Greenlanders break silence on abuse
SIKU CIRCUMPOLAR NEWS
Police in Greenland received 118 reports of sexual abuse of children in 2003, 16 times more than in Denmark, according to the Danish daily newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad.
A recent information campaign on sexual abuse of children in the northwestern Greenlandic town of Upernavik has caused a flood of reported incidents, said social worker Darius Sobczynski.
“We simply informed (People about) what is allowed and what isn’t, when it comes to sex. Afterwards we almost drowned in cases,” he said.
Greenland now wants to launch similar programs in other parts of the country.
Psychiatrist Bjarne B. Nielsen, who authored a report on sexual abuse in Greenland, said the subject has remained a taboo in Greenland.
“A young nation does not flaunt its problems,” he said. “Sexual abuse is too embarrassing to talk about, on the official level as well. It can easily lead to feelings of being accused of being a primitive society.”
Nielsen said the widespread abuse of children had nothing to do with Inuit culture.
“The sexual abuse we see today is an expression for a society in crisis,” he said. “It stems from the moral shift in a modern society and is often consistent with abuse of alcohol and hashish.”