I can’t sleep right now.
I can’t sleep right now because I’m thinking of a family’s daughter that was just found-
She was murdered by her domestic partner, her body dumped in the woods of Wyoming.
I can’t sleep right now because I’m thinking about the Battle between Men and Women that has been raging on for so long.
And I’m wondering- where is the Fury over the Men in these situations???!!!
Where is the call to action to Raise Better Men?!!
Where is the righteous anger over the statistics of modern-day developed countries’ domestic violence?!
For the record-
In Canada, among solved homicides in 2019, 47% of women who were victims of homicides were killed by an intimate partner.
In the U.S., from 1994 to 2010, approximately 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.
I’m not even citing stats about emotional abuse or rape or anything else at this point- but they’re friggin terrifying too.
Sadness- sadness for the women who died at the hands of people they loved and trusted, I understand.
But what about anger?
I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about Gabby Petito.
I’m thinking of a family that will never see their bubbly, bright-eyed little girl ever again, because her domestic partner murdered her and left her body to rot, and then ran away to hide from the authorities.
I’m thinking of being that girl’s Mom or Dad, and getting that terrible phone call that the autopsy has been performed, and the coroner confirms that the remains found in the woods are that of their little girl’s.
I cannot even imagine the unbearable tsunami of grief that would come crashing down on me in that moment, and in all the moments on this Earth thereafter, where I had to walk around knowing that I could never hug her or hear her call me Mom ever again.
And I’m also thinking of being a mother to an Indigenous girl.
An Indigenous girl, who was also 22, and was also bright-eyed and bubbly, and who was also murdered by her domestic partner, and whose remains were also dumped into the same section of land where Gabby Petito’s body was just found.
Except for my daughter was murdered in 2011.
And nobody cared.
Our whole family cared. We carry her memory and her loss with us every day. We wonder where she is. We pray for closure. But we get none, because my daughter wasn’t blonde, or white. She was Indigenous.
The investigation was over within a few weeks.
No cameramen or reporters at my door.
No search parties, no televised news.
No internet coverage of her death.
No search parties of volunteers in the hundreds.
No FBI out searching day and night for her killer.
It’s just me, grieving the loss of my daughter alone, 10 years later, never knowing where or how she lost her life, or having any of her remains to confirm her passing and give our family some long-awaited closure.
I’m picturing myself as That Mom, and on the decade of my daughter’s disappearance, I open my social media to see link after link describing Gabby Petito’s disappearance, recovery of her remains, and the subsequent comment sections all about the tragedy of her loss of life.
And yet here I sit, on this day, along with the other mothers of Indigenous and Black girls who have been murdered in Wyoming between 2010-2020 and never found.
I sit here alone, wondering how my little girl met her end, and why nobody cares.
For more on this, please read the report and news article below:
I am sitting here, awake in my bed at night in Crossfield, thinking-
By the grace of God, I am not any of these mothers.
My daughter- my bubbly, bright-eyed daughter, is 2 and a half.
She’s sleeping across the hall, peacefully, having No Idea that these are the odds she’s up against.
And I’m growing something in my belly right now that is three weeks away from entering this world and earning its chance to become a person. A person who makes its mark on the world and effects other people.
I don’t know if it’s a girl that I’m growing or a boy- but as I lay here awake, thinking of these mothers and fathers that have lost their daughters to the woods in Wyoming, I wonder what it is that I can do to ensure that my children do not Ever become these headlines.
Both my children.
The theoretical murdered girl, and the theoretical murdering boy.
I was tossing and turning an hour ago when I couldn’t sleep, thinking of these murders, and Ryan asked me what was keeping me awake.
I told him my thoughts about Gabby Petito, and the other girls whose remains have been left in forests and garbage bags by men, and we had a chat about domestic violence.
I told him that I currently know of at least three women with children who are in abusive relationships.
They’re all smart, capable, professional women.
They each have various reasons for staying in the relationship.
Most of their reasoning is that ‘with time or therapy, he will change and things will get better’ and/or ‘they want to stay together for the cohesion/benefit of the family unit.’
I asked Ryan’s opinion about that and his first answer was:
“Those women are clearly lacking self-confidence.”
I was Gobsmacked.
Here I had just detailed the offences of each of the three husbands, ranging from emotional abuse to verbal abuse to physical abuse, and in one case, all three forms of abuse-
And Ryan’s default answer was ‘something is wrong with these women for staying.’
I wanted to be mad at him.
I wanted to stare into his eyes and say ‘do you Hear the words coming out of your mouth right now?!!’
But I didn’t- because I realized that is Exactly the problem with the way we currently think about domestic violence.
I’ve seen a female empowerment wave in the last generation.
More and more women are realizing that we need to raise our daughters up strong.
Teach them to have a voice, be brave, be powerful. Speak their minds.
Tell authority figures or their parents if anyone is bullying them.
Teach them about consent, that it’s okay to say no.
Teach them to have boundaries and to value themselves.
I myself, as a child of the 80’s, have had all sorts of this training and social conditioning.
Don’t go anywhere alone at night.
Carry your car keys with one key poked out in the middle of your grasp. If someone attacks you, jab them with your key.
Travel in groups.
Don’t leave your drink unattended.
Tell a friend when you’re going out on a date; give them the dude’s name and contact information and where you’re supposed to be meeting that night.
Where is the reciprocal training for boys??
I am friends with lots of ‘boy-Moms’.
They’re all doing Great jobs of raising their little people into becoming good people.
But I wonder-
When is it we start teaching little boys about consent?
About being brave enough to stand up to other boys, and eventually men, about the bullshit they’re going to see?
I think of Brock Turner, shoving his fingers inside a passed-out drunk girl on campus behind a dumpster at Stanford University.
I think of the two male students riding by on their bicycles, who saw what was happening and ordered him to stop, and then physically held Brock down until police arrived on scene.
I think how brave they must have been to do that-
To see something deadass wrong happening to a woman, and then to Do something about it.
I wonder about raising my own little boy.
What kinds of things can I teach him so that he Never, ever harms a girl in his lifetime?
What kinds of things can I teach him so that he has the bravery to confront strangers- and harder yet, his own Friends, when he sees them doing something wrong??
How can I teach him to respect women’s bodies?
How can I teach him to speak up if he sees his guy friends laughing and calling a girl a slut for something she did over the weekend that involved both parties, consentually?
How can I raise him so that he Never ever even thinks to call his girlfriend a nasty name in the middle of an argument?
I’m laying awake, thinking about all of these things, and hoping that other Moms are too.
And even more than that, I’m hoping that there are some men out there wrestling with these same thoughts.
The next generation has to do better.
We Need to do better.