Thursday, 11 August 2011

Another bright flame snuffed out ...

The photograph of Wendy Babcock was taken at a fundraiser that friends, lovers, members of her chosen family and assorted admirers and supporters organized on her behalf.

Babcock, an Osgoode Hall student entering her third year, took the most unusual path imaginable to arrive at law school. She left home at a young age and, by 15, was a sex worker in Toronto — stopping in 2003 after the violent death of a colleague. She then turned to advocacy on behalf of sex workers, worked in harm reduction at Street Health and testified as part of veteran lawyer Alan Young's challenge of Canada's prostitution laws. Babcock attended George Brown before being accepted at Osgoode — one of only ten students in her year who did not hold a university degree.

She was found dead on Tuesday in an apparent suicide.

Babcock’s death is a tragedy on so many levels. [...]the example she set for marginalized people in general and teenage sex workers in particular was beyond inspiring, but she will not be around to witness the long-lasting impact of her accomplishments.

But this news is also a tragic blow to the Toronto legal community, which badly needs the experience and perspective of people like Babcock. From all indications, she was poised to be a formidable voice for people who are too often voiceless — in the justice system as well as the mainstream media.

From here.

More about Wendy's activism.


Dr.Dawg said...

Terrible news. A tribute to her here.

Anonymous said...

I’m deeply sorry that Wendy is dead.
I knew her very well for some time.
Wendy was a liar, and I caught her in many, many contradictory lies about her childhood. One day she was just dropped off by her mom and dad in DT TO to fend for herself, the next she was a runaway who couldn’t take it anymore. At breakfast she had never been a sex worker herself but she believed passionately in their rights, at lunch she was an ex-dominatrix, and at dinner she’d been an abused child prostitute.
Her “abusive” parents sent her cash cheques for Christmas and she in fact spoke with them often. I too heard all the stories about her childhood… but unlike you, I also witnessed her conversations with them in present-day, and though she certainly had a mocking disdain for them and their values, her one-on-one interactions with them told a very different story. I think her parents were confused what to make of the adult Wendy, but I don’t know them well enough to say.
She was never a bad person – ever. She was very confused and possibly mentally ill. She channeled her energies towards positive causes, and if those energies were sometimes destructive, I don’t blame her for that. Confusion gets the best of us all, myself included.
I have no ill will against her, regardless of how it may seem. Had she called me to announce intentions of suicide, I would have talked to her all night long. I’m sorry she’s gone and I hope she has found peace and I hope her most beloved hopes for the world will come true.

Anonymous said...

How sad this is the way you would like the world to see Wendy. My friend, anyone who knew Wendy, knew her to not give a damn what others throught of her. All her friends are proud to know she stood firmly against the oppression you are even now attempting to bestow upon her in death. You should be ashamed of yourself!

Dr.Dawg said...

Concern trolling at its absolute worst.

fern hill said...

Should I delete the offending comment? I have the Power.

deBeauxOs said...

An Anonymous concern troll, to boot!

I think you should the comment stand, fh. It's interesting that someone who claims to be an acquaintance of Wendy so desperately needs to soil her memory.

A number of deeply loved yet flawed people close to me died in the last decades; I knew their faults and qualities yet I didn't feel compelled to anonymously say shitty things about them.

fern hill said...

OK. I was working up to say something, but Dr Dawg beat me to it. And so much more succinctly.

Niles said...

I'd say leave it, since it gives the other comments context.

Sad commentary that someone has to anonymously leave weirdass moaning in a passive aggressive way to distant observers of a tragedy. Why? To claim and exploit a Deeply Personal Connection with the deceased celebrity, so as to not only degrade accomplishments of the deceased but puff moral superiority in relation to her?

Whatever psychosociological problems Ms Babcock had, she at least attempted to climb the mountain and broaden horizons for herself and others. Proven fact.

This nonny...No offense crocodile, but there might be good reasons she didn't call you for your 'hope' and 'support'.

It's just sad Ms. Babcock might have gotten to a place too dark to see a way out. Can't help it. It reminds me of Mr. Bruce.

Anonymous said...

I recognized Wendy's name from the article published in the Toronto Star some time ago. I had no idea that she died...

Anonymous said...

I just read about this woman and her life last night. With the better part of a year past since she died, I wonder what has happened now? Did she leave a note, some reason for this? It seemed as if everything was finally going to work out for her.

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