The police’s “unsatisfactory” investigation into missing women in the Downtown Eastside underscores systemic racism and sexism in Canada’s judicial and social system, according to Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter.
The organization yesterday demanded a public inquiry into the years-long investigation of Robert Pickton, who was convicted of murdering at least six women from the DTES.
Lee Lakeman said police did not take seriously reports of 50 missing women because they were drug addicted, Aboriginal and female.
Her colleague Lana Holland said an inquiry is the only way to uncover why so many women were left vulnerable to Pickton.
“My Aboriginal sisters are not perfect victims in the eyes of police and the courts, especially when they’re considered vagrant, addicted and sex workers,” she said.
Dave Dickson, a former Vancouver Police officer, said failures in the social system allowed for women to become Pickton’s prey.
“You’ve got to look at the Ministry because most of the victims were (once) kids in care,” he said. “Everyone is going to have to take a share of the (blame).”
With files from Jennifer O’Callaghan