Fontaine’s murder has rightly reignited calls for a federal public inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women. How many more indigenous women’s and girls’ bodies do police have to discover by chance in rivers, forests, parks and farms before the government begins to show an ounce of interest in our lives? Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on his annual tour of the North, was posed essentially that question when asked to comment on Fontaine’s death last week. Harper replied, “We should not view this as a sociological phenomenon. We should view it as a crime.”
sociological phenomenon or crime? here’s some numbers that should clear that up for you (source):
- 1,017: Number of aboriginal women murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012
- 327: Total number of aboriginal women victims of murder reported by the RCMP to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in September 2013. The RCMP says that number was smaller “because they focused solely on RCMP jurisdictions and spanned a relatively short period of time.”
- 164: Number of aboriginal women reported missing between 1980 and 2012. The real number is likely higher, since the stat only includes women missing at least 30 days.
- 225: Number of unsolved cases of missing or murdered women
- 16: Percentage of women victims of murder who were aboriginal. Aboriginal women are roughly four times more likely to be victims of murder than non-aboriginal women.
- 8: Percentage of female victims of murder who were aboriginal in 1984
- 23: Percentage of female victims of murder who were aboriginal in 2012
- 12: Percentage of aboriginal women victims of murder from 1991 to 2012 who were likely involved in the sex trade. That’s versus 5 per cent of non-aboriginal women. The RCMP notes that the proportion for both is relatively small and that “it would be inappropriate to suggest any significant difference in the prevalence of sex trade workers among aboriginal female homicide victims as compared to non-aboriginal homicide victims.”