EDITORIAL: A loss for all of us

The judgmental attitudes of our society again came to the forefront in light of the discovery of the body of a sex-trade worker

The judgmental attitudes of our society are deeply ingrained.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team’s announcement Monday of the identification of the body of a woman discovered last week in a park on the Surrey-Langley border was – given the grim circumstances and the public’s right to know  – done with as much taste and discretion as possible.

The death of the woman in question is tragic fact. Her demise led to other facts about her life becoming public – that she was a sex-trade worker who was drug-dependent.

Those facts shouldn’t – by all that’s right – serve as her only epitaph.

It’s likely they will, at least in the minds of those who never knew her.

It’s likely, too, that many of us who read the story had the same unspoken reaction. A sex-trade worker – sure. Drug-dependent – of course. Body discovered in a park – naturally.

But it’s when we think like that that we show our own want of compassion. For the loss of a human life should never be rationalized or accepted as understandable or natural.

Even the terminology  – “known to be living a high-risk lifestyle” – is, in itself, implicitly judgmental.

Such terminology may be derived from observation; from bitter, first-hand, pragmatic experience of those who have seen far too many similar cases. But it can never be offered as tacit justification of a violent end.

We only lately reached a point as a society when we have begun to understand that how a woman acts, or dresses or presents herself can never be seen as an excuse for a violent crime against her. We have drawn that line.

But we need to draw another line when it comes to the death of a sex-trade worker.

Instead of breathing a collective sigh of relief that the victim didn’t turn out to be a ‘normal’ suburban mother, child, sister or spouse, we should be reaffirming that, for our society, any homicide at all is unacceptable.

There is not, nor can there ever be, anyone in a just society who is written off; or viewed as disposable. To descend to that level of insensitivity is to descend to the level of a Robert Pickton – and, arguably, it’s our own prejudices that allowed him to function as long as he did.

The dead woman was a human being, and what course her life took, and why, is immaterial. By extension, she is mother, child, sister and spouse to us all.

Just Posted

Surrey councillor says proposed police force ‘fails’ abused children

Locke says transition plan would mean fewer officers for Sophie’s Place

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

‘Chest Air’ show in Surrey for storyteller/author Ivan Coyote, prior to city’s Pride festival

‘I want to stop the gerbil wheel a little bit,’ says award-winning artist, who has moved back to Yukon

South Asian Mental Health Alliance receives $112K to train 100 ‘youth ambassadors’

The first batch of 25 youth will begin training in Surrey next week

Delta police donate recovered bikes back to the community

18 bikes were donated to R.E.C. for Kids, a non-profit that provides sports equipment to kids in need

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read

l -->