The women and girls who escape or survive an assault know, or know something about, who the harassers, rapists, batterers and serial killers are. Survivors also give us insights into how to resist. A better understanding is needed about how acting from one's emotion, voice, persistence, ingenuity and training, but above all the use of multiple active strategies can protect women and girls.
I will be posting information here from news articles.
If you have any articles or insights to add your help would be deeply appreciated!
Woman Tells Of Escape From Alleged Serial Killer
CBC | Posted: 06/26/2012 1:14 pm Updated: 06/26/2012 3:44 pm
A Winnipeg woman who claims she was attacked by alleged serial killer Shawn Lamb says she is lucky to be alive — but she's angry that police didn't seem to care when she tipped them off about his violent behaviour.
It was a frigid January night earlier this year when 29-year-old Denise, a sex-trade worker who lived on the streets and sold her body in exchange for crack cocaine, was looking for a warm place to get high.
She knocked at the door of her friend's apartment suite. The friend wasn't home but a neighbour, Shawn Lamb, was. Denise says he invited her inside and they shared some crack that she had just scored.
But he wanted more, said Denise, who didn't want her last name published.
"He was forcing himself on me and I fought him off me and I told him if he don't let me out of this house that I'm going to smash up your house," she said, adding her street survival instincts took over.
"Forget this I'm not going to let this guy do this to me — rape me. I'm not going to let this guy do this because I have been through this so many times on the street and out there I'm a fighter."
She says she fought him off, screaming, kicking, punching, and escaped, running out the door and down the stairs.
Shortly after that she entered a sobriety program, in part because of the disappearance of her friend Carolyn Sinclair, whose body was found near a city dumpster in March.
Like Denise, Sinclair was battling a drug addiction and worked in the sex trade to support her habit.
On Monday, Winnipeg police announced that Lamb, 52, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder in connection to the deaths of women reported missing within the last year.
One of those is Sinclair, who was 25.
The others are Tanya Jane Nepinak, 31, and Lorna Blacksmith, 18.
Lamb, who is originally from Ontario, has an extensive criminal record extending across four provinces.
Since 1979, he has had 109 convictions in Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and Manitoba. In the latter, Lamb has 45 convictions since 2002 for everything from robbery to forgery, fraud, and uttering threats.
Most recently he was charged with sexual assault in May and again this month. When Lamb was picked up on June 21, that was when police say they learned of his alleged connection to the three homicides.
The news of Lamb's arrest angered Denise, who says she has been sober since her January encounter with the alleged serial killer.
After Sinclair's body was found, Denise and others told police about Lamb's violent behavior and their suspicions he could have something to do with missing women cases.
"I had a gut feeling [he might have been involved]. I thought, 'Oh my God.' I was enraged. My stomach was twisted," Denise said.
But police officers just shrugged her off, she said. She never filed a formal complaint with police.
"It made me feel enraged, as if my voice wasn't heard and it wasn't looked upon and other people made reports of him too," she said.
But Denise said she is relieved she did not become another homicide statistic.
"I thank God every day for letting me live, for letting me survive that [encounter]," she said.
Please read this study (attachment below) about reducing sexual assault of women students by taking a series of workshops in women's self defense.
Sexual Assault Resistance Program for University Women
New England Journal of Medicine, 2015
Woman Left Tied Up For 5 Hours After Police Show Up
by Shannon M., August 26, 2011
The Russell Williams case shocked and horrified Canadians, both in the grisly nature of the crimes — rape, humiliation and murder — as well as the identity of the perpetrator: a well-respected Colonel in the Canadian military, who at the time of the offenses was in charge of thousands at a military base and who had piloted planes carrying such dignitaries as the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence.
It turns out, however, that it was shocking in other ways: namely, the actions of the very police officers called to help Williams’ victims. Williams attacked Laurie Massicotte when he invaded her home in the early hours of September 30, 2009 — by no means his first victim, but one of the last he left alive. He smothered her with a blanket, punched her repeatedly, tied her to a chair and photographed her, then left her alone in her house, still tied up. Once Massicotte was able to loosen herself enough to dial 911, police officers rapidly arrived on scene — and this, Massicotte says, is when her hell “really began.” The police allegedly told her that they had to leave her as she was, naked, tied up and under the blanket Williams had thrown over her before he left, until a police photographer showed up. Confused, traumatized and frightened, Massicotte remained under the blanket for another 5 hours as the police awaited the apparently much-in-demand photographer.
Massicotte plans to file suit against the Ontario Provincial Police over her treatment, as well as against Williams and his ex-wife. She stated that the police did not believe she was actually a victim and that, in fact, she was “faking” the whole incident. Massicotte stated the police told a neighbor that she was trying to “copycat” an assault that had taken place previously. This despite the fact that the police had not released information about the previous assault, which Massicotte is using as part of her suit against the OPP as well, stating that they failed in their “duty of care” to warn local residents that a sexual predator was on the loose.
Indeed, despite the fact that most residents would like to forget Russell Williams ever existed, there are those for whom he will never fully be gone.
Mexico: Victim of sexual harassment finds justice after posting story on YouTube
Cynthia Arvide – WNN Features
"Where are the laws for us women?" says the title of Nancy Rojo Pastelín's YouTube release as she posts her experience of daily sexual harassment outside her apartment in Mexico City, Mexico. Image: Youtube (WNN)
Mexico City, MEXICO: Ignored by her local police force Nancy Rojo Pastelín didn’t find justice until her story became popular on social media. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook in Mexico is now transforming and changing the way a growing number of people, especially women, report injustice.
In a region where too many police departments depend on political favours, selective enforcement of the law and a lack of transparency, women can face large obstacles reporting crimes. But things are changing as social media empowers women to speak-out about injustice.
After exposing her case to a local police unit, Nancy Rojo Pastelín, a 28-year-old fashion designer living in Mexico City, finally received the attention she deserved. Assistance came only after exposing her case as a victim of sexual harassment on YouTube.
On January 22, 2012, Pastelín decided to seek help directly from police authorities as she tried in vain to deal with a sexual harasser who was becoming more and more intimidating. Instead of receiving the appropriate help from the police, Nancy was told not to “exaggerate” her claim. She was also told that unless her harasser “touched, grabbed or raped” her there was nothing the police could or would do to help her.
Mexico City isn’t the only place where women and girls are subjected to harassment. Women and girls worldwide can be bothered and degraded at school, work or on the streets. “A study in the USA found that 83 per cent of girls in grades 8 to 11 (aged around 12 to 16) in public schools experienced some form of sexual harassment,” says Amnesty International.
Some form of sexual harassment can be found in every country in the world. Asia too has its share of cases.
To help with the constant sex-harassment his sister has received on the streets in Delhi, India, Manu Chopra a 16-year-old doting younger brother, invented a protective device for his sister to wear to help her deal with any aggressive and inappropriate touching from men on the street.
The device is worn just like a wristwatch. Amazingly it can deliver a sharp electric shock to any harasser who comes ‘too close.’ Triggered by a ‘fear reaction’ charted by a sharp rise in the heartbeat of its wearer, the device works when it is pressed against an assailant’s skin. In the next year this innovative protective device may be available to the public after it goes through testing and further product development.
The use of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook in making ‘live’ reports is growing worldwide; and women are beginning to feel stronger than ever before. Outraged by the lack of appropriate police response and fearing that her attacker could become more extreme, Pastelín decided to tell her story on the largest media format available – using YouTube to reach the world through a four-minute narrated video. Starting in 2005 by three former Paypal employees Jawed Karim, Chad Hurley and Steve Chin, YouTube is now a 1.65 billion dollar (USD) subsidiary company of Google. It started with the idea that video media is perfect media to use for those who want to speak out and share their experience.
On December 27, 2011 a coffee cup sums up the feeling women have in London about being sexually harassed on the streets.
Image: London Anti Street Harassment Campaign
Reporting crime, especially sexual harassment, fits perfect with YouTube, as well as Twitter and Facebook. Many people don’t know exactly what sexual harassment is. Sexual harassment is considered any ‘unwanted’ sexual advance. It can be spoken, and also non-spoken, and can include any type of unwanted physical contact, especially in severe cases where clothing may be ripped or completely pulled off a victim’s body. It can also include being physically held back against a wall or held down on the ground against one’s will. If a woman does make a report as a victim of sexual harassment, they often suffer in silence before sharing their experience. To share her report on being a victim of sexual harassment Pastelín titled her YouTube video: “Where is the law for us women?” In her attempt to get the largest audience possible to hear about her personal experience, Pastelín also placed a link to her video on her Twitter account and on Facebook where it went viral in less than 24 hours, reaching followers, friends and several renowned journalists. In no time Pastelín had thousands of YouTube video views and countless retweets bringing in thousands of comments about her plight to Facebook and Twitter.
Sharing her angst about the unnamed man who repeatedly leered and watched her from a building in front of her apartment Pastelín shared her story online. This is the same man, outlined Pastelín, who had been verbally aggressive with her on the street and who had stalked her in the parking lot in front of her building numerous times as he “half-naked” touched himself “in a grotesque manner,” calling out obscene remarks. After making an official report, Pastelín tweeted that she had just called the police. She also tried to take a picture of her assailant with her cellphone camera. “20 minutes and there’s still no police patrol… if my life was in danger I would be dead,” she posted in a Twitter tweet on January 22. But when the police finally arrived for Nancy, “They couldn’t do anything because he was inside [located on] private property,” highlighted Pastelín in her YouTube video.
Thinking at the very least her harasser could be detained for a few hours, which would slow down his behavior after she gave her report to the nearest police office, Pastelín was told instead by police authorities that she didn’t have a case.
They said “I wasn’t forced to ‘look’ and that his attentions were only ‘flirtatious comments,’” shared Nancy. She was also told she would have to wait until her assailant “became more aggressive,” said Pastelín. Or until he “tied me up, beat or raped me,” she continued. The police made it clear they would not act unless Pastelín’s harasser’s ‘comments’ turned into ‘life-endangering’ physical violence.
“The worst thing is that it was a woman who told me this…,” Pastelín tweeted, sharing the response of the woman at the local Office of the Public Prosecutor who interviewed her when she first tried to report her case. “This is why people don’t report crimes…,” explained Nancy.
“I would just like to say to all women that we must do something because it’s incredible that our justice system in Mexico cannot solve anything until we are aggressed in such a way that it can leave us with a permanent trauma,” she continued.
Although her video has been taken offline as her case against her ‘offender’ unfolds, Nancy Pastelín’s video has been watched by more than 321,457 people (Pastelín’s numbers). But not all of the attention she has received has been positive. “I blocked the video, as well as all of my online profiles (blog, Facebook, etc.), for security reasons,” Pastelín said recently in a statement to WNN – Women News Network. ”While I received alot of support, some people were also making bad use of my content (such as photomontages, remixes, etc.). I put the video out there when I needed to be listened [to]. Once that happened, I care more about my safety,” continued Pastelín. “…now there’s a precedent. People know what they can do if there are not taken seriously by an authority”.
Two days after her case spread throughout the world via social media, members from the news media in Mexico began to contact Pastelín. She was also contacted by several women’s rights organizations, as well as television networks, radio and print media, inside and outside Mexico.
Elderly woman escapes violent home invasion
The Star, June 29, 2012
Dylan C. Robertson, Staff Reporter
An elderly woman survived a frightening attack in her Georgetown home Thursday in which she was beaten, threatened with a knife and held for hours against her will.
The intruder had to be subdued by police with a Taser.
Halton police were called to the house after a man broke in around 8 a.m. Around 10 a.m., the 87-year-old woman noticed the intruder, who then held her against her will. She managed to phone 911 around 2:15 p.m.
“Our understanding is it started as a break and enter but escalated very quickly,” said Det. Sgt. Nick Milinovich, adding “it’s obviously very concerning.”
Police say that when they arrived the victim tried to unlock her front door but was then grabbed by the neck, dragged to another room, thrown on the ground and kicked.
When they entered, they say they found the man holding a knife to the victim’s throat. He was subdued with a Taser and arrested.
The woman, who doesn’t know the suspect, suffered small cuts to one hand.
John James Rodney Hill, 28, of no fixed address, faces numerous charges, including break and enter, robbery, forcible confinement, assault with a weapon and assaulting a peace officer.
With files from Torstar News Services
Accused serial killer arrested
52-year-old Winnipeg man charged with murdering three women in city
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, by Gabrielle Giroday and Aldo Santin, 06/26/2012
Many had long suspected the disappearances and deaths of a number of aboriginal women in Winnipeg was the work of a serial killer. But it was the voice of a 36-year-old woman that focused police attention on one suspect and led to a breakthrough arrest.
Now a drifter with an extensive criminal background is accused of being just that -- a serial killer in Winnipeg.
Shawn Cameron Lamb, 52, has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Tanya Nepinak, Carolyn Sinclair and Lorna Blacksmith, police announced Monday morning.
Winnipeg police Chief Keith McCaskill said a woman came forward Thursday, saying she had been the victim of a serious sexual assault. She provided investigators with enough evidence to lead them to Lamb, who was living on Sutherland Avenue.
Insp. Rick Guyader said Lamb knew Nepinak and was a person of interest in her disappearance and the cases of missing women Sinclair and Blacksmith. But investigators didn't question Lamb until the woman came forward last week.
"Sometimes you get a break in the case, and that's what happened here," McCaskill said during a news conference.
McCaskill defended the Winnipeg Police Service investigation of the women's disappearances, saying until Lamb's arrest last week, there was no evidence to suggest a serial killer was at work.
"We never said there was no serial killer, we said we had no evidence to suggest there is one," he said. "Now we have that evidence.
"I don't think we dropped the ball on this," McCaskill said, adding the case will be subject to close scrutiny and there will likely be instances where a different decision should have been made.
"I don't know of any errors in this investigation at all," McCaskill said. "The most important thing at the end of the day is that we do the best we possibly can and get that evidence before the courts."
Guyader said Lamb had lived in the West End, close to where the bodies of Sinclair and Blacksmith were found. Sources said the reason Lamb was on police radar initially was because he was the one who reported finding Sinclair's body.
A source said after his arrest for the sexual assault, the case broke wide open when Lamb told investigators about the body on Simcoe Street.
Links were made to the Sinclair case, because both bodies were reportedly wrapped in plastic and dumped in a similar area, sources told the Free Press.
Guyader and McCaskill would not say what evidence linked Lamb to the trio of cases but the man was charged with three counts of second-degree murder even though Nepinak's body has yet to be found.
Lamb is being held at the Winnipeg Remand Centre.
The body of Sinclair, 25, was found in March in a Dumpster in a back lane near Notre Dame Avenue and Toronto Street. Sinclair had been missing for three months at the time, and court records indicate she was killed almost immediately after disappearing.
Blacksmith, 18, had last been seen Jan. 11 in the West End. Court records indicate she was killed the very next day. Her body was discovered Thursday night on Simcoe Street, reportedly near a Dumpster and wrapped in plastic.
Nepinak, a 31-year-old mother of two, was last seen around Sherbrook Street and Ellice Avenue on Sept 13. Court records indicate that is the day police believe she died. The search for her body is ongoing.
Guyader said a team of 24 investigators -- 10 from the Winnipeg Police Service and 14 from the RCMP -- are part of the ongoing investigation into the case, which includes looking into whether Lamb is connected to other unsolved homicides and missing-women cases.
McCaskill said it's irrelevant how the murdered women made a living. "They are victims and they should never have been," McCaskill said.
He said Lamb, who is originally from Sarnia, Ont., has travelled extensively across the country and investigators will be in contact with other police agencies to see if he is connected with any unsolved homicides in other communities.
A man who identified himself as Lamb's stepbrother from Ontario spoke briefly with the Free Press on Monday afternoon.
He said someone at his work asked him what his brother's middle name is, and when he answered "Cameron," he immediately told him he'd better check the news. "It was all over the Internet," said the man, who refused to give his name. "He's an idiot. I'm glad he is where he is.
"I feel sorry for those women. I'm a compassionate person. I cried when I heard... Why wouldn't I?"
Police said it's believed Lamb has lived here full time since last year, but has had contact with police in the city dating back to 1999. It's unknown if he lived here full time for all of that period, though.
Guyader said the bodies of Blacksmith and Sinclair are too badly decomposed to determine a cause of death or to know if they had been sexually assaulted. However, he said forensic work is being done to try to answer those questions.
McCaskill said there is no evidence at this point to suggest Lamb had an accomplice.
8-year-old girl escapes Solana Beach abduction attempt
by Dave Thomas
San Diego News Examiner, June 26, 2012
One little girl is lucky and authorities want to make sure that an alleged kidnapper is taken off the streets.
According to an NBC7/39 report, a man tried to abduct an 8-year-old female Monday in the beach area near the 500 block of South Sierra Avenue at approximately 3:30 p.m.
According to the girl, a thin man with short black hair and tattoos covering his entire right arm came toward her in a threatening manner.
The victim described the male as 6' 1", wearing a purple and pink blue striped tank top, black cargo shorts, black "Vans" shoes and large ear lobe plug earrings. The suspect had the tattoo "I Will Kill" on his right knuckles, according to authorities.
Authorities also report that the suspect had a folding knife in his rear shorts pocket.
He was last witnessed riding his skateboard northbound on S. Sierra Avenue. Authorities said the skateboard had a brown covering on it with the saying "KISS ME" and an image of lips.
Woman escapes kidnapping
kiiitv, Posted: Jun 24, 2012
South Texas, USA: Beaumont police are searching for a robbery suspect who robbed a restaurant manager at knife point, kidnapping her and taking her to an ATM.
Police say the suspect approached 19-year-old Jewel Courts, who is a manager at a Pappadeaux's restaurant in the parking lot Sunday afternoon. He kidnapped the woman at knife point and took her to an ATM on College Street in Beaumont.
Courts says she withdrew $1,600 for the suspect, $100 at a time.
Courts says she was then thrown out of the car around Walden and I-10 where a driver stopped to help her call police.
An off duty officer spotted Courts car deserted in the 5300 block of Quad Lane. Police scoured the area looking for clues. A K-9 was called in to assist the search but two initial searches were unsuccessful.
Police describe the man as a hispanic male, mid 20s, dark tan, 5'6" medium build, was last wearing a gray shirt and black shorts. He had a tear drop under his left eye, and is heavily tattooed on both forearms.
Girl escapes rape bid in Vasant Kunj
KRITIKA SHARMA | NEW DELHI, 23 JUNE 2012
A week after the incident of a girl being assaulted by two men in a car was reported from South Delhi, a similar incident has been reported from Vasant Kunj area in the wee hours of Thursday, where a 19-year-old girl from Northeast met the same fate.
The teenage girl was abducted, assaulted and later dumped in an isolated place in South Delhi by three youths. The accused, after assaulting her also robbed the girl of her mobile phone. There was also a rape attempt on her.
The accused have been identified as Ayush, Ankit and Rohit, all of them are the residents of Kalkaji, said a police official. All three of them have been charged under sections of attempt to rape, abduction and robbery.
A senior police official said, the complainant is a teenage girl from Mizoram. She approached us on Thursday morning, saying that three youths abducted her from South Delhi on the pretext of giving her lift. The victim, in her complaint said that the youths took her inside their car and drove her to an isolated place in south Delhi. They later dumped her after robbing her mobile phone.
The victim lives in a rented accommodation in Munirka and works as beautician at a local saloon. On Wednesday night, she had gone to a pub in South Delhi, where she befriended the three youths. When the girl decided to leave the place, the youths offered her to drop her home in their car. She agreed as it was too late in the night.
Girl, 10, escapes attempted abduction in Ipswich
by Kieran Rooney, The Courier-Mail June 22, 2012
POLICE are hunting a man who tried to drag a schoolgirl into his car in Ipswich this morning.
The ten-year-old girl was walking along Lindsay St, Bundamba, at 8.20am when a man driving a green sedan pulled up.
The driver got out of the car, grabbed the girl and tried to pull her into the car. The girl managed to break free and run away while the man got back in the sedan and drove off.
Police said the man was Caucasian, aged in his 20s, slim and around 170 to 175cm tall. His face was covered and he wore a white T-shirt, black long pants and thongs.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 18000 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au
Woman escapes from Sydney home invaders
June 22, 2012
Police are hunting for two men said to be at the centre of a dramatic stand-off at a home in Sydney's south yesterday.
A woman has told police the two men forced their way into her townhouse on Queen Victoria Street at Bexley about 1:00pm (AEST). The 47-year-old was ordered to the floor, bound by her wrists with plastic cable ties and had her head covered with a blanket. When the men went upstairs the woman was able to escape through a back door and raise the alarm.
Police arrived believing the men were still inside. Scores of heavily armed officers sealed off the area, as the woman was taken to hospital with arm injuries.
On Twitter a man reported another terrified neighbour jumping a fence as the operation took place. "Men with handguns in the townhouse next door. There's a policeman on the driveway, hiding in the bushes," he tweeted.
But when police stormed the house three hours later they found it was empty. Police say they found the house had been ransacked. They are appealing for witnesses or information on the home invasion.
Lucknow girl escapes rape by jumping off first floor
IANS Jun 9, 2012
LUCKNOW: A 16-year-old girl was kidnapped by two motorcycle-borne men who tried to rape her at a garage here but she jumped off the first floor and escaped, police said Saturday. She was admitted to hospital with injuries.
The incident took place late Friday in Telibagh area.
The girl, a resident of Devikheda area on the outskirts of the city, told the police she was abducted by Monu and Amit when she stepped out of her house on Friday for going to toilet.
Girl escapes from kidnappers
TNN Jun 10, 2012
LUCKNOW: A teenaged girl was injured when she reportedly jumped from the first floor of a building where she was forcibly taken to after being kidnapped from outside her house in Aashiyana police circle late on Friday. Sangita (name changed) of Mohanlalganj had secured a first division in her class X exams the results. After her results were declared on Friday, she went out with friends to celebrate and returned home later in the evening.
She was having an evening walk outside her house, when two youths riding a motorcycle arrived at the scene. They allegedly forced her on their motorcycle and sped away threatening of dire consequence if she tried to raise alarm. The miscreants took her to a multi-storey building in Aashiyana and held her captive inside a room on the first floor of the premises. Sometime later the two returned and tried to outrage her modesty. She however managed to run out of the room as the two miscreants tried to nab her. With not much to choose from, Sangita rushed to the corridor outside the room and jumped from the first floor.
'Highway of Tears'
The Unsolved Murders of Indigenous Women in Canada
by Sebastian Moll, 07/05/2012
Highway 16 in Canada has become known as the "Highway of Tears" because dozens of women have disappeared along its route. Many of them have been killed, most of them First Nation indigenous peoples. The police have shown little interest in solving the crimes.
The view from our van could be straight out of a tourism brochure. There are snow-covered peaks, forests painted in fall colors, and next to the road flows a mountain stream where fishermen are catching salmon.
As we travel deeper into this idyllic landscape, the mood of our driver, Gladys Radek, becomes darker. She plays the Patsy Cline song "If I Could See the World (Through the Eyes of a Child)," over and over again. It is a ballad about longing for a childhood like the one Gladys never had.
Gladys was born 56 years ago on the reserve for the Gitxsan indigenous people in British Columbia, but she never gets homesick as she drives along Highway 16, the "Highway of Tears."
"There are too many ghosts," she says.
The ghosts are the women who have been disappearing without a trace along the 700-kilometer-long (435-mile-long) stretch of highway. Official police statistics list 18 women in all, 17 of whom are First Nation, as much of the indigenous population in Canada is called. Amnesty International assumes, however, that there are considerably more. Not a single case has been solved.
Locked up By Day, Abused at Night
That doesn't surprise Radek. It speaks to her own personal experience. The life of a native woman like her doesn't count for much here in northern Canada, some 200 kilometers from the border with Alaska. To her, it's clear what must have happened: The women were picked up on the stretch between the reserves, the gold mines and the logging camps, raped, killed and dumped along the side of the road.
We arrive in Prince Rupert, where the Highway of Tears reaches the Gulf of Alaska. Unemployed indigenous people hang around in dingy coffee shops. Almost all of the fish-processing plants that once employed many in the town have shut down. There was too much competition from Japan.
Radek is uncomfortable. She doesn't like this place. When she was a small child, her foster father spent the summer fishing in the harbor. Radek spent her days locked below deck on the boat, until he came for her in the evening.
It was here, at the entrance to town on Highway 16, that her niece Tamara disappeared five years ago. She was 18 years old. A ghost.
Vicky Hill's Mother Disappeared in 1978
Vicki Hill, 35, has spent her entire life in Prince Rupert. She brings a folder with photos and newspaper clippings to our meeting in a greasy Chinese restaurant on Main Street. They are all that remains of her mother, who disappeared on the highway on March 26, 1978, when Hill was only six months old.
The photo in one of the articles shows a beautiful young First Nation woman in a neat summer dress. Three days after she disappeared from town, her body was found 30 kilometers away. She was lying naked in a bush a few hundred meters from the highway.
Her death certificate lists "pneumonia" as the cause of death. But the last line of the document contradicts this finding. It states it was a "homicide." Still, there was no investigation. The body was buried at the cemetery in Prince Rupert, where it was never marked by a gravestone.
Who found the body? Who wrote the contradictory death certificate? Why didn't anyone investigate her death? Vicki Hill wants answers to these questions. She wants to be rid of the feeling that anyone walking down the street in Prince Rupert could be the murderer. But she is running up against a wall of silence.
Each Result Would Only Produce Uncomfortable Questions
It is a three-day trip from Prince Rupert to Vancouver, where we meet with the private detective Ray Michalko. He was once a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Mounties. Six years ago, the Mounties formed a special commission to look into the Highway 16 cases. They invested $11 million (Canadian) to investigate the murders, but without success.
Michalko is not surprised. "They put 50 people in front of computers and hoped that a serial killer would jump out at them," he says. Data was collected and profiles were created. The only thing that is not being done, Michalko says, is real detective work.
He couldn't stand by and watch anymore, he says. That's why he drives along Highway 16 now, knocking on doors and asking questions. Michalko doubts that the special commission wants to achieve serious results. Each real result would only produce uncomfortable questions.
That's what happened during the trial against Robert Pickton, who was sentenced to life in prison in Vancouver in 2007. When police officers searched for illegal weapons on his pig farm outside Vancouver, they found pieces of clothing belonging to a missing Native prostitute. When police then scoured the farm from top to bottom, they found the remains of 49 Native women.
Pickton made pornographic films of the women and then slaughtered them like the pigs at his farm. But the trial also raised questions about the police and the justice system. How is it possible that his crimes could have gone undiscovered for so long? Why didn't anyone search for the missing women?
There was a public hearing on the Pickton case, and new details about corruption among the Mounties and justice officials emerged on a daily basis. Michalko believes that the special commission was formed so the debacle surrounding the Pickton case didn't extend to the cases from Highway 16.
Michalko believes the situations are similar. In his mind, they both shed light on the dark side of British Columbia. "When you think about the problems up there, you'll go crazy," he says.
'It is Unbearable, How Our People Are Forced to Live'
On the route from Prince Rupert to Prince George we pass Moricetown, the reserve where Gladys grew up. Her mother still lives here in one of the prefabricated houses that one can pick up at any home improvement store. The whole reserve is filled with them. The muddy street that connects them is littered with garbage -- TVs, wrecked cars and empty beer cans.
When Gladys' sister Peggy opens the door, a musty smell drifts our way. Peggy, Gladys explains to us later, has spent two years in prison for assaulting a man who was trying to rape her. Her mother is sitting silently on a sofa filled with holes, gazing absent-mindedly. Her hair falls in oily strands from her head, and her blind eye peers eerily around the room.
"It is unbearable, how our people are forced to live," Gladys says, when we turn back onto Highway 16 an hour later.
It is almost a miracle that she escaped this misery. Her parents were almost always drunk. When her younger brother starved to death, they were in a bar. Gladys was five then. That's when she was taken away from her parents.
Her foster parents didn't provide her with a childhood she would have wanted either. Her foster father started raping her when she was eight. When she was 13, she had the courage to report him to the reserve police. They shrugged their shoulders in response. After that, she packed her bags and ran away.
Gladys could easily have become one of the missing on the Highway of Tears. But she survived, moved to Vancouver, and raised five children. Now she is working as a spokeswoman for an organization for "Missing and Murdered Women." Her group estimates that there are 500 missing and murdered women in Canada.
"Someone has to give a voice to the many families who don't know what happened to their loved ones," she says. The worst, she says, is the feeling of being alone in your pain.
U of T sexual assault: Ruse used to lure victim to campus, police say
by Dylan C. Robertson, The Star, July 13, 2012
A University of Toronto student has been charged with sexual assault after a woman was trapped and choked at a campus bathroom.
Police say a 19-year-old female was lured to a campus building bathroom, confined and assaulted around 4:15 p.m. on Thursday after arriving to attend a purported information session at Emmanuel College, a multi-denominational Christian college at the university.
When she arrived at the room, it was empty. A man then approached from a nearby washroom in a hygienic face mask and offered to help her find the session location.
He then returned asked her to help him with a repair in the washroom. After they entered the washroom, he locked the door and forced her to the ground.
The woman fought back, escaped and notified campus police. She identified the man as a U of T student. Police believe the information session was a ruse to lure the woman to the site of the assault.
Muhammad Umair Jafar, 21, of Brampton was subsequently arrested and charged with forcible confinement, assault and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
Jafar was later charged with sexual assault, disguising with a criminal intent and choking to overcoming resistance. He appeared in Old City Hall court Friday morning.
Toronto police believe there may be more victims and are asking anyone with information to contact them at 416-808-7455 or call CrimeStoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
Thursday’s assault took place days after five women reported being sexually assaulted at York University.