Parents should help young people, not gossip about them

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

I am a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and wife. I am 41 years old and have two grandsons.

I hear people, who were born in the 1960s and 70s, and are now parents, talking about children and youth,

The older people say these children are into drinking and drugging and are not available to their own children. They say they fear the younger generation because of their use of alcohol and violence that occurs when they are drunk, and they worry about the increasing number of accidents involving alcohol.

I don’t know how many times I have confronted people about the same age as my mother — people aged 50 to 70 — to ask them not to gossip, but rather to be part of the solution.

I am asking people who gossip to ask themselves why they are gossiping instead of looking at their own past and what they have done to others.

I hardly ever hear about what is happening to our people who now live down south and what made them move down south.

I have a brother and sister who moved south and have met other Inuit who moved by accident or who willingly moved.

Most of the women, who left their violent husbands and children behind either became homeless and started using drugs and alcohol, or moved to find a job and have an apartment, since there is a lack of housing up here in the North.

Most of the people who live in the South tell me they had no choice but to leave because of their violent husbands. Most younger adults who found jobs say they were tired of alcohol and drugs being so visible in their communities.

We don’t admit what we see, such as role models getting drunk in public or a mayor who gets drunk and when confronted by police uses his power to stay out of jail for disturbing the peace.

Imagine a young teenager who witnesses a mayor’s behaviour and the police letting him go. And what about our elected representatives who go out to bars and get drunk?

I have heard about a father who lives with his children. His wife left him because of his violent behaviour. He was in front of the court due to his drinking and disturbing the peace.

The judge told him to go to treatment for drugs and alcohol, but he said he couldn’t because he’s a single parent.

Can there be any solution to this problem? Can’t these children be under some safe care in their home while their father goes into treatment? This man still uses drugs and alcohol to this day, and now, so does his son.

The hardest part of this is that children and youth are being left behind by their mothers and these children may feel rejected and abandoned by their mother.

Some continue living with their father who is still using drugs and drinking. Children who grow up living in this environment grow up to think alcoholism and drug addiction is normal, when it’s not.

And women who witnessed violence when they were children, most of them become abused in their later lives by their partners. And men who witness their fathers abusing their mothers, most of them become batterers.

There is help.

We have detention and group homes for youth, most of whom come from homes where they witnessed their mother being abused by their father.

Some have attempted suicide and some even completed it. Young mothers have left their children, ending their lives, thinking there is no way out, and nowhere to go to escape their violent boyfriends.

It’s hard when there are no houses available for women to be able to gain access to so they can move on. As communities, our priority is to love our children and their safety is our priority.

We need to help each other, find ways to get resources, to educate, do awareness and prevention in our communities and see that there are more houses available for women and children.

It’s time for us to reach out to our women and tell them it’s not their fault, without any judgments, without shame, and without blaming women for being abused.

For too many years we have heard people talk about it at annual general meetings.

Talk is cheap. Action speaks louder than words. In the mean-time, it costs our organizations a lot, as we go from crisis to crisis.

I won’t mean to be rude to organizations whose intention is to do well, but going from crisis to crisis itself is a vicious cycle.

To finish, I will ad a quote display at the Holocaust Museum:

“Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

Jeannie Nuktie
Umiujaq


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