November 4, 2022
On November 1, 2022, APTN released information that an Ontario Provincial Police officer was charged with obtaining sexual services for consideration and breach of trust.
Obtaining sexual services for consideration is prohibited under the provincial Police Services Act. However, the accused, James John Clark, allegedly repeatedly exploited and victimized an Indigenous woman, Ruth Machimity, and targeted her instead of fulfilling his duty to protect her.
Unfortunately, this incident is not an isolated one. Gender-based exploitation, violence and discrimination is rampant in the RCMP and local police forces. The breach of trust — and fear and inherent power imbalances — are some of the key reasons why racialized victims of gender-based violence are hesitant to come forward and seek justice.
A recent report by the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) titled “The Toxic Culture of the RCMP: Misogyny, Racism, and Violence against Women in Canada’s National Police Force”, also highlights “RCMP failures to prevent and investigate violence against women.”
The National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC) agrees that confronting the deeply entrenched racism and misogyny in the RCMP is crucial to the implementation of a credible National Action Plan on Violence against Women.
Says Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, NFSC Chair, “Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people must have their human, inherent, and Indigenous rights respected. We deserve to have basic institutions, like public safety and law enforcement, that are free from the same violence and harm we already face in our cities, towns, and communities.”
It is no coincidence that these horrific crimes continue to be committed against Indigneous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people by law enforcement officers while most of the 231 Calls for Justice from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have yet to be fulfilled. In the NFSC’s contribution to the NAP, we identified Calls for Justice that we believe require immediate action under four rights areas: Culture, Health and Wellness, Human Security, and Justice.
Many of the Calls for Justice that fall under this final umbrella are the actions necessary for transformative change in the justice and policing systems. We call upon federal and provincial governments and law enforcement agencies to immediately enact the Calls for Justice listed below and work towards ending the genocide and violence against Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people.
- Call for Justice 5.7 calls for the establishment of robust and well-funded Indigenous civilian oversight bodies (that include Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people) which can oversee investigations related to police negligence or misconduct
- Call for Justice 9.2 calls on members of the justice system and police services to build respectful working relationships with Indigenous peoples, including reviewing current policies and procedures to eliminate racism and bias, and implementing culturally appropriate and trauma-informed practices when dealing with families and survivors
- Call for Justice 9.6 calls for the establishment of an independent, special investigation unit that addresses incidents like the failures to investigate, police misconduct, and discrimination and mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples within their police service.
- Call for Justice 18.14 calls upon all police services to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of 2SLGBTQQIA people in the sex industry.
Every day of inaction leads to more and more Indigenous, women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people being exploited, violated, or killed. Urgent and immediate implementation of the National Action Plan and 231 Calls for Justice are not an option, but a necessary step towards ending the genocide of our women, girls and gender-diverse people.
We understand that this subject matter is difficult for many people in our community. If you require immediate support, please contact the national, independent toll free 24/7 support line at 1-844-413-6649 to speak to a counsellor. The service is available in English, French, Cree, Anishnaabemowin (Ojibway), and Inuktitut.
About the National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC)
The NFSC comprises First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women from diverse backgrounds who use their lived expertise to advocate for centring the voices of families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, survivors of gender-based violence, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and made significant contributions to the 2021 National Action Plan.
For more information and to book interviews, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org