Abuse Is Wrong In Any Culture: Inuit

What is abuse?

"I thought what he was doing was normal … it was happening to everyone and my mother went through it … we never discussed it."

When someone hurts you, batters you or treats you badly, it is abuse.

Abuse can happen to anyone—it can come from your husband, your boyfriend, your brother, sister or cousin, one of your parents or an uncle or your in-laws … or one of your grown-up children.

Abuse can be a one-time thing, or keep happening—it can be actions or words or even neglect.

Abuse is wrong and tolerating abuse has no part in Inuit culture or values.

Most abuse is also a crime.

"I think a lot of the things that happen, no one knows they are crimes."

Physical abuse is hurting your body on purpose against your will:

  • pulling hair
  • shaking
  • hitting
  • shooting
  • kicking
  • suffocating
  • biting
  • slapping
  • stabbing
  • scratching
  • pinching

These are crimes.

Sexual abuse is any sexual touching or sexual activity that you don't want:

  • being kissed, fondled or forced to have sexual intercourse with a partner when you don't want to, even if you are married
  • not respecting you when you say "stop".

Sexual abuse also includes:

  • sexual intercourse with your child, grandchild, brother or sister
  • or where a child is too young to agree: under 16 (unless the two are close in age), under 18 (where the partner is a recreational supervisor, etc.)
  • or where a child under 18 is involved in pornography or prostitution (including where sex is traded for drugs, alcohol, etc.).

"I feel so ashamed … but if I don't, he'll throw me out and where will my kids go?"

Emotional (or psychological) abuse is controlling, frightening, isolating or eroding your self-respect.

Some emotional abuse may be a crime:

  • making threats to kill or harm you or someone you know
  • breaking your things or hurting your pets or threatening to do so
  • following you around and watching you all the time and causing you to fear for your safety or for that of someone close to you (also called "criminal harassment").

These are crimes.

Other emotional abuse may not be a crime, but it's still hurtful, and may also lead to criminal acts later on.

No one should insult you and put you down, or yell at you and tell you that you are worthless.

Parents have a duty to care for their children and protect them from people who might hurt them or activities that might be dangerous. But no one should tell you—adult or child—where you can go and who you can be with, or stop you from seeing your friends and family or from participating in sports activities in any other situation.

Emotional abuse is serious. Inside wounds can take a long time to heal.

"It's your fault that I cut up your clothes. I'm watching you … I know you're sneaking around with other men."

Financial abuse is taking from you to benefit themselves.

Some financial abuse may be a crime, such as:

  • taking your pay cheque or pension cheque
  • forging your signature to cash your cheque without asking
  • stealing from you
  • not providing necessary food, shelter, clothing or medical attention to you, your child under 16 years of age or a dependent family member.

Other financial abuse may not be a crime, but it's still hurtful, and it's wrong for anyone to do these things to you:

  • pressuring you to share your home or your car, or baby-sit your grandchildren when you don't want to
  • refusing to let you keep any money.

"I'll decide if you get to keep any of your money this week. And I told you … you aren't going over to your parents. No wonder everyone hates you … you're just a useless ugly bitch!"

Abuse is a pattern of:

  • trying to control or isolate you by making you feel afraid
  • getting power over you by making you feel confused, guilty, ashamed or uncertain about what will happen next
  • stopping you from leaving when you don't want to stay
  • silencing you.

Abuse is not okay because:

  • someone "lost control" of themselves, or was drunk or high
  • you did or said anything.

"I went over to my mom's but she said I deserved what I was getting so I should just go back to him and keep my mouth shut."

There is no excuse for abuse!

It is not your fault.

"He said I made him do it and I believed him."

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