Editor's Note

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As we go to press with this issue of Network magazine, the grisly details of what has come to be known as the 'Pickton farm murders' emerge in daily gratuitous media coverage. Often the missing and murdered women mentioned in the media stories – the victims of such horrendous violence – are dehumanized, and we are provided with passing references to the fact that many of them were living in poverty, struggling with addictions, working in the sex trade, living in Vancouver 's seedy Downtown Eastside. Their lives, loves and achievements are not celebrated, and their struggles provide merely the backdrop to the attention and mounting notoriety that the accused perpetrator receives almost daily in the same media coverage.

Sadly, this is not unique to this particular case, but has become the traditional way in which violence against women is addressed in our mainstream media. We did not want to replicate that pattern here. Our attention, instead, is paid to the struggles and lived realities of the missing and murdered women of Canada , so many of them Aboriginal women -- a national tragedy. And how we may be able to memorialize the victims of such crimes, and others who have suffered similar violent ends, in ways that celebrate their lives, yet appropriately address the need for putting an end to violence that targets women because they are women.

The articles on violence that follow only begin this work, and it is up to all of us to continue to find ways to establish a lasting cultural memory of these women in all of their humanity , and to challenge the systemic inequalities, including race, gender and economic security, that permit this violence to be repeated.

We also introduce a number of articles on other pressing health topics, including the complexity of the HPV debate, the mounting maternity care crisis in Canada , and the continuing economic hardship and health consequences suffered by unpaid caregivers, who are most often women, plus much more women's health content.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank the “behind the scenes” work of our Expert Review and Advisory Committee (ERAC) at the Canadian Women's Health Network (for details of the members and their expertise on women's health issues, please see our website: www.cwhn.ca ). Every article that appears in Network goes through both an internal review process, as well as an external review process by individual members of ERAC, and other experts in the women's health community in Canada and beyond. Their careful and thoughtful comments help us to keep Network as accurate and timely as is humanly possible – though we take full responsibility, of course, for the final content and any errors or omissions that may occur.

Speaking of which, in our last issue, we mistakenly left a key CWHN staff member off the masthead – an error we'd like to correct here. So please join us in thanking the very good work of Barbara Bourrier-LaCroix, our Information Centre Coordinator, who has only recently left the CWHN for a position elsewhere. Thankfully Barbara will continue to contribute to the work of CWHN through her involvement in ERAC and regular contributions to Network. Barbara: we wish you luck and success in the future, and we are glad you will remain part of our extended CWHN family!

Finally, we'd like to invite you, the reader, to please contact us with any suggestions for stories, and any comments you may have about our work at the Canadian Women's Health Network. We work hard to keep women's health issues in the national spotlight, and your contributions and feedback can only make our voices stronger.

Kathleen O'Grady, Director of Communications
news@cwhn.ca 1-888-818-9172