“Derogatory information”

I was just looking at the discussion section of an article about a certain young woman who’s been missing for several years. Foul play suspected. Her family has a website out for her and talk about the person they think killed her. Anyway, the commenters are talking about this woman and one of them said the woman was “a mess” and her lifestyle was high-risk so a lot of people could have killed her. Someone else started talking about the “derogatory” and “victim blaming” information posted on certain websites. They linked to Charley’s casefile as an example.

The Charley file for this woman notes that she was employed as an exotic dancer. (She disappeared after leaving the strip club when her shift was over.) It also says she suffered from bipolar disorder and had a history of abusing cocaine. These things are quite true, as far as I know. I have actually heard from this woman’s family and they didn’t tell me anything on the page was inaccurate.

Am I wrong to post these things, since they might make people less sympathetic to the missing woman?

I think not. I am certainly not “victim blaming” when I post things about an MP’s criminal record or mental illness or whatever bad things were in their lives. I refuse to judge people — an MP is missing and needs to get found, no matter who they are or what they did. Certainly, if this woman was murdered, she did not deserve her fate no matter what her lifestyle was like. I try to be as inclusive as possible because the less-than-perfect aspects of an MP’s life could well be a factor in their disappearance. I can understand it would be upsetting and embarrassing to some to have it posted online that your missing daughter or whoever has, say, a criminal record a mile long and has spent time in mental hospitals. But I don’t want to whitewash things. That doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

9 thoughts on ““Derogatory information”

  1. Cheryl August 13, 2009 / 12:28 pm

    Facts are facts. As long as they have been verified I see no reason to leave anything out.

    If I was a stripper and associated with drug users then suddenly disappeared, I think it would help better located me because it would give people and idea of who/where to look.

  2. Joshua August 13, 2009 / 6:55 pm

    I would think that putting all the facts out there regardless of whether they are embarassing or somewhat unflattering can help to better resolve the case. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about cases being bungled or solved years later than they ever should have because the family didn’t release all the pertinant information.

  3. donna August 13, 2009 / 7:35 pm

    Someone’s lifestyle shouldn’t impact the fact that they are Human Beings and missing, and loved ones are looking for them. Who are we to judge others??? That irks me to no end.

  4. Kelly August 13, 2009 / 8:59 pm

    I completely agree that you are doing the right thing. I share the opinions of Cheryl and Joshua. Knowing all the facts will certainly help in resolving the case, rather than only the facts that are flattering. The more details that are given the better informed everyone will be in her search.

  5. emma l August 14, 2009 / 11:30 am

    I agree. Plus the facts are only derogatary if that is how you percieve them. In my opinion being an exotic dancer is a perfectly acceptable way to make a living.

    • Meaghan August 14, 2009 / 12:44 pm

      I think all work is okay as long as it’s honest.

      On my 21st birthday my boyfriend took me to a strip club, just because we could. Watching the dancers, I actually felt a lot of respect for them. Because stripping and pole dancing is HARD WORK. The acrobatics involved would have me aching for days and days.

  6. Cheryl August 14, 2009 / 3:41 pm

    It also takes a lot of guts to get up there and do what they do. I for one would never be brave enough……even when I was in my 20’s and in pretty good shape.

  7. Charlotte August 17, 2009 / 12:40 pm

    A lot of people do a lot of things that are far worse than being an exotic dancer but can hide it, even if it is just for a while (eg child abuse, sexual molestation). I believe the more information, the better. And it is not to portray the MP as a certain type of person or to label the person but to assist the investigation. You are doing the right thing!

  8. Ruth August 27, 2009 / 3:43 am

    I am a recovering addict with a husband who is a police officer. When I review missing person sites I am drawn to those missing who were associated with drugs or other problems. I think law enforcement tends to put these people on the back burner because their lifestyle, one less bad guy to worry about. Judgemental people may believe the person got what they deserved, if it wasn’t for their lifestyle they would not have gone missing. Their disappearance may not have a thing do to with their lifestyle and even if it did, they are no less a person than the judge, the mayor, the DA, the police officer, the dedicated church member etc. I pray that all who are missing are given the time and resources as those who are not known to have problems. If I ever go missing, I hope that my past doesn’t make my life any less important or lead people to believe I am using again so I am not worth finding. We are all worth something and have people who love us who may be estranged but always want to know we are alive.

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