Monday, December 10, 2007

A little something controversial

One of the most definitive quotes that came from the media scrum after Robert Pickton's conviction for the second degree murder of 6 women came from Trish Baptie. On hearing his conviction she said

"...families will receive their justice, women were made to be what they are ... women, not former junkies from the Downtown Eastside."

Perhaps we felt somewhat more superior than these women, dismissed their deaths because we have no idea what they must have gone through, what desperation they must have felt because it is so far away from our cozy existence. The saddest part is that we failed them, time and time again, stopped seeing them as women, as mothers, sisters, friends, daughters but as the victims of horrific crimes. I realize every day what a blessed life I have, and the choices and support I had as a child set me up to succeed. I never had to experience the effect of fetal alcohol syndrome, sexual abuse, and foster families. Never had to spend a night on the streets, or turn to alcohol or drugs to get me through the day.

We need to now ensure that the lessons that were missed so many times never happen again. Regardless of how these women lived their lives, whether as homeless, addicts or prostitutes, these were all women who had families, who had personalities and people to love them and who did not deserve to die so brutally. It is time we all stopped glossing over the shaky facts, asked the real questions and made plans to ensure that this never happens again. It is time that we opened our eyes and took a long hard look at what this city is doing and not doing to help get people off the streets, into rehabilitation centres and give back purpose and self worth.