Monday, July 7, 2008

Chantal Robertson, She Was Just A Sex Trade Worker

image Her name was Chantal Robertson and she was just twenty years old when she died.  Though she spent many years in the Niagara Region, at the time of her death she was living in Edmonton, home to Thomas Svekla, infamous murderer of sex trade workers.

The grizzly details of her death can be read at CTV.  Neighbours heard her screaming, and fighting for her life but no one thought to call 911. It wasn't until she failed to report for work that a friend notified the authorities.

I never met Chantal, but I knew her father well.  When he was having a rough day, simply mentioning his daughter was enough to bring about a change in his demeanour. He adored her, and never tired of talking about her accomplishments with a sense of pride. 

I suspect that once again, as the media reports on this case what will be lost is Chantals humanity. People will not know about her father Michael, or her little brother that loved her, instead they will  focus on the fact that she was a sex trade worker, as though somehow this one fact could encapsulate her young life.  They will completely sensationalize the story without asking why as a society we devalue these women, why we seem to feel that their lives are worth less than others.  There will no legitimate discussion of the role that the capitalist economy plays in making the sex trade a viable "choice" for young women.  Chantals murder will  become yet another sensationalized story which will quickly slip from the front page, to completely off the radar screen.  Except for those that loved her, it will be as though she never existed.

I am tired of writing these stories. I am tired of looking into  eyes that have closed upon this world, because women like Chantal are deemed disposable bodies.  I am tired of repeating their names over, and over, trying in a vain  to grant them a sense of humanity that the world has chosen not to bestow. Sex trade workers make up one of the most vulnerable segments of our society, and as such are treated like prey by the sick and depraved.  Socially we do not weep for their loss, we do not think of the grief of their families. We treat their deaths like honour killings as way of legitimizing their murders because of their occupations.  The continual slaughtering of these women is a stain upon our human conscience, and it is a blight that cannot, and should not be forgotten. 

Chantal, I never met you but I am so sorry.  I am sorry that your life had to come to such a tragic end. I am sorry that you never had the chance to live out your dreams, and most of all I am sorry that even in death you have not been granted the respect that is your due.  Sleep well baby girl.


8 comments:

Duane said...

"I am tired of writing these stories. I am tired of looking into eyes that have closed upon this world, because women like Chantal are deemed disposable bodies. I am tired of repeating their names over, and over, trying in a vain to grant them a sense of humanity that the world has chosen not to bestow."

If you are so tired, then stop doing it. Seems like a simple solution to me.

Renee said...

If you are so tired, then stop doing it. Seems like a simple solution to me.

THe solution is not to stop advocating on their behalf the solution is for them A0 not to be in this position in first place. B) Men need to stop thinking that they have the right to kill women

bobvis said...

If you are so tired, then stop doing it. Seems like a simple solution to me.

Duane, I'm taking a leap here and am going to guess you are missing the point.

troubleinchina said...

I had not heard. Thank you for posting this.

Renee said...

@trouble...For as long as I am able I will assert that these women have a right to dignity and life. Their deaths should not go unremarked upon as though they are nothing, because they matter.

Alexa said...

Duane, I'm taking a leap here and am going to guess you are missing the point.

That's not a leap. It is an observation of someone's blatant, misogynistic ignorance.

Thank you for trying to bring some modicum of dignity to this young woman, Renee.

BestFriends4Lif3 said...

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TALKING ABOUT CHANTAL LIKE THAT SHE WAS A GOOD PERSON AND NO ONE IS PERFECT AND DOES IT MATTER ABOUT THE KIND OF JOB OR LIFESTYLE,YOU HAVE, YOU NEED TO STOP TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE , JUST CUZ THERE DEAD DOESNT MEAN THAT THERE DOESNT MEAN THAT SHES NOT STILL WITH US ,,

THANK YOU AND STOP
TALKING ABOUT MY FRIEND THAT THAT WAY OKKK GOT IT GOOD....

LOVE YOU CHANTAL NO MATTER WHAT PEOPLE THINK OR SAY MUCH LOVE FROM YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY LOVE YOU GIRL I WISH YOU WERE STILL HERE WITH US BUT SADLY YOUR NOT , AT LEAST YOUR IN A BETTER PLACE NOW , NO SUFFERING , NOTHIN R.I.P CHANTAL x0x0x0 <3 <3

Renee said...

BestFriend: DId you even bother to read the post before you lost your mind...The title is meant to illustrate the fact that people will dehumanize her because of her profession...the whole post was dedicated to supporting her humanity. You are absolutely guilty of what you accuse me of.