Friday, October 10, 2014

Teresa Spence

Where arrrree you?

Your community needs you or needs to replace you.

Attawapiskat resident reveals history of abuse
"While Attawapiskat has been thrust into the national spotlight because of a long-running housing problem, the attention is also exposing another major crisis in the impoverished community.

Jocelyn Iahtail, a former resident of Attawapiskat, is now coming forward with personal recollections of abuse.

Iahtail says the sexual abuse and incest is an epidemic that spans generations; a scourge that plagues the community in a way that is impossible to ignore any longer.

"The most frightening part is people know," Iahtail told CTV's Daniele Hamamdjian.

Iahtail says the abuse began when she was only four, and continued until she was 13. She says the abusers were people that she trusted, including relatives of some council members.

Iahtail says the abuse in communities like hers is cyclical and systemic.

Iahtail's mother, Mary Lou, says she was abused while attending residential schools and on the reserve, victimized by family and the clergy.

"My relatives, the priest, the nun's (sic) and the brothers," Mary Lou recalls.

Recalling her childhood, Iahtail also says the abuse affected every portion of her young life.

"I would become so overcome with nausea and vomiting. Just the simple act of brushing my teeth, because of the oral sex that I was forced to perform."

Iahtail and her mother decided to speak out this week because the pain continues to be pervasive in their community.

They say they also want to break the cycle of abuse that has scarred her and many others.

The scars on the community are obvious, Iahtail says: suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, gas sniffing and violence are mere symptoms. Indeed, while abuse may be less visible than squalid shacks and poor housing, it also insidious and destructive."

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