Thursday, May 26, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


I hope society is as concerned as I am regarding the city's and province's inaction regarding countless murders of many women from the East End of Vancouver. And while the major media scream sensational headlines of more women's DNA being captured at the Port Coquitlam farm, what they do is re-inforce the perception that everything is going to be ok since someone has been charged and closure will occur once the accused is brought to trial, convicted and sentenced. Neatly wrapped and packaged isn't it? But what happens if the accused is exonerated? What happens to justice then?

For justice to prevail, the media and others must begin asking the difficult and challenging questions regarding this case. They do not present the public with the real story behind their stories. They often interview grief stricken family members who always state 'now we will finally have closure'. What this means is beyond me. C'mon folks, closure--as if the senseless slaughter of hundreds of women will bring an end to the rampant,systemic violence and victimization of children, youth and women on our streets. Spare me this last indignity please.

If the decency of society is to prevail, now is the time for collective calls and demands for a public inquiry regarding the horrendous abuses which have occurred to prostitutes. The countless violence and victimization of women, many aboriginal, in the East End, somehow needs to be corrected. Surely others must realize this public safety correction won't happen through our law courts or a trial. Do we honestly believe it can? Sure we may feel all warm and fuzzy as campaigns are mounted for a lasting memorial for the women who were robbed of their lives. Of course, many groups will champion for more money so that their charity work can be expanded but I pose this question. Will this really accomplish anything substantial to prevent and reduce harm to vulnerable children, youth and women on our streets?

Sorry folks if I have rocked the boat here, which may even unsettle some comfortable order to your lives, but if you think for a moment that the farm in Coquitlam was a one-off situation, or worse, that only one unresponsive and most likely, intellectually delayed person was responsible for the total carnage culminating in DNA beiing found at the farm, please please think again. If we buy into this scenario, many more of society's most vulnerable will be exploited, com-modified and victimized. Their blood will be on our hands. It already is.

Does anyone really think that the DNA found at the property in Port Coquitlam only represents a madman gone amok or that of a serial killer? In reality what it manifests as--is serial disorder in society. Trust me on this, there was far more than one person involved in how so many (27) women's DNA came to be found on that farm. This is what needs to be examined. No trial will probe the underbelly and provide the answers society undoubtedly needs to correct or prevent this horrendous harm from happening again.

What is most likely and I know many of you understand this as many of you have openly discussed this with me is that economics factored significantly in the destruction of countless lives which came to their final resting place at the farm. From drug addiction and poverty to sexism and colonialism, big money was at work here. Most likely, the farm was a final dumping ground for now named and unnamed DNA samples. There are unnamed culprits in this mess and they need to come clean and own up to their own culpability. They also need to be brought to justice. But a criminal trial will not bring out this truth.

Very troubling and what haunts me most is that one individual whose DNA was captured at the farm remains as yet unidentified. This represents to me the root of the problem. How someone couldn't have cared enough about this human being called 'Jane Doe' is beyond my reality. Sadly though for many of the women murdered, society didn't care enough about them either. Many families who now mourn, even they too were afraid to speak up when it might have helped their loved ones. Perhaps many of them were also victims. Many may have felt shame and this shame prevented them from speaking out or reaching out. Communities were distracted on their other needs and remained silent. Moreover, Leaders abrogated leadership and compromised vulnerable women's safety by focusing on debt and deficit measures rather than humanity issues. Far too many citizens must share responsibility of the preposterous inhumanity which came to many women. Speaking out is important if we are ever going to make a difference.

If you are as concerned as I am which I believe you are please join me in a re-newed call for a public inquiry. This is our only hope in airing the systemic violence which occurs far too often to women involved in society's drug addiction and prostitution subculture.

Regarding the need for a public inquiry, leaders have hidden behind the veil of the accused's right to a fair trial. Many of these leaders mistakenly say, if we address this issue of violence in a public way before the trial, that somehow we are compromising an accused's fundamental rights. First, let me say, that sex workers and drug addicts also have rights. Everyone regardless of social status has the right to life, liberty and security. And if even one individual's rights is stolen than as a society we all lose. Losses will continue to mount up if we do not address this societal inbalance.

We need to come together and speak up for restorative justice. We need to hold all those complicit in the missing/murdered women's cases to account for their actions, and or neglect. This ranges the gambit from law enforcement to those who victimize and murder. None who partaked in Canada's worst serial disorder either through dereliction of duty or oppressor should have an easy ride. Everyone must be held to public scrutiny and everything must be laid bare on the table. Only when this happens in a timely way, can restorative justice have any chance of gaining the upper hand.

Its time for society to get to the bottom of this rampant rage. Only then will truth and justice triumph over darkness and evil.

Jamie Lee Hamilton