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(Re)covering the missing women : news media reporting on Vancouver’s "disappeared" Moores, Patrick 2006

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(RE)COVERING THE MISSING W O M E N : NEWS MEDIA REPORTING ON V A N C O U V E R ' S "DISAPPEARED" by PATRICK MOORES B.A.(Hons), Laurentian University, 2003 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF M A S T E R OF ARTS in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Sociology) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A July 2006 © Patrick Moores, 2006 11 A B S T R A C T This study argues that the news media coverage of the disappearance of numerous Vancouver-area women devalued the importance and diminished the urgency of finding the women. The analysis focuses on 28 articles which appeared in the Vancouver Sun and the Province from July 3r d 1998 (when Vancouver Police department added a second detective to investigate the disappearances) to May 18th 1999 (when coverage focused on the future of the investigation after a reward was approved). Employing a critical analysis of the compositional, textual, and visual components of the articles, the results of this study indicate that the women's disappearances were ranked low on the scale of newsworthiness by the editors of the newspapers resulting in sporadic coverage of the issue. The content of this coverage was dominated by reporting which, by focusing on the so-called immoral and criminal aspects of the women's lives, depicted the missing women as a problem and held them responsible for their own disappearances. The disappearances were further devalued by the VPD who constructed a "myth of transience" whereby the women were imagined to have merely moved to another city. In perpetuating this myth, the VPD was able to excuse the scant resources they had devoted to the investigation. The influence of the myth of transience was also seen in reporting on the political response to the disappearances, especially via the creation of a "two-tiered" reward, one for any information leading to a criminal conviction and another for informing police of one of the missing women's whereabouts. Nevertheless, the voices of advocates were also included in the news reports offering more sympathetic and realistic portrayals of the women's lives. Despite the omissions and distortions in the media coverage during this period, the thesis concludes by arguing that studying this period closely helps us to redirect our attention to the women themselves, their families, friends, and advocates, rather than focus on the police, the suspect eventually arrested, and the subsequent court trial. Ill T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Abstract ii Table of Contents i i i List of Tables iv List of Figures v Acknowledgements vi Dedication vii INTRODUCTION Returning the Focus on the Missing Women 1 CHAPTER I Early Coverage of the Disappearances: July 3 r d 1998 to March 9 t h 1999...11 1.1 Identifying, Labeling, and Locating the Missing Women 16 1.2 The Perspective of the Vancouver Police Department 29 1.3 Uncovering the Violence Faced By Survival Sex Workers 35 CHAPTER II The Debate for a Reward: March 31 s t 1999 to April 29 t h 1999 40 2.1 Reconstructing the Lives of the Missing Women 44 2.2 The VPD's Investigation of the Disappearances and Denial of the Importance of a Reward 59 2.3 The Political Facet of the Reward Debate 65 CHAPTER III After the Reward Was Approved: May 10 th 1999 to May 18 th 1999 70 3.1 The Future of the Missing Women Case in May 1999 72 CONCLUSION Missing the Point 84 C l Recommendations 94 BIBLIOGRAPHY 100 APPENDIX A: The Newspaper Articles 105 iv L I S T O F T A B L E S Table 1.1 Inventory of Articles from Period One 12 Table 2.1 Inventory of Articles from Period Two 40 Table 3.1 Inventory of Articles from Period Three 70 V LIST O F FIGURES Figure 1.1 Project Evenhanded Missing Women Poster 2 Figure 1.1 Sarah de Vries 16 Figure 1.2 Sarah de Vries Photo Montage 20 Figure 1.3 Close-up of Mug Shot 25 Figure 1.4 "Tragic Portraits" of the Missing Women .26 Figure 2.1 Judy McGuire 45 Figure 2.2 Family of Stephanie Lane 50 Figure 2.3 Angela Jardine 1 51 Figure 2.4 Sandra Gagnon with Photos of her Missing Sister 52 Figure 2.5 Maggie and Sarah de Vries in Embrace .54 Figure 2.6 Mark Thompson in Angela Jardine's Room 58 Figure 2.7 Angela Jardine 2 59 Figure 3.1 Protest March for the Missing Women 74 Figure 3.2 Woman with Flower at Memorial Service 77 A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S I wish to thank my supervisor Dr. Becki Ross and my committee member Dr. Thomas Kemple for their indispensable suggestions and continuing support. I would also like to thank my parents for their unwavering confidence in my abilities and my partner Hilary Pearse for her fresh perspective on this paper and general positive outlook on life. I could not have completed this paper without the assistance of these five wonderful people. Thank you. D E D I C A T I O N For my Parents 1 INTRODUCTION: Returning the Focus on the Missing Women Vancouver's mayor Sam Sullivan recently commented on the living conditions of survival sex workers in the city. Only one day after accused serial killer Robert Pickton's not-guilty pleas for murdering 27 women, Sullivan stated that, "It distresses me greatly that years after [women went missing in the Downtown Eastside], that these women are in exactly the same place" (Bula 2006: B5). Although this comment was primarily directed against the former mayor of Vancouver and his officials, Sullivan's observation is actually quite accurate. In the report Voices for Dignity 2 (2004), the Pivot Legal Society claims that there are five socio-economic factors which highlight the continued marginalization of survival sex workers in Vancouver. In sworn affidavits to Pivot, the sex workers interviewed reported living in poverty, having little access to safe and affordable housing, being regular victims of violence, having a lower than average health status, and being targeted and harassed by police. However, despite the appalling circumstances that survival sex workers still endure, the news media has mainly focused its attention on the trial and actions of Robert Pickton rather than the lives and deaths of the missing women themselves. Some basic details of the criminal case against Pickton are known despite a publication ban that has prevented the news media from reporting on specific evidence. Pickton was first arrested in February 2002 when "police looking for firearms on an unkempt Port Coquitlam pig farm found identification papers for some of the 50 [missing] women" (Kines and Bolan: 2002: A l ) . After his arrest, police forensic teams poured over Pickton's property and from the evidence they collected he was eventually charged with 15 counts of first degree murder in June 2003. In May 2005, 12 more counts of first degree murder were brought against Pickton, implicating him in the deaths of 27 women. On January 30, 2006 he plead not-guilty to 26 of the murder charges and the court entered a plea of not-guilty for the 27 t h charge, which has since been dropped because the woman's identity was unknown. Al l of the women Pickton is charged with murdering were survival sex workers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. While the news media has focused on the lurid details and speculation surrounding the Pickton case, attempts at reporting on the missing women are few and far between. This lack of continuing discussion about the women is unfortunate considering the MISSING WOMEN TASK FORCE E .U.I IS •r—m P3 (SUNT ItON; n ( J A R k mn fit i I • % FAflt.IM.lk* \(»S<. 9 i i • up 9 IF YOU HAVB AKY INFORMATION ON ANY OF THE ABOVE WOMEN AND HAVE NOT YET SPOKEN TO POLICE, PLEASE CALL: 1 877 687 3377 Figure L I : Project Evenhanded Missing Women Poster 3 fact that the Pickton murder case only accounts for 27 of the 69 women who comprise the "Project Evenhanded" missing persons list (Figure 1.1). A joint effort between the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the RCMP, "Project Evenhanded" is a special task force investigating the disappearances of 69 Vancouver-area women who have "vanished" between 1978 and 2001. Bearing in mind the 42 missing women who are not accounted for, the need to refocus the analysis on the missing women themselves is apparent. Rather than wondering why and how Pickton may have committed the murders, we should instead ask questions such as: "How could such a large number of women simply disappear?" and "Why is the time period of their disappearances - 23 years - so long?" The fact that many of these questions have now taken second-stage to media reporting on the excavation effort at Pickton's farm indicates that the broader social issues which underlie the murders and disappearances have been forgotten by the media, if they were ever addressed at all. A review of the literature on sex work, the Downtown Eastside, and the news media uncovers important historical information which helps to contextualize the analysis presented in this thesis. First, a look back into the history of sex work reveals that it was condemned as early as the 14 th and 15 th centuries based on the Good Woman/Bad Girl dichotomy (Roberts 1994). Many women have entered the sex trade out of a need for money to support themselves and their children, thus connecting sex work with poverty and the working-class woman. These working class women have found themselves with a limited choice of careers because of prevailing social attitudes which relegated women either to marriage or sex work (Rosen 1997). Furthermore, sex work has been linked to contagious diseases by health authorities who believed that sex workers would infect the 4 whole family of their client when he brought disease home to his wife. As a result, state intervention and regulation have been employed to enforce women's social and sexual behaviour (Walkowitz 1980). During the post-World War II era sexual regulation took the form of naming and labeling so-called deviant women as "prostitutes" whether they were involved in sex work or not. Once these women were identified many forms of state regulation were implemented, including arrests for prostitution-related activities and efforts at moral reform by social workers and church aid groups (Freund 2002). It must also be mentioned that sex work was not viewed as work in this period, with the result that women who work in the sex trade and other occupations have been labeled as "fallen women" (McMaster 2002). The influence of these early understandings of sex work and the resulting "solutions" to what was perceived as a social problem can still be seen in contemporary discourse on sex work. The over-arching institutional and public view of sex work in Canada at the present time sees it as a social problem in need of regulation and control (Brock 1998). When sex workers are viewed as criminal, morally corrupt, diseased, and so on (Bell 1994), rehabilitation and punishment are seen to be the only solutions to the "problem" of sex work (Shaver 1996). Additional research has also uncovered that sex workers are often viewed as sexual and racial "others" (Ross and Greenwell 2005) or as a nuisance to be "disposed o f (Lowman 2000). Regulation which aims to punish or rehabilitate sex workers tends to take two main forms: moral regulation and legal regulation. Methods of moral regulation predominantly focus on remolding sex workers into more "respectable" citizens through shame and the installation of more traditional social values (Bell 1994, Shaver 1996). On 5 the other hand, legal regulation in Canada is buttressed by Bi l l C-49 which makes communicating for the purposes of prostitution illegal. However, because of the alienating effects of this legislation (Brock 1998, Shaver 1993) many sex work advocates have pushed for decriminalization (Pivot Legal Society 2003, 2004, 2006). The sex work literature also outlines many social factors which affect the lives of women working in the survival sex trade, including poverty, sexual abuse, poor health, violence, limited access to affordable housing, and harassment and targeting by police (Benoit 2001, Chapkis 2000, Cler-Cunningham and Christensen 2001, Lowman 2000, Pivot 2003 and 2004, Shaver 1993 and 1996). A l l of these factors must be taken into consideration when conducting a study of sex work in Canada. The connection between Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and sex work is also made in the literature and explains how survival sex work and other "street-activity" have been gradually expelled from other areas of Vancouver and eventually contained in this neighbourhood (Nicholson 2003). By symbolically constructing the Downtown Eastside as an abject area separate from the rest of Vancouver, over the years authorities have been able to "violently expel" already marginalized citizens from their original homes and "spatially contain" them in the Downtown Eastside (Culhane 2003/4). However, some researchers and members of the Downtown Eastside community have resisted this relegation of illegal activity to their neighbourhood and attempted to show that it is a legitimate community whose members must struggle against the stigmatization of the poor on a regular basis (Culhane 2005, Taylor 2003). Other researchers have shown that the stereotypical view of the Downtown Eastside is perpetuated by the news media via 6 "commonplace descriptors" such as "mean streets" and various war zone metaphors (Woolford2001). Finally, a review of critical media literature reveals how the media implements an internal ranking system of newsworthiness by focusing heavily on some subjects while completely ignoring others (Tuchman 1978). This ranking then guides the setting of a political agenda by suggesting that some subjects and events are more important than others (Fiske 1989). These observations are important to the analysis in this thesis as it will be shown that the news media paid relatively spare (and always selective) attention to the story of the women's disappearances in the period covered by this analysis. The timeframe for this analysis, July 3 r d 1998 to May 18 th 1999, has been chosen because the news media's focus on the case during this period provides an historical window that allows us to view the multiple cultural knowledges and codes mobilized about survival sex workers. This period marks an important phase in the investigation of the women's disappearances as it documents the year leading up to the offer of a reward for information resulting in a criminal conviction in the case. Perhaps spurred by the actions of activist Jamie Lee Hamilton - who dropped 67 pairs of stiletto-heeled shoes on the steps of Vancouver's City Hall in early 1998 to protest the lack of initiative on the part of local authorities to investigate the disappearances of numerous women from the Downtown Eastside (Wood 1999: 102) - in July 1998 the VPD added another detective to the Missing Persons Unit to investigate the disappearances. Over the next 10 months the V P D looked into the disappearances while advocates for the missing women pointed to the perilous circumstances that the women lived in and the possibility that they had been murdered. Finally, at the end of April 1999 a $100,000 reward was approved by the 7 Vancouver Police Board for information leading to a criminal conviction, but was not made available to the public until July 1999. In order to investigate the media's depiction of the women's disappearances, I selected twenty-eight newspaper articles which focused on the missing women. These articles were published in Vancouver's two major daily newspapers - the Vancouver Sun, and the Province - which were chosen because they provide more coverage of this case than other Vancouver newspapers and also because both have a very broad circulation. Recent statistics indicate that the Vancouver Sun reaches 203,390 people per day while the Province has a readership of 167,746 per day (Canada.com 2005). Fifteen of the twenty-eight articles appeared in the Vancouver Sun while the remaining thirteen appeared in the Province. The articles were written by sixteen different authors and represent various genres of reporting, including regular news reports, special reports, and letters to the editor. Ten of the articles included at least one visual accompaniment. Because the news media often frame the content of their news reports as "objective truths" (Fiske 1989), the focus of my analysis is the form and the content of these "truths." I aimed to discover what aspects of the women's lives and disappearances were highlighted in the news media and presented to the public. In order to evaluate these aspects I conducted an analysis of the structural, textual, and visual components of the articles. The structural analysis focused on the page location of the articles, the genre of the articles, the authorship of the articles, and the presence/absence of visual accompaniment. The textual analysis utilized a combination of media theory and discourse analysis to compare the content of the articles to what is presented in the literature on sex work and the Downtown Eastside. I aimed to isolate common themes in 8 the depictions of the missing women, the VPD's investigation of the disappearances, and the involvement of local politicians. The visual analysis focused on the photographic accompaniments to the articles and compared the content of the images to the accompanying text, including headlines, sub-headlines, and captions. The visual analysis aimed to determine how the women's disappearances were represented visually and how textual signifiers directed the reader to understand these images. Because the consistency and content of the two newspapers' coverage changed over the one year period of this study, I divided my analysis into three distinct periods. Chapter I, which analyses the period from July 3 r d 1998 to March 9 t h 1999, presents early discussion of the women's disappearances. The prevailing pattern I discovered in this period was the tendency of the articles to focus on a set of specific aspects of the women's lives: their occupation in sex work, their addiction to drugs, and their residency in the Downtown Eastside. By concentrating on these supposedly deviant and immoral features, the coverage often masked the importance of finding the women and devalued their lives as well as their disappearances. The articles from this period also frequently quoted members of the V P D who speculated that the women had merely moved to another city or country and discounted the possibility that foul play factored into the disappearances. Social service workers from the Downtown Eastside are also quoted in the articles from this period informing the journalists that the levels of violence against survival sex workers had increased in recent years and that murder should be considered a likely explanation for the women's disappearances. Chapter II examines the period from March 31 s t 1999 to April 29 t h 1999 in which a reward for information about the women's disappearances is discussed and debated. 9 Although the articles from this period continued to focus on the more sensational aspects of the women's lives, there was also an attempt to provide a more realistic portrayal of the missing women through the frequent inclusion of comments from the women's family members, friends, and other advocates. Representatives of the V P D are also frequently quoted during this time period stating their opposition to the offering of a reward, but finally acknowledging the possibility that the women met with foul play. The advantages and disadvantages of offering a reward were also debated by the British Columbia provincial government and Vancouver's then-mayor Phillip Owen during this period. The final articles report on the approval of a $100,000 reward by the Vancouver Police Board. Chapter III covers the last period - from May 10 th 1999 to May 18 th 1999 - in which the newspapers report on a memorial for the missing women and the future of the case, including a proposal to give cell phones to survival sex workers that they could use in case of emergency. In this chapter I contrast the content of the news articles with the direction the missing women case took until the present. Finally, in the conclusion I discuss the findings of my study, propose possibilities for further research, and offer recommendations for preventing tragedies like this in the future. Given recent reports of the numerous murders of women working in the sex trade in Edmonton (CTV.ca 2005), as well as the estimates of researchers that claim at least 1,000 Canadian women have gone missing in the last 20 years (Carter 2005), studies focusing on the representation of missing women in the media are of the utmost importance. By attempting to re-focus the public discussion back onto the circumstances which led the women to disappear in the first place, we may gain some insight into the measures that must be taken to halt the epidemic of "vanishing" women in Canada. 10 Although Pickton has been arrested and millions of dollars have been spent bringing him to trial, this path to justice has not served the families of the women who have not been linked to the Pickton case, nor has it served those women who sell sex on the streets of Vancouver on a daily basis. 11 C H A P T E R I: Early Coverage of the Disappearances July 3 r d 1998 to March 9 t h 1999 The first period of media coverage that I focus on occurs over an eight month period, from July 3 r d 1998 to March 9 t h 1999. Reporting begins with an article in the Vancouver Sun (hereafter, the Sun) discussing the addition of a second VPD detective to investigate the rising number of missing women in Vancouver. The end of the period is marked by reporting from both the Sun and the Province on the beginnings of the debate between advocates for the women, the VPD, and the Vancouver mayor's office over whether or not a reward should be offered to the public for information concerning the women's disappearances. Although I have grouped the articles from this period together based on their common focus, it must be noted that there is a lack of continuity in the coverage over these eight months. For instance, there are three large gaps between articles covering the disappearances. The first - July 4 t h 1998 to July 26 t h 1998 - is comprised of 23 days; the second - July 28 t h 1998 to September 17 th 1998 - is comprised of 52 days; and the third and longest gap - September 19 th 1998 to March 2 n d 1999 - is comprised of 165 days, or just over five months. These gaps in coverage are framed by the small number of articles, only nine in total appearing over these eight months, indicating that the women's disappearances were deemed to be unimportant news items by the editorial staff at both newspapers. The lack of coverage is significant insofar as "the news media play an important role in the news consumers' setting of a political agenda...the media's ranked attention to topics may prompt the rankings given those same topics by news consumers" (Tuchman 1978: 2). In other words, although newspaper readers have their own methods of ranking the importance of news items, the lack of coverage exhibited in this first 12 period of media focus would have influenced the public's impression of the political and social importance of the women's disappearances. I have grouped the nine articles together as their content anticipates the more intense media focus surrounding the disappearances in March and April of 1999 which I discuss in the following chapter. Table 1.1 - Inventory of Articles from Period One (July 3 r d 1998 to March 9 t h 1999) Date Newspaper Page #(s) Section (Genre) Author(s) Visual Accompaniment July 3, 1998 Sun B1,B3 Lower Mainland (report) Lindsay Kines No July 27, 1998 Province A4 A (report) Frank Luba Yes September 18, 1998 Sun B l , B4 Lower Mainland (report) Lindsay Kines No September 18, 1998 Province A12 A (report) Keith Fraser No March 3, 1999 Sun A l , A2 A (report) David Hogben & Lindsay Kines No March 3, 1999 Sun A12 A (special report) Lindsay Kines Yes March 3, 1999 Sun A13 ' A (special report) Lindsay Kines Yes March 4, 1999 Sun A14 Forum (letter) Wayne Leng No March 9, 1999 Sun B1.B3 Lower Mainland (report) Lindsay Kines No Total # of Articles # of Articles in Each Newspaper # of Authors # of Visual Accompaniments 9 Sun: 7 Province: 2 5 3 Several factors related to the composition and placement of the articles are in need of examination. First, of the nine articles in total, seven appear in the Sun and only two appear in the Province. One explanation for the discrepancy in coverage between the two newspapers is that they are from different genres of newspaper. Although both can be defined as "mass newspapers" (Ericson et al. 1991: 35), the Sun falls more on the "quality" or broadsheet side of the newspaper spectrum, while the Province is more of a 13 "popular" or tabloid newspaper. While broadsheets often focus on articles which are longer and more attentively researched, tabloids tend to provide shorter articles, more images, frequent use of colloquial expressions, represent so-called "parochial interests" (35), and are generally more sensational in their coverage of news items. Therefore, the discrepancy in coverage between the Sun and the Province can be explained by the lack of information that characterizes the latter and which is more inline with "popular newspaper" reporting on crime scenes, sensational details concerning the type of murder, and involvement by local politicians. The genre of the articles also reveals the importance placed on this issue by the newspaper editors. Six of the articles are regular news reports, two are part of one special report, and one is a letter to the newspaper concerning a previous story on the missing women. The presence of a special report is indicative of a more elaborate and intense focus on the story while the published letter indicates a small dialogue that is beginning to develop between the newspaper and its readership. In addition, the authorship of the articles is an interesting factor as one Sun reporter, Lindsay Kines, is the author of five of the nine articles, including one that he co-authored. This consistency of authorship can be seen as an indication of a growing familiarity with or developing expertise concerning the missing women's cases, which lends more legitimacy to the content of those stories written by Kines. However, as will be made clear as this chapter develops, the articles written by Kines are not without their biases and often include stereotypical representations of the women. There are three additional factors relating to article composition and placement that point to the internal ranking of newsworthiness by the editorial staff at both 14 newspapers. First, the distribution of the page location of the articles, like the sporadic nature of the coverage, indicates that the women's disappearances were not judged to be important news items. Just one of the articles appeared on page A l , the only occurrence of the story making front page news in the entire one year period of coverage. The other articles appear deeper in the back pages of the Sun and the Province with one appearing on page A4, four appearing on pages A12-A14, and the remaining three on page B l , the Lower Mainland or local news section of the Sun. Thus, although deemed somewhat important local news by the Sun, stories of the women's disappearances appear predominantly in the less read sections of the two newspapers. The scant media attention the disappearances received during this time period is also indicated by the size or percentage of the page that the articles occupy. Most of the reports take up 5% to 30% of the page space, which can be partially explained by the Sun's practice of dividing articles into two sections, with the first section appearing earlier on in the newspaper and continued on a later page. Nonetheless, apart from the two articles in the "Missing on the Mean Streets" special report which take up an entire page each (including visual accompaniment), most of the articles are quite small. The final compositional factor that deserves attention is the frequency of visual accompaniment to the articles - that is, photographs, charts, and other visual images which are included in the articles. Only three such accompaniments appear in period one: one in the Province which occupies only 10% of the page and two in the Sun which occupy 50-60% of the page and are part of the "Mean Streets" special report. Although it is difficult to judge whether this is a strong or weak visual presence, the presence of 15 images in general indicates at least some effort on the part of the newspapers to draw attention to the articles. Through the preceding analysis of the articles' compositional factors we can see that the missing women's case was a relatively minor news item during the eight months which comprise period one of the coverage. Despite this inconsistent coverage, three major themes of content can be distilled from the articles. The first theme is the identification, labeling, and locating of the missing women by way of what I call "the tagline" because of the frequent use of this journalistic convention in the articles. This tagline describes the missing women as "prostitutes" and "drug addicts" from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. These identifications are then employed to construct the women as deviant, dangerous, and inhabiting a criminal area of the city. As I will illustrate in this chapter, the use of the tagline acts to devalue the urgency and importance of the women's disappearances and possible deaths. The second theme emphasized in these articles is the investigation of the women's disappearances by the Vancouver Police Department. Members of the V P D are quoted in the articles as providing details of their investigation and speculating about the women's whereabouts. This speculation constructs what I call a "myth of transience" about the missing women whereby explanations for their disappearances revolve around the presumption that, because of their status, the women had simply moved away from Vancouver. Besides relying on opinions of this nature, the Sun and the Province also quote advocates and activists for the missing women who raise the possibility of neglect on the part of the VPD. 16 The final theme that emerges from the articles involves reporting on the violence faced by survival sex workers in Vancouver. By quoting members of social service agencies in the Downtown Eastside, the articles shed light on the increase in violence towards sex workers, the scope of this violence, and the broad public perception that survival sex workers are "disposable." 1.1 Identifying, Labeling, and Locating the Missing Women The most apparent theme of the coverage in period one is the labeling and identification of the missing women as "prostitutes." One example of this practice is the headline: "Messages on pager say prostitute dead" (Luba, Jul. 27 1998: A4). The article in question is accompanied by a small personal photograph of the face of missing woman Sarah de Vries (Figure 1.1). There is nothing especially relevant about the image on its own, but the identifying label "prostitute" transforms the viewer's perception of the subject of the image from a "missing woman" to a "missing prostitute." This transformation is significant as the connotation of the label "prostitute" is very different from the connotation of the label "woman". The significance of the label "prostitute" was transformed in the aftermath of the World War II era when "attacks on vice and immorality were fought on the front of naming" (Freund 2002: 233). The purpose of this act of labeling or naming was to be able to identify those thought to be participating in immoral activity. Once the person in question was identified as a "prostitute", various methods of control aimed at rectifying the "immoral problem" were enacted (233-4). As a result of these techniques of identification, the "whore stigma" developed in which those Figure 1.1: Sarah de Vries - Photo Credit : N/A 17 identified as "prostitutes" were imagined as being morally and physically diseased, sexually deviant, criminal, and oftentimes as "an urban blight signifying a diseased city" (Bell 1994: 71). Therefore, by identifying the missing women according to the label "prostitute," the headline and photo cited above mobilize the whore stigma and the various negative connotations associated with this stigma as a modern social vice. Thus, de Vries' missing status is qualified early on in the coverage and thereby devalued. In addition to identifying Sarah de Vries as a prostitute, the article also states that "in her file, deVries [sic] is described as a drug addict who frequented the downtown east side" (Luba, Jul. 24, 1998: A4). This description acts to further stigmatize the missing woman by attaching yet another label - "drug addict" - to her as well as by locating her in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. The Downtown Eastside is a community frequently described as the poorest postal code in Canada and often perceived to be inhabited by a collection of "deviants", including those labeled as "prostitutes" and "drug addicts". The public perception of the drug addict from the Downtown Eastside further adds to the negative qualification and devaluing of Sarah's disappearance. Consider the following observations by a recent commentator: In the past few decades the demonized figure of the alcoholic in the Downtown Eastside has been replaced by that of the "junkie" or injection drug user (IDU). However, the stigmatization of the latter group has been multiplied by the entry of a perceived threat - HIV/AIDS - that has transformed the middle-class indignation towards the junkie into fear (Woolford 2001: 30). By attaching the "drug addict" label to the already stigmatized label of "prostitute", Sarah de Vries is constructed as not only immoral and criminal, but also as dangerous because of the possibility that she contracted HIV/AIDS from injection drug use or unprotected sex with a client. These presumptions can then be seen as qualifying 18 the importance of finding Sarah, who is implicitly constructed in this early coverage as a nuisance and a threat. Her disappearance could even be seen by some as positive because it eliminates at least one of the many people who "threaten" the social order of Vancouver with their deviant actions. Woolford explains how the association between drug addicts and the Downtown Eastside is made possible: "the social class and status of the neighbourhood's inhabitants provided the symbolic material from which outsiders were able to re-imagine the Downtown Eastside as an outpost of poverty and addiction" (Woolford 2001: 31). This symbolic re-imagining of the Downtown Eastside can be seen in the textual re-configuration of its official neighbourhood title into the non-capitalized label "downtown east side" in all of the articles from the Province. This re-configured moniker is more in-line with the perception of the area as an "outpost" or random and undefined collection of streets inhabited by a fluctuating and "deviant" population. In his own study of the media descriptors of the Downtown Eastside, Woolford identified "commonplace descriptors" of the area including its depiction as a morally questionable area of disorder and decay, as "Skid Row", "Mean Streets", or portrayed through war zone metaphors (35). While the use of the term "downtown eastside" is not as evocative as those descriptors identified by Woolford, symbolically stripping the community of its neighbourhood status by removing capital letters facilitates re-imagining it as an outpost or area of disrepute. Since the three identifying labels outlined above - prostitute, drug addict, and resident of the Downtown Eastside - are used so frequently as a single-sentence summation of the women by the authors of the articles, I refer to the use of these labels as "the tagline." As the articles begin to focus on the missing women as a group, the tagline 19 is used to homogenize them. For instance, one article states that, "all [of the missing women] lived on the Downtown Eastside, and all were involved in drugs or the sex trade" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(b): A13). By attributing all three of these interconnected identifications to the women, the articles activate the negative connotations attached to these labels and the missing women are then constructed as criminal, dangerous, and immoral. Furthermore, by locating these women in the Downtown Eastside, the articles suggest that their disappearances occurred separately from the everyday lives of Vancouverites in a nebulous and deviant zone that is populated by others of similar deviant social status. As a result, the women's disappearances are qualified and devalued before any other information about their individual cases can be presented. Although the majority of the articles published during this time period make use of the tagline to identify the women, the journalists also quote various advocates for the missing women who describe and identify the women in a very different way. For example, the title of a letter written in response to the article "Messages on pager say prostitute dead" by an activist and friend of missing woman Sarah de Vries reads: "Sarah DeVries [sic] was a very caring person" (Leng, Mar. 4, 1999: A14). Another article quotes Joanna Russell from the Women's Information Safe House (WISH) drop-in center responding to the ubiquitous tagline representation of the women. She states: "These are human beings. They're daughters. They're mothers. They're children. They're not throwaways" (Kines, Mar. 3 1999(b): A13). Both of these examples provide a very different portrayal of the missing women than the one suggested by the tagline, mainly by reestablishing the women as human beings rather than prostitutes and drug addicts. These descriptions also hold more weight than the media-constructed tagline because the two 20 advocates had regular contact with the women: Wayne Leng was a friend of Sarah's and Joanna Russell had regular contact with many of the women through their use of the social services available at WISH. However, in their frequency, the tagline representations of the women overshadow the more sympathetic and realistic portrayal provided by those who had regular contact with the women. The first article of the "Missing on the Mean Streets" special report, entitled "Missing on the Mean Streets: Privilege, despair and death" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(a): A12) and accompanying photo montage (Figure 1.2) attempt to reconstruct the life of missing woman Sarah de Vries by contrasting her upbringing in one of Vancouver'S more privileged Figure 1.2: Sarah de Vries Photo Montage - Photo Credit: N/A neighbourhoods with the life she led in the Downtown Eastside before her disappearance. By understanding this article in terms of three components, each corresponding to the three words in the title - Privilege, Despair, and Death - we can recognize how Sarah's 21 story is constructed as a parable, with her downfall from privilege occurring as a result of moral deficiencies on her part rather than the broader social circumstances of her life. The sub-title of the article begins with the theme of Privilege by informing the reader that "Sarah deVries [sic] had a lot going for her: an artistic talent, good looks, and a good home in West Point Grey" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(a): A12). The first two aspects of her privilege are important to note as they are often seen as features that one acquires "naturally": good looks through genes, and talent through genes or endowed by a higher power. The mention of Sarah's natural talents acts to contrast her good start in life with her wasted talent once she fell into the "Mean Streets." The mention of Sarah's good home in West Point Grey, a wealthy neighbourhood in Vancouver known for picturesque views of English Bay, also sets up a contrast evoked later in the article to her adult home in the Downtown Eastside. The assumption that homes in West Point Grey are all "good homes" acts to idealize this neighbourhood and position it textually as the antithesis of "Skid Row." The photo montage accompanying this article also acts to signify Sarah's privileged upbringing. Roland Barthes states that when viewing a press photograph we must be aware of the "photographic paradox": "the co-existence of two messages, the one without a code (the photographic analogue), the other with a code (the 'art' or the treatment, or the 'writing', or the rhetoric, or the photograph)" (Barthes 1977(a): 19). Put more simply, the analogue or denoted message is the reality portrayed in the image, while the rhetoric or connoted message is comprised through the cultural codes and knowledges which are mobilized when one views the image in context. The photo montage operates according to this paradox in a simple way: the photographic analogue exists at the level 22 of each individual image comprising the montage, while the rhetoric of the photograph emerges when the viewer considers the overall message of the montage as the images are understood in relation to one another and in connection with the article. The three images on the left present Sarah at three different ages, the large image at the top depicts Sarah holding a baby up for the camera, and the image at the bottom shows a younger Sarah standing beside three Caucasian women of varying ages. A l l five images are personal photographs in which the subjects are smiling or have relaxed expressions. The presentation of the five images in a montage acts rhetorically to suggest to the viewer that Sarah had a happy or privileged upbringing by presenting her "good looks," her proud motherhood, her location in a good home, and her connection to family members. Although some features hint at underlying conflicts within the family, including the difference in ethnicity between Sarah and the other women (a point I shall return to), the main purpose of the montage is to establish Sarah's privilege before her disappearance on the "Mean Streets." Sarah's Privilege continues to transform into Despair. For example, the next section of the sub-headline informs the reader that despite her natural talents and stable upbringing, "she was also attracted to life on the edge" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(a): A12). Sarah's mother reinforces this comment when she states, "[Sarah] loved fun: she loved excitement, I guess that's what got her into trouble" (A12). Therefore, just as her good looks and artistic talent established Sarah's privileged beginning in life, her pathological propensity towards danger and excitement resulted in her "downfall." Taken another way, Sarah's attraction to "fun" may be intended to signal to the reader that Sarah was somehow morally inept when it came to controlling her attraction to "the edge." 23 Whichever connotation was intended, the overall message to the reader is that it was Sarah's fundamental flaws which led to her own Despair, as well as to the Despair of her family. Sarah's mother also recalls how, "by the time she was 12 or 13, Sarah began running away to the Downtown Eastside" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(a): A12). Not only does this statement imply that other residents of the Downtown Eastside share the same pathological attraction to "fun," but it also constructs Sarah's downfall as causally linked to the neighbourhood. As the "Mean Streets" title implies, the perception of the Downtown Eastside as an area of Despair is used as a contrast to Sarah's former home in West Point Grey. In addition, the article also implies that the constant pull of "life on the edge" in the Downtown Eastside only leads to one's permanent connection to this area of disrepute. For example, the author notes how Sarah, after being released from jail, "returned to life on the streets, selling sex to feed a drug habit" (A 12). Notice how this account constructs Sarah's life: apparently she lived on the streets and worked in the sex trade only to satisfy her drug habit, not because she had friends in the area, could not afford to live anywhere else, or needed money for food and shelter. Even Sarah's status as a mother is called into question when the article recounts how Sarah's daughter "was born addicted to heroin and cocaine" (A 12). In contrast to the photo montage, which presents Sarah as a happy mother, the implication that her lifestyle adversely affected the health and well-being of her child constructs moral culpability on Sarah's part for passing her drug addiction to her daughter. The final aspect to this tale of deficiency and immorality is Death, represented not by any evidence that Sarah is in fact dead, but through the details of her disappearance. 24 The article describes the last sighting of Sarah as follows: "She was working the corner of Hastings and Princess streets. A friend was on the opposite corner. She got picked up first, and by the time she circled the block, Sarah had disappeared" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(a): A12). This abrupt end to Sarah's presence in Vancouver is perhaps one of the few instances in the article in which Sarah and/or the Downtown Eastside are not held morally culpable for her "downfall." In fact, this account evokes the vulnerability of sex workers to violence and disappearance as a result of Bi l l C-49, first introduced on January 1st 1986, which makes communicating for the purposes of prostitution illegal. Because of this legislation, "more women began to work individually, fearing that the safer buddy system made them more visible and therefore more vulnerable to police...[As a result] prostitutes were now more frequently abused by customers and others on the streets" (Brock 1998: 81). Although Sarah was working in a partial buddy system at the time of her disappearance, practices which could have helped find her abductor and possible killer, such as recording the license plate numbers of possible Johns, were being avoided by survival sex workers like Sarah because it made their occupation more visible to law enforcement officers and increased their chances of arrest. The overall connotation of the article "Missing on the Mean Streets: Privilege, despair and death" is that Sarah, despite her natural abilities and good looks, was drawn to the Downtown Eastside because of her propensity towards "life on the edge." As a result, the influence of the Downtown Eastside caused her "downfall" into prostitution and drug-addiction, as well as the loss of her status as a mother, and eventually, the presumed loss of her life. No other possible social factors explaining her residence in the Downtown Eastside are mentioned in the article, including her growing up as a black girl 25 in a predominantly white neighbourhood and her estrangement from "privilege" because of her difficulties adjusting to life with her adoptive family, points raised by Sarah's sister in her biography Missing Sarah (de Vries 2003: 1-44). In addition to the skewed portrayal of Sarah's life in this article, the author attempts to impose his moral lesson onto the cases of the other women who were missing at the time. Consider the sub-title of the article in its entirety: "Sarah de Vries [sic] had a lot going for her: an artistic talent, good looks, and a good home in West Point Grey. But she was also attracted to life on the edge - like a number of Vancouver women who are lost, feared dead" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(a): A12 - emphasis added). This statement replaces the myriad of life experiences and social factors which led to the other women's disappearances with the assumption that they were all in search of "fun" - presumably in the form of sex and drugs - and it was this pursuit of "life on the edge" which led to them become "lost." These other "lost women", although not given the same narrative treatment as Sarah de Vries, are depicted photographically in the second visual accompaniment to the "Missing on the Mean Streets" special report, entitled "The missing: Tragic portraits of women from the Downtown Eastside" (Figures 1.3 & 1.4) (No Credit, Mar. 3, 1999: A13). The title of this visual accompaniment is misleading as only half of the images -the nine which are evidently mug shots - depict any form of tragedy. The faces in these images look forlorn and resigned, as would most anybody's after an arrest (Figure 1.3). The use of the word "tragedy" to describe the women in these images illustrates Barthes' notion of "text direction." He C R E I S O N , M a r c e l l a H e l e n . 20 yi ltd, 5 fnot 4 inches (16.Vml. 120 pi>untls| |(54^), wilh lighl brmvn hair and fcrawg eves. IDS; seen Peeeml'er IQ^H. Figure 1.3: Close-up of M u g Shot -Photo Credit : N/A 2 6 argues that "the text directs the reader through the signifieds in the image, causing him [sic] to avoid some and receive others" (Barthes 1977(b): 40). In this case, the text directs the reader to see all of the photographs as depictions of tragedy rather than just those which appear to be mug shots. In fact, most of the women in the ten personal photographs included in this visual accompaniment are smiling. In these instances, the title rather than The missing: Tragic portraits of women from the Downtown Eastside a BECK, Cindy Louise. Whi^ . female. 33 years. Si'owtfincl os {)?2 cm). 110 pounds (-19 — kg), long auburn hair, brown eyes. L«H seen approximately EG A N , Sheila Catherine. While female, 20 years. 5 rot 7 inches (I/Ocmi 105pound* (4,7kg), blond shoulder-length hmr, blue eves. Last seen July FREY, Marnlc Lee. White female. 25 years. 5 tool 8 ine es (173 cm), 120 pounds (S-t kg), shoulder-length brown hair, hazel eyes. Originally re-ported missing in Campbell RIviTbindisappeHfedin Van- • cotiver. IJSI seen August 1*97. G O N Z A L E Z , Catherine Louise. While female. 30 yeats. S font 5 inches (165 eir... i.'d pounds (54 kg), long liY.ht brown hair, blue eyes. Last seen March 1995. ' GURNEY, Michelle. Naii* Indian female, I1) years, 5 ftv 4 inches (162 cm*. 100 pom, f 45-4 l.m^ bt.ick hair, brawn eyes. List seen De-cember tm M A L I , Inga Mortitnie. While female, 4f. years, 5 .. J inches (165 cm). 135 pounds (61 kg), longbtown hair, green eyes. Last seen February P>98. H A L L M A R K , Helen Mae While female, 32 years. S fe 5 inches (tAScm), MOpouni, (63 kg), long dark blond hail, (wad eyes. b M seen )une HENRY, Janet Gall. Native Indian female. 37 years, 5 fool' 3 inches (lf>0 cm), 115 pound (50 kg), brown hair, brown eyes, glasses. I jst seen June HOLYK,Tanya Mario. N live Indian female. 23 yeai foot A inches U68 cm). 115 pounds (52 kg). lung black cur ly hair, brown eyes. Lasl .seen in October (996, JARDINE, Angela Rebecca. While female, 2H years. 5 Ut/t ftwdiei (161 cm),155 pounds (Ay kg), shon curly dyed blond hair, brawn eyes. Last seen November 199(1. K N I G H T , Catherine Mau-reen. White female. 32 year-5 foot-1 inches (I63cm).10' pounds (IS kg), light brown shoulder-length hair in 3 itug Cui.bVowueyes. Last (April 1995. KOSKI, Kerry Lynn. White female. XI years. 5 foot A ir.c^ " es (I62cm). ,)llp. ),inds(4r kg), shnulder-lengrh Won. hair, green eyes, looked ru-nourished and vroswtu* L A N E , Stephanie Marie. Black / Native Indian female. 22 year*. 5 foot 4 inches 06* cm), 115 pounds (5t kg), long black wavy hair, brawn eyes. Last seen January 1W-> M L L N I C K , Diana. White ' female, 23"years, S foot 2 inch-es (158 cniMOO pounds (45.4 kg), bruwii hair usually in a { l>onytail, brown eyes, Last -seen December W9S. K, Jacqueline t Indian femah 27 y e » . 5 foot 4 inches (163 cm), fi pounds (SB kg), blat hair, I*own eyes. Was origi-rtaify reported missing in Prince George. Last seen Au-gust 1907. PKEVOST, Ada. Nalivoln^ dian female, 25 yea™. 5 fotit A inches (lA2cmJH1npounds (53 kgl.blatl^ioulder-lengti hair, brown eyes. Last seen September 1997 hut not re-ported missing until March' I'/JS. Sl 'ENCE, Dorothy Anne, Native Indian female, 36 ' years, 5 foul A inches (16\ cm). 130 pounds (59 kg), to, black hair, brown eyes. Lasl seen August 1995. .WILLIAMS, Olivia Gale. Native Indian female. 22 years, 5 foot 4inches (153 . cm). 125 pounds (55 kp), lon^ . black hair, brown eyes. Last seen in December 1996and reported missing in July 1997.' Figure 1.4: "Tragic Portraits" of the Missing Women - Photo Credit: N/A the image directs the viewer to the tragedy of their supposed "downfall." 27 The true tragedy present in this visual accompaniment is indicated by the use of mug shots because photographs from this genre act as a condensed criminal record. These images connote earlier police involvement in the women's lives, involvement which was absent once they disappeared (as will be evident in the next section of this chapter). The presentation of nine of the nineteen missing women as criminal is significant in that a missing criminal will not evoke the same sympathy as a missing woman without a criminal record. The transposition of criminality onto these images of the women supports Lowman's argument that the marginalization of survival sex workers is based in part on the fact that they are often held responsible for their own victimization (Lowman 2000: 1007). The responsibility is suggested by the appearance that a large proportion of the women pictured were, according to Canadian law, participating in a criminal activity (i.e. soliciting prostitution or in possession of banned substances) at the time of their disappearances. Therefore, the use of the mug shots implies that if the women were not involved in the illegal activities surrounding sex work and drug abuse they would have not placed themselves in a position to be victimized in the first place. It must also be noted that the missing persons posters distributed across Vancouver by the V P D made use of the same mug shots to present the women, indicating that their depiction as criminals was more widespread across the Vancouver community and was endorsed by the police themselves. The descriptive captions for each of these "tragic portraits" further reinforce a reading of them not just as depictions of missing persons, but also as wanted criminals. The "tragic portraits" visual accompaniment also highlights the disproportionate number of Aboriginal women among the missing. Of the nineteen women pictured, 28 eleven are described as "White", seven are described as "Native Indian", and one is described as "Black/Native Indian." Although the credibility of this racializing taxonomy is questionable, at 37% the number of Aboriginal women in the photographs is still disproportionate to 1996 Canada Census data in which Aboriginals only accounted for 1.7% of Greater Vancouver's population (Cler-Cunningham and Christensen 2001: 30). This disproportion can be traced to the deep roots of sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women in British Columbia. For instance, "during conquest local women were used for sexual gratification as a matter of course...It was generally accepted that, so long as colonial women were absent, Indigenous women could be used to satisfy what were perceived to be natural needs" (Barman 1997: 240). As a result, "by the time British Columbia became a Canadian province in 1871 Aboriginal women had been almost wholly sexualized" (249). The effects of this over-arching sexualization of Aboriginal women can then be seen as reflected in the images of the missing women in this visual accompaniment. Another explanation for the large number of Aboriginal women who were missing at this time is related to the notion that the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood was created by "violent expulsions" and strategies of "spatial containment" (Culhane 2003/4: 95). Because these strategies of containment often focused on the Aboriginal population, "it is neither accidental nor coincidental that a disproportionate number of women living in poverty in the Downtown Eastside are Aboriginal" (94). Therefore, besides taking into account the history of Aboriginal women's sexual exploitation as a factor explaining the large proportion of them among the missing, we must also consider that the colonization of British Columbia left many Aboriginal people homeless and in 29 poverty and that these impoverished people were slowly relegated to the Downtown Eastside. 1.2 The Perspective of the Vancouver Police Department The second major feature that characterizes the content of these articles is coverage of the Vancouver Police Department's involvement in the case. Early headlines indicate that the VPD is aware of the women's disappearances and is conducting an in-depth investigation. Consider the following three headlines: "Police target increase in missing women cases" (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: BI), "Missing women cases probed" (Kines, Sept. 18, 1998: BI), and "Police team to probe disappearances" (Fraser, Sept. 18, 1998: A12). The use of the verbs "target" and "probe" are especially important to note as these words suggest that the V P D has a clear idea of the parameters of the case through a "targeting" of their resources and can effectively employ these resources to "probe" the details. Similar assurances are also present in the text of the articles, one of which states that "the investigators will review all the cases to look for any similarities, such as where the women were last seen, the manner in which [they] disappeared, as well as [with] whom they associated, including friends, pimps or boyfriends" (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: B I , B3). Unfortunately, as the absence of any reference to contacting family members indicates, the VPD's handle on the case could be more aptly described with the verbs "overlook" and "neglect." VPD spokesperson Constable Anne Drennan illustrates that police "targeting" did occur early in the case, but was confined to those frequenting the Downtown Eastside. She is quoted as saying that "the pool of possible suspects is enormous. There are literally 30 hundreds and hundreds of men cruising the streets every night...it's almost like searching for a needle in a haystack" (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: B3). This comment reinforces the media's portrayal of the Downtown Eastside as an outpost of criminality by constructing all of the men in the neighbourhood as potential suspects. This position reflects Sommers' (1998) observation that men from the Downtown Eastside have been frequently constructed as "abject" or "derelict" (287-9). Drennan's comments can also be seen as ironic considering the VPD's role in containing a large amount of street-crime in this neighbourhood. Carnegie Newsletter editor Paul Taylor states that, The social problems of the Downtown Eastside have been compounded by policies of the City of Vancouver and actions of the police in 'cleaning up' other neighbourhoods...Granville Street, Davie and Mount Pleasant have all gone through 'clean-ups' during which the street scene was actually pushed into the Downtown Eastside. Policing standards in the Downtown Eastside were deliberately more lax so that much illicit activity would confine itself to this area (Taylor 2003: 151). By intentionally relegating street crime to the Downtown Eastside and then letting this crime flourish, the V P D along with Vancouver's municipal government created an environment of potential danger that the poorer residents who had been living in the area before the clean-ups had little choice but to accept. However, when the VPD were asked to take responsibility for the level of crime in the Downtown Eastside, as was the case with the women's disappearances, the responsibility was placed on the neighbourhood via constructions akin to those in the above comments by Drennan. If the Downtown Eastside does truly represent a "haystack" of criminal men cruising for trouble, one would surmise that the V P D would not acknowledge this fact as the "haystack" was created by shifting more and more street-crime into the neighbourhood. Nevertheless, the 31 article's coverage of Drennan's comments - minus the historical context I have provided here - resonate with the theme of constructing the Downtown Eastside as an unstructured area of criminality. When the newspapers' coverage focused on the VPD's speculation about the whereabouts of the missing women, references to the women's supposedly deviant and immoral lifestyles were utilized. For instance, Drennan notes that investigators must consider "the possibility of suicide or drug overdose that has gone undiscovered, or that the women were killed in a dispute over drugs" (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: J33). The reference to the possibility of a mishap involving the use or procurement of illicit drugs can be seen as another instance in the coverage whereby the women were held responsible for their own victimization. Similar to the use of mug shots to identify the women, the VPD's speculation of criminal activity on the part of the women invokes the argument that if the women were not involved in criminal activity in the first place, then they would not have disappeared. The article noted above also mentions the possibility that the women may have committed suicide, a prospect that is further elaborated in another quote. Inspector Fred Biddlecombe mentions the "strong suspicions in some [cases] of suicide, because you find a piece of clothing and a wallet on a bridge" (Kines, Sept. 18, 1998: B4). Apart from finding wallets or clothing thought to belong to the missing women in a likely location for a suicidal act, Biddlecombe's comments seem reasonable enough considering Benoit and Millar's (2001) findings that 9.4% of respondents to their survey of sex workers in Victoria had attempted suicide while 50% of respondents reported suffering from depression (68-9). Nonetheless, seen in the context of the VPD's frequent placement of 32 responsibility on the women for their own disappearances, the speculation about possible suicide can be seen as another way in which the VPD excused the lack of resources devoted to the case by holding the women accountable for their own disappearances. V P D speculation on the women's disappearances also depends on what I call the "myth of transience." This myth employs the women's statuses as survival sex workers, drug addicts, and residents of the Downtown Eastside to buttress the argument that the women merely relocated and failed to inform anyone of their whereabouts. For instance, commenting on the large number of women listed missing, spokesperson Drennan states: "This number [41 missing women since 1971] usually goes down as time passes and mpre information is obtained, particularly when it pertains to women from the downtown eastside...They will disappear for a wide variety of reasons...if they're involved in the sex trade they'll go to Calgary or Edmonton and just get out of Vancouver" (Fraser, Sept. 18, 1998: A12). Based on their occupation in sex work and their residency in the Downtown Eastside (notice once again the use of the de-capitalized moniker in articles appearing in the Province), the women are constructed by the V P D as constantly in motion, plying their trade across Canada's West. The VPD's plan of (in)action seems to require considerable delay in responding to the women's disappearances, in this case a period of twenty-seven years, from 1971 to 1998. Apparently the VPD's "sit and wait" strategy in response to missing person reports is particularly popular when the women in question are sex workers from the "downtown east side." In terms of the women's motivations for moving from place to place, Inspector Biddlecombe informs the reporter that "they could have wanted to change their names for any number of reasons...could have gone to another town with a new identity...gone to 33 the States...have married" (Kines, Sept. 18, 1998: B4). By speculating that the women may have altered their identity through a name change, Biddlecombe's comments connote both the shame these women are presumed to feel because of their occupation and lifestyle, as well as their potential criminality resulting from the same occupation and lifestyle. Because it is presumed that the women want to escape the shame and deviant status, it only makes sense - at least according to the logic of the myth of transience -that they would take on a new identity and disappear. The possibility of marriage is a curious addition to this list of motivations and can be understood as wishful thinking on Biddlecombe's part that the missing women could have adopted a more respectable female identity. That other possibilities for the women's futures were not mentioned, such as a different occupation or a same-sex partnership, leads to the reasonable speculation that some members of the V P D may have disparaging attitudes towards women in general and that these attitudes are only intensified when the women are sex workers from the abject part of town. The VPD's myth of transience is further legitimized by the Sun's coverage of the reappearance of one of the missing women. The article in question is divided into two parts, with a separate headline for each. The headlines read: "Reappearance of missing woman stuns relative" and "Missing woman says she wants to come home" (Kines, Mar. 9, 1999: B l , B3). The article reports that "Detective Constable Lori Shenher...verified that [missing woman Ada] Prevost is alive and well and staying at a psychiatric hospital in Arizona" (B3). The main connotation of this article is that most or all of the missing women had run off in the same way Prevost had. Although the upbeat tone of the article is merited because the reappearance of one of the women is good news, the comment that 34 Prevost is "alive and well" in a psychiatric hospital takes the pleasant tone to an extreme. The mere fact that she was in hospital indicates that Prevost was not in fact "well." In spite of the large amount of coverage devoted to establishing the myth of transience, the voices of advocates for the missing women appear in some of the articles to question the validity of the VPD's claims. For instance, one article reports that "none of the women took personal belongings with them, nor have they picked up welfare cheques or contacted children and family since disappearing" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(b): A13). This claim alone questions the authenticity of the myth of transience as the women lived in poverty and required social assistance in order to survive. Likewise, this comment also establishes the women's connections to family members, a possibility that is absent from VPD speculation on the disappearances at this time. The women's sudden migration to other areas of Canada and even the United States is very improbable given that a change of identity would cut the women off from their loved ones, economic support, and personal belongings they could not afford to replace. Advocates for the women also raise questions about the scant V P D resources devoted to the case. Although the VPD promised an in-depth "probing" of the women's disappearances, one article reports that the two officers assigned to the case "also carry other missing persons cases and two neighbourhood agencies question whether two people can handle this workload and still be effective" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(b): A13). In anticipation of excuses related to V P D funding, "families and advocates...[also] point to the extensive resources devoted to solving home invasions" (Hogben and Kines, Mar. 3, 1999: A2). The disparity in the allocation of police resources points to neglect on the part of the VPD as well as the Vancouver mayor's office. The comment regarding the j 35 extensive resources mobilized to solve home invasions refers to a $100,000 reward offered a few months earlier by the City of Vancouver for information about robberies in affluent neighbourhoods in Vancouver. By including these comments by Downtown Eastside community service workers, the coverage shifts the blame for the disappearances from the women themselves and opens up discussion of other possibilities, including the prospect that the women were victims of kidnapping and/or murder. 1.3 Uncovering the Violence Faced By Survival Sex Workers The third major theme of the coverage during this period focused on the violence done to survival sex workers on a daily basis. Barb Daniels, a board member of Grandma's House - a drop-in safe house for sex workers in the Downtown Eastside - is quoted as asking the question: "If they're not murdered, where are they?" (Hogben and Kines, Mar. 3, 1999: A l ) . This simple question provides a point of entry into the discussion of the extreme and brutal violence that is done to survival sex workers in Vancouver. For instance, one article states that, "Downtown Eastside agencies say the level of violence towards women in the sex trade has increased dramatically in recent years" (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: B3). These claims are reinforced by statistics from this time which assert that, "the murder rate per 100,000 adult women involved in street prostitution was anywhere from 112 to 225, roughly sixty to one hundred and twenty times the rate of other adult women" (Lowman 1995: 109). The articles also describe the malicious scope of the violence against survival sex workers in addition to the high frequency. John Turvey from the Downtown Eastside 36 Youth Activities Society (DEYAS) describes the various forms this violence takes: " i f you don't go missing and you don't end up dead, the likelihood of getting assaulted, raped, kidnapped, abused, robbed, injured is just astronomical" (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: B3). Given the high frequency and brutal scope of the violence endured by survival sex workers in the Downtown Eastside, it is surprising that the possibility of violence was rarely mentioned by VPD representatives in their conversations with reporters. Although Constable Drennan did mention the possibility of the women being killed in a dispute over drugs in the first article from this period (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: B3), there is no further reference by the VPD to the possibility of foul play, save their unwavering denial of the possibility that a serial killer is stalking sex workers. For instance, Drennan states that "there is no indication that a serial killer is preying on these women" (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: B3). Asked for his opinion on why survival sex workers are so frequently the victims of malevolent violence, Turvey responds that "a lot of men that have the propensity to be predators have just really figured out that these women are ideal victims with very little ramifications when they go missing" (Kines, Jul. 3, 1998: B3). These comments hold considerable weight considering the evidence of police neglect presented in the previous section. Given the number of missing women and the lengths that the VPD went to in order to construct a myth that the women were transient, it appears that there are few legal consequences for violence against survival sex workers. Alexandra Highcrest (1998), a former sex worker herself, claims that "there is still a belief [held by police and the legal system in general] that [sex workers] somehow deserve the beatings, rapes and robberies they suffer" (135). Whether because of their participation in an illegal 37 occupation, their addiction to illegal drugs, their mere residence in the Downtown Eastside, or a combination of the three, it is clear from the media coverage during period one that the missing women are held responsible by the V P D for their own disappearances. The articles also point to the large number of men who are willing to commit violent acts against survival sex workers. One article states that "a review of Vancouver Sun files shows at least 25 different men charged with killing prostitutes in B.C. over the past 17 years" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(b): A13). Although this figure may seem high as it stands, if the number of missing women is taken into account the actual number of individuals who murder or inflict brutal violence upon sex workers is most likely much higher. But why then are there so many men with the capability for doing violence against survival sex workers? One possibility is that some of these men feel as though they are doing society a favour by harming or altogether eliminating survival sex workers. The article I addressed earlier in this chapter, "Messages on pager say prostitute dead" (Luba, Jul. 27, 1998: A4), provides a sample of the content of a message left on the pager of advocate Wayne Leng. The sample reads: "Sarah's dead...So there will be more girls like her dead. There will be more prostitutes killed. There will be one every Friday night. At the busiest time" (A4). Notice the explicit use of "girls like her" and "prostitutes" by the anonymous caller. The labeling and all-inclusive nature of the comments echo those used by both the journalists and the VPD representatives, indicating that there is an over-arching discourse which informs the opinions and actions of all of these individuals. This system of ideas and knowledge used to understand survival sex workers has been termed the "discourse of disposal" (Lowman 2000: 1004). 38 Lowman argues that the discourse of disposal was activated in Vancouver when "the discourse on prostitution of the early 1980's dominated by demand to 'get rid o f prostitutes created a social milieu in which violence against prostitutes could flourish" (Lowman 2000: 1004). Following the spread of survival sex work which resulted from the closure the Penthouse Cabaret - an off-street sex work venue - in 1975 (999), sex workers were effectively chased from neighbourhood to neighbourhood in Vancouver. Whether via increased policing or vigilante neighbourhood groups - the most notorious being the group in Mount Pleasant who took to the streets in an army truck (Lowman 1992) - survival sex workers were constructed as a nuisance to be purged from "respectable" areas of Vancouver. It is not surprising then that news of these same sex workers' disappearances would be met by many residents of Vancouver with relief, if not gratitude. Turvey expresses similar sentiments to the Sun when he says: "We've got a population group that is being chronically murdered and maimed. We know they are. We know they will be in the future, and somehow we've made a choice that their safety is not a priority. And the really scary thing is that some place we're comfortable with it" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999(b): A13). By presenting comments such as those by Turvey, the coverage of the women's disappearances allows the readership to see another side of the story and perhaps reflect on their own attitudes towards the missing women. However, given the large volume of disparaging coverage of the women's disappearances during this period, along with the contextualizing discourse of disposal that I have highlighted, many readers may not have been able to see past the labeling of the women or the myth of transience. 3 9 The analysis presented in this chapter has outlined many important aspects of the early coverage of the women's disappearances. Although the coverage was sporadic and divided by large gaps in which the missing women were not mentioned, three important themes emerged. First, the articles identified the women as "prostitutes", "drug addicts", and residents of the Downtown Eastside. Through this use of what I termed the "tagline" the women were constructed as morally culpable for their own disappearances in spite of efforts by some advocates for the women to provide a more realistic portrayal. We also observed how the Vancouver Police Department constructed a "myth of transience" in their speculation on the women's whereabouts which denied the possibility that foul play could have caused the women to vanish. Finally, the coverage established that the women were in frequent danger of brutal violence, but because of public attitudes towards women involved in sex work, this violence was allowed to continue and even seen as a positive development for the larger Vancouver community. In the next chapter I will discuss the articles which appeared in period two, a period in which coverage of the women's disappearances increased. In this chapter, we will see how representations of the missing women, though still disparaging, changed to include more voices of advocates for the missing women who disavowed the myth of transience. Furthermore, we will see how the V P D opposed the issuing of a reward despite political debate over its merits from the British Columbia provincial government and Vancouver's mayor at the time, Philip Owen. 40 C H A P T E R II: The Debate for a Reward March 31 s t 1999 to April 29 t h 1999 The second period of coverage focuses predominantly on the debate over whether or not a reward should be issued for any information on the women's disappearances. Occurring over a one month span - from March 31 s t 1999 to April 29 t h 1999 - these articles document a collision of opinions from journalists, advocates for the missing women, the VPD, British Columbia's provincial government, and the City of Vancouver's mayor's office on the value of offering a reward. The period ends with reports on the approval of a $100,000 reward by the Vancouver Police Board, which was not made available to the public until July 1999. Table 2.1: Inventory of Articles from Period Two Date Newspaper Page #(s) Section (Genre) Author(s) Visual Accompaniment March 31, 1999 Province A16 A (report) Frank Luba Yes April 2, 1999 Province A12 Stall Stories (special report) Bob Stall Yes April 6, 1999 Sun B1,B3 Lower Mainland (report) Chad Skelton No April 6, 1999 Province A19 B.C.'s Liveliest Voices (letter) Wayne Leng No April 7, 1999 Province A18 A (report) Lora Grindlay No April 12, 1999 Sun A l l Forum (letter) Maggie de Vries Yes April 25, 1999 Province A16 Stall Stories (special report) Bob Stall Yes April 26, 1999 Sun A3 A (report) Chad Skelton No April 27, 1999 Sun B1,B3 Lower Mainland (report) David Hogben No April 27, 1999 Province A4 A (special report) Adrienne Tanner Yes April 28, 1999 Province A10 A (report) Adrienne Tanner Yes April 29, 1999 Sun B1,B8 Lower Mainland (report) Lori Culbert No April 29, 1999 Province A4 A (report) Adrienne Tanner No Total # of Articles # of Articles in Each Newspaper # of Authors # of Visual Accompaniments 13 Sun: 5 Province: 8 9 . 6 41 There are thirteen articles that take Vancouver's missing women as their subject in period two, with five articles appearing in the Sun and eight articles appearing in the Province. The increase in the number of articles - from nine in period one to thirteen in period two - shows that the media focus was more intense in this period, likewise indicating that the two newspapers were ranking the women's disappearances higher on the symbolic scale of newsworthiness. However, it must be noted that one significant gap occurs in the coverage - April 13 th 1999 to April 24 t h 1999 - which, although relatively small compared to the previous period, illustrates that the women's disappearances and the debate over a reward was only prime news when political involvement increased with the provincial government's support of a reward at the beginning of April and the mayor's support for the reward at the end of the month. In addition, the shift in the balance of coverage from the Sun, a broadsheet, to the Province, a tabloid, anticipates an increase in sensationalistic reporting on the case, as well as more frequent use of colloquial expressions and visual accompaniment. The genres of the articles also indicate a more intense media focus during this period. Eight of the articles are regular news reports, three are full page special reports from the Province, and the remaining two are letters to the editors of the Sun and the Province. The appearance of three special reports points to a more significant involvement by the Province in the story while the two published letters continue the small, but still important dialogue between the two newspapers and their readership. Interestingly enough, the authors of the letters are Wayne Leng and Maggie de Vries (Sarah's sister), two advocates for the missing women whose voices also appeared in articles from period one with Leng writing the only letter in the first period. A surprising 42 absence in period two is Lindsay Kines, the Sun journalist who was the predominant author in period one. Although Kines' coverage was problematic in many of the early articles, his absence in this period indicates a discontinuity in reporting as his familiarity with the women's disappearances may have provided more expertise on the subject. The two journalists who most frequently report on the disappearances during period two are both from the Province: Bob Stall who authors two full-page special reports and Adrienne Tanner who authors three of the regular news reports and one full-page special report. Although the recurring presence of these two journalists from the Province indicates some consistency in authorship, their lack of background on the subject of the missing women may have undermined the quality of the coverage in ways that I shall indicate below. While the number of articles appearing in period two shows a more intense media focus, the page location of the articles indicates otherwise. Three of the articles appear on pages A3 and A4, three appear on page B l , and the remaining seven appear between A10 and A19. The relegation of the articles mainly to the back pages of the two newspapers illustrates that the women's disappearances were still being ranked as relatively unimportant news by the editorial staff at the Sun and the Province. Although the placement of the articles diminishes the number of readers, the increased size of the articles has the opposite effect. Most of the reports take up 10%-50% of the page they appear on (including visual accompaniment) and the three special reports take up 100% of the page. This increase in the size of the articles can be partly explained by the smaller number of Sun articles which were often divided into two sections, whereas all of the Province articles appear as a whole on one page. 43 The other explanation for the increase in the size of the articles is the strong visual presence of photographs in period two. There are six visual accompaniments: one appearing in the Sun and five appearing in the Province. The size of the images varies, with three taking up 5% to 15% of the page and the remaining three taking up 30% to 50% of the page. The six photographs can also be divided by genre as three are personal photographs and three are credited photographs taken by professionals from the Province. The use of professional photographers indicates that the credited visual accompaniments were taken specifically with the women's disappearances in mind and must be seen as purposefully constructed visual representations of the case. Furthermore, the presence of credited photographs also indicates that the topic was considered important enough for the newspaper to assign one of their own photographers to the article. Interestingly enough, despite the volume of coverage devoted to the involvement of the VPD and the City of Vancouver's mayor's office, all of the visual accompaniments depict the missing women and their friends or family members. One explanation for this practice is that the depictions of grieving family members are more sensationalistic and attract the attention of the readership more than photos of VPD officers or the mayor. Period two can be divided into three major themes of coverage. The first theme is similar to the theme in period one whereby the lives of the missing women are reconstructed according to the opinions of journalists and others who are familiar with the case, including family members and friends of the women. Coverage mainly focuses on the lives of four of the missing women - Janet Henry, Sarah de Vries, Stephanie Lane, and Angela Jardine - and while there is more of a balance in their depictions compared to the previous period, blatant misrepresentations of the women still appear. Apart from 44 these misrepresentations, the majority of the coverage of the women's lives revolves around a counter-argument to the VPD-created myth of transience. Attempts are made to locate the women in a community where they had many social ties and their disappearances were not only noticed, but reported by those who were close to the women. Furthermore, emphasis is placed on the need for more VPD resources to find the women and a reward to be offered for information about the disappearances. The second major theme of coverage focuses on the VPD's involvement with the case and includes comments by V P D representatives on the lack of physical evidence, the improbability of a serial killer preying on the women, and the department's staunch opposition to a reward. In addition, the newspapers report on the first acknowledgments by both ground-level and senior members of the V P D that foul play could be a possibility. The third major theme of coverage focuses on the political debate over the issue of a reward. More specifically, the coverage focuses on the support for a reward or a series of "mini-rewards" by the provincial NDP government, as well as Vancouver mayor Philip Owen's shifting stance towards the issue, including his contemplation of the advantages and disadvantages of offering a reward. 2.1 Reconstructing the Lives of the Missing Women The representations of the missing women in period two of the newspaper coverage include some similarities to their representations in period one. For instance, one of the articles from the Province describes missing woman Angela Jardine as "one of 22 women who vanished from Vancouver's downtown east side since 1995. Like her, they were prostitutes, drug addicts or both" (Tanner, Apr. 28, 1999: A10). Notice the 45 presence of the three elements of the tagline - "prostitute," "drug addict," and "downtown east side" - used for identification of the missing women. As I illustrated in the previous chapter, the use of these three identifying labels enacts various discourses which presuppose moral laxity and criminality on the part of the women and, in turn, devalues the importance of their disappearances. As well, because of the shift in the balance of coverage towards the Province, the de-capitalized and, as a result, de-legitimized "downtown east side" moniker appears much more frequently in the coverage during period two. Perhaps the most strikingly blatant misrepresentation of the missing women occurs in the first article from period two. Accompanied by a small face shot of a woman with a concerned expression looking off into the distance (Figure 2.1), the headline reads: "Why no reward? Asks hookers [sic] pal" (Luba, Mar. 31, 1999: A16). With only six words at his or her disposal the author of this headline manages to devalue three important aspects of the case. The first and most obvious devaluation occurs with the use of the epithet "hooker". Not only does this description singularly define and label the missing woman it describes as a "prostitute", the use of the word "hooker" also displaces the occupational aspect of sex work and encourages interpretations, such as those seen in period one, whereby those involved in sex work are seen as merely having "fun" in their search for a "life on the edge." The second devaluing effect of this headline is on the call for a reward. By re-phrasing advocates' demands for a reward as a glib question - "Why no reward?" - the headline simplifies all of the arguments put forth in previous media reports and thus Figure 2.1: Judy McGu i re -Photo Credit : N/A 46 trivializes the importance of offering a reward to solve the cases. Finally, the use of the colloquial term "pal" in conjunction with the term "hooker" trivializes the missing woman's relationship with the concerned friend and, in effect, hints at the VPD's myth of transience wherein the missing women were constructed as having no strong social or familial ties and thus able to pick-up-and-leave without any notice. Furthermore, when considering Barthes' notion of text direction, it is curious that the woman pictured is not the "pal" in question nor is she one of the missing women. Consider the sub-headline to this article: "He says cash offer might lead police to 21 missing women" (Luba, Mar. 31, 1999: A16 - emphasis added). The "pal" who is questioning the lack of a reward is actually Wayne Leng while the woman pictured is Judy McGuire, manager of the needle exchange program at the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society. Although it is difficult to gauge the effect of the ensuing confusion on the reader of this article, at the very least the misdirection between signifier ("pal") and signified (the image of McGuire) indicates a lack of attention to detail on the part of the Province's editorial staff. The use of devaluing colloquialisms to describe the missing women and their activities does not end with the label "hooker" as other sensational descriptors find their way into the articles. For instance, one article describes how Angela Jardine "turned tricks to feed her addiction" (Tanner, Apr. 27, 1999: A4). As was the case with the "hooker" moniker, the description of Angela's labour as "turning a trick" masks the reality of her occupation and trivializes her activities. This trivialization is intensified by the article's statement that that she was only "turning tricks" in order to finance or "feed" her drug addiction. What about the Other things that she might need money for - food, shelter, clothing - which she may not be able to afford when living on government 47 assistance? Once again, the use of sensational descriptors to provide the readership with details of the missing women's lives results in blatant misrepresentations that only "feed" the already over-developed discourse that the women were involved in sex work for the sheer thrill of the experience. The Downtown Eastside neighbourhood from which the women disappeared is also subject to colloquial transformation. In an effort to trace Angela Jardine's path into a life of "turning tricks," another article describes how "she moved to Vancouver's downtown east side, where she was soon sucked into the spiral of hard drugs and prostitution" (Tanner, Apr. 28, 1999: A10). In this instance, not only is the "downtown east side" constructed as a causal factor for Angela's involvement in sex work and drug use, it is also reified as a sort of black hole which permanently closes in around those who are "sucked into" it. While not as metaphorically dramatic, the following quote has much the same effect. Describing missing woman Janet Henry's downfall, the author states that she "fell in with the guy who introduced her to sleaze and injectable drugs in downtown Vancouver" (Stall, Apr. 2, 1999: A12). In this instance, downtown Vancouver is imagined as the location of sleaze, presumably a descriptor of sex work, which by association connotes that Janet Henry is herself "sleazy" because of her participation in this occupation. Also, the phrase "fell in" is problematic as it evokes the same black hole analogy employed in the above quote concerning Angela Jardine. A l l of the examples I have outlined thus far continue the theme introduced in period one where journalists covering the case label and morally judge the missing women. However, perhaps as a result of obtaining more information about the women's lives, a tension develops in the articles from period two between deviant constructions of 48 the women and more realistic/sympathetic constructions. Consider the following quotation as an example of this tension: "Yes, Janet Henry is/was a prostitute and drug addict. She is/was a person with flaws, but she also graduated high school, had a baby, cooked and sewed, and loved her daughter, animals, music and chicken chow mein" (Stall, Apr. 2, 1999: A12). In this instance, the tension between the two portrayals of the missing women is evident in the author's creation of two distinct identities for Janet. The first identity is similar to the portrayals in period one whereby the missing women were identified according to their occupation in sex work and their addiction to drugs, here described by Stall as her "flaws." The second identity transposed onto Janet is an attempt on the author's part to provide the reader with a list of her achievements and everyday qualities. While this second identity provides a somewhat more realistic and human portrayal of Janet, it is also important to notice that many of the activities highlighted by Stall are stereotypically feminine. The references to events such as childbirth and everyday activities such as cooking and sewing can be seen as retributive attempts by the author to compensate for Janet's "flaws" by highlighting more "pure" elements of her personality. I use the word "pure" here to emphasize the operation of the Madonna/Whore binary in this article. Perhaps in an effort to displace Janet's status as a sex worker (Whore), the author points to her status as a loving mother (Madonna). Although this portrayal is a positive step away from merely referring to the missing women as deviant prostitutes and drug addicts, the fact that Janet's two identities conform to a stereotypical representation of women still reinforces the binary itself, which in turn informs much of the devaluing discourse on sex work. 49 The tension between stereotypical representations of the women's lives and more realistic representations also exists when some of the journalists attempt to dispel the myth of transience. For instance, one article states that, "prostitutes and drug addicts do not lead transient lives...addiction and poverty trap them on the sleazy strip between Powell and Hastings where it's possible to turn a trick and score in a matter of minutes" (Tanner, Apr. 27, 1999: A4). Although it is true that the women's addictions and lack of financial resources prevent them from moving from place to place despite what the V P D would have the readership believe, again the sensational style of writing which plagues articles from the Province supercedes the good intent. Once more we see the use of the word "sleazy" to describe the Downtown Eastside, and by extension its residents, as well as an appalling description of sex work in this area. The phrase "where it's possible to turn a trick and score in a matter of minutes" trivializes the women's labour by re-imagining it as a quick "trick" used to procure the financial means to "score" drugs. As I have argued numerous times in the course of this thesis, the women's occupation as sex workers is constructed as a means to finance their addictions with no mention of other reasons why they might need money. Thus, despite Tanner's attempt to illustrate the improbability of the myth of transience, her use of sensational language and colloquial phrasing instead contributes to the ongoing portrayal of the missing women as sexual deviants and drug fiends. The presentation of some of the visual accompaniments in period two also exhibits a tension, this time between the photographs and their headlines, sub-headlines, and captions. The article headlined, "Mayor to propose skid-row reward" (Stall, Apr. 25, 1999: A16) is accompanied by a photograph which depicts the 2-year-old son of missing 50 woman Stephanie Lane holding a photo of his mother up to the camera while Stephanie's mother, father, and brother look on with concerned or saddened expressions (Figure 2.2). The photo itself can be seen as a positive inclusion in the coverage of the women's disappearances as the reader can see for him/herself that the women have loved ones who are distraught over the disappearance of their family member. In contrast to the myth of transience, which presented the women as completely socially isolated, the family photograph illustrates the women's social connections. However, this photo appears under the "skid-row" . ' ' " M e Figure 2.2: Family of Stephanie Lane - Photo Credit: Jon Murray moniker for the Downtown Eastside and thus all of the connotations that the term "skid-row" evokes are placed onto Stephanie's family. Not only is Stephanie's disappearance qualified by the attachment of the "skid-row" label, but the concern of her loved ones is qualified as well. The tension between visual representation and textual description is also present in the article entitled "The day Angela disappeared" (Tanner, Apr. 28, 1999: A10). The visual accompaniment is a personal photograph depicting missing woman Angela Jardine looking into the camera (Figure 2.3). The use of a personal photograph in this article presents a much less problematic portrayal of one of the missing women than the use of 51 mug shots in period one, which emphasized the women's participation in criminal activities. Also, the use of Angela's name in the headline is in stark contrast to the example in period one where a similar image of Sarah de Vries accompanied a headline that only described her as a "prostitute". However, despite these two positive steps towards more sympathetic portrayals of the missing women, the description of Angela in the sub-headline reverts to the all-too-familiar devaluing portrayals. The sub-headline reads: "Though different, on skid-row she'd found a place to call home" (A 10). As was the case in the photo depicting the family of Stephanie Lane, the use of the "skid-row" moniker connotes criminality and evokes moral judgment towards the Downtown Eastside and also Angela for living there. Furthermore, the sub-headline's ambiguous description of Angela as "different" opens up a wide variety of connotations about her personality. Although the author's intention ->-<sn > -i Figure 2.3: Angela Jardine 1 - Photo Credit: N/A was most likely to refer to Angela's mental disability, which is / mentioned in the text of the article, given the portrayals of the missing women throughout the coverage, the word "different" can be seen to imply anything from the pathological inclination towards "life on the edge" to participation in the "sleazy" occupation of sex work. Moreover, the combination of the descriptors "skid-row" and "different" implies that Angela belonged on "skid-row" because of her "difference", rather than the reality that Angela lived in the Downtown Eastside because of poverty and/or her marginalization as a woman with a disability. Although the examples I have provided thus far demonstrate a continuation of the devaluing portrayals of the missing women despite the inclusion of more sympathetic elements, many of the articles also present a more realistic portrayal of the women. By 52 establishing a polemical argument against the V P D ' s myth of transience, coverage in period two also helps to establish the importance of devoting more resources into investigating the women's disappearances. For instance, in the article "They aren't from Kerrisdale" (Stall, Apr . 2, 1999: A12) author Bob Stall includes information which directly contradicts many aspects of the myth of transience. Despite the contradictory formation of two identities for missing woman Janet Henry, Stall's article also focuses on the illogical nature of the assertions that the women had just moved elsewhere. Consider the visual accompaniment to this article. The photograph depicts Janet's sister, Sandra Gagnon looking through and displaying some personal photographs of Janet (Figure 2.4). First, the image establishes social connections through family contact by displaying Sandra Gagnon's remembrance for her sister and the collection of photographs she uses for this remembrance. This depiction stands in contrast to the V P D ' s implication that the women had very few social contacts and could disappear at a moment's notice. Second, although the headline is ambiguous, the sub-headline informs the reader that "20 women disappeared in the past four years yet little is being done to find them" (A 12). Thus, with this information the reader can see the dichotomy established between Kerrisdale (another of Figure 2.4: Sandra Gagnon with Photos of her Missing Sister - Photo Credit: Colin Price 53 Vancouver's more affluent neighbourhoods) and the Downtown Eastside. However, rather than utilizing this dichotomy to illustrate Janet's downfall, as was the case in the article "Missing on the Mean Streets: Privilege, despair and death" (Kines, Mar. 3, 1999: A12), Stall instead uses this dichotomy to allude to the differential police involvement in missing persons cases based on the neighbourhood in which the missing person was residing. In effect, the headline and the sub-headline inform the reader that because the women "aren't from Kerrisdale" very "little is being done to find them". The textual content of the article also adds to the construction of a polemical response to the myth of transience. The article informs the reader that "Sandra feared a drug overdose and contacted police" (Stall, Apr. 2, 1999: A12). This quotation further emphasizes Janet's family connections by highlighting that Sandra noticed when Janet went missing and most likely would have been informed had Janet decided to leave Vancouver. The article also locates Janet at a fixed address by stating that she "vanish[ed] from her East Hastings street rooming house" (A12). Rather than imagining that Janet vanished "from the streets," as was the connotation in many articles from period one, this article instead acknowledges that Janet lived in her own household. Further, not only did she have regular contact with family and live at a fixed address, but she also "went missing the same day she paid her next month's rent in full and she took neither her belongings nor the cash in her bank accounts" (A12). All of this information provides substantial evidence against the myth of transience and points to a conscious effort on the part of the VPD to discredit the missing women and excuse the lack of departmental resources devoted to finding them. It does not make sense that Janet, whose poverty is established by the fact that she lived in a rooming house, would pay the rent 54 and leave money in her bank account if she was planning on leaving Vancouver for a new life and identity elsewhere. How would she finance this re-location and replace her personal belongings without spending her own money, of which she had very little to begin with? Refutations of the myth of transience are present in another article from this time period. Maggie de Vries, sister of missing woman Sarah de Vries, authored a letter which appeared in the Sun, entitled: "The desperate quest for our missing sisters and daughters" (de Vries, Apr. 12, 1999: A l l ) . The letter is accompanied by a personal photograph of Maggie and Sarah embracing on a couch four months prior to Sarah's disappearance (Figure 2.5). Though this photograph could have easily fit into the "Privilege, despair and death" montage, its textual framing changes the connotations it elicits. For instance, the photo's caption describes the scene as "a tender moment." Not only does this description connote the love between Sarah and Maggie, an important aspect of Sarah's life that was all but absent from the "Privilege, despair and death" article, the photo also connotes sadness over the loss of a loved one, especially evident with the headline's use of the term "desperate quest." In opposition to the lackadaisical effort on the part of the VPD to find the women, the desperation of Maggie's quest for answers about her sister's disappearance shows that there is an immense emotional investment on the part of family members and friends to have the women's disappearances accounted for and resolved. Finally, the use of the pronoun "our" alludes to the missing women being actual Figure 2.5: Maggie and Sarah de Vries in Embrace - Photo Credit: N/A 55 sisters and daughters to their family members and symbolic sisters and daughters of the Vancouver community as a whole. Echoing John Turvey's comments in period one, the symbolic (re)inclusion of the women in the community at large tells the readership that we should care about the women's disappearances even though the conditions the women lived in and the public and institutional reactions to their disappearances indicate this caring and concern was lacking. The textual content of Maggie's letter also provides details of Sarah's life which act in polemical opposition to the myth of transience. She states that a "public perception exists that women like my sister lead transient lives. In some cases, they do move from hotel to hotel and even from city to city, but for many years Sarah had a fixed address, and she had been living in the same area for about a decade or so" (de Vries, Apr. 12, 1999: A l l ) . By acknowledging the occasional relocation of some of the missing women, de Vries highlights the foundation from which the myth of transience was constructed. However, her first-hand knowledge of Sarah's stable residency shows that this foundation was tenuous to begin with and certainly does not apply to all of the missing women. Maggie also contradicts the myth of transience by stating that "the women kept in regular contact and had lived in the Downtown Eastside for many years. The contact ceased abruptly at the same time welfare cheques were no longer picked up and the women were no longer seen in their neighbourhood" ( A l l ) . In much the same way as Stall's article pointed to the illogical nature of the myth of transience, de Vries points out that besides being recurrent faces in the landscape of the Downtown Eastside, the women also had regular contact with family members and were dependent on social assistance in order to support themselves. That these aspects of the women's lives came to an end at the same 56 time they disappeared makes it seem that the VPD was using the myth to stall the investigation rather than provide an accurate portrayal of the women. In her letter, Maggie also states that the missing women were regularly seen in the Downtown Eastside, a point that she expands upon with this comment: "[Sarah] was a member of her community. When I postered the Downtown Eastside last summer, I discovered that everyone knew my sister and that she was missed" ( A l l ) . Contrary to the portrayal of the Downtown Eastside as an "outpost" of crime and "sleaze", Maggie's comments instead portray the Downtown Eastside as a stable neighbourhood made up of familiar faces. This letter to the Sun also provides a contrast between the caring neighbours in the Downtown Eastside and the lack of concern for the women from the Vancouver community outside of the Downtown Eastside. The final aspect of de Vries' letter that alters the operation of the myth of transience is the distinction she makes between the two levels of V P D investigative work. She states: "I have been satisfied with the work that Lori Shenher and A l Howlett, the two detectives assigned to these cases, have done" (de Vries, Apr. 12, 1999: A l l ) . However, despite Maggie's appreciation for the ground-level police work these two detectives have accomplished so far, she also recommends a new direction for the investigation of the women's disappearances. She writes, "I would say to police, it is time to take further steps: to acknowledge a possible pattern, to set up a task force, to offer a reward and to offer police protection to anyone who might be afraid to come forward with information" ( A l l ) . By directing her recommendations at the higher-ranking members of the VPD, as well as Vancouver mayor Philip Owen, de Vries notes four important factors pertaining to both the symbolic and material acknowledgment of the 57 missing women's case. First, the acknowledgment of a pattern in the women's disappearances - that they were all sex workers and lived in the Downtown Eastside -raises the possibility that a serial killer might be targeting the women. The threat of a serial killer mobilizes both the public panic associated with the mention of this possibility, a wild card, if you will, that increases the chances that this person may begin targeting citizens outside of the Downtown Eastside. Second, the creation of a task force would provide symbolic recognition to the public that the VPD were taking the numerous disappearances seriously and mobilizing additional police resources to manage the task force. Third, the offer of a reward would further legitimize the women's disappearances as constituting both a police case and a political issue. Because offering a reward involves the cooperation of British Columbia's provincial government, Vancouver's municipal government, and the VPD, the combined investment of these three institutional powers signifies to the public that the case merits further attention. In addition, the offering of a reward also acts materially as it increases the chance that an important tip may be received that would assist the police in their investigation. Finally, de Vries' recommendation that police protection should be offered to anyone who needs it can be seen as a means of addressing the alienation of many sex workers from the "protective service potential of the police" (Lowman 2000: 1007). Because elements of their occupation are deemed criminal by Canadian legislation, many sex workers, especially at the street-level, do not trust the police and would most likely not confer any suspicions about the women's disappearances directly to the VPD. By suggesting that police protection - rather than arrest - be offered, the amount of potential 58 leads in the cases increases, especially in view of the likelihood that other survival sex workers in the Downtown Eastside would have witnessed something related to the women's disappearances. While de Vries' letter only hints at the VPD's differential treatment of the women's disappearances and attempts to recommend ways that this neglect may be rectified, another article addresses the neglect directly. The article reports that "when [Angela Jardine] vanished, police didn't check to see if she had gone home for the holidays... It also took a month for them to print up a missing-persons bulletin...[Angela's mother states] 'The police have an oath to protect and serve. Obviously, this doesn't apply to a person of Angela's social status" (Tanner, Apr. 27, 1999: A4). Although I have provided examples of sensationalistic reporting from this same article earlier in this section, the inclusion of Angela's mother's comments acts to shift the responsibility for finding the women back onto the VPD. The quotation from Angela's mother also appears highlighted as a sub-caption to the article, further connecting the VPD's neglect to her social status. The question of Angela's social status is addressed in the visual ^ . ^ ^ J l P t S nam 4v •€Jm,%k-'$M t/:%n - ' m mm Figure 2.6: Mark Thompson in Angela Jardine's Room - Photo Credit: Rick Loughran accompaniments to this article. The first photograph depicts Mark Thompson, manager of the Portland 59 Hotel, in Angela's room displaying some of her photographs and other personal effects (Figure 2.6). The second photograph is a face shot of Angela herself, the same photo as in Figure 8, except zoomed-in to focus even more on Angela's expression (Figure 2.7). The first photograph is an important addition to the collection of visual accompaniments as it is the first to show the actual residency of the one of the women before she went missing. This image locates Angela as residing in the Portland Hotel, a relief agency in the Downtown Eastside which provides rooms at income assistance rates and counseling to those with substance abuse problems or a dual diagnosis. Not only does this image establish that Angela lived in poverty, it also establishes connections to other residents of the Portland Hotel who would have had regular contact with Angela in the halls and at counseling sessions. Furthermore, the myth that the women lived on the streets is also countered by the visual depiction of Angela's residence. The second photograph is also important when seen in conjunction with the headline of the article: "Missing women 'might be victims of serial killer" (A4). When seen in contrast to the first visual accompaniment of Sarah de Vries in period one, this image labels Angela as a "missing woman" rather than a Figure 2.7: Angela Jardine 2 - Photo Credit: N/A "missing prostitute", thus subverting the depictions of the missing I women in earlier coverage as only "prostitutes" and "drug addicts." 2.2 The VPD's Investigation of the Disappearances and Denial of the Importance of a Reward The second focus of the newspapers' coverage in period two is on the investigation by the VPD. As they did in period one, the V P D point to the lack of 60 evidence connected to the women's disappearances. For example, one article states that "police have little physical evidence in the cases and no reason to believe the cases are connected or that the women have been murdered" (Skelton, Apr. 6, 1999: B3). Another article mentions that police have "no witnesses, no bodies and no common suspect" (Grindlay, Apr. 7, 1999: A18). Although the absence of physical evidence is a tangible roadblock in the VPD's investigation, their denial of a connection between the disappearances and the possibility of murder is a continuation of the myth that the women merely re-located and would eventually contact their families or police. Furthermore, the lack of concrete witnesses can be explained by the alienation of survival sex workers from the "protective service potential of the police." As hinted at in Maggie de Vries' letter to the Sun, many potential witnesses may have been afraid to come forward with information at this time for fear of being harassed by the police or arrested. The VPD's assertions that there was no common suspect in the case is related to their denial of the possibility of a serial killer. V P D spokesperson Constable Drennan is quoted as saying, "there is absolutely nothing that has come to light that indicates there is...a serial killer on the loose" (Grindlay, Apr. 7, 1999: A18). These comments are an attempt to downplay the panic associated with the possibility of a serial killer and also contribute to the VPD's public denial of a pattern to the disappearances and denial of the value of a reward. However, even after a reward was approved by the Police Board on April 28 t h 1999 the VPD still denied the possibility of a serial killer. An article reporting on the approval of the reward reports that "police continued to downplay fears expressed by interested parties that a serial killer could be responsible for the disappearances" (Tanner, Apr. 29, 1999: A4). The only explanation for this continued denial is related to 61 the fact that the Police Board refused the proposal to form a task force during the same meeting that the reward was approved. Since police involvement in the case up to this point consisted of denying any factors relating to the case which would have resulted in an increase of police resources devoted to the investigation, the denial of the possibility of a serial killer provides yet another example of how the V P D refused to admit that the women's disappearances constituted a legitimate criminal case. Nowhere is the VPD's denial of the validity of the women's disappearances more apparent than in their opposition to the reward. In the same article where the VPD assert the improbability of a serial killer, they also state their opposition to the offering of a reward. The article, entitled "Police don't think reward would help" (Grindlay, Apr. 7, 1999: A18), reports: "posting a hefty reward probably wouldn't help to locate the 20 women who have vanished from the downtown eastside, police said" (A 18 - emphasis added). Notice the use of the word "locate" and its connotation that the women will be found elsewhere. Thus, at this point the V P D are still relying on the myth of transience to explain the women's disappearances. But what could be the harm in offering a reward even if the women had just moved away? The day before the reward was proposed the VPD are quoted as saying, "offering a reward for information...could endanger lives if it is not done carefully" (Hogben, Apr. 27, 1999: BI) . The fear on the part of the VPD that some of the missing women may be endangered by a reward is quite ironic considering the evidence that neglect on their part was far more dangerous for the women. Consider the fact that over the course of the time period this study covers, nine more women disappeared (de Vries 2003: 186, 198). Had the VPD devoted more resources to the investigation once it was established that over 62 twenty women of a similar social status had vanished, perhaps at least some of these nine women may not have disappeared. Although the V P D strongly opposed offering a $100,000 reward, they did mention to the journalists covering the case that the department would support the offering of smaller rewards. One article reports that, "police would consider supporting 'mini-rewards' of $1,000 to the women themselves if they make their whereabouts known to police" (Grindlay, Apr. 7, 1999: A18). The notion of offering 'mini-rewards' acts to further de-legitimate the case to the public as it is based on the assumption that the women were still alive, but have not contacted family or police about their whereabouts. The myth of transience is employed by the VPD in this example to place the responsibility for locating the women back onto the women themselves. Not only does Lowman's suggestion that survival sex workers are held responsible for their own victimization hold true in this case, but now the women are actually held responsible for solving the case as well. Likewise, the suggestion that "mini-rewards" should be offered also suggests that the women were capriciously hiding in an attempt to taunt the police and that the women could be lured out by a $ 1,000 "reward." The examples I have provided thus far indicate that the V P D continued to deny the importance of the case based on the myth of transience. However, in the later stages of reporting in period two a change of perspective occurs. For instance, the following comments appear in an article one day before the reward was approved: ' " M y gut feeling is that some [of the women] have met with foul play,' Vancouver Const. Lori Shenher said last week...one of two smart and overworked detectives on the cases full-time" (Stall, Apr. 25, 1999: A16). Perhaps in response to public pressure, or in light of new 63 evidence, Shenher's comments mark a new phase in the investigation as the frequently denied possibility that the women had, in fact, been victims of violence is reversed. Taking this positive development even further, another article reports that Shenher "is treating the cases as linked and is hunting for 'men who have shown a history of this kind of behaviour'" (Tanner, Apr. 27, 1999: A4). This first acknowledgment of a pattern to the women's disappearances finally shows some evidence that the V P D (if only at the ground-level where departmental decisions are not often made) has made a connection between the high levels of violence towards survival sex workers and the disappearances of the women. This acknowledgment also travels up the V P D chain of command as one article reports that "senior Vancouver police officers...acknowledge[d] for the first time that some of the missing women could be victims of foul play" (Culbert, Apr. 29, 1999: B8). In combination with the offering of a reward, the VPD's new stance towards the women's disappearances seems to indicate a positive future for the case. However, despite the VPD's positive change of perspective, there is evidence in the articles published the day after the reward was approved that the department was still reluctant to treat the women's disappearances as an urgent police investigation. For example, one article reports that "the families of the missing women also asked police Wednesday to create a task force to work on the disappearances, but the board turned that down, saying there are twenty members of the homicide unit available to help the missing-persons unit if any major leads start to develop" (Culbert, Apr. 29, 1999: B8). In other words, the amount of V P D resources devoted to investigating the women's disappearances was to remain exactly the same, seeing as the homicide unit would have always been available to the two detectives working the case if any leads developed. 64 Deputy police chief Brian McGuiness explains that the V P D is reluctant to devote more resources to the case because "without a crime scene or a body as a reference point, officers won't know if tips are valid or fictitious - and therefore could spend time chasing false leads" (B8). McGuiness' comments show the VPD's switch from being apprehensive about the reward because it could "endanger" the women, to being apprehensive that the reward could lead to false tips that would waste the department's time. This apprehension is then used to further excuse the insufficient resources the V P D devoted to the investigation of the women's disappearances. McGuiness is also quoted in the articles appearing after the reward was approved as saying that "some women...don't want to be found because they're running from something in their pasts" (Culbert, Apr. 29, 1999: B8). Despite evidence to the contrary, this statement shows that the myth of transience is still being employed by high-ranking V P D members. The notion that the missing women could be "running from something in their pasts" echoes V P D statements in period one in which the women were expected to feel shame because of their occupations or possibly be running from an arrest warrant related to their occupations. Both of these connotations hold the women responsible for their own disappearances and question the value of devoting resources into finding women of this status. In case the readership has forgotten how the V P D conceptualizes the missing women, McGuiness also states to reporters that "just because the women were drug-addicted prostitutes doesn't mean police haven't been trying their hardest to find them" (Tanner, Apr. 28, 1999: A4). By referring to the missing women as "drug-addicted prostitutes", McGuiness reveals that the whore stigma still informs the VPD's investigation. Furthermore, as the content of the articles during this period has 65 demonstrated, the VPD were not "trying their hardest" to find the women, but rather trying hard to come up with more excuses for why the women's disappearances did not warrant a full-scale police investigation with sufficient departmental resources. 2.3 The Political Facet of the Reward Debate The third major focus of the coverage of the missing women's case in period two was the involvement of municipal and provincial politicians in the reward debate. Though seldom mentioned in period one, the political influence on the case was an important feature as the reward became a greater possibility. In the article entitled "Dosanjh awaits police request for reward on missing women" (Skelton, Apr. 6, 1999: B I , B3), it is reported that "the province will put up a reward to solve the disappearances of 21 women on the Downtown Eastside since 1995 if Vancouver police ask for it" (BI). The provincial government's involvement in the issuing of a reward for information on a criminal case works in such a way that the provincial government offers 70% of the reward's total value, but on the condition that the police board approves the reward and contributes the monetary difference. This statement of the provincial government's position provided highly influential acknowledgment of the importance of solving the women's disappearances three weeks before the reward was proposed to the police board and before Vancouver's mayor even stated that he would propose a reward at all. Even though the provincial NDP government offered its support, then-Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh "cautioned that rewards are not a 'panacea'" (Skelton, Apr. 6, 1999: B8) and "the suspicion that some of the women may have simply moved away from Vancouver has led him to also consider the possibility of 'mini-rewards' of about 66 $1,000 each, which would be payable to the women themselves if they notify family or police of their whereabouts" (B8). Dosanjh's comments reveal the NDP government's ambivalence towards the missing women and the strong influence of the myth of transience to cast doubt on the possibility of foul play in the women's disappearances. Now, not only does the myth of transience inform the news media (and by extension the readership), as well as the police investigation, but it also informs the potential monetary value of the reward. The influence of the myth of transience is also highlighted in the newspapers' coverage of Vancouver mayor and Vancouver Police Board chair Philip Owen's stance towards the reward. The same article that carried Dosanjh's comments reports that Owen "was reluctant to authorize a reward when police have not come up with any evidence that the missing women have in fact been murdered - or that their disappearances are linked" (Skelton, Apr. 6, 1999: B3). Much like the comments made by Dosanjh, Owen's comments appear to be inextricably linked to the opinions of the VPD. But is there something else behind Owen's reluctance to offer a reward? Describing a conversation he had with the mayor in early April 1999, Province journalist Bob Stall reported that "[Mayor Owen] had said there was no evidence of a serial killer at work and he wouldn't finance a 'location service for hookers'" (Stall, Apr. 25, 1999: A16). In the same article, Stall quotes Owen as having stated: "We don't want a person in Vancouver saying 'My sister Carol's now in Portland. Send me a hundred thousand bucks" (A16). Both of these statements reveal that Owen's reluctance to offer a reward was based not only on the myth of transience, but also on his own opinions about sex workers. His use of the term "hookers" to describe the missing women has the same effect as the use of this word in 67 the first article of this period, that is, to mask the realities of sex work as an occupation and instead frame it as an indicator of a deviant and immoral individual. Furthermore, Owen's exaggerated suspicions that family members of one of the women would attempt to use the offer of a reward to defraud the city is very telling of his opinions on the case in general. Because of the lower social status of the missing women and the presumed similar status of their family members, Owen immediately assumes nefarious intentions on the part of these citizens. I am left to wonder if Owen had the same suspicions before he issued $100,000 rewards for information about home invasions and garage robberies in Vancouver's more affluent areas (Wood 1999: 108). In a pattern similar to that of the VPD, Owen changes the reasons for his reluctance to offer a reward from not believing that the women are in danger and could return home at any time, to worrying that the reward could somehow endanger the missing women. For example, Owen confides the following to one journalist: "I have a horror of something like those girls in Belgium who were locked up for almost a year in a basement - and because we put this $100,000 reward out, he murders them and then two months later, he says, T found these bodies'" (Stall, Apr. 25, 1999: A16). Owen's fears of endangering the women make use of an interesting combination of fact and fiction. In the first part of the quote he is most likely referring to a case which came to light in 1996 where a Belgian man kidnapped, imprisoned, and sexually assaulted six girls, two of whom starved while the man was serving a short term jail sentence for car theft (Ratz 2004: A21). The second half of Owen's comments, where he imagines a similar fate for Vancouver's missing women, is straight from his imagination. Barring the similarity in 68 the gender of the victims, the Belgian case is quite different and Owen's reference only serves as a scenario in which his reluctance to offer a reward is seemingly justified. Despite his reservations about offering a reward, Owen finally stated to the media that "he may propose a 'two-tiered' reward that would pay out the entire $100,000 for information leading to a criminal conviction, but could also provide smaller amounts -perhaps $5,000 - for locating the whereabouts of a missing woman who is alive and well" (Skelton, Apr. 26, 1999: A3). Two days later, Owen proposed what he had promised and the Vancouver Police Board approved the reward. However, the reward and poster were not made public until July 1999 (de Vries 2003: 220). The final outcome of the debate over the reward bears the marks of both sides of the debate. With the $100,000 offering for information leading to a criminal conviction the mayor and the police board acknowledged that the women may have been murdered and took the necessary next step in finding them. On the other hand, the $5,000 per live body portion of the reward and the refusal to form a task force concede to the VPD's assertions that the missing women would eventually return to Vancouver and their friends and family. The analysis of the newspapers' coverage presented in this chapter demonstrates three important themes. First, the portrayal of the missing women changes in period two to include more sympathetic and realistic information. Although a significant amount of the reporting conformed to earlier portrayals which focused on the so-called "deviant" aspects of the women's lives, there were also attempts on the part of the two newspapers to include more of the voices of those who were most familiar with the women. By engaging in a disavowal of the myth of transience, the advocates and family members were able to show how this myth was grounded in false assumptions about the women's 69 lifestyles and did not provide a logical explanation for their disappearances. Second, the coverage of the VPD's investigation revealed that the myth of transience still had a significant impact on their investigation. By denying the importance of offering a reward, whether based on a lack of physical evidence or a "concern" for the women's safety, the VPD demonstrated that they were still reluctant to accept any other explanations for the women's disappearances beyond their own. Third, the coverage of the political involvement in the debate over the reward illustrated the influence of the myth of transience on perceptions of the case. However, because of public pressure and the support for a reward by the provincial government, a reward was finally offered that can be seen as an attempt to satisfy both police and the concerns of family and advocates. In the next chapter I will provide an analysis of articles appearing in May 1999, the month following the announcement that a reward had been approved. I will use the content of these articles to illustrate how the case unfolded after the institutional legitimation and actual approval of the reward and contrast these findings with what actually happened in the 30 months before an arrest was made in connection with some of the disappearances. 70 C H A P T E R III: After the Reward Was Approved May 10 th 1999 to May 18 th 1999 The third and final period of coverage occurs from May 10' 1999 to May 18* 1999, a short time period of only nine days. The coverage takes place after the reward was announced, but had not yet been made public, and documents a memorial for the missing women organized by their family members and other advocates. The future of the case is discussed, including Jamie Lee Hamilton's proposal to provide cell phones to survival sex workers in the Downtown Eastside so they could call for help in case of emergency. In addition, mayor Owen states that a reward of $2 million dollars should be offered and Detective Inspector Kim Rossmo discusses his new high-tech approach to investigating the disappearances. I chose to end my study at the Rossmo article in order to illustrate the difference in the VPD's approach to the case from the beginning of the coverage when it was reported that two additional detectives were to "probe" the disappearances to Rossmo's involvement. Table 3.1: Inventory of Articles from Period Three Date Newspaper Page #(s) Section (Genre) Author(s) Visual Accompaniment May 10, 1999 Sun BI Lower Mainland (side panel) N/A No May 13, 1999 Sun B1,B4 Lower Mainland (report) Kelly Sinoski Yes May 13, 1999 Province A12 A (report) Canadian Press No May 13, 1999 Province A12 A (report) Adrienne Tanner Yes May 14, 1999 Province A3 A (report) Adrienne Tanner & Lora Grindlay No May 18, 1999 Sun B3 Lower Mainland (report) Ian Bailey No Total # of Articles # of Articles in Each Newspaper # of Authors # of Visual Accompaniments 6 Sun: 3 Province: 3 5 2 71 The coverage in period three is relatively constant as six articles appear over the nine days, but it must be noted that three of the six articles are concentrated on May 13 t h 1999, the day after the memorial service. The coverage is also equally balanced between the two newspapers with three articles appearing in the Sun and three in the Province. The page location of the articles continues the pattern set in the first two periods whereby the articles are located either in the back pages of section A or the Lower Mainland/local Vancouver news section of the Sun. One of the articles appears on page A3, two appear on page A12, two on page B l , and the remaining article appears on page B3. These structural factors once again illustrate that the women's disappearances were not ranked very high on the scale of newsworthiness by the editors of both papers. The size of the articles is smaller than the previous two periods, with one taking up 5% of the page it appears on and the remaining articles taking up 30-35% of the page. This decrease in the size of the articles can be explained by their genre. One article is only a side panel announcing the memorial, while the five remaining articles are regular reports. The absence of any special reports indicates that the disappearances were not judged as being worthy of additional investigative reporting after the main political aspect of the case, the debate for a reward, was resolved in the previous month. The authorship of the articles is indicative of a similar theme as four different journalists authored four of the articles, the side panel has no author, and the remaining article is authored by the Canadian Press. The only continuity in authorship is Province reporter Adrienne Tanner who authors one article and is the co-author of another article. Once again, the expertise of the journalists covering the case is questionable as only Tanner, 72 whose sensationalistic approach to the disappearances in period two was problematic, as I noted earlier, represents any continuous reporting. There are two visual accompaniments in period three. Both of these photographs were taken by professional photographers from the Sun and the Province. The size of these accompaniments is similar to the previous two periods as they occupy 20% and 30% of the pages they appear on. As was the case in period two, the presence of professionally shot photographs indicates that the images were taken with the disappearances specifically in mind and also that the disappearances were deemed newsworthy enough for the newspapers to deploy their own photographers. The future of the missing women's case is the main theme of the six articles appearing in period three. The memorial for the missing women acts as both a means of paying tribute to the lives of the women and as a forum for advocates to insist that the disappearances should not be pushed aside just because a reward has been approved. Mayor Owen's suggestion that a much higher reward should be offered contrasts with the VPD's continuing conservative stance towards the disappearances. Finally, the reporting on both the cell phone proposal and the addition of Detective Inspector Kim Rossmo indicate the possible direction of future responses to survival sex workers and the women who were already missing. 3.1 The Future of the Missing Women Case in M a y 1999 The coverage in period three begins with a small side panel announcing a memorial for the missing women and is entitled: "Service planned for missing women" (No Author, May 10, 1999: BI). The text of the panel then provides a summary of the 73 missing women case which adheres to the tagline description of the women that had been used throughout the coverage. The summary reads: "Since 1995, 22 'street-involved' women, mostly prostitutes and drug addicts, have gone missing from the Downtown Eastside. No bodies have been discovered and only one woman has been found alive, leaving 21 still missing" (Bl) . As this example illustrates, the coverage still makes reference to the women as "street-involved," "prostitutes," and "drug addicts." Although the reward was expected to have a positive effect on the perceptions and depictions of the women, the presence of these descriptors indicates that the reward was not enough to counter the stigma attached to these women. On the other hand, the Sun's regular news report on the memorial service provides a much more positive depiction of the missing women case than was possible when the devaluing tagline was used. For example, the article, which is divided into two sections, carries the headlines: "Hundreds pray for missing women" and "Memorial aimed at celebrating lives of missing" (Sinoski, May 13, 1999: B l , B4). Notice how the headlines only use the word "women" to describe the missing, rather than "prostitutes," "hookers," or other devaluing monikers. The headlines also refer to "celebrating the lives" of the missing women, a much more positive portrayal which illustrates that the missing women deserved to be celebrated and remembered instead of to be constantly referred to in terms of their supposedly deviant activities. As well, the mention of hundreds of people attending the memorial shows that the women were cared about within their community and that this concern gradually began to surface in the Vancouver community outside of the Downtown Eastside. 74 The positive portrayal of the memorial service continues in the body of the article. The journalist from the Sun reports that at the memorial service "four hundred relatives, friends and supporters...lit candles, prayed and sang Wednesday in a special memorial service...Later, carrying flowers, they marched to C R A B park where they dedicated a bench to the women" (Sinoski, May 13, 1999: BI). Standing in direct contrast to the numerous depictions in period one of the Downtown Eastside as an "outpost" of crime and deviance, the description of the memorial service indicates that there was no shortage of community concern for the missing women. This concern is also evident in the visual Figure 3.1: Protest March for the Missing Women - Photo Credit: Steve Bosch accompaniment to the article which depicts a protest held in conjunction with the memorial service (Figure 3.1). The sign held by one of the protestors that reads "Find These Women Now" is an interesting example of text direction as a textual signifier is actually included within the image. The inclusion of the protestor's statement of purpose 75 makes it very difficult for the editors of the newspaper to textually redirect the connotations of the image in the headlines, sub-headlines, and captions. The combination of the protest and the memorial is symbolic of the attempts of advocates to draw attention to the case throughout the coverage. The memorial service mirrors the attempts of advocates to provide a more sympathetic portrayal of the women, while the protest mirrors the attempts of advocates to critically engage the police and political response to the women's disappearances. The text of the Sun's memorial article further informs the reader of the protesters' intentions: Outside of the church members of Vancouver Rape Relief carried pickets saying 'Save these women now' and 'Prostitutes are not disposable...We believe the police response to these missing women has been horrible.' Laura Linklater, who works with a relief organization in the area, said the disappearance of 21 women shouldn't be swept under the carpet but should be treated the same way as if the women had disappeared from an affluent area of the city (Sinoski, May 13, 1999: B4). Linklater's comments reflect themes already covered in my study as she raises the issue of the differential political and police involvement seemingly based on social status. While Linklater is referring to the rewards offered for home invasions and garage robberies in affluent areas of Vancouver during the time period covered in this study, the differential mobilization of resources by the V P D is still evident in Vancouver at the present time. As I mentioned in the introduction, the charges against Robert Pickton only account for 27 of the 69 missing women on the Project Evenhanded list. While there are still 42 women who are unaccounted for at this time, the V P D recently had no trouble mobilizing extensive resources to locate a young man from a wealthy Vancouver family who was kidnapped in April 2006. The investigation into Graham McMynn's kidnapping 76 involved a total of 200 Vancouver police officers and cost $1.2 million, over one-half of the VPD's $2.1 million per year criminal investigation fund (Bermingham 2006: A16). Although the investigation into McMynn's kidnapping was successful in leading to his rescue, the critical claims of the protestors raise the question of whether the VPD would have been just as forthcoming with their resources had young Graham been kidnapped from the Downtown Eastside or if the VPD had the same amount of evidence in any of the missing women's cases (Potvin 2006: 11). There is one final curious aspect of the visual accompaniment to Sinoski's article that needs to be addressed. The caption to Figure 3.1 reads: "Demanding Answers: Several hundred people walk along the waterfront of the Downtown Eastside Wednesday to protest what they say is inaction by authorities in trying to locate more than 20 missing women. Many are thought to be prostitutes and drug-addicted" (Sinoski, May 13, 1999: B4). In this instance, instead of the women's disappearances being qualified by the use of the tagline, it is apparently the protestors and their march which are qualified. The way this caption is written creates confusion over who is "thought to be" prostitutes and drug addicts. Is it the missing women or the protestors? While the confusion caused by this caption is most likely the result of a grammatical error, the fact that the editorial staff at the Sun felt the need to append this qualifying statement illustrates that the over-arching perception of the missing women in particular, if not also of the Downtown Eastside as a whole, is still dependent on their participation in sex work and their possible addiction to narcotics. A similar effect can be seen in the Province's coverage of the memorial service in the article, "Missing women honoured" (Tanner, May 13, 1999: A12). Describing some 77 of the speeches during the service, Tanner writes: "Then they spoke, some personally about their grief, others about the broader social evils of drugs and poverty. A l l of the missing women were prostitutes, drug users or both" (A 12). Although the author attempts to convey the solemn nature of the service and even points to poverty as being a significant factor in the missing women's lives, the second sentence of the quotation seems to have been appended as an afterthought. There appears to be a compulsion on the part of the editorial staff of both newspapers to ensure that the readership is aware that the women were sex workers who may or may not have had a drug problem. This is a theme that has continued throughout the coverage of the missing women until the present day, as I shall discuss in the conclusion. The visual accompaniment to the Province's memorial article provides a more sympathetic depiction of the service than the text. The photograph shows a woman holding a flower during the memorial for the women (Figure 3.2) and visually represents the remembrance and concern that was felt by those close to the case. However, there is some confusion in the caption as to the number of women who were missing at the time. The caption reads: " A woman holds a flower during a memorial service for 23 missing women" (Tanner, May 13, 1999: A12). In fact, only 21 women were reported missing at this time and this mistake in the caption can perhaps be Figure 3.2: Woman with Flower at Memorial Service - Photo Credit: Arien Redekop 78 taken as an indication of the discontinuity of reporting on the case. Nevertheless, the photograph itself acts as a symbolic recognition that the missing women were remembered and cared about by many members of their community. The memorial service, in combination with the ceaseless efforts to educate by advocates such as Jamie Lee Hamilton, seems to have had a profound effect on mayor Philip Owen. The article entitled, "Case requires much higher reward: Owen" (Canadian Press, May 13, 1999: A12) quotes Owen as having stated during the memorial march that "authorities should be prepared to pay $2 million in rewards to solve the disappearances of 21 women from Vancouver's downtown eastside" (A 12). This suggestion is a dramatic reversal for Owen who, only six weeks earlier, stated that he would not fund a "location service for hookers." The $2 million suggestion is also a huge contrast to Owen's reward proposal to the Vancouver Police Board which recommended that the reward should be two-tiered with a $100,000 reward for information resulting in a criminal conviction and $5,000 "mini-rewards" if one of the women contacted police to say she was "alive and well". When asked why the value of the reward should be increased, Owen stated: "The families want this. The public wants this" (Canadian Press, May 13, 1999: A12). This acknowledgment of the wishes of the missing women's families and Vancouver's general public illustrates that the pressure placed on the mayor's office by advocates for the missing women had a positive effect, perhaps even in spite of the mayor's continuing reluctance. Rather than advancing a "discourse of disposal" which is buttressed by a public demand to rid Vancouver of survival sex workers, the acknowledgment of public concern for the women indicates the opposite. If Owen's comments were genuine, the 79 public's interest in finding the women indicates that some of the negative stigma attached to the missing women had been reduced or overestimated. On the other hand, in response to Owen's $2 million suggestion, VPD media liaison Constable Anne Drennan states in an article appearing the following day: "[Owen] would have to jump through a lot of hoops if he was to suggest or hope that he would get authorization for that amount of money...We're not talking about reality...We're talking about the opinion of the mayor, who happens to be the chair of the police board" (Tanner and Grindlay, May 14, 1999: A3). Drennan's comments are an obviously defensive attempt to undermine the mayor's position by implying that Owen's suggestion is farfetched. The comments also connote that the original reward would not have even been approved had the mayor not held the position of chair of the police board. Finally, Drennan's comments indicate that the V P D have not really changed their stance towards the investigation of the women's disappearances and still believe that the women will be found alive. Two additional articles appear after reporting on the memorial service for the missing women. The first article discusses a project which would distribute cellular phones to survival sex workers in Vancouver so that they could dial emergency numbers. The article states that "Minister [of Women's Equality] Sue Hammell said she wants to help protect prostitutes, who've been disappearing at an alarming rate from Vancouver streets" (Tanner and Grindlay, May 14, 1999: A3). This project was an attempt by British Columbia's NDP government and local activist Jamie Lee Hamilton (Wood 1999: 103) not only to address the dangers of sex work and protect the women from violence, but also to bridge the gap between sex workers and the "protective service potential of police." However, the illegality of sex work in Canadian legislation makes this idea 80 tenuous as contacting police increases the chances that a sex worker could herself be arrested after making the call. Despite the good intentions and possible positive outcome of the cell phone project, the headline for the article makes an alliterative joke of the scheme. The headline reads: "Cell safety for sex sellers" (Tanner and Grindlay, May 14, 1999: A3), a title that is only one step away from the tongue-tying play on words: "She sells sea shells by the sea shore...". Just as the glib headline in period two "Why no reward? Asks hookers [sic] pal" (Luba, Mar. 31, 1999: A16) devalued the concerns of advocates for the missing women, the "Cell safety" headline here devalues the proposal which could decrease the epidemic of violence towards survival sex workers. The opposition to the cellular phone proposal which is connoted via the jest in the headline is also shared by then-Liberal opposition leader Gordon Campbell. He is quoted in the article as saying that "the project shows the New Democrats have their priorities all wrong: 'There's a lot of places I can think of to spend money rather than on cell phones for prostitutes'" (Tanner and Grindlay, May 14, 1999: A3). Although the project was only to have cost $3,000, Campbell's comments reflect the lack of concern both he and his political party had for the safety of women working in the sex trade. While Owen's comments illustrated a move away from the "discourse of disposal," Campbell's opposition to the cell phone project shows that this discourse was still very prominent within the political realm. Campbell would in fact become B.C.'s next premier and his attitudes towards the safety of sex workers, and more generally, the safety of women were abysmal. In a recent study of Campbell's first term as premier Creese and Strong-Boag (2005) argue that "the virtual elimination of legal aid for family, poverty, and immigration cases...and cuts to 81 community-based victims services programs and women's centers, sends the same message: the Liberals do not consider women's safety important" (16). The fact that Campbell's Liberals are still in power in B.C. anticipates further cuts to women's centers, sex worker drop-in safe houses, and other important services which increase the safety and well-being of women across the province. The last article in period three reports on the involvement of Detective Inspector Kim Rossmo in the investigation of the women's disappearances. I chose to end my analysis with this article in order to illustrate the difference between the police investigation early in period one and the police investigation after the reward was approved. The article, entitled "Expert tackles case of missing women" (Bailey, May 18, 1999: B3), reports that "Rossmo, a 19-year veteran, has gained an international reputation for his advanced work in tracking suspects by computer calculations based on their crime scenes" (B3). Just as the first article in this study promised that the V P D would "probe" the women's disappearances, the coverage of Rossmo's involvement in the investigation promises an in-depth approach to the case. Rossmo's comments differ from those made by V P D representatives early in the coverage when he describes the missing women. Consider this quotation: "[Rossmo] noted that prostitutes face extreme risks in their work, which raises the possibility that some of the women may have been killed" (Bailey, May 18, 1999: B3). Notice how Rossmo acknowledges that sex work is an occupation rather than an attempt to live on "life's edge." Although the term "prostitute" still finds its way into Rossmo's comments, his recognition that the women were involved in a dangerous form of labour and could have been the victims of foul play is a positive step forward in the VPD's approach to the 82 case. However, Rossmo's involvement in the case only lasted until the year 2000 when he was demoted to the rank of Constable and subsequently quit the VPD. He later sued the VPD, arguing that other V P D officers refused to utilize his services because he had jumped-rank from Constable to Detective Inspector (Sandler and Fong 2001: A l ) . Thus, the positive direction of the investigation that Rossmo's involvement promised was apparently nullified by the "Old Boys Club" mentality of the VPD. The articles included in period three act as a forecast, if you will, of the future of the investigation into the women's disappearances. In this period, the articles reported on the memorial service for the women and suggested that the women deserved tribute rather than blame. However, there were still some instances where the tagline description of the missing women was appended to the text of the article as a qualification of their lives and the investigation into their disappearances. Period three also documented Mayor Owen's suggestion that a much larger reward should be offered for information about the disappearances, a position that stood in contrast to the continuing conservative stance of the V P D towards the investigation. Finally, a cell phone project and the addition of a renowned investigator to the investigation anticipates further positive steps in the investigation. Nonetheless, when these features were compared to the true outcome of the investigation it was highlighted that many of these positive steps were either nullified or overshadowed by the continuing discriminatory practices of the VPD and some local and provincial politicians. In the conclusion which follows I provide a summary of the findings of this thesis and offer recommendations for future research on similar topics. In addition, I discuss 83 similar present-day cases of women disappearing across Canada and make connections between these cases and the findings of this study. 84 C O N C L U S I O N : Missing the Point The aim of this study was to discover the how the news media depicted the investigation into the disappearance of multiple Vancouver-area women. Given the large amount of media coverage devoted to speculation about the details of the case against accused serial killer Robert Pickton, I chose to focus on news media accounts before Pickton was arrested. My analysis was divided into three distinct periods: period one -July 3 r d 1998 to March 9 t h 1999, period two - March 31 s t 1999 to April 29 t h 1999, and period three - May 10 th 1999 to May 18 th 1999. I sought to ascertain the cultural codes and knowledges employed by journalists when covering the disappearances by developing a critical analysis of the compositional, textual, and visual components of 28 articles from the Vancouver Sun and the Province. The findings of this thesis can be divided into two main components: structural/compositional features and thematic content. First, the structural and compositional features indicate that there was very little news media attention paid to the women's disappearances. For instance, only 28 articles appear over the 11 months addressed by this study. The coverage in period one was very sporadic because of many large gaps between the appearance of articles covering the disappearances. In fact, only nine articles appeared in the eight months of period one. The media focus became more intense during period two as the value of the reward was debated by advocates for the women, the VPD, British Columbia's provincial government, and Vancouver's mayor's office. Nevertheless, only one article every two days appeared during this period. This same frequency of articles continues in period three after the approval of a reward, an 85 indication that the women's disappearances were deemed to be more newsworthy when political involvement increased. The division of articles between the Sun and the Province was relatively balanced overall, with 15 articles appearing in the Sun and 13 appearing in the Province. However, the Sun reported on the women's disappearances more frequently during period one (7:2) while the Province's coverage was more frequent in period two (8:5). Both newspapers provided equal coverage in period three (3:3). The discrepancy in the volume of coverage depending on the period indicates that the Sun deemed the disappearances newsworthy before the Province did, but once the political involvement increased, the number of articles appearing in the Province increased. The page location of the articles also indicates that the women's disappearances were not ranked very high on the scale of newsworthiness. Only one article included in this study appeared on page A l , seven appeared early in section A from A l to A4, thirteen appeared from pages A10-A19, eight appeared on page BI of the Sun, and one on page B3. The articles most frequently appeared in the early pages of section A during period two, indicating that political involvement increased the "newsworthiness" of the disappearances. The overall impression gathered from the distribution of page location is that the women's disappearances were not deemed high priority international news in either paper, but the Sun deemed the story to be relatively high priority local news. But what was deemed newsworthy enough to appear on page A l during this period? A brief sampling of front page articles uncovers topics such as B.C.'s cuts to greenhouse gases (Southam Newspapers and Vancouver Sun 1998: A l ) , a fatal automobile accident (Fraser 1998: A l ) , political brouhaha surrounding former B.C. premier Glen Clark (Mclnnis, Beatty, 86 and Hunter 1999: A l ) , a new B.C. provincial budget (Mclnnis 1999: A l ) , ethnic cleansing in Kosovo (Anonymous 1999: A l ) , a high school shooting (Anonymous 1999: A l ) , and a Vancouver-area home invasion/murder (Ivens 1999: A l , Culbert 1999: A l ) . While this is by no means an exhaustive sample, it is important to notice that these front page reports deal mainly with politics and murder/death. The size, genre, and authorship of the articles also point to a low ranking of the story by the editors of the two newspapers. The majority of the articles occupied 5%-35% of the page they appeared on with the exception of four special reports which occupied 100% percent of the page. The size of the articles decreased in period three as no special reports appeared in either newspaper. As the presence of special reports indicates more in-depth coverage of the disappearances, the absence of these reports in period three anticipates a decline in coverage after the reward was offered. The inconsistent authorship of the articles is another important factor to consider because a journalist's expertise about the missing women can be gauged by the number of articles the he or she authored. For instance, Sun journalist Lindsay Kines authored the majority of the articles in period one, but his involvement dropped off during period two. After this, only Province journalist Adrienne Tanner provides any consistency of authorship in periods two and three. In view of the fact that there was a total of 16 different authors for the 28 articles, the individual journalists' expertise on the story is questionable. The final structural/compositional factor is the visual accompaniments to the articles, of which there were 11 in total. The majority of these photographs appeared in period two when the media focus on the case increased. The presence of visual accompaniments, especially those shot by the newspapers' own photographers, indicates 87 more of an investment in the case by the newspapers; however, there is not a very strong visual component in these articles. However, it is interesting to note that the majority of the photographs depicted the missing women themselves or their family members/advocates. Taken as a whole, the structural arid compositional factors indicate that the women's disappearances were not judged to be top-priority news items during the period covered in this study. The small number of total articles and page location of the articles are especially indicative of this fact. The themes of the coverage reveal many important features in the discourse and understanding of survival sex workers. For instance, the most prevalent theme throughout the coverage was the use of what I call "the tagline" to identify and represent the women. The tagline focused on three aspects of the women's lives: their participation in sex work, their presumed drug addictions, and their residency in the Downtown Eastside. In period one, the tagline was used to connote that the women's status as survival sex workers identified them as an immoral and criminal problem. The stigma invoked by this identification activates the discourse that criminal sanctions are needed to rectify the "problem" of sex work (Benoit and Millar 2001: 93). The women's presumed drug use was also highlighted by journalists to represent the women as immoral and a criminal nuisances, and to invoke the fear that the women could have become infected with HIV and spread the disease through their customers. Finally, the use of the tagline in period one constructed the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood from which the women disappeared as an "outpost" of crime and deviant behaviour. Symptomatic of this perspective was the Province's de-capitalization of the neighbourhood name to read "downtown east side," thus concealing the character of the Downtown Eastside as an 88 organized community. Furthermore, the coverage constructed this neighbourhood as a causal factor for the missing women's involvement in survival sex work and drug use. The use of the tagline continued to appear in periods two and three, the latter of which saw the tagline appended to descriptions of events related to the disappearances. The almost compulsive use of the tagline to identify and represent the missing women throughout the coverage suggests that the women were somehow responsible for their own disappearances and victimization because of their "immoral and criminal" lifestyles. Their residence in the Downtown Eastside is used as another indicator of the women's supposed deviance and immorality and, through this neighbourhood's construction as an "outpost" of deviance, the women's disappearances were imagined as occurring in an area separate from the rest of Vancouver. Consistent with these connotations, the importance of finding out what happened to the women is devalued and its urgency diminished. There were additional representations of the missing women and explanations for their disappearances which further lessened the importance of the case. One explanation given for the women's involvement in sex work, use of hard drugs, and residency in the Downtown Eastside is that they had a pathological or moral deficiency. This deficiency apparently resulted in their attraction to "life on the edge" or "fun" which in turn led them to reside in the Downtown Eastside. The coverage used family pictures in order to illustrate that their deficiency stripped them of the privilege of a good home and eventually led them to "disappear." No mention was made in these instances of other socio-economic factors such as poverty and mental illness which could have accounted for their social status. Mug shots were also included as visual accompaniments in period 89 one and acted as condensed criminal records which highlighted the criminality of sex work. By highlighting this criminality, the photographs devalued the importance of finding the women by holding them responsible for their own disappearances. The main connotation was that if the women were not committing criminal acts in the first place they would not have disappeared. The use of sensational colloquialisms to describe the women's actions and surroundings also devalued the importance of solving the case. These descriptors were especially prevalent in period two when the coverage was dominated by articles from the Province that used words and phrases such as "hooker," "turned tricks," "feed her addiction," "skid-row," "sleaze," and other such products of sensational journalistic practice. By sensationalizing the tagline aspects of the women's lives, these colloquial descriptors intensified the connotations of the tagline factors and concealed the fact that sex work is labour rather than "sleazy fun." The coverage of the women's disappearances also relied heavily on the VPD's speculation about what happened to the women. In period one, representatives from the V P D establish a myth of transience about the women whereby the reason given for their disappearance is that they merely moved away from Vancouver without informing family members or friends. This myth acted to devalue the urgency and importance of the women's disappearances because it was imagined that they would either just return to Vancouver or settle elsewhere. Furthermore, the myth of transience was used to excuse the insufficient departmental resources devoted to the case and the main investigative method of waiting until the women contacted police with their whereabouts. The VPD representatives also speculated that the women may have perished in a hard-drug related 90 mishap or permanently left Vancouver because of shame or an outstanding criminal charge. Finally, reporting in period one highlighted the reappearance of one of the missing women in an Arizona mental hospital and used this as evidence to support the myth of transience. The VPD's opposition to acknowledging the disappearances as a legitimate criminal case continues into period two of the coverage. The VPD are quoted as denying the possibility of a serial killer targeting the women and express a staunch opposition to a reward being offered for any information about the disappearances. The V P D representatives point to the possibility that a reward could somehow "endanger" the women, a "protectionist ideology" that echoes the stance taken by the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force in the case of Jane Doe in which local women were not informed of a serial rapist's modus operandi based on the notion that the possibility of arresting the rapist would be increased by withholding this information (Doe 2003). However, the VPD finally agree to support offering "mini-rewards" to the women if they inform police of their location. At the end of April 1999, when a reward was approved by the police board, the VPD finally acknowledged that foul play could be a possible reason for some of the women's disappearances. In period three, comments by V P D representatives to journalists hint at their continuing opposition to the reward and their belief that the women's disappearances are not as urgent as advocates for the women would have us believe. It must also be mentioned that even after the reward was offered the amount of V P D resources devoted to the investigation remained the same as before the reward. The influence of the myth of transience promoted by the VPD can be seen from coverage in period two when local politicians became involved in the debate concerning 91 the worth of a reward. The provincial government offered their support for a reward at the beginning of April 1999, an action which acknowledged the importance of the case and intensified the debate. However, the representative for the provincial government also suggests that "mini-rewards" could be offered for locating one of the missing women alive. This suggestion shows that despite the many flaws in the VPD's myth of transience, it still had a significant impact on the political perception of the case. This impact is also obvious on then-mayor Philip Owen who was supported by a very right-wing Non-Partisan Alliance (NPA) city council. At the beginning of April 1999 Owen is quoted as saying that he was opposed to the reward because he would not fund a "location service for hookers." His position reflects the discourse of disposal related to sex workers in Vancouver where the prevailing attitude is to completely rid Vancouver of "prostitutes." Later in April, Owen changed his position on the reward, but still had reservations that offering it could endanger those women who were still alive. Finally, on April 28 t h 1999 the reward was proposed to the police board by Owen and a "two-tiered" reward was approved. A $100,000 reward was to be offered for any information leading to a criminal conviction, but smaller rewards of $5,000 were also to be offered to the women themselves if they informed police or family members of their whereabouts. While the approval of the reward provided acknowledgement of the importance of finding the missing women, it also conformed to the myth of transience by including a reward for the location of women who were still presumed to be alive. In period three, after the reward was offered, Owen changed his position on the reward again by proposing that a $2 million reward should be offered for information about the disappearances. Instances of political support continue in period three as one article 92 reports on the provincial government-supported cell phone project which would provide emergency-number-only phones to survival sex workers in the hope that this resource would reduce the epidemic of violence towards these women. However, the discourse of disposal is once again present in the coverage as future B.C. premier Gordon Campbell expressed his opposition to the project. Although a large majority of the coverage provided disparaging and devaluing portrayals of the missing women, many of the articles also included comments from the women's advocates and family members. These comments provided a more realistic and sympathetic portrayal of the missing women and asserted that the disappearances merited a proper police investigation and the mobilization of governmental resources. For example, in period one advocates argued that the women's lives and experiences were more complex than their tagline description would have the newspapers' readership believe. In addition, advocates drew attention to the epidemic of violence faced by survival sex workers and the reality that many men had the potential for this violence because there were few legal ramifications. Furthermore, advocates also suggested that a discourse of disposal towards sex workers in Vancouver results in a relative complacency regarding their disappearances. A l l of these comments point to the high probability that the women were murdered and to public and institutional attitudes that allowed these murders to continue. In period two, the comments of advocates focused on establishing a counter-argument to the myth of transience. The women's family members pointed out the disparity in police investigation and the devotion of institutional resources based on the women's social status. They also presented facts which contradicted the myth of 93 transience, including the women's regular contact with family members and that their belongings, welfare cheques, and bank accounts were untouched since they disappeared. In addition, the advocates established that the women were familiar faces in their community and their absence was noticed by those who frequently encountered the women in the Downtown Eastside. Finally, advocates in period two pressured the V P D to take further steps in their investigation, including acknowledging a pattern to the disappearances, offering a reward, forming a task force, and providing police protection to possible witnesses. After the reward was approved, coverage focused on a memorial service for the missing women which established that there were hundreds of people in Vancouver who were concerned about the women's disappearances. Coverage also focused on a protest outside of the memorial service which chastised the VPD for their inaction in the women's disappearances and demanded that the women's disappearances should not be "swept under the carpet" just because a reward had been approved. In summary, the results of my analysis indicate that the two newspapers ranked the women's disappearances low on the scale of newsworthiness and provided sporadic coverage of the issue. The content of this coverage was dominated by reporting which, by focusing on the so-called immoral and criminal aspects of the women's lives, devalued the importance of finding the women and diminished the urgency of the investigation. The disappearances were further delegitimated by the V P D who constructed a myth of transience whereby the women were imagined to have merely moved to another city. Based on this myth, the VPD was able to excuse the scant resources they had devoted to the investigation. The influence of the myth of transience was also seen in reporting on the political response to the disappearances, especially via the creation of a "two-tiered" 94 reward. Despite the high volume of disparaging coverage, the voices of advocates were also included in the news reports offering more sympathetic and realistic portrayals of the women's lives. Although it is difficult to judge the exact role that advocates and family members of the missing women, the VPD, and provincial and municipal governments had in solving the case - which, with 42 women still unaccounted for has not really been solved at all - some of their comments to the two newspapers indicate that they had a significant effect in pushing the case forward. For instance, advocates such as Jamie Lee Hamilton, Maggie de Vries, John Turvey, and many other interested family members and social service workers were responsible for providing the journalists covering the case with accurate information about the women's lives and their final days before they disappeared. By opposing the myth of transience and pressuring the Vancouver mayor's office to offer a reward, these concerned members of the Vancouver community provided much needed contextualization to the women's lives and likely played a decisive role in having the importance and urgency of finding the women recognized by the public, the police, and politicians. The VPD also played a role in pushing the case forward despite their negligent approach to the investigation. Regardless of constant denials of the importance of the case by the spokesperson for the VPD, ground-level officers, such as Constable Lori Shenher, provided intense investigative work and also provided the first instance of V P D acknowledgment that foul play was a likely possibility in the disappearances. Provincial and municipal politicians can also not be forgotten for their role in furthering the investigation. The provincial NDP government's support for the reward proved to be 95 highly influential in not only legitimizing the urgency of the case, but also for indirectly pressuring Vancouver's then-mayor Philip Owen into supporting the offer of a reward. For his part in proposing the reward and having it approved by the Vancouver police board, Owen himself had a hand in pushing the case forward. Although he was initially opposed to offering a reward, the former mayor's reluctance subsided and his support lent much needed legitimation to the investigation. Finally, the journalists from the Sun and the Province contributed to the advancement of the investigation by both covering the story in the first place and including the voices of advocates for the missing women in their reports. The actions of all of these people assisted in advancing the investigation into the women's disappearances and increasing the chances that a perpetrator or perpetrators would be apprehended and made to stand trial. C l Recommendations On the basis of these results my principle recommendation is for the decriminalization of sex work in Canada, a position taken by many other sex work scholars including Deborah Brock, Cecilia Benoit, Frances Shaver, John Lowman, and members of the P A C E (Prostitution Alternatives Counseling Education) Society. The illegality of this occupation has been demonstrated to influence both public and institutional responses to sex workers (Pivot Legal Society 2006: 222). For instance, the media representations of women involved in sex work focus on the immoral and criminal aspects of lives, thus concealing realistic portrayals of the reasons for entering the sex trade and what life is like for survival sex workers. Furthermore, the decriminalization of sex work would help reduce the alienation of sex workers from the protective service 96 potential of the police and increase the chances that these workers will report acts of violence to the authorities. The criminal status of sex work also results in police confusion and neglect thereby increasing the victimization of sex workers. In addition, the criminal stigma attached to sex work makes those who participate in this occupation responsible for their own victimization as the argument is frequently made that if sex workers had not participated in this "immoral activity" they would not be victimized. The discourse of disposal is also buttressed by the illegality of sex work as sex workers are constructed as a problem that needs to be eliminated from Vancouver's streets. In addition to the decriminalization of sex work in Canada, the findings of this thesis also uncovered the need to address the larger, more complex social problems that affected the missing women and continue to determine the lives of others like them. Poverty, scant access to affordable housing, frequent violence, poor health, cutbacks to mental health provisions, racism, sexism, and a myriad of additional social problems have a significant impact upon those already in survival sex work and also those who are on the cusp of entering the sex trade. These issues must be addressed with concrete changes rather than denial. Although this study uncovered some important findings, it is not without its limitations. For instance, my focus on a specific time period of news media coverage raises the possibility that news media, police, and political responses are much different now than they were during the time period of this study. Furthermore, this study only focuses on two Vancouver newspapers and coverage of the disappearances during this time period may have been different in other newspapers or other forms of news media, such as television broadcasts and independent weekly newspapers. Finally, the public's 97 reaction to the articles is difficult to gauge without conducting interviews with newspaper readers. In order to address these limitations, future research may focus on an analysis of all the articles in the Sun and the Province related to the women's disappearances from the beginning of this study until the present day. A study of this kind would open up the possibility for an analysis of coverage before and after Robert Pickton's arrest to assess whether (or how) the news media ignored the missing status of the 42 women who are not included in the criminal case against Pickton. A study of this kind could also include other forms of news media such as television reports, internet websites and blogs, and fictional sources such as the television program Da Vinci's Inquest (which featured a detailed story line on missing women in Vancouver) in order to provide a more thorough an accurate analysis. In addition, interviews could be conducted which ask interviewees, including those close to the case such as the women's family members and advocates, about their knowledge and opinions of the missing women and the Pickton case. The results of these interviews could then be compared to the results of the media analysis for a more nuanced and detailed account. From the time period analyzed in this study until the present day the status of the missing women case has changed considerably. A task force has been formed to investigate the disappearance of 69 Vancouver-area women and Robert Pickton has been arrested and charged with the murders of 27 of these women. However, the news media still make constant reference to the women as "prostitutes" and "drug addicts" and since Pickton's arrest, the sensational speculation about the case has increased exponentially. Furthermore, the case of the missing women in Vancouver is not an isolated occurrence; similar cases of missing women occur throughout North America. The Green River Killer 98 case lies southward in Seattle, W A and is regarded as the worst instance of serial murder in the history of the United States. Gary Ridgeway, the man responsible for these killings, has been convicted for murdering 49 women, many of whom were survival sex workers. At the peak of his activity in 1983, Ridgeway is thought to have murdered up to five women per month, leading many investigators to estimate that he has murdered almost 90 women in total (McCarthy 2002: 56). Located north of Vancouver is the "Highway of Tears," another example of the mass disappearance of women. Running along Yellowhead Highway 16 between Prince Rupert, B.C. and Prince George, B.C., the "Highway of Tears" has been the site of the disappearance of 32 women in the last 35 years. A l l of the missing are young women between the ages of 14 and 25, most are Aboriginal, and all were last seen hitchhiking along this stretch of highway. A recent symposium aimed at addressing these disappearances pointed to the women's isolation in northern British Columbia and their deep entrenchment in poverty as causal factors in their disappearances (Highway of Tears Symposium 2006). Moving eastward from Vancouver we see similar missing women cases in Kamloops, B.C. (Canadian Press: 2005: 15) and Edmonton, Alberta where there have been at least 8 recent murders of women working in the survival sex trade (CTV.ca News Staff 2005). A l l of these cases must also be seen in the context of the 350 Aboriginal women missing across Canada, a number which some estimate to be closer to 1,000 (Carter 2005: 21). These numerous instances of the disappearance of women, especially Aboriginal women or women working in the sex trade, illustrate that the disappearances examined in 99 this thesis do not constitute an isolated event, but instead a widespread epidemic of violence and neglect against many of North America's most vulnerable citizens. 100 B I B L I O G R A P H Y Almodovar, Norma Jean. "Working It." Whores and Other Feminists. Ed. Jill Nagle. New York: Routledge, 1997. Amnesty International. Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada. Canada, 2004(b). Anonymous. "Running for their lives." Province. 31 March 1999. A l . Anonymous. "Oh, no." Province. 29 April 1999. A l . Barman, Jean. "Taming Aboriginal Sexuality: Gender, Power, and Race in British Columbia, 1850-1900." BC Studies. 115/116. Autumn/Winter 1997/98. 237-66. Barthes, Roland. "The Photographic Message." Image, Music, Text. New York: Hil l and Wang, 1977(a). 5-31. Barthes, Roland. "Rhetoric of the Image." Image, Music, Text. New York: Hil l and Wang, 1977(b). 32-51. Bell, Shannon. Reading, Writing, and Rewriting the Prostitute Body. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994. Benoit, Cecilia and Alison Millar. Dispelling Myths and Understanding Realities: Working Conditions, Health Status, and Exiting Experiences of Sex Workers. Prostitutes Empowerment Education and Resource Society (PEERS), 2001. Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books, 1977. Bermingham, John. "Police budget for investigations spent." Province. 28 May 2006. A16. Boyd, Ed. "Poverty Pimping in the Downtown Eastside." The Heart of the Community: The Best of the Carnegie Newsletter. Ed. Paul Taylor. Vancouver: New Star Books, 2003. 39-40. Brock, Deborah R. Making Work, Making Trouble: Prostitution as a Social Problem. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998. Bula, Frances. "Prostitutes problems may be managed, not solved." Vancouver Sun. 21 January 2006. B5. Canadian Press. "Police seek link to B.C. killings." Daily News (Halifax). 19 June 2005. 15. 101 Carter, Lauren. "Where are Canada's Disappeared Women?" Herizons. Fall 2005. 20-3 and 45-6. Canada.com. Advertising. Located: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/Vancouversun /info/advertising.html, 2005. Chapkis, Wendy. "Power and Control in the Commercial Sex Trade." Sex for Sale. New York: Routledge, 2000. 181-201. Cler-Cunningham, Leonard and Christine Christensen. Violence Against Women in Vancouver's Street Level Sex Trade and the Police Response. Ministry of Status for Women. P A C E Society, 2001. Creese, Gillian and Veronica Strong-Boag. Losing Ground: The Effects of Government Cutbacks on Women in British Columbia, 2001-2005. The B.C. Coalition of Women's Centres; The University of British Columbia Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations; The B.C. Federation of Labour, 2005. CTV.ca News Staff. "Edmonton police announce hunt for serial killer." CTV News Online. June 17, 2005. Available online: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews /story/CTVNews/1119026288859_114435488/?hub=TopStories. Culbert, Lori. "Garage robberies suspect arrested after tip to police." Vancouver Sun. 13 May 1999. A l . Culhane, Dara. "Domesticated Time and Restricted Space: University and Community Women in Downtown Eastside Vancouver." BC Studies. 140, Winter 2003/04. 91-106. Culhane, Dara. "Representing Downtown Eastside Vancouver: A Review Essay." BC Studies. 147, Autumn 2005. 109-13. deVries, Maggie. Missing Sarah. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2003. Doe, Jane. The Story of Jane Doe: A book about rape. Toronto: Random House Canada, 2003. Ericson, Richard V. , Patricia M . Baranek, and Janet R.L. Chan. Representing Order. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991. Fiske, John. Reading the Popular. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989. Fraser, Keith. "It's like murder." Province. 3 July 1998. A l . 102 Freund, Michaela. "The Politics of Naming: Constructing Prostitutes and Regulating Women in Vancouver, 1939-45.' Regulating Lives: Historical Essays on the State, Society, the Individual, and the Law. Ed. John McLaren et al. Vancouver: U B C Press, 2002. 231-58. Hall, Stuart " A World At One With Itself." The Manufacture of News: Deviance, Social Problems and the Mass Media. Ed. Stanley Cohen and Jack Young. London: Sage Publications, 1981(a). 47-56. Hall, Stuart. "The Determinations of News Photographs." The Manufacture of News: Deviance, Social Problems and the Mass Media. Ed. Stanley Cohen and Jack Young. London: Sage Publications, 1981(b). 226-43. Highcrest, Alexandra. _At Home on the Stroll: my twenty years as a prostitute in Canada. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1998. Highway of Tears Symposium. The Highway of Tears Symposium Recommendations Report. 2006. On-line: http://www.highwayoftears.ca Ivens, Andy. "Home invasion murder trial." Province. 13 May 1999. A l . Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. Lowman, John. Anywhere But Here: Prostitution and the Law. Richmond: Image Media Services, 1992. Lowman, John and Laura Fraser. Violence against Persons Who Prostitute: The Experience in British Columbia. Department of Justice Canada, 1995. Lowman, John. "Violence and the Outlaw Status of (Street) Prostitution in Canada." Violence Against Women. 6.9, September 2000. 987-1011. McCarthy, Terry. "River of Death." Time. Volume 159, Issue 22. 6 March 2002. 56-61. Mclnnis, Craig, Jim Beatty, and Justine Hunter. "Clark decides to stay on, criticizes media scrutiny." Vancouver Sun. 9 March 1999. A l . Mclnnis, Craig. "MacPhail forecasts $890-million deficit." Vancouver Sun. 31 March 1999: A l . McMaster, Lindsey. Representing Vancouver's Working Girls, 1890-1930. Vancouver: University of British Columbia PhD. Thesis, 2002. 103 Nicholson, Cecily. "Negotiating Topography: Locating Women Sex-Trade Workers in The Downtown Eastside." [ampersand]. Vancouver: The Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations, UBC, 2003. 44-51. Penn, Gemma. "Semiotic Analysis of Still Images." Qualitative Researching with Text, Image and Sound. Ed. Martin W. Bauer and George Gaskell. London: Sage Publications, 2002. 227-45. Pivot Legal Society. Voices For Dignity: A Call to End the Harms Caused by Canada's Sex Trade Laws. Pivot Legal Society Sex Work Subcommittee, 2003. On-line: www.pivotlegal.org/ Pivot Legal Society. Voices for Dignity 2. Pivot Legal Society Sex Work Subcommittee, 2004. On-line: www.pivotlegal.org/ Pivot Legal Society. Beyond Decriminalization: Sex Work, Human Rights, and a New Framework for Law Reform. Pivot Legal Society Sex Work Subcommittee, 2006. On-line: www.pivotlegal.org/ Potvin, Kevin. "Massive police effort in kidnapping case raises disturbing questions." Vancouver Courier. 19 April 2006. 11. Ratz, Alexander. "Belgian guilty of child slayings." Vancouver Sun. Jun. 18, 2004. A21 Roberts, Nickie. "The whore, her stigma, the punter and his wife." new internationalist. Issue 252, February 1994. Rose, Gillian. Visual Methodologies. London: Sage Publications, 2001. Rosen, Ruth. "Introduction." The Maimie Papers: Letters from an Ex-Prostitute. Eds. Ruth Rosen and Sue Davidson. New York: The Feminist Press, 1997. xii-xliv. Ross, Becki and Kim Greenwell. "Spectacular Striptease." Journal of Women's History. Vol.17 No. 1,2005. 137-64. Sandler, Jeremy and Petti Fong. "Rossmo loses case against police board." Vancouver Sun. 20 December 2001. A l . Satzewich, Vic and Terry Wotherspoon. First Nations: Race, Class, and Gender Relations. Scarborough: Nelson Canada, 1993. Shaver, Frances. "Prostitution: A Female Crime?" In Conflict with the Law. Eds. Ellen Adelberg and Claudia Currie. Vancouver: Press Gang Publishers, 1993. 153-73. 104 Shaver, Frances. "The Regulation of Prostitution: Setting the Morality Trap." Social Control in Canada. Eds. Bernard Schissel and Linda Mahood. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1996. 203-26. Skelton, Chad. "Missing persons unit in crisis." Vancouver Sun. Sept. 27, 2005. A l . Sommers, Jeff. "Men at the Margin: Masculinity and Space in Downtown Vancouver, 1950-1986." Urban Geography. 19.4, 1998. 287-310. Southam Newspapers and Vancouver Sun. "B.C. faces 'significant costs' for cuts to greenhouse gases." Vancouver Sun. 3 July 1998. A l . Taylor, Paul R. "Democracy In Action." The Heart of the Community: The Best of the Carnegie Newsletter. Ed. Paul Taylor. Vancouver: New Star Books, 2003. 195-199. Tuchman, Gaye. Making News. New York: The Free Press, 1978. Vancouver Status of Women and Welfare Project. A New Era: The Deepening of Women's Poverty. Vancouver, 2004. Walkowitz, Judith R. Prostitution and Victorian society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980. Wood, Daniel. "Missing." Elm Street. Nov. 1999. 97-110. Woolford, Andrew. "Tainted Space: Representations of Injection Drug-Use and HIV/AIDS in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside." BC Studies. No.129, Spring 2001. 27-50. 105 A P P E N D I X A : The Newspaper Articles Bailey, Ian. "Expert tackles case of missing women." Vancouver Sun. 18 May 1999: B3. Canadian Press. "Case requires much higher reward: Owen." Province. 13 May 1999: A12. Culbert, Lori. "$100,000 reward okayed in bid to find 21 missing women." Vancouver Sun. 29 April 1999: B1 ,B8. de Vries, Maggie. "The desperate quest for our missing sisters and daughters." Vancouver Sun. 12 April 1999: A l l . Fraser, Keith. "Police team to probe disappearances." Province. 18 September 1998: A12. Grindlay, Lora. "Police don't think a reward would help." Province. 7 April 1999: A18. Hogben, David and Lindsay Kines. "Twenty women missing; action demanded." Vancouver Sun. 3 March 1999: A l , A2. Hogben, David. "Reward may endanger women, city police say." Vancouver Sun. 21 April 1999: B1 ,B3 . Kines, Lindsay. "Police target increase in missing women cases." Vancouver Sun. 3 July 1998:B1,B3. Kines, Lindsay. "Missing women cases probed." Vancouver Sun. 18 September 1998: B1,B4. Kines, Lindsay. "Missing on the Mean Streets: "Privilege, despair and death." Vancouver Sun. 3 March 1999(a): A12. Kines, Lindsay. "Missing on the Mean Streets: 'Who we will not see tomorrow.'" Vancouver Sun. 3 March 1999(b): A13. Kines, Lindsay. "Reappearance of missing woman stuns relative." Vancouver Sun. 9 March 1999: B1 ,B3 . Leng, Wayne. "Sarah De Vries [sic] was a very caring person." Vancouver Sun. 4 March 1999: A14. Leng, Wayne. "Stall shows need to solve missing-women cases." Province. 6 April 1999: A19. Luba, Frank. "Messages on pager say prostitute dead." Province. 21 July 1998: A4. 106 Luba, Frank. "Why no reward? Asks hooker's pal." Province. 31 March 1999: A16. No Author. "Service planned for missing women." Vancouver Sun. 10 May 1999: B I . Sinoski, Kelly. "Hundreds pray for missing women." Vancouver Sun. 13 May 1999: B I , B4. Skelton, Chad. "Dosanjh awaits police request for reward on missing women." Vancouver Sun. 6 April 1999: B I , B3. Skelton, Chad. "Missing women reward supported." Vancouver Sun. 26 April 1999: A3. Stall, Bob. "They aren't from Kerrisdale." Province. 2 April 1999: A12. Stall, Bob. "Mayor to propose skid-row reward." Province. 25 April 1999: A16. Tanner, Adrienne. "Missing women 'might' be victims of a serial killer." Province. 27 April 1999: A4. Tanner, Adrienne. "The day Angela disappeared." Province. 28 April 1999: A10. Tanner, Adrienne. "Reward for missing women ignores the advice of police." Province. 29 April 1999: A4. Tanner, Adrienne. "Missing women honoured." Province. 13 May 1999: A12. Tanner, Adrienne and Lora Grindlay. "Cell safety for sex sellers." Province 14 May 1999: A3. 

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