For a while it seemed like my book would just keep growing and growing. Thankfully I have found a chapter I can shorten. This week alone I cut out over ten pages. I might be able to get the page count back down around 400 if this keeps up. The chapter I am editing now is the longest, and there is certainly much to say on the subject matter it covers. However, I do want the book to be a manageable size--even for teenagers. One good thing about working on the same project for so long is it allows for time to mull things over and achieve concision.
It was 47 years ago today that Reet Jurvetson, a 19-year-old Swede living in Canada, was found murdered in Hollywood, California. On November 16, 1969, a teenage boy spotted her body on an embankment, a few metres from the road he was walking along. She had been dead for less than 48 hours. She had been stabbed 157 times, mostly to the neck, but she also had defensive wounds to her hands from attempting to protect herself. Until 2015 she was known only as Jane Doe 59. Finally, one of her friends recognized her picture online and contacted the Los Angeles Police Department. DNA testing enabled a positive identification. Like 19-year-old Helen Betty Osborne, Reet Jurvetson's life was stolen by a man who refused to control himself. He was never brought to justice for his reprehensible actions. As in Helen Betty Osborne's case, I am still waiting for justice to be served.
© 2016 Alline Cormier
Yesterday marks the 45th death anniversary of Helen Betty Osborne, a 19-year-old Canadian woman, who was savagely murdered by Dwayne Archie Johnston and three of his friends on the night of November 13, 1971, in The Pas, Manitoba. The four men abducted Osborne off the street. The vicious beating they gave her smashed her face beyond recognition. They stabbed her over 50 times. It was not until December 1987 that Dwayne Johnston was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released after serving 10 years of that sentence. James Houghton was acquitted. Lee Colgan received immunity from prosecution in return for testifying against Houghton and Johnston. He was never punished. Norman Manger was never charged. I count myself among those who are still waiting for justice to be served.
© 2016 Alline Cormier
The state of shock I am in this morning over the results of the U.S. presidential election was well summed up in a tweet my little sister re-posted on Facebook: What I learned on #ElectionNight: Being a racist, bigoted, prejudiced, lying sexual predator is still more acceptable than being a woman. Unfortunately, every day I receive more proof that my book is necessary. I would have been much happier knowing that an experienced female politician could beat such a reprehensible joke of a man.
Today's news included articles about three murdered Canadian females: Tina Fontaine, Alberta Williams and Joey English. CBC ran stories about 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, whose body was found in a bag in the Red River (Manitoba) eight days after she was reported missing in 2014, 24-year-old Alberta Williams, whose body was discovered in 1989 along the Highway of Tears near Prince Rupert (British Columbia) and 25-year-old Joey English, whose partial remains were found in Calgary in a lightly forested area in 2016. Murdered women are becoming standard news fare because men murder women in Canada. In Iceland no women were killed by men in 2014. Zero. Furthermore, of the three murderers in Tina, Alberta and Joey's deaths only one has been charged for his crimes.
We have a long way to go, baby.
Yesterday's post brought a letter from the office of Margaret Atwood, a delightful surprise indeed. I had written to Ms. Atwood to tell her about my (still unfinished) book and was very happy to receive a reply. I met her very briefly in Québec years ago while doing my degree at Université Laval one evening when she gave a talk at the Musée de la Civilisation. I remember someone asking her a question about her novel, The Handmaid's Tale, and how she replied that all the horrors inflicted on women in that book had actually happened in real life at some point in history, somewhere in the world.
Some days the editing of my own book feels like it is taking ages--especially since I can't help adding to it. If only there were more hours in the day so that I could be finished sooner! I am looking forward to sending Ms. Atwood a copy of my book.
November 1st brought a fresh snowfall and a dip into a lighter chapter: Movies. Frankly, I am glad to focus on something other than legislation and violence for a few days. Editing this chapter is going to feel like a vacation after all the historical and current incidents of violence against women I have been swimming in for the last few months. It already feels restful, although that may have something to do with taking time out to watch the birds feeding outside my office window.
It is still snowing, and I got to mention Benedict Cumberbatch and Alan Rickman this morning. The day is turning out very prettily.