The Native Youth Sexual Health Network has released a statement on the recent sexual assault in Thunder Bay, as well as offering support and resources for all Indigenous women in the Idle No More movement and all survivors of violence.
Violence against Indigenous women and girls has been, and continues to be used as a weapon of colonialism and a way to undermine the strength of our leadership. For this reason, NYSHN sees raising our voices together against sexual violence and making change for violence against women to stop as an integral part of ANY movement. This is especially relevant given the fact that Idle No More was started by Indigenous women. The health and well-being of our communities depends on the health and well-being of our mothers - including Mother Earth.
However, this is not only about ‘protecting women’ - it is also about protecting our men, Two-Spirit, Trans and gender non-conforming brothers and sisters and all our communities from the everyday violence of colonialism. Gender based violence, rape, and sexual assault are not ‘social issues’ that can be dealt with after the fact, they are real and happening NOW.
Resisting all forms of violence, whether it is legislative assaults like Bill C-45 or sexual assault is EVERYONE’s responsibility because gender based violence affects us all. Laws not only affect our lands but also our bodies: there is a direct connection between the violence in these two areas. We affirm the right survivors or victims of violence have to be believed and supported unconditionally when they say they have been assaulted regardless of whether they report to police or media. Trust that survivors and victims know what is best for them, and support their decisions about what they would like to happen after an assault.
Read the entire statement and see the extensive resource list here (PDF).