Nunavut women’s group wants help for sexual assault victims
Territory must face history of “endemic sexual assault in our communities”
The Government of Nunavut should do more to help the victims of sexual violence, the Qulliit Status of Women Council said Aug. 16 in a statement.
“Qulliit believes that Nunavut has a moral imperative to address its staggering rate of sexual violence against children, which is 10 times higher here than in the rest of Canada,” the council said in the statement.
The statement follows two highly-publicized arrests for sexual assault in Nunavut this past Aug. 15
In one, an Iqaluit man faces seven charges, including two counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement related to two incidents alleged to have occurred Aug. 14.
In another, a 58-year-old teacher from Sanikiluaq, Johnny Meeko, was charged with 29 offences involving eight complainants in a series of incidents alleged to have occurred between 1984 and 2006 at Nuiyak elementary school.
Meeko has worked since 1973 at Nuiyak School.
“It takes a lot of courage to come forward. We need to ensure victim support and advocacy systems are readily available for people who report sexual assault,” Charlotte Borg, the acting president of Qulliit, said in the news release.
The council said in its statement that sexual violence is “one of the many manifestations of Nunavut’s colonial history” and “includes traumatic betrayal by those teachers and priests who left our territory a legacy of physical and psychological pain through sexual abuse.”
Fixing that means Nunavut must face the history of “endemic sexual assault in our communities,” the statement said.
“We must intervene and provide welcoming and accessible programs for the victims of sexual assault; to not do so is an indication of our complacency and our acceptance of the violence in our communities,” Borg said in the statement.