Well here is an interesting study that was recently featured in the LFpress titled “More than just a bed.”
The first two questions that popped up in my
bed head were:
- Did this include on-reserve women shelters (although few and far between, they do exist)
- Did this include shelters geared toward Aboriginal women
One can obviously not answer these questions by simply reading the secondary source. I am going to have to do searching for the primary source if possible.
The only reason I thought of those two questions was because of my experience with women’s shelters. When I was 18 years old, I spent approximately three months in a women’s shelter. My options for going being in a shelter were either jail or the women’s shelter. At the time before being accepted into the shelter, I was going onto my second week at the local jail/remand centre. I was being remanded because my parents felt they couldn’t provide me with the safety I need from both myself and my ex-boyfriend (I was being remanded while also being on a 24 hour suicidal watch). This is the case with many women who face domestic violence: they are the ones usually arrested and placed in jail, and further put into solitary confinement or on 24 hour suicidal watch–both are almost one in the same. The judge asked me where I wanted to go if I was to be released. I didn’t want to go home because I didn’t feel safe at home. I didn’t have a house to go to either so I knew my only option was either a shelter or jail. I was too old for the youth shelter and I didn’t want to go to the shelter for non-Aboriginals. At the time, I knew of this shelter on a local reserve which was also near my high school. My life would almost be rarely interrupted. I could go to school and my friends wouldn’t know (well few of my friends knew and they also barely asked questions or respected my situation). When I was let out, the Aboriginal court worker had been able to get me into this Aboriginal women’s shelter. I was so relieved. During my time in this shelter, I was able to receive cultural services and also talk to other women from similar backgrounds who would only know and understand my situation first hand. So not only are just women’s shelters important, so are shelters geared toward Aboriginal women (or at least have a safe space for Aboriginal women). The conventional women’s shelter rarely has a room for smudging or a space to offer tobacco. This women’s shelter that I stayed at had a medicine man/woman come in from time to time or had access to the medicine man/woman schedule at nearby health facilities and would often drive women and their children to see the medicine man/woman. This shelter also had a room where women and children could smudge themselves every morning or every night. Spaces like these are important.
In the end, it is so great to see the studies like the one mentioned above!
I decided to share this in preparation for my upcoming visit to British Columbia. I am going to be speaking at the National Day of Research and I am hoping to start a fundraising campaign sometime next month. This is an unpaid gig but I feel that this would be beneficial to share my story there and that is what I am going to be doing. My presentation is entitled “My journey through the criminal justice system” and I am going to speak about it from my perspective as an Aboriginal women. Come back for more information!