For Trisha Baptie, the decision not to fund women’s and Aboriginal groups as part of BC’s missing women’s inquiry is part of an all too familiar pattern.
It is part of a larger history of systematic racism and sexism that has been working to silence the voices of marginalized women for decades.
“I think it’s why we are allowed to go missing,” said Baptie, a member of WESC (Women’s Equality and Security Coalition), a coalition of women’s organizations that was granted standing in the inquiry.
“It’s why our voices are not heard in the justice system, because we’re not valued, because all we have is our lived experience and somehow that doesn’t count as anything.”
A number of women’s groups, including WESC, withdrew from the inquiry when funding for legal representation was denied. They cited unfair process and a lack of support as reason for non-participation.
While some families of the missing and murdered women are still participating in the inquiry, which began Oct.11, WESC, The Coalition of Sex Worker Serving Organizations, The Assembly of First Nations, as well as the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) have all withdrawn.