Ryann Reflections

A glimpse into the life of one anti-social stripper nerd.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Missing Sarah

I just finished reading “Missing Sarah” by Maggie de Vries. It is the story of Sarah de Vries, one of the Vancouver’s missing women whose DNA was found on Robert Pickton’s farm in Port Coquitlam. I cannot do justice to her story, nor to the beautiful and compelling voice of Maggie. But I can share pieces with you. I can hope that you too will pick up this book and open your heart to this vulnerable and tragic story. It is only one woman’s story; the DNA of over thirty women was found on that farm.

This book found its way to me just a week before the trial is set to begin. The power of her story is indescribable.

If you could look inside my mind,
Would you like the woman you find?
Would you understand me?
Would you want to love me?

Look deep inside my windows,
Past the mass hysteria of confusion.
Look deeper, look farther.
Now look, look harder,
Past the illusion, past the disillusion,
Past the hurt, anger and self-retribution.
If you can, what do you see?

Don’t look if you don’t care
For you won’t find me there.
Like a child, beaten and raped,
I’ll run and hide for my safety’s sake.

True love, true hate, I know what they are
My defenses are weak,
My wishful thinking leaves me wounded,
Down on my knees, begging, pleading.

Please, God, one, just one of them must really care.
-- Sarah de Vries

I did not know Sarah. I have never experienced her choices. I have never known her pain. I have never felt that desperation. But I am a woman. Over the past few days, lying in my hotel in Campbell River I have learned her story. I stopped packing for a few moments to finish the story, to learn the outcome that would never change. Sarah is dead, and no amount of compassion can change that reality. She was not a fictional character. She was a living, breathing human being with love, pain, hope and despair. I lay on my bed, staring up at the ceiling allowing the anger and sadness to wash through me. Somehow her story must be incorporated into my psyche.

I packed my makeup. I zipped my suitcase. I gathered my bedding. I hugged my care bear. I walked over to the bar. I changed into a costume and for 18 min I smiled and teased. I collected my pay.

Then I drove, lost in my thoughts, through the darkness, away from one bar, on my way to the next. I do not sell sex. I sell the idea of sex. If a patron so much as touches me, or tries to kiss my hand I react with anger and disgust. Immediately I want to wash away all evidence and memory of the encounter. I want to say I cannot imagine what Sarah felt turning tricks, but at least to some lesser degree, I can imagine. The using, the objectifying, the sex tool attitude, the disrespect and dehumanizing comments… I know how some men look at women they deem ‘lesser’. I see how easily the respect melts into misogynistic lust.

“They think that because they pay for you they can treat you like a sex tool. They think because they paid for it, you aren’t going to tell anybody. They think it doesn’t hurt you inside, but it does. They think because you’re a hooker you don’t feel any emotions, you don’t feel any pain. You are just doing it for the money, and you don’t feel anything, but you do. I’m not just speaking for myself; I’m speaking for everybody else. You know, they do. They are human, they feel, and just because you are paying them money doesn’t mean you can treat them like total shit, because they have feelings too.” (p. 109)

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  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger Cairde said…

    I could not begin to imagine what Sarah went through, both in her work and with her death. How many people can we trust to really care? I know people who would say it does not matter when a prostitute is killed, as though she is less of a human. People are on certain paths for a reason, it's too bad others don't care to take the time to learn why. It is far easier to sit in judgement, than to open one's heart and mind.

  • At 1:15 PM, Blogger Ryann said…


  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger renegade28 said…

    Sarah's life was so sad and tragic, but she did have some very close friends who cared very much about her. Sarah had a core set of values and never strayed from them. She cared deeply about the less fortunate. She was a forgiving person. I miss her so much.


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