‘Families like mine all over Canada are wondering how many more sisters and daughters we have to lose before real government action is taken.’ Darlene Osborne whose relatives, Felicia Solomon and Helen Betty Osborne, were murdered.
Indigenous women in Canada face much higher rates of violence than other women. In a 2004 Canadian government survey, Indigenous women reported rates of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, 3.5 times higher than non-Indigenous women. Studies suggest that assaults against Indigenous women are not only more frequent, they are also often particularly brutal. According to another government survey, young First Nations women are five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence.
In October 2004, Amnesty International released a report, Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada which documented some of the underlying causes of violence against Indigenous women carried out by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous men. As the report showed, widespread and entrenched racism, poverty and marginalization are critical factors exposing Indigenous women to a heightened risk of violence while denying them adequate protection by police and government services.