No more tears

Last week I picked up a hitchhiker.

This in itself was not abnormal.

When I was living outside of Vanderhoof, I would often give rides to people from Stoney Creek on my way to town.

The abnormal thing was it was a young woman, probably around 18 years old, and she was First Nations.

It was just outside of Prince George, and the young woman, named Darcy, was going to Terrace. She had come all the way from Vernon.

Last week I picked up a hitchhiker.

This in itself was not abnormal.

When I was living outside of Vanderhoof, I would often give rides to people from Stoney Creek on my way to town.

The abnormal thing was it was a young woman, probably around 18 years old, and she was First Nations.

It was just outside of Prince George, and the young woman, named Darcy, was going to Terrace. She had come all the way from Vernon.

She didn’t know it was the “Highway of Tears” she was now on.

She also didn’t have a plan for when it got dark, which it was doing just as we got to Vanderhoof.

Now some people might think women are foolish for hitching by themselves, and I have even heard people suggest “you’re practically asking for it” by doing this.

Whatever “it” is.

Sexual exploitation, sexual assault, death?

No these women aren’t.

How do I know that?

I was one.

As a young woman, I also hitchhiked.

I was that foolish.

But at the time, I just wanted to get places and didn’t think being a woman should stop me.

No one was going to drive me, so it was hitch or stay where I was.

Sometimes where a person is isn’t all that safe either.

And what other options did Darcy have really?

She didn’t have any money, and even if she did, the bus system in the northwest is inconvenient and the connections are poor, like in most of rural B.C.

So she should be forced to stay home because of the lack of transportation and the sick and predatory nature of some men?

Perhaps she would be better off, but when you are young, adventure usually seems worth the risk. It did for me. Probably the youth-associated illness of “it will never happen to me” also had something to do with it.

I came out unscathed, if a little smarter and wiser.

I only hope Darcy is as lucky.

It makes me want to help other young women trying simply to get around in northwest B.C. or north-central B.C.

If there is anyone out there who knows of a ride-sharing page on Facebook, Craigslist or through local organizations, please let me know.

Maybe one day the governments, First Nations groups, municipalities and communities of these areas will put the safety and welfare of young women amongst their higher priorities and finally work together to provide more options so one day there will no longer be a “Highway of Tears.”

 

Just Posted

Fort St. James gets a new CAO

Melany Helmer comes with years of senior management experience

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

Move natural gas pipeline, MP suggests

Coastal GasLink could then avoid opposition

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

Zero-interest student loans a huge relief: CMTN student union

Parliamentary secretary hears from Terrace students, alumni and staff

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read