Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Missing in Ottawa -- Gina Smith

To my great surprise, I read an article in the Ottawa Citizen the other day about a woman by the name of Gina Smith who has apparently been missing from Ottawa for almost two years. Could have fooled me. With all of the publicity that surrounded other women who disappeared in this town starting with my own friend and acquaintance, Louise Ellis, and moving on to Ardeth Wood and Jennifer Teague, how could someone else have gone under the radar without receiving a tremendous amount of media attention?

Easy. She was a drug addict and a prostitute. Does that sound familiar? Think East Side of Vancouver and the dozens of sex trade workers who ended up on Robert Pickton's pig farm.

Recently, bones have been discovered in the Rideau Canal and the police are wondering if they belong to Gina Smith. She disappeared under suspicious circumstances in that she was about to testify against her old boss and ex-lover, saying that he had "threatened to bash her head in with a hammer." No one questioned the fact that she didn't appeared in court because people without addresses are often dismissed as "transients" who move from place to place.

Andrew Seymour of the Ottawa Citizen, source for this article, wrote that Gina was "lost before she disappeared." So true, so sad and so infuriating that we haven't evolved to the level where we treat all people equally regardless of their occupation or circumstances.



HJD said...

Dear Sigrid,
Thank you for bringing awareness to THIS ISSUE, AND I AM LINKING THE POST! GREAT FIND!

Sigrid Macdonald said...

Thanks for linking to this, Holly. It never ceases to amaze me how badly sex trade workers are treated -- like they're not people at all or they don't matter. It's almost worse than being Native or black!

Think of all the white women and girls who've gone missing and how much air time they received. Natalee Holloway, Laci Peterson, Lori Hacking, Runaway Bride Jennifer Wilbanks. Were their disappearances important? Of course! But five-year-old Tamra Keepness went missing from Regina several years ago and has never surfaced. She was native and poor. Her story received *very* little publicity in Eastern Canada, but I believe that it got more in the West. As you well know, the stories of missing sex trade workers tend to be dismissed unless they occur in unimaginable numbers.

I pray that the bones in the Rideau Canal are not those of Gina Smith.
Forgot to include a link to the article by Andrew Seymour about Gina. Here it is:


Anonymous said...

I have got news for you Gina is not the only one. Richard Bolandos also went missing a few week after Jennifer Teague. Does anyone one else know this. Two of many angles I am sure waiting to be found. God Bless them all

Anonymous said...

I had to write again. I am blessed with vision of missing (mostly children) I am so frustrated with the lack of media information. How can we help find them if we cannot get any info. Good example "how many amber alterts do you see that are not clear on the city it has happened in. Wow are streets sure sound the same. You panic to help to find out they are in Vancouver.
God bless them all

SIGRID said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks so much for your posts. No, I hadn't heard about Richard Bolandos. How horrible. He's been missing a long time.

It's hard to determine why the media focuses on one person and not another but it often has to do with their race and attractiveness or "sex appeal" to the media since their job is selling papers. I don't mean to sound so cynical -- I'm sure there are other reasons that I don't know about.

Maybe you could write a letter to the editor to remind people about Richard Bolandos. Is his picture up anywhere in community centers? How old is he?

Interesting about your gift of vision. What is your sense about him?


Anonymous said...

Hi, I am Gina's daughter and i just want to thank you for writing this, there isnt much about her case and i really appreaciate this