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29 Responses

  1. Laurie
    Laurie August 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm |

    It’s not just Rocky Mount. Jennings, LA has had eight women with a particular “lifestyle” turn up dead since 2005, aged 17-29. The press locally has covered it since the discovery of the eighth woman last week, but I don’t believe it’s getting any attention on a wider scale. Rural women with a history of drug use and sex work… they’re just not the same as real people, I guess.

  2. Laurie
    Laurie August 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm | (A local article about the killings.)

  3. Pony
    Pony August 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm |

    I was under the impression that Law enforcement generally preferred to keep investigations out of the media in general, rather than a)Giving the perpetrator notoriety and b)Inspiring copycats and muddying the waters.

  4. tigtog
    tigtog August 26, 2009 at 5:20 pm |

    I don’t know what to say, but to say nothing at all seems too much like silent complicity in the invisibilising of these crimes.

    Thanks for letting me know about this.

  5. meloukhia
    meloukhia August 26, 2009 at 5:48 pm |

    Like tigtog, I feel like I have to say something; it seems like the most terrible part of this story is the ones just like it that we aren’t hearing about. And I wonder which piece of the puzzle would have to change for people to pay attention: if they were white women instead of black women? Bank tellers instead of sex workers? Uniformly in their 20s?

  6. tafel
    tafel August 26, 2009 at 6:00 pm |

    Here, it’s aboriginal women instead of black women, but a chillingly similar story. Somewhere between 30 and 75 missing or murdered women later, we have a task force.

    I like how they say the created the task force because of public pressure. Not, say, because they actually care what happens to aboriginal women, particularly those involved in the sex trade.

  7. chava
    chava August 26, 2009 at 6:29 pm |

    Didn’t you get the memo Cara? Sex workers and drug addicts aren’t really People, so if they disappear–eh, it’s probably better for Society in the long run.

    (Yeah, I’m bitter. The 300 + women who disappeared to that pig farm in Canada soured me completely on this issue.)

  8. the15th
    the15th August 26, 2009 at 6:48 pm |

    When a pretty, white non-sex-worker (i.e., Natalee Holloway) is murdered, we may hear a lot about it, but much of the coverage is about how she dressed or what she did to invite the attack. I think it’s a mistake to view “attention” as proof that our society values the lives of certain victims of violence against women.

  9. chava
    chava August 26, 2009 at 6:53 pm |


    If I had to choose between having the media publicize the fact that my daughter had disappeared–thus maximizing the chances something will be done– or have them completely ignore the case, I’m going to choose the publicity.

    Doesn’t mean the speculating on Natalie’s conduct was OK, but it is a very, very, different animal.

  10. Wehaf
    Wehaf August 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm |

    This disgusts me. Somehow I am always shocked at the media’s racism and sexism, even though by this point I shouldn’t be. I second what the15th says as well, about the some of the attention paid to female victims of violent crime, but often the story is specifically framed as the tragedy of the loss of an innocent (young, pretty, white) woman’s life.

    And chava, you mean 49, not 300, right?

  11. chava
    chava August 26, 2009 at 6:59 pm |

    @ Wehaf–

    There was a case in Canada and a case in Mexico–one of those featured the number 300. I may have mixed them up; I think 300 is the one is Mexico, and is still ongoing.

  12. Wehaf
    Wehaf August 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm |

    @chava – Okay. The biggest issue like this I’ve heard of in Mexico is the series of killings of young women in Juarez, with over 800 bodies found and more than 3000 missing.

  13. Femmostroppo Reader – August 27, 2009 — Hoyden About Town

    […] Six Women Murdered, Three Still Missing, and Nobody Seems to Notice […]

  14. Wehaf
    Wehaf August 26, 2009 at 7:10 pm |

    Also, it makes me deeply sad that there are so many stories like this that it becomes easy to mix them up.

  15. Napalm Nacey
    Napalm Nacey August 26, 2009 at 7:56 pm |

    3000? Really? 3000? How… how would you even… I don’t even… ARGH. Just – ARGH. *brain pops like light globe*

    I don’t know what to say to this. It breaks my heart. All I can say is that I’m listening, I’m taking note, I’m not ignoring this. It’s all I can do for now (except in the case of those Aboriginal women, where-in angry letters can be written).

  16. Amanda
    Amanda August 26, 2009 at 8:34 pm |

    The HuffPo comments reflect what many think: that society SHOULD be cleansed of prostitutes. It doesn’t matter how white or pretty they are, all one has to do is read blog commentary about sex workers in the media to see that. And the media attention (or lack of it), to sex worker murders reflects this as well.

    Thank you for posting this. More names to add to the Dec 17 list. At least these women will be remembered by their brothers and sisters.


  17. Constintina
    Constintina August 26, 2009 at 9:09 pm |

    I actually hadn’t heard of this and am too saddened and horrified to make much by way of useful commentary. The intersections of whorephobia, racism and classissm are obvious, I hope. Also that these women are being missed, right now. May the party responsible be brought to some kind of justice, and may those providing fucked up media coverage be shamed. (pouring a drink now…)

  18. Dawn.
    Dawn. August 26, 2009 at 11:22 pm |

    I hadn’t heard about this either. It is just bone-chilling that we live in a society that values people in these sick hierarchies. My heart breaks for all the missing people all over the country that aren’t noticed, and/or actively pursued.

    It honestly terrifies me to think that technically, according to the general public, I am disposable. A lot of people I love are disposable. Millions of people are disposable.

  19. Autumn
    Autumn August 27, 2009 at 10:42 am |

    I’m from North Carolina and only heard about this a few months ago. It’s absolutely terrifying to think that six murders could happen with little investigation, and the lack of empathy towards these women and their families is disgusting. Regardless of their lives, someone out there is going to miss them. Not to mention the fact that murder is wrong, period, no matter who is killed.

  20. links for 2009-08-27 « Embololalia
    links for 2009-08-27 « Embololalia August 27, 2009 at 1:08 pm |

    […] Feministe » Six Women Murdered, Three Still Missing, and Nobody Seems to Notice The community in which these women all lived is apparently a poor, rural one. Many residents suffer from drug addiction, and many women sell sex to make ends meet. It’s unclear from the article whether every woman who has gone missing so far was a sex worker, but it is indicated that at least several were. Many if not all were in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. And according to both the available photographs and an article in The Loop, all were black. […]

  21. Sonya
    Sonya August 27, 2009 at 5:20 pm |

    Absolutely disgusting! My heart goes out to the families of the victims. I am truly sorry your daughters are seen by the police as too unworthy to bother with but please believe they matter to me very much. Unfortunately, the abuse, rape and murder of women is never very important and if you add in that they weren’t “good girls” they become even less so. When will society stop judging women’s worth by who they sleep with! I am ever so tired of the virgin/whore dichotomy.

  22. Norma Jean
    Norma Jean August 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm |

    There have been unfortunately a number of these types of homicides around the country. The police in many areas have an unofficial term for such murders- “NHIs” which stands for “No Humans Involved.” In the 1980s, there were over 45 women murdered in San Diego before the cops really started looking for a killer. And what is really interesting is that for a while, the suspect or suspects were cops… who had relationships with the murdered prostitutes and who were demoted when their relationships were discovered. Some artists in San Diego put together a project back in the early 1990s to educate the public about the cop terminology (NHI) and a google search can find more information about this for anyone who is interested.

  23. A Closer Look at “The Women’s Crusade” « The Gender Blender Blog

    […] the US has the lowest paid parental leave? What about the fact that since 2005, there have been 9 missing women (6 dead bodies have been found, 3 are still missing) from a poor section of a North Carolina city […]

  24. Zoe Doe
    Zoe Doe August 27, 2009 at 11:35 pm |

    This breaks my heart. So many women turn to prostitution after society has let them down. It’s so disturbing that we continue to let them down after they die.

  25. Helena
    Helena August 27, 2009 at 11:35 pm |

    One womnA says she might have a suspect description

  26. Kristin
    Kristin August 31, 2009 at 12:47 pm |

    There are a lot of unfounded assumptions being made about these women in this thread. In particular, it strikes me as problematic that so many people are assuming that these women were drug addicts based on the fact that they were sex workers and WOC who lived in a poor town with a high drug addiction rate. No information suggesting that this is true has been released to the public. Please keep your racist, classist assumptions about the dead to yourselves, y’all.

  27. Blogwhoring « random babble…
    Blogwhoring « random babble… September 4, 2009 at 3:58 am |

    […] From Cara:  Six Women Murdered, Three Still Missing, and No One Seems to Notice. […]

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