I have to stop reading these articles at work. I cry and wonder why more people aren't disturbed and outraged by what is happening to women in Canada.
Walk4Justice aims to change epidemic of missing and murdered women in CanadaTuesday, July 12, 2011
REGINA — They are only seven people, but they represent so many more.
Bernie WIlliams (right) helps Sophie Merasty put on her walking shoes as the Walk4justice group gets set to continue their walk from Regina on Tuesday. The group is raising awareness of missing and murdered women in Canada.
Don Healy, Regina Leader-Post
Don Healy, Regina Leader-Post
Each one of the four women and three men has lost someone, a family member or a friend — just a handful of the 4,200 missing and murdered women in Canada.
Bernie Williams leads this Walk4Justice group, which walked from Moose Jaw to Regina on Monday to raise awareness of this epidemic.
Williams’ sister and mother were slain in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, while another sister was slain in Merritt, B.C. Nobody was ever charged.
“One of our goals is to keep creating that awareness out there, that just because (Robert) Pickton has been arrested, the violent acts have not stopped. Women still continue to go missing from the Downtown Eastside and right across Canada,” said Williams, whose group left Vancouver on June 21 and plans to rally in Ottawa on Parliament Hill on Sept. 19.
“I think it’s time that Stephen Harper steps up or steps down,” Williams said Tuesday morning, before the group again embarked east.
The $10 million over two years allocated in the 2010 federal budget to investigate the number of missing and murdered aboriginal women is not enough, she added.
“This is the value of these women’s lives? There’s something seriously wrong with that,” said Williams.
In 2008 during the first Walk4Justice, there were 2,932 missing and murdered women.
“You can see the number rise,” said Williams. “It’s not only aboriginal women, it’s all women.”
“I hope our government gets stronger on the judicial system, to make laws tougher on murderers, child molestation, because this is genocide against all women,” said Susan Martin, who walks on behalf of her daughter, Terrie Ann Dauphinais.
Dauphinais was killed on April 29, 2002, in Calgary, leaving behind her three small children. Police considered Terrie Ann’s husband Ken Dauphinais a person of interest in the case, but he was never charged.
“I’m doing this for all of our sisters, all of our grandmothers, all of our aunties, especially the children that are left behind, because the children will never ever know what it’s like to have a mother’s love, or to have their mom kiss their boo-boos or to hug or tell them they love them. So this is my journey,” said Martin, who flew to Vancouver from her home in London, Ont., to participate in the walk.
“Each and every one of us hates this journey, but we do it to bring awareness, and if I can save one woman’s life by telling my child’s story, which I’ve already done, then I’m doing something positive. It’ll never ever bring my child back, but I’m giving someone else their child back,” said Martin.
On Dec. 1, 1993, Marge Humchitt lost her sister Cheryl, who was killed along with her common-law husband on a $7,000 drug debt. In 1995, Sheldon Williams was found guilty of second-degree murder and received a 10-year sentence. He was from the sisters’ home community of Bella Bella, about 1,300 kilometres north of Vancouver on the west coast.
“We went to go clean up that apartment and we saw her footprints on the wall,” said Humchitt. “She was obviously, while being strangled, she was trying to fight, and she had her foot up on the wall. The whole scene was pretty sickening. Pools and pools of blood everywhere. Her common-law took the worst of it, 38 stab wounds.”
Twenty-eight years ago, when Humchitt first ventured into the neighbourhood, she didn’t imagine where her life was headed.
“I didn’t know what I was going into. I didn’t. I never thought that I would ever have that pipe, and I did. I fought it. I was like, ‘No way, no way, I’m not going to do that.’ I experienced in other drugs, but I just said, ‘It’s one f---ing rock.’ One. Done,” said Humchitt.
Humchitt began to turn around her life after spending weeks observing the Pickton trial in Vancouver.
“I left the streets, I left an abusive relationship, so I do know about violence against women,” she said. “I came out of Downtown Eastside because I wanted to get out and I got out.”
After years of abuse, prostitution and drug use, Humchitt now works to help support women and turn their lives around.
“The women who are in Downtown Eastside, they’re not from just there — they’re from here, they’re from all over the place. I’ve met so many, I’ve seen so many come home in boxes, died,” said Humchitt. She advises families to take the women back, offering them support and acceptance and encouraging them to come home.
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