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Giving voice to the voiceless: Student launches website to support families of missing and murdered Indigenous women

April 5, 2016

B Hobson Cover Shot

A Red River College student is providing support to those affected by an ongoing epidemic of violence in Canada, by creating an online community for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Brittany Hobson, a second-year Creative Communications student, recently launched the website Stolen Voices, which provides a platform for families of missing and murdered women and girls, allowing them to share their stories and connect with other families.

The website is comprised of a series of family profiles — which may include essays, poems, artwork or music — and other contributed work related to ending the cycle of violence against Indigenous women.

“There are more than 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women throughout Canada, and each of them have family and friends that care for them,” says Hobson. “Those families deserve to have their voices heard.”

A journalism major, Hobson was born and raised in Winnipeg, but has roots in Long Plain First Nation and Sandy Bay First Nation. She first started exploring the issue of missing and murdered women while in university a few years back.

“I’m an Indigenous woman myself, but I didn’t grow up in a traditional household,” she explains. “In university, I started looking into issues surrounding Indigenous people, to get a better sense of where I was coming from.”

Those early explorations provided the groundwork for Stolen Voices, which Hobson created as part of a thesis-style project during her second year of CreComm.

She met with a number of families of missing or murdered women, noting differences in the individual circumstances of each — but similarities in how the surviving families felt disillusioned by how their cases were handled.

Though Hobson is currently serving as a site moderator and intermediary, it’s her plan to create an online forum for discussion, and eventually to turn over ownership of the site to the families — which she hopes will help expedite the healing process.

“It’s so other families can see they’re not alone,” says Hobson. “Even if other families aren’t ready to talk about it yet, they can go to this website and see they’re not alone. And maybe one day they can talk about it.”

To contact Hobson or learn more about the site, visit stolenvoices.org.