By Lorelei Williams
I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this when I say a scary moment in a person’s life is when they lose a child for just a few minutes or even seconds. You and the child are together and then suddenly you aren’t. Your heart begins to race; you can even hear it beating in your head. Everything feels like it’s going in slow motion. You’re panicking, your head is pounding, you start to shake and feel like throwing up. Then, all of a sudden you see the child! You’re so relieved and everything is ok.
Unfortunately this isn’t the case for several Aboriginal families across Canada. Including my own. My cousin Tanya Holyk went missing in 1996. Her DNA was later found on Pickton’s Farm. My Aunty Belinda Williams who I closely resemble went missing around 1978. She disappeared without a trace.
She still remains missing today.
A few anonymous tips have actually surfaced recently. The information is vague, but no information is too little. Every tip counts. We are looking for people to come forward with any information of her last known whereabouts. We are against time right now, people are getting older and even passing away. Our family would just like to find my aunty Belinda Williams. 36 years is a long time to be missing!
When a loved one goes missing or is murdered the impact on the family is very overwhelming! They try so hard to hold it together, and cope with their daily lives. While inside they’re crumbling fast. It’s a HORRIBLE nightmare that never ends.
I march in Vancouver’s February 14th Women’s Memorial March to honour and remember my cousin Tanya Holyk and to get my Missing Aunty Belinda Williams picture out there. I hope someone will see her picture and maybe, just maybe they’ll remember something and hopefully come forward.
The march is a way for everyone to come together and support each other. Especially family and friends of Missing and Murdered Women and Girls. It raises awareness of violence against women and the high-alarming rates of Missing and Murdered Women and Girls across Canada. This is a huge issue that needs to be dealt with.
Violence has affected my family directly and I don’t want another woman to go missing or be murdered. They are someone’s mother, daughter, aunt, cousin, grandchild, or grandmother. We call our families “circles” and when the circle is broken, it takes a very long time to mend.
If you have any information please contact Mission, BC RCMP at (604) 826-7161.
Lorelei Williams ST’AT’IMC/STS’AILES
I am a single mother of two beautiful children. I do everything I can to end violence against women and girls. I work at Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre as an Outreach Coordinator where I work with family and friends of Missing and Murdered Women and Girls and Survival Sex Trade Workers. I volunteer at Aboriginal Front Door near Main and Hastings and Battered Women’s Support Services as a Crisis Line Support Worker. I’m also on the February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee and the Missing and Murdered Women’s Coalition. Currently I’m enrolled at the Justice Institute of British Columbia where I’m taking the Aboriginal Focusing-Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma Course. I will do anything and everything I can to break the cycle of violence against women and girls. I also started a dance troupe called Butterflies in Spirit where we raise awareness of the high-alarming rates of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls across Canada. A lot of the dancers in the troupe are family or friends of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls. All My Relations
Photo credit Belinda Williams