The inquiry into why the B.C. police let so many women slip away and into the hands of Robert Pickton started this week. Due to lack of funding, over twenty separate advocacy groups have had to pull out from the trial. There is no government money for them to be represented. Protests have gone on all week thus far. Why can the government not fund this? Especially when they had so much money to dole out to the police themselves for their use in this inquiry? Well... isn't it obvious?
The Vancouver police are going to come out of this inquiry squeaky-clean. The blame will be placed partially on Robert Pickton (rightfully so) and also on the murdered women themselves. The police, the government, society will take no responsibility for the lives of thirty-three women. Actually, perhaps forty-nine women, as Pickton has bragged that forty-nine is the correct number of women he murdered.
Forty-nine separate human lives, this man claims to have ended. All simply because they were female. Because many of them were Aboriginal or First Nations. Because in the political and social climate of a rape culture, Pickton knew that they wouldn't be missed. But, they are missed. They are missed by their families. They are missed by their communities. And they were missed by the police. Which is to say, their disappearances were missed. But, were they missed on purpose?
Time and again stories from all over the world come in about the abuse of women, especially prostituted women by police officers. I'm starting to think that there might even be a chapter in the handbook that tells cops to be shitty to prostitutes. What's more, even when there's overwhelming evidence implicating the officers, these dudes always get off, usually with paid leave from work while the inquiry goes on. That's what most likely will happen here.
What can be done? Harper seems to hold all the cards. He's cut funding to all the groups out there advocating womens' rights and safety. He's saying loud and clear that the Harper government doesn't give a shit about Aboriginal or First Nations women. And it's depressing. Also depressing are the comments found on the CBC about the murdered women. People saying that they (the murdered women) got what they deserved, that this inquiry is a waste of taxpayer money, that it has nothing to do with them. There is so little compassion being shown for these forty-nine victims, both from the government and the public at large that it frightens me in a very real, visceral way. This is indeed a rape culture we live in. There is really no denying that anymore. I'm not even sure what more to say then that. When the lives of forty-nine women can mean so little to so many people, I'm not even sure how to fight back against that. All I can say for now is this:
Robert Pickton isn't the only monster out there. He was just a tool of the Patriarchy. They have more. If we're ever to live in a safe, egalitarian world, feminism is our only hope.