Although this may seem off topic for this blog, I decided to post it anyway. For all that we as victims of sexual assault suffer quite a bit through public opinion, it occasionally seems that we come off light. Although Eastern European, I would most likely be classified as a white woman. This means that I have a more reasonable chance of having public opinion take my side in the event of sexual assault.
Many ethnicities are not so lucky. Throughout both Canada and the US, non-white assaults are less likely to receive media attention and even in some cases, Police attention.
This is especially true within Native Communities. I recently heard a statistic that said that something like 150 Native women went missing in the last three years and their disappearances were not investigated.
Interestingly, First Nations people have been relatively silent in the past, when it comes to using popular media, in speaking out against the atrocities committed against them. In the class I was taking, I noticed a pattern. Many of those keeping silent, were those who had been assaulted in some way. Assaults that happened years before were only now coming to light. It reminded me of the silence of all victims. How often are we made to feel as though we do something wrong when we tell our stories? How often does someone tell us not to talk about it because it is too painful? Just as we have every right to speak out, so do they. It is not about others now but about us, as victims, to take back our voice and independence.
This is what many Natives are now doing. There was been a plethora of new books, essays, and stories written by Natives about their experiences in residential schools and other such government initiated acts of violence.
I may not be Native, but I hope that I can be forgiven in playing a part in helping their stories to be told. This is the essay I wrote for my class.
Breaking the Culture of Silence
Moreover, I noticed that the same sexual colonization that happens to the Natives in the article, actually happens to many victims of sexual assault. The same dehumanizing tactics are used against women of all races and creeds. I don’t care care which ethnicity you belong to, I think it is Time for us to Speak out and Break the Culture of Silence.