Bystanders to Violence and Neglect


In Canada the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) recently published a report that focused on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women. The numbers are staggering for a country that prides itself on equality and issues relating to human rights. What is lost in the report that states there are 1181 missing and murdered aboriginal woman is the fact that if we take the report further we would understand that represents 11.3% of missing and murdered woman. Meaning there are over 13 000 missing or murdered woman in this country.

Individuals who want to continue to ignore or be bystanders to the violence, exploitation and abuse of missing aboriginal woman and the RCMP report want to make this an issue of race. In fact this is about far more than just the over-representation of aboriginal woman who are either missing or murdered. Globally people who are in poverty, marginalized, dealing with issues of neglect, abuse and find themselves not having their basic human rights realized are far more likely to be victimized.

It would be premature to focus on research outcomes without first addressing the context of the research. Violence against women is a significant societal issue. According to the World Health Organization, it affects one-third of women around the globe and represents a health problem of “epidemic proportions.”1

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview

The most recent murder of Tina Fontaine brings to the light our need to be more vigilant in supporting our most vulnerable citizens. Our children, like Tina Fontaine, are at-risk of being abused, exploited and fall victim to those individuals that prey on children and those people most vulnerable. Canadian musician Wab Kinew indicated the over one thousand people who attended the vigil are stating ‘We will be silent no more’. Let’s be clear, there are people who know what happened to Tina Fontaine and the 1181 other aboriginal woman who are missing and murdered, as well as the over 13 000 other woman, but continue to remain silent. For our society to truly not be silent anymore those that were witness to or know who committed these acts of unspeakable violence and exploitation of woman and children will come forward and speak-up on behalf of the victims rather than remain in silence supporting the perpetrators of violence.

Violence and exploitation of woman, children and our vulnerable citizens is reaching epidemic proportions. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services ““After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world.” The ‘Not for Sale’ campaign indicates that there are over 30 million people enslaved world-wide and is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Issues related to child pornography, prostitution and free or cheap labour as the world seems to be adopting a money no matter what the cost attitude. Countries seem reluctant to deal with criminal activity of this magnitude, even at times seeming to portray the exploitation of woman as their choice, rather than seeing them as victims.

In order to start to make a difference and end the need to have vigils so we can hear the voice of the victim of such horrific acts of violence, we need more than laws and the enforcement of those laws but we need to change our own beliefs and attitudes about what is acceptable. We need to understand our responsiblity to protect all our children and vulnerable citizens. We need to all believe we are all born equal and we must work together to find a way that we remain equal no matter what race, culture or circumstance we find ourselves in.

It will require that we are no longer bystanders to violence and neglect. We need to protect our children by changing our attitude to the exploitation of woman and children through on-line pornography, child pornography or remain silent as they fall victims to drugs, alcohol or the sex trade. We must put a stop to those who earn their living through the exploitation of others.

We must create a more inclusive society where everyone matters, where people matter.

About jameswhoddinott

My novel 'When Eagles Dare to Fly' represents my belief that good will always triumph over evil and by developing who we are on the inside we will find our way. My newest novel 'The Fates' was released earlier this year that examines a society that discovers immortality. I have a blog called an 'Author, blogger and his musings' which talks about my writing, political issues as well as other areas of interest like education, art and photography,
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4 Responses to Bystanders to Violence and Neglect

  1. A Resident says:

    Do you believe the NDP’s devolution of CFS to aboriginals and overbearing Chiefs butting in was a good thing?
    Do you think the Children’s Advocate keeping secret their reports of children dying under CFS is a good thing?
    Do you agree an extra $100 million spent over 5 years for CFS by the NDP has made any difference? Would $500 million be better?
    Is FASD the elephant in the room that no one can touch because human rights are being violated if you try to force a pregnant woman not to drink/do drugs during a pregnancy?
    You don’t have to answer any of these questions but some people out here are asking them.

    My take is Doer blew it and dealt a royal flush to racial demands; playing the race card in reverse for political gain. Selinger has taken the ball and run it headfirst into his own goalpost and is still wondering what happened.


  2. Well complex issues require complex solutions. For me it is hard to judge situations and people until we have walked a day in their situation. There has been a long history of problems even beginning long before the treaties. The point of my article however is that this is a bigger problem than just the 1181 missing or murdered aboriginal woman. We have over 13 000 missing and murdered woman that we don’t have answers to. We seem to as a society that now judges victims rather then the people who commit the crimes.

    We certainly as Canadians need to find solutions so that all our citizens can be included. We need to work together to find ways we can move forward from the mistakes of the past and forge a new relationship where we can build the capacity for everyone to be successful. We need to strengthen families and the relationships we have with each other. We need to end this us against them attitudes and find away to work together. It will be difficult for some, perhaps many, on both sides.

    Having worked on a reserve as well as worked in many northern communities I have had the privilege of working with many hard working dynamic leaders in First Nations Communities. It is through these positive leaders we need to forge better relationships that can address the issues of poverty and addictions that contribute to difficulties. My life experiences have told me that successful change can only occur from the individuals with the necessary supports to make that happen.
    Hopefully all of us can find a way to be both supportive and as Wab Kinew said ‘It requires us to do something different – to change’. I know if our city, our province and country do not work together differently we will continue to have the issues of poverty and violence and that plague many Canadians.
    In the end the blame game needs to stop. We need to simply take stock of where we are at and decide where we need to go and then put into action the solutions that will take us there.


  3. Pingback: Calling all Fathers: Taking Action in 2015 | James W Hoddinott

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