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 agency receives $250K to open ‘no cost’ legal clinic

Law Foundation of B.C. provided the grant to Sources Community Resources Society

Surrey to get 314 new child care spaces

These will be at 13 places throughout the city, Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains announced Wednesday

Former Canucks player from White Rock suing financial advisors for negligence

Jason Garrison claimed his advisors failed to take his circumstances into account

Autism support dog refused bus access for being a ‘pet’

White Rock grandmother files complaint with TransLink, calls for better awareness of service dogs

Lord Tweedsmuir cruises to big playoff win

Panthers down the W.J. Mouat Hawks 57-7, advance to quarterfinal game

VIDEO: Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

What happens if Metro Vancouver bus drivers start a ‘good work’ strike?

Unifor has said they could get ‘creative’ with fare collection if transit strike drags on

Maple Ridge’s anti-panhandling bylaw gets final OK

Council votes 6-1 to ban aggressive begging

Nearly half of B.C. drivers nervous in winter conditions: BCAA

‘Wait and see’ approach common practice for 32% of B.C. motorists

Students plan rally at B.C. education minister’s office as district strike enters third week

Saanich School District students plan to rally outside Rob Fleming’s constituency office in Victoria

Sex assault charge stayed against Port Moody mayor

Rob Vagramov completed an alternative measures program, special prosecutor said

73% of B.C. residents agree with a temporary ban on vaping products: poll

54% say they would not date someone who vapes, Research Co. poll suggests

B.C.’s 13-cent gasoline gap still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

Most Read