Like many people, I’ve lost loved ones in my life. Sadly, the few that I really looked up to were taken away far too soon, but my memory of them remains strong. They’ve all helped shape the person I am now and the person I strive to become.
Three years ago, I heard a story about missing women when I visited my sister over the summer in Canada. In that moment, my life changed forever -- the plight of these women and their families became something I wanted to expose and share with the world. Although my fears kept telling me that I couldn't do it and that I should quit, I trusted my gut and didn't let anything stop me from exposing an issue which I believe is one of the most harrowing dilemmas of our time: violence against women.
The triggering moment for me in sharing this story was the photo I saw yesterday morning of two police officers participating in a mile-long walk in women’s shoes, honoring missing and murdered women across Canada and around the world. It moved me to tears. I think back at all the efforts I put into raising awareness about these cases in the hopes that other people would care, too. Three years in, I still find myself battling depression over the notion that not enough people care to really understand what is happening. Women and girls (& also young men) are being murdered.
For the most part, no one is really paying attention. We’re far too busy to let it register and most people don't know how they can help. I can’t tell you how disgusting I found Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comments in December 2014, regarding the issue of missing & murdered women: "It's not really on my radar." It really sets the tone for the level of seriousness behind domestic policy in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and many other countries around the world, where government's aren't doing enough to protect women against violence. I can’t even begin to count the families I’ve met over the last few years that have lost mothers, sisters, and daughters. It destroys families for generations!
As I finalize my task list for HIGHWAY OF TEARS to be distributed on more platforms and schedule a few more public screenings in Canada and abroad for October, frustration continues to build from what I feel is a lack of interest about this issue. It is our public duty to protect each other, especially the most vulnerable among us.
This photo gives me hope. We are beginning to understand what it feels like to "walk a mile in her shoes." People are starting to stand up and speak out about violence against women. More importantly, men are doing it. They are making history before our very eyes. These two police officers are my heroes today...
Thank you for permission to use the photo Lisa!