The scope of violence against Aboriginal women and girls is well-documented with facts from 2009 showing:
- Aboriginal women experience spousal violence at a rate three times higher than that of non-Aboriginal women or men.
- 54% of Aboriginal women versus 37% of non-Aboriginal women who reported spousal violence, also report the most severe and potentially life-threatening forms of violence, including being beaten or choked, having had a gun or knife used against them, or being sexually assaulted.
- Aboriginal women are more likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to have suffered physical injury, received medical attention, required time off daily activities as a consequence of these assaults.
- Aboriginal women aged 15 to 34 years represent close to two-thirds (63%) of female victims while they accounted for just under half of (47%) of the female Aboriginal population aged 15 years or older living in the ten provinces.
- In about 8 of 10 (79%) of violent incidents involving Aboriginal women as victims, the perpetrator was male.
Statistics Canada, 2009
The Southern Chief’s Organization (SCO) recognizes that while there is a general agreement about the extent of the issue of family violence, there is little recognition of those outside the Aboriginal community of the need to understand and develop solutions within the proper context of history and colonialism and their impacts on gender relations between individuals within their families and communities having a cultural understanding and acceptance between First Nations and non-First Nations communities.
The issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is at the forefront of SCO’s agenda in the call for action. Manitoba has the third highest number of cases in Canada (79). With 81% of cases in Manitoba as murder cases, Manitoba statistics are considerably higher than the national average of 67% (NWAC, 2010).
With the recognition that action needs to continue in the awareness of this issue, the need to support affected families and communities and to call on the Governments of Manitoba and Canada to conduct respective provincial and national inquires, SCO remains committed to assist in the research of the underlying issues of why women and girls too often are forced to exist in dangerous, volatile and unsafe environments.
Enough is Enough Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls:
In March of 2012, Southern Chiefs’ Organization was granted funding from the Status of Women Canada under its Call for Proposals:
“Women Living in Rural and Remote Communities and Small Urban Centres”
Theme: Community planning to reduce violence against women and girls in rural communities and urban centres in Canada.
This three year funded project will focus on the identified southern communities that Southern Chiefs’ Organization works with and provide First Nations women and girls reduction strategies leading to the prevention of family violence.
The purpose of this project is to assist identified First Nations communities to develop, implement and evaluate an inclusive, strengths-based prevention and education focused community plan that facilitates reconciliation of (mis)perceptions, attitudes, and understandings at the individual, community, and intra-community (rural and small urban settings), which underly the range of institutional barriers and other factors relating to violence against First Nations women and girls.
This project will address the range of institutional barriers and other factors that limit community efforts to address the issue of violence against women and girls, including sexual assault, in rural and small urban centres. The project will build partnerships and collaborations between community stakeholders (eg. women, local, regional and provincial governments, community organizations, service providers, legal institutions, law enforcement, etc…) in order to identify and respond to the specific needs of women and girls who are victims of violence and/or at risk.
With the target population for this project of 5,000 to 7,000 First Nation women and girls living in and around the community of Portage La Prairie in Manitoba and 8 adjacent rural First Nation communities including those communities with Community Justice Worker Programs, the Project Coordinator will work with women, girls, planning partners and community members to develop tools to implement, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the community plan. The expected outcomes of this phase of the project are: tangible implementation tools, progress reports, and a collaborative provincial Aboriginal community model to address violence against First Nations women and girls.
- Build self-esteem, strengthen cultural identity, and increase self-worth, of First Nations women and girls
- Identify effective approaches to establishing and maintaining respectful and supportive relationships between First Nations women and girls, men and boys.
- Broaden the understanding of the relationship between (mis)perceptions, attitudes and understandings of violence against First Nations women and girls and institutional and systemic barriers while also identifying effective approaches to addressing these challenges.
- Strengthen existing partnerships, and establish new ones, to collaboratively identify and respond to the specific needs of First Nations women and girls who are victims of violence or are at-risk.
- Increase awareness of local supports for First Nations women and girls who are victims of violence, and identify culturally relevant communication needs.
- The organization will assist in the development of a community plan model (in collaboration with the identified participating First Nation communities) that can be replicated in diverse situations and shared inter-tribally with other Manitoba First Nation communities as a template to be used in their own communities.
- Create a sustainability plan that will identify linkages and new venues that could also support the project model/plan uptake beyond the three year project timeline.
National Campaign to End Violence against Women
Every 25th of the month, supporters of such cause are encouraged to wear orange shirts in participation of a national awareness campaign to end violence against women. T-shirts were exclusively and custom made, in honor of this nationally recognized United Nations violence-free campaign with the SCO logo and a message that says: “SCO says NO to Violence, Unite to end violence against women and girls.” These shirts are made in sizes S,M,L,XL,XXL and are available to the general public. The shirts are brought to rallies in support of Missing and Murdered Women and other related rallies on First Nations awareness events, as well as booths and fairs and other special events.
If you are interested in learning more about the Family Violence Prevention and Resource Project (FVP&R), you may contact the coordinator at anytime. If you would like to get a shirt to show your support please feel free to email your request at the email address listed in header.
For those that have endured or are enduring family violence, know that there are places and people to turn to. Be strong, be safe and talk to someone. Break the cycle by saying “NO” to violence against women:
New initiatives in designing a prevention model that supports First Nations will be developed in an on-going effort to creating a sustainable and adaptable community plan. Some of those efforts will include pilot projects that will promote community engagement at all levels.
Introducing “Stop the Violence,” a New Pilot Project aimed to Create Awareness and Reduce Family Violence targeting Southern First Nations Youth”.
Pilot Project Launch date: November 29th, 2013
Pilot Project Ending: January 31, 2014
Open to all Southern First Nations Youth, on or off-reserve between the ages of 13-25 years old.
Please download (pdf) files below for more information or call us at (204) 946-1869 ext. 107 and we can email them to you.
- Stop to Family Violence Poster
- Contest Entry Form
- Stop Family Violence Info Package
- Pilot Project Press Release, November 28th, 2013
“We’re Talking Again!”
An open forum on family violence took place February 24, 2015 at the Thunderbird House in Winnipeg. In attendance were First Nation community members, individuals affected by violence and community stakeholders/service providers.
A summary of the event can be found here Summary Report.