All sexual abuse is horrendous

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

I was profoundly disappointed and excruciatingly saddened that in this day and age when the Inuit are working on equal footing among all genders and with co-operation of all peoples, a person of authority and influence, namelyRev. Benjamin Arreak,could refer to sex abuse as “an old Inuit tradition of treating young girls, to make them proud of their womanhood”.

I am talking about sexual abuse and exploitation. Reading between the lines, I am probably also talking about physical and mental abuse, and degradation of girls and women.

Can I assume then, that if I was raped when I was between the ages of zero and 14, that “it’s not really a crime in the traditional Inuit ways?” How can he believe that sexual touching of a child is not a crime? To me, traditional Inuit or not, it is a horrendous crime!

Since the Anglican minister/teacher in question and the Rev. Arreak are both ministers, ministers of influence and trust who, every Sunday, every bible study and during gatherings every day of the week can influence our children on what is right and what is wrong, and transmit their own views on what they perceive to be “traditional Inuit ways” to these same youth, I think that the road we are traveling on now into the future is deceptively smooth, compared to what the outcome is going to be for our future generations.

I can just see my children and their peers at this point, thirsting for knowledge and wisdom, easily influenced and looking for role models, reading these words and absorbing them like sponges, probably forgetting them right away, but storing them into their memory banks.

Somewhere along the way, they will retrieve them in their adult lives and think that it’s right to sexually abuse young girls, abuse them mentally and physically, because it’s the “Inuit tradition” and preachers of the cloth and people of authority and influence have their backing.

How extreme does it have to go before it does become a crime, whether it’s “traditional Inuit” or not? It only takes common sense to find out that the majority of the Inuit population do not tolerate that sort of attitude.

Blandina Tulugarjuk
Iqaluit

Disturbed by reverend’s comments

I am very disturbed at the news that Rev. Benjamin Arreak does not consider sexual abuse of Inuit girls as a real crime. I cannot sit idly by, while a member of the clergy chooses to protect the offender and chastise the victims.

Unless I am sadly mistaken, Inuit tradition dictates that no one should be taken advantage of, especially by elders, whom we respect and hold as pillars of the community.

Elders have special reverence in our society, because we expect them to stick to quality action and decision making. We have also been told that elders do make mistakes.

Children and youth are valuable members of society as well. We love our children.

Whatever happened to that aspect of Inuit tradition? The article misrepresents how most Inuit feel about sexual abuse, in my view. If Reverend Arreak’s message was in fact misinterpreted, I for one would be interested to know exactly what he meant. Something is terribly wrong here. Let’s correct it before it gets any worse.

Marius Tungilik
Iqaluit

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