Thursday, June 14, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Today, Mayor Sam Sullivan, presided over the re-opening of Vivian House, a women's shelter on Cordova Street. The Vivian, a number of months back had a major fire and many of its residents had to be re-housed. Many were relocated to the one-block-away, Hugh Bird residence.

Today, may have been a great photo-op for the Mayor, however, I hope he has been informed that one of the former Vivian residents, and a current Hugh Bird resident was brutally and viciously assaulted this past Tuesday night, right around the corner from her home and the Vivian.

The beating was so horrendous, that the victim Denise Fagro, had to be identified through tattoos on her body. She lays unconscious in one of Vancouver's hospitals. She isn't expected to live and if she does, one wonders what her life will be like. Denise may have been at the re-opening announcement had this despicable, senseless and brutal attempted murder not occurred.

So Mayor Sullivan, I've said it time and time again, how are women in the Oldtown area going to be protected? Wasn't the Pickton farm carnage enough? How many more vicious assaults on vulnerable women will it take before somebody at City Hall does something to ensure safety for these women?

And please don't give me or Vancouver citizens, your CAST drug substitution program as a solution to women's safety. This harm-production program isn't going to reduce violence against women. Why? Because women will remain out on the cold pavements in dark and deserted industrial areas abandoned and coping as best they can.

Without choices, fearing for their safety, the need to jump into a car with some crazed out pervert in order to address one's survivalist needs remain. Even worse, women will in large numbers, continue to feel the pressure to purchase drugs, hoping to dull the pain for an hour or two as a result of horrendous dysfunctional, broken lives handed to them by a society which seems to disregard the human spirit. A system which contributes to violence against our young and vulnerable remains intact. Properly caring and protecting our young takes a back seat to the thirst for greed, influence, wealth and power.

Mr. Mayor, remember the name Denise Fagro. I'm going to mention her, whenever I have an opportunity. I'm going to constantly remind you of her and the other countless women in our City who continue to be treated with indifference and neglect.

And if you choose to do nothing, I'll do my best to ensure that the continuation of murdered and victimized Vancouver sex trade workers receives international attention.

Jamie Lee Hamilton