Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers endorses findings of Human Rights Watch Report

For Immediate Release
Vancouver BC (February 18, 2013) – “This report confirms frontline evidence of sexist and racist violence endured by Aboriginal women. Frontline centers have recorded and protested this violence over many years.” says Lee Lakeman for CASAC. Since 2001 CASAC has been focusing particular attention on these issues as a crisis in violence against women. 
The report also supports CASAC in its long standing accusations that the RCMP neglect and sometimes participate in violence against women in particular against Aboriginal women and girls. “The current accusations of police brutality, sexual harassment, prostitution and wife assault by RCMP officers are crimes of a similar order” says Lakeman. “These cases are connected by systemic sexism and racism”.
“Even if you examine only those cases that proceeded to court in the interior and the north, to the rape child abuse and prostitution cases of the Judge Ramsey, Bishop O’Connor or John Furlong, you will see the mal- function of the RCMP or other police and criminal justice system. Or you can examine the RCMP failures in the Mooney case in Prince George and Velisek, Gakhal and Hull in Vernon, or the more familiar Pickton case. The brutality, racism and violence against women are obvious, sometimes at the hands of police and sometimes facilitated by police actions. And these are the ones they think are resolved”. 
Rape Crisis Centers and Transition Houses promise our callers complete confidentiality. In conditions of police neglect and even abuse we assure women they can come to us in confidence and remain in control of their own resistance and escape strategies. “Until they judge it safe, women should confide in only sources they can trust” says Lakeman. 
Government including police must accept the integrity and authority of women’s groups and human rights groups to aggregate the information gathered from our callers and interviewees for the benefit of social policy and social change. “Such organizations exist not only to bandage victims but to demand change” continues Lakeman.
Most urgent of those policy issues is the BC government neglect to include violence against women as serious crime in effective police oversight mechanisms. The government of Canada neglects the issues of violence against women which depress and degrade the Status of all Women in Canada and simultaneously neglects the urgent issues of violence against Aboriginal women. “The Canadian government offers us more and more law and the same old unfair social order” says Lakeman “with Aboriginal women on the bottom”. 
For further information contact: 
Ishama Harris, for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres