violence exist worldwide. Some remain silent, some speak out and some are subject to such massive human rights violations that their story gets coverage on the international news scene.
Recently, we’ve seen coverage about violence in the Congo. It sends shivers down my spine when I hear that women are raped there every minute. This is information that the public needs to know to be aware, send aid and enact change.
Many Aboriginal women may be living outside of war-torn countries, but they’re also victims of heinous crimes. New figures, released by Statistics Canada, suggest grave atrocities against indigenous women.
“The agency says 223 of every 1,000 Aboriginal women reported incidents of violence, while the rate among non-aboriginal women was 84 in 1,000.”
It’s a striking comparison when you look at the stats. Among a host of other problems plaguing Aboriginal communities, domestic violence victims lack resources, including health and outreach workers. To add to this, many also live in remote areas, making it even more difficult to get the help they need and deserve.
Despite the reasons for high domestic violence incidents, these women need any help that they can get, especially when you read that “The proportion of Native women who reported violence by a current or former spouse was about two-and-a-half times higher than the proportion of non-aboriginal women.”
So what do we do?
Well, the Australian Government is providing $8.5 million over four years (2011-2012 and 2014-2015) to “expand and reform the support available for women experiencing domestic violence.” This is a significant step in aiding Aboriginal women.
The Australian reform includes education and training for Aboriginal health workers and nurses so they’ll be able to identify cases of domestic violence and, more importantly, be able to act on the incidents they do see. These workers will be able to make a positive impact on women’s lives by contributing to the solution. Now this is action.
Obviously, we must keep it in mind that there are many more steps to be taken to bring this problem to the limelight before greater action is taken.
At least we’re aware that a great deal of Aboriginal women live with violence or the threat of violence. Recognizing the problem is the first milestone and, for the sake of these women, it can’t be the last.
We may not hear of their struggles often, relegating them to the realm of “forgotten,” but after being smacked with the seriousness of the statistics, I don’t think we’ll ever forget.
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