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Honesty is about accepting responsibility for our actions. In this teaching we will learn to pay attention and how to make healthy relationship choices.

Honesty In Facing A Situation Is To Be Brave

The Causes of Violence

While some people choose to use violence as a way of maintaining power and control over women there are many other reasons why men choose to use violence.


Aboriginal communities need an effective way of dealing with patterns of violence to prevent it from developing within the community and becoming a normal part of society. Alcohol and drug abuse within communities must be dealt with. As well, Aboriginal men entering into the jail systems are picking up the belief systems and values of prison gangs and criminal networks and then bringing them back to Aboriginal communities.

Society Fuels Violence

Violence against young Aboriginal women and girls happens often because we live in a society that allows it. Nearly 500 First Nation women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada over the past 15 years with little or no media attention. There have been few arrests and most cases aren't being pursued anymore.

To stop violence against young Aboriginal women Canadians need to change the way they see them.  One government statistic says that native women between the ages of 25 and 44, with status, are five times more likely than all other women of the same age to die as the result of violence. Racism and other abuse are destroying the dignity and value of young Aboriginal women, further fueling violence. We need to stop this line of thinking because it allows some young men and boys to feel they can get away with acts of hatred against them.

Young Men's Life Experience

Violence is not only about the power of men over women it also comes from men’s own life experiences and fears. For some young men, the use of violence is a way of proving to themselves and those around them that they are “real men”. Raised by fathers who may have attended residential schools or who do not know how to nurture or show affection, some young men carry on this trait leaving them unable to feel what others feel. If you do not feel what others feel, you are more likely to commit violence because you are not fully aware of the damage you are doing.

Many young men are taught to suppress their emotions which they are taught make them weak or "girly".  But feelings are a part of being human. When we try to suppress feelings, they often re-emerge in the form of aggression and violence. Young men who have grown up witnessing violence in their own home or directly experiencing violence themselves can grow up refusing to use violence themselves though it can teach some that hurting another is acceptable in personal relationships. None of these factors are an excuse for individual acts of violence but by understanding all the factors we get closer to changing the conditions that create violence in the first place.

All forms of racialized and sexualized violence against Aboriginal women must stop!

Abuse Isn't Punished

In communities where violence against women is common and considered “normal”, a young woman who is beaten by her husband may be told by others that she likely deserved it. In small Aboriginal communities where everyone knows everyone else and people talk, it's difficult to hide domestic abuse for very long. The question is: “What happens when others in the community find out?”

Do family and community members stop the abuse?
Do the council members, mental health workers and child protection workers help?
Does anyone call the police? Do they help?
Do the men of the community confront the abuser?
In short, what punishment do abusers face?

Research in the United States states that, “men most likely to re-offend [after completing a batterer’s intervention program] are those that have the least to lose...”
~ Bennet and Williams, 2001:3,6 ~

In other words, if men have a lot to lose, family, employment, status and their freedom, they aren't likely to risk getting in trouble again. Consequences matter!

How Men View Women

The presence of violence against girls and young women is often determined by the attitudes of the communities and the belief systems of those who live within it: specifically men’s and young men's attitudes and beliefs about young women and about male privilege, a belief that boys deserves rights and privileges simply because they are male, and sexism. If violence against girls and young women is acceptable and seen as "the way it is" within the community it creates a place where abuse is able to flourish.

Belief in Male Superiority

“Male privilege” is when a young man or boy believes he deserves rights and privileges simply because he is a man. Part of this line of thinking is that women exist to satisfy the needs of young men and boys, who are somehow superior beings, because they were born male.  

Examples of young men and boys using this privilege include:

  • Insisting that she gives him sex whenever he wants it, no matter how she feels;
  • Making her clean up after him (leaving a messy kitchen, bathroom, not picking up clothes, etc.);
  • Making her fetch for him (“get me a drink”, “go to the store and buy me cigarettes”, etc.);
  • Making her decisions for her, insisting on being the decision maker (on everything from which restaurant or house to choose, to which school the children will attend, where to live or whether or not to incur a debt);
  • Expecting her to want what he wants when he wants it;
  • Making her do the nasty jobs (clean the toilet, warm up the freezing car, etc.);
  • Demanding that she serves the food he wants, when he wants it;
  • Requiring her to “act as if you want it” in the bedroom.




Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres Pallas Communications