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Misplaced values

Tuesday February 11, 2014

There was a story that was circulating on social media in January about a couple in Thunder Bay who were charged for animal cruelty.

The story was sad, and I agree that no defenseless animal should ever have to suffer so much. Animals deserve respect and a loving home, and a lot of the reactions from the general public were of outrage.

They wanted blood.

Some social media users publicly outted the faces and names of the couple that were charged, and the things that were said about the couple were so horrible it made me stop reading a lot of the comments.

I don’t condone animal cruelty. I hated reading about what happened, but what I started to notice were the other posts about the topic.

Some started to question, why so much outrage over this animal cruelty case but so little outrage over the missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada?

Wasn’t it just 13 months ago that a local woman was reported to have been kidnapped, raped, beaten, strangled, and left for dead in the woods here in Thunder Bay?

I don’t remember seeing anywhere near the amount of outrage over that brutal attack that I did over the animals.

The two people at the center of the animal cruelty case have been charged, they’re “caught.”
But the two men behind the December 2012 rape are still unknown, walking around free with that on their conscience.

Or maybe it’s not on their conscience at all.

Isn’t that even scarier? Isn’t that worth 10 times the amount of outrage and disbelief? To think you could be standing in line at a gas station or grocery store beside one of these rapists, who have no sense of remorse at all for what they did, should be frightening.

And what about the person, or persons, who murdered Sandra Johnson, whose body was found on the frozen Neebing-McIntyre floodway on Valentine’s Day in 1992 in Thunder Bay?

That murder is still unsolved. The killer is still walking free, over 20 years after Sandra’s demise, with that on their shoulders. Sandra’s sister Sharon has been holding the Full Moon Memory Walk on Valentine’s Day for the memory of her sister for the last five years; this year will be her sixth year.

I am unsure if Sharon will never be able to let something like that go without any real closure on what happened to Sandra. How do you recover from the loss of a sister, a best friend, a mother, a cousin, a loved one? Especially one who died in such a tragic way?

Does Sandra’s death, the December 2012 assault victim, countless other assault victims, and the recently documented 824 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, not deserve at the very least the same amount of outrage and calls to action from the general public as the two abused animals did?

I feel it does. I feel it matters just as much, if not more. I feel that the issue is not something that should only be addressed when another women has gone missing, or another woman is found dead, or another woman is the victim of violence, or when any news outlet needs a story.

I feel the story of missing and murdered Aboriginal women never ends until someone is found, until a killer is caught, until someone is brought home safe, until our women and children are safe, and until all of the broken hearts are healed.

There is an Amnesty International poster I have up in my office that has a young woman on it who is holding a sign that reads “Aboriginal women are loved and valued.”

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why does this country need a sign to remind them of that?

And why do I need to look at that sign every day at work to remind myself of that?

Stay safe.

You are loved and you are valued.

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