What is a man
Who no longer delights
At the songs of birds
Emerging from the forest
Who no longer cares
That healing medicines fill every dew drop
Who no longer honours the trees
As wiser beings than himself
Who no longer longs to walk
Barefoot in the rain
Such a man has been swallowed up
By his own ego and selfishness
He has doomed himself to live
Only as a machine, forever running away
From his duty and responsibilities
As a protector of what defines
A life of purpose
For him, a man
Donna Jones was, according to her family and friends, very much like a maple tree. She was strong, generous and sweet. All traits of the Canadian sugar maple. The maple leaf is green for most of its life and then, for a few short weeks, the season gifts the maple leaf with colour and amazing beauty. It can rightly be said that Donna Jones’ life was the maple leaf at its grandest time, not just for a few short weeks of the year though, but for each and every day of the year’s four seasons. Her honourable traits which were so natural to her, are symbolic of all which is good about Canada. The horror of her death however, is symbolic of one of the things gone terribly askew within the Canadian psyche.
Donna Jones’ death at the hands of a monster only came after her body endured unsurmountable pain and suffering beyond the comprehension of even the most hardened among us. She was scalded, shot with pellets, beaten to the point where her eyes were blackened and her nose broken – who knows what else. All of this over the last eleven days of her life. What kind of a creature kills like this in a civilized society? What sickness in the threads which bond us produced such evil?
I was present at Donna Jones’ memorial. I sat on a bench near the monument erected to honour battered women who died at the hands of the cruel, vicious control freaks who had conned the women into letting them into their lives. The cold, grey monument, designed to resemble a woman’s vulva, stands among the maples at Minto Park. Small stones, each bearing the name of a murdered woman, rest at its base. The small stones give the impression (at least to me) like they have just emerged from the womb of the mother stone, frightened and huddling now, around what would and should protect them. In the ‘good’ world I imagine, the fact that a baby is born female would guarantee ‘she’ would be honoured, respected and protected for being so all the days of her life.
A stone bearing Donna Jones’ name will soon be added. What name will be inscribed on the next stone to be planted at Minto Park? There will surely be many more. Will the name be that of your daughter or sister? Please think about this for a moment. There is a chance that your blood relative, a beloved woman of your family, will be murdered too. I cannot even imagine what it would be like for me to see the name of a daughter or granddaughter of mine to some day be found there at Minto Park. My heart grows heavy even at the thought.
When will it stop? I believe the killing of women by deranged men will at least slow down considerably if we begin to teach our boys today that using violence in any and all forms against women is wrong and is something we will no longer tolerate. The daddies and mommies today must take this serious enough to make a commitment for change now, not tomorrow. It should be mandatory that school children, boys and girls, beginning at age ten, should visit the monument honouring murdered women and be told why it stands there. The children can take it. They are wise and they will learn a powerful lesson by being there. The story of Donna Jones should be told in every classroom in Ontario. Women’s lives will be saved because of it.
Donna Jones was born on December 25th, on the same day a saviour was said to have entered the world in a stable in Bethlehem, to place peace and goodwill into the hearts of men. To some, the message was lost somewhere along history’s pathway. The monster who took away the life of Donna Jones never had any peace or goodwill in his heart for her nor did he for any other woman. He killed her and if we let her name and memory die, we will bring another terrible injustice into why Donna Jones lived and into how she died.