In a report released on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that many aboriginal women in British Columbia have been the victims of discrimination, aggressive use of police force, and even sexual assault by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The report, titled “Those Who Take Us Away,” features in depth interviews with 50 aboriginal women along the “Highway of Tears” in British Columbia where numerous aboriginal women have gone missing or have been murdered. Researchers also interviewed 37 family members of missing or murdered women and girls. The women interviewed describe scenes of excessive use of force on girls under the age of 18, abuse of strip searches, and even accusation of rape and beatings.
The RCMP has issued a statement to the effect that, while this is deplorable, no one has actually complained directly to them about these abuses. It’s not hard to imagine that this is because aboriginal women in Canada have grown so accustomed to police abuse that they see nothing to be gained by attempting to lodge a complaint.