In memory of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman
We are found in a park with our sister, after dancing under the stars; we are found on the kitchen floor, at the bottom of the stairs; washed up on a shore. We are found in car parks, on the side of a road; in a shallow grave. We are found at home; at work; in the street; in the woods; on a beach; by railway tracks. We are found stuffed in bags; suitcases; holdalls and freezers. We are found by our children; our parents; our friends; our lovers; our colleagues; a stranger out walking; our social worker; the police. We are found by people who will never be the same again. Maybe we were with people the whole time and never needed to be found. Maybe we’ve been lost for many years. And sometimes we are not found at all. We are sometimes recognisable, and often times not. We are black, white, brown. We were forced here, or we’ve always lived here. We work here and long to return home, and sometimes we’ve never left our home town. The one thing we all have in common, as women who have been killed by men, is that when we are eventually found the police come. It is their job. Their duty. And for some their vocation. So we are treated with dignity and respect that was denied us in our final moments. Finally, the tide turns. We have been found so they can begin the processes of holding to account the men that did this to us. To punish them and to make sure other women are not found in the same way. The vast majority of those that did this to us are held responsible. And yet some of us are not treated in the same way. Maybe we called the police and they didn’t come. Maybe we were fined for wasting their time. Maybe they thought we had run away. Maybe they didn’t begin the search until it was too late. Maybe they were the ones harming us. Maybe they decided that who was found, and how we were found, and the ones desperately trying not to end up being found, were not worthy of that dignity and respect.