MONTREAL, Nov. 17, 2016 – It is with bitter disappointment and deep concern that we learned that the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions of Quebec (DCPP) will lay no criminal charges against the six police officers of Val-d’Or implicated by our denunciations last year.
Eighteen months ago, at the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre, we had decided, after careful consideration, to forget about fear, break the silence and finally speak out with an open heart by publicly denouncing to reporter Josée Dupuis of Radio Canada’s Enquête program how we had been, for many years, victims of intimidation, abuse of power, and sexual and physical abuse by SQ officers in Val-d’Or. We made these denunciations for our friend Sindy and the Ruperthouse family with the hope that she would be found, but also to put an end to police violence against Aboriginal women.
Beyond all what this decision has cost us and the extent to which it disrupted our personal lives, we will continue to pay the price in the future; beyond the many difficulties that we have met since then, we had the hope that justice would be made, and that the cause of Val-d’Or’s Aboriginal women and of all Aboriginal women across Canada, could be from now on heard and considered by all with greater respect.
Today, we must admit that this is not the case. And this raises deep and conflicting feelings in us: rage, discouragement, fear of being judged and treated as liars. We feel betrayed, humiliated and our heart is broken in pieces. It is as if in this country’s justice system, we were not important, we were left behind and we have not been heard. And above all, that fear will continue to haunt us: fear of the return of the suspended police officers, fear of reprisals, fear for our own security.
Imagine: we stand together and we are afraid. So what will it be when we are left alone? And all these women who have suffered abuse and have not denounced it yet, aren’t they at risk of giving up and say that “it’s useless, they don’t listen to us, we can no longer trust the justice and policing system”?
Even though the message conveyed by the DCPP decision may lead people to believe that we are the ones who lost, we draw on our deepest resources to revive the determination to continue despite it all… We do not believe that we did that in vain. Although we now wish to take the time to heal our wounds, to go through this deep disappointment in privacy, to keep away from the media, we won’t give up. We want to continue to speak out so that truth is officially known and recognised. We want a public and independent inquiry commission to be established by the Quebec Government to conduct a full investigation on this case.
What we ask for is true justice: justice for ourselves, justice for our daughters, justice for our grand-daughters…
What comforts us is that we know we are not alone. And today, we solemnly call upon all the Quebec people, Aboriginal and non Aboriginal, to extend a helping hand to Indigenous women so that we may create the strongest support and solidarity network ever.
This is also what gives us hope, a new hope.
|Angela King||Priscillia Papatie|
|June Fair||Mani Decoursy|
|Joséphine Papatie||Bernadette Ogushing|
|Cherilyn Papatie||Nadia Papatie|
|Elysia Ottereyes Robert||Bianka Moushoom|
SOURCE Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre
For further information:
Nathalie Fiset, coordinator, Administrative services, Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre, 819 825-8299 ext. 251