Sexual abuse at the root of Nunavut women’s deaths, MMIWG commission hears –

February 21, 2018

First witness at Rankin Inlet hearing calls on communities to speak out

Warning: Some readers may be disturbed by details in this story.

RANKIN INLET—Sexual abuse—and Nunavut’s silence about it—is what killed Betsy Kalaserk, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls heard this week.

And that abuse will continue to slowly kill many until Nunavummiut decide to speak up against it and seek help, said Kalaserk’s niece, Laura Mackenzie.

Mackenzie, who spearheaded the effort to bring the inquiry to her hometown of Rankin Inlet, was the first to testify at its community hearing, which began on Tuesday, Feb. 20 in the Kivalliq community.

She shared with the commission the story of her aunt, Kalaserk, who she described as a kind-hearted woman with many friends, and who loved and protected all the children she knew.

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