February 10, 2020
RCMP’s Alarming Response to Abduction Rumors Exacerbates MMIWG Crisis
((Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – February 10, 2020) Following reports of attempted abductions of women in the Tri-Cities area, Coquitlam RCMP issued a statement on February 6, 2020 that urged people to stop spreading “unproven rumors.” In their response, the RCMP failed to address the fear, mistrust, and colonial forces that compel women to depend on social media mobilization instead of the police for their safety, and ultimately dismissed the deeply rooted fear and trauma that plagues Indigenous women as a result of the ongoing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) crisis.
“The RCMP missed an invaluable opportunity– rather than berate vulnerable, fearful women for and dismiss their reasonably founded fears, they should have called attention to the systemic issues of violence, discrimination, and misogyny that have fueled the MMIWG crisis and contribute to the growing number of missing women cases in Lower Mainland,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). “By putting out a statement that fails to respect the real concerns and experiences of the women in our community, the RCMP are greatly discouraging people from coming forward in the future to share their stories of violence, victimization, and discrimination. Furthermore, they are contributing to the silencing of the issue of sexual violence that has long infiltrated our community and made women, girls, and people of marginalized genders fearful and hyper-vigilant. As an active member of the Coalition on MMIWG2S, UBCIC is committed to ensuring the National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice are implemented and honored by law enforcement, and that colonial tactics are never used to deny or discredit the experiences and truths of our women.”
“This Sunday marks the 31st anniversary of the February 14th Women’s Memorial March – a day in which we march to protest the forces of colonization, misogyny, and racism, and to celebrate the survival, resilience, and solidarity of Indigenous women who are committed to ending the violence that threatens vulnerable women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside,” stated Melissa Moses, UBCIC Women’s Representative. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCMP’s continued practice of dismissing the concerns of Indigenous women, the lack of progress and transparency surrounding the implementation of the MMIWG National Action Plan, and the recent disappearances of Trina Hunt and Shaelene Keeler Bell cast a long shadow over Indigenous women and girls. Now, more than ever, do governments, institutions, and the public need to mobilize their support and join us in addressing the challenges that face Indigenous women and girls. Importantly, we need to acknowledge and work together to rectify current shortcomings and failures in our practices, including the RCMP’s established history of dismissing Indigenous women’s issues rather than addressing the prevalence of gendered violence in the community and offering support to survivors.’
If you fear for your safety or are in immediate danger, please call 911. If you are not in immediate danger, please refer to the links and resources below:
Call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 for information about all services that are available throughout the Province.
Battered Women’s Support Services can assist with emotional support, safety planning, and legal advocacy
- Call at 604.687.1867 or toll free at 1-855-687-1868
- If you’re unable to speak safely, please text 604-652-1867 or email [email protected]
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Centre https://www.niwrc.org/
Judy Wilson, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer, c/o 778-866-0548 or [email protected]
Melissa Moses, UBCIC Women’s Representative, 808-428-0178
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca