I'm not here to jump into that subject, it's already been done, however, I'm here to object to the headline grabbing prostitutes.....the mainstream media! In order to sensationalize and boost their ratings, the networks, newspapers and online news services have, in my opinion, negatively affected the outcome of hundreds of cases of missing persons.
By negatively labeling a missing person, the general public puts less "value" on, let's say, a "prostitute" or a "runaway" or even a "black male." It's been debated, and rightfully so, that African American missing persons get less favorable media attention, if any at all. One of the main reasons organizations such as Black and Missing and Not Forgotten and Peas In Their Pods have been founded is to fill in the gap where traditional organizations, and especially media and law enforcement agencies, are lacking.
First and foremost, Megan Waterman is a 22 year old, single missing MOTHER. She is also the child, sister, aunt or niece of others who care deeply for her. I don't care what she did for a living, it shouldn't be an issue, she is someone's lost child whether to the streets or to foul play by others. To constantly and consistently label her as a prostitute is demeaning and offensive, she is a missing person, and a mother, regardless of her profession.
An article written by Cynthia Caron, the Founder of LostnMissing, Inc. on the Time's Up Network blog states:
On June 06, 2010 at 1:30 am Megan left the hotel in Hauppauge, NY alone and has met an unknown terrible fate. Whether it be she was abducted and trafficked, or murdered, nobody knows. What we do know is whatever happened to Ms. Waterman was done by those who utilize Craigslist to catch their prey on the personal ad section. We know her family is devastated, grieving and her three year old daughter wants to know where is her mommy?There has been a recovery of the remains of 4 bodies on a Long Island, NY beach, and there is a good possiblity that Megan Waterman could be among them, along with another missing woman, Shannon Gilbert, who also did business through Craigslist. This find has the earmarks of the dumping ground of a serial killer according to detectives who say that the different levels of decomposition lead them to believe the bodies were dumped at different times.
So, where do we point the finger of blame? Does it go towards the victims because of their choice of employment and because they are labeled prostitutes? Does it go towards Craigslist who made the site available for advertising this line of work? Or does it go towards the evil killer who brutally murdered and dumped these women? You decide.
In the meantime, Megan Waterman's sweet 4 year old little girl is facing a lifetime of questions with very little hope of answers that she will ever understand. She is facing Christmas and every other day of her life without the mother who gave her life. What will she think when the time comes that she is able to read the accounts about her mother? Truth is one thing, but "in your face" sensationalism is another.
Media must learn to be more mindful when dealing with stories about people. No matter what they were, they didn't deserve to die at the hands of another, and they certainly don't deserve to be negatively labelled.
Cases of missing prostitutes don't capture public attention until a serial killer might be to blame
As reported by the New York Daily news 12/16:
"She might not have always made good choices, but she was loved," said Waterman's aunt, Elizabeth Meserve.
"My mommy is missing," her 4-year-old daughter keeps saying.
The aunt took the daughter to see Santa on the weekend, but Christmas seems likely to come without her getting what she wants more than anything.
"Why aren't you looking for my mommy, too?" she asks when the aunt baby-sits her.
Gilbert also has loved ones who want nothing more this Christmas than to see her again.