I was planning to write this as an open letter to all government agencies involved, but I digressed, as I have other plans following this letter.
I am saddened by the fact that neither the agency built specifically to help those families of crime victims, that after three attempts and appeals, I do not qualify for three different reasons; has determined that I am NOT a victim, and has managed to do so in the most condescending ways possible. I am saddened that this may be happening to other siblings out there who may need help. I am enraged that there is not one governing body for the entire country and that it is left for each province to make arbitrary determinations, and that no exceptions can be allowed, especially given that this was NOT a typical crime / murder situation, but a complicated Mr. Big Sting situation and much of the trauma and symptoms have been a result of the actions of that; of the errors of the RCMP. But they didn’t bother to check much into it did they?
Mine was not a usual circumstance by any means, not AT ALL, and yet I was written off and it should also be noted that NONE of my doctors were contacted at any time to confirm my medical condition. They did not even take into consideration the possibility of late-onset of PTSD, and it seems that the labor intensive summary I wrote of my story was not even read.
And then there is the RCMP. Compassionless – banging on my door after it stated on my letter that they are the biggest trigger. Coming to my door wearing bullet proof vests, with clips on their belt loops. To this day, I cannot even see the insignia of the RCMP, cannot be within eyesight of a uniformed officer, cannot see a weapon, without a panic attack or worse, a flashback. It is safe to say that at this point in my life, if I was in personal danger, even to the point of rape, I would still not call 911 for fear of having to share a conversation with an officer.
But when I wrote to them asking for help, for real help, out of compassion, as I know that in the past they have been generous with others who have reached out to them, I was offered nothing but numbers to services in my community that depend on donations, programs that are temporary, or served by students, interns, and are non-profit. Unfortunately, if they also had done their research and contacted my doctors, or read they letter, they would know that I have been declined even by Psychologists who cannot help me as my case is out of their scope. I need specialized treatment that is beyond what we can afford.
I see the murder scene and the court room every night as I have not been nightmare free since Feb 15, 2015. I have flashbacks regarding the Mr. Big Sting, the day the case was dropped, the two RCMP offers that we saw everyday in the courthouse telling us “we’ve got this,” when they didn’t. I have flashbacks of the constant barrage of news articles, pictures of my brother on the tv, in the paper, phone calls asking for comments. I have flashbacks of the undercover officers who stole the intimacy that should have been ours at the viewing, at the funeral, as they watched and videotaped for evidence, all because they had made such a large error in not following protocol the night they determined it was an electrocution. This was NOT my fault, and yet I am paying for it, and all they can offer me are cards to community services. Not even an apology.
At this point, I expect nothing from you. We are so far in debt, having to cash in our RRSP’s, and depend on Lines of Credit and credit to pay for the treatments I have had it, I’ve given up on trying to get help from the governing bodies that the health professionals have told me should be able to help me. I have considered starting a Crowdfunding page and sharing all the letters/emails received denying and the reasons, from both the RCMP and Crime Victim Services.
- I needed to be at the scene of the crime – this made no sense, as only my brother, his boss (also murdered), and the murderer himself would then qualify
- I am a sibling – I was the closest to him – his first best friend; know/knew more about him than even his wife, as we survived a pretty brutal childhood that I know he did not share the full details of with her before he was killed. I was also over at his house most weekends baby-sitting or playing with his children. I don’t understand why siblings don’t qualify. In fact I had just spoken to him on the phone the week before.
What strikes me as both odd and as heartbreaking is that I was his first best friend friend; hold more secrets than any child or adult should ever have to hold; secrets that even his wife, or children will never know.
I had already, years prior, attended what I was being pressured by the RCMP Car 67 and their sad attempts to push me into the publicly funded ill-equipped professionals to deal with my “situation,” to attend. In that group, just like 20 years prior, I heard that same sentence come from the lips of homicide victims that caused me to do the same thing that shut me up back then. “No parent should even bury their child.” and, “no one will ever understand what it’s like to bury their own child.”
There are currently, and there were not, twenty years ago (I researched) no support groups for siblings for homicide victims. Unfortunately, I am beyond the help of a support group. I am in desperate need of specific and individual help to get my life back, get back to work, get a good night’s sleep without nightmares, step into a crowded space without flashback, have a police officer approach me, without collapsing to floor in a complete panic attack.
Victim Services has done this country a disservice as a whole by missing a massive demographic by assuming that siblings of homicide victims are NOT victims, but I, Christina Suzanne Hetherington, am one of them. But had you bothered to LOOK into my file and contact any of my physicians, you would know that. But you didn’t. You took your stamp, and denied it. And here I am, three years off work, and losing hope of a losing my life in the process.
2. I had waited too long to apply – this is the most frustrating reason – was told they’d make exceptions but then was told I’d waited too long. I guess I waited too long to finally crack. I learned at a young age to stuff my feelings as a tool for survival in my home, and honestly, I was really pushed to the side by my family during the time of the murder. The only way I knew how to cope was to stay busy, to keep my head down and to stay busy and push forward. And that worked for me, until Nov 2014 when I spoke at a Remembrance Day Ceremony that mimicked me speaking at my brother’s funeral (being videotaped, RCMP present) and me having to sit with the RCMP. And then in January of 2015, The Fifth Estate ran a program about Mr Big Stings gone wrong, and there was Jason Dix talking about Operation Kabaya; the first time I’d seen him since he sued the government, and things started to fall apart for me. These were the catalysts for me, and by February I was experiencing nightmares and flashbacks, and absolute fear of going outside by myself, things I’d never experienced before. I’d even considered suicide. If you think this is what I’d pictured for myself at this time of my life when I had a great career and was enjoying my life and my friends and being able to be independent and travel with my husband, you are completely mistaken. I did NOT plan for PTSD at all. So it was a complete slap in the face to hear that I waited to long. I went as long as I could and the trauma finally caught up with me. Perhaps had you contacted any of my professional contacts, you would have learned about that, but you didn’t.
**You stated that you wished you could help but were governed by the Treasury Board. I am extremely familiar with the Treasury Board, and there can also be proposals or exceptions made when you want to. Sending Car 67 was the last thing that I wanted at my house as your officers are a major trigger. And what they had to offer me was so far beneath what I actually need.
I am about to lose my job as they cannot hold it for me any longer so mine is now a matter of urgency. I have worked hard to nothing but get back, but they no longer wish to hold that position. Sunlife, my insurance company, though paying my wage loss earnings (a percentage of my wages) has refused to provide any treatment or funding to do so. I have made numerous phone calls to their company begging; not an exaggeration, in tears, and begging for them to help me get the help that I need to get back to work. They say that they will get back to me and either don’t or tell that they can’t at this time. Then they send me for an evaluation to determine the type of treatment I need, but don’t do anything to help me get the treatment, because they say, “we don’t have to.” So, without them helping me either, I will be losing that job and the benefits with it. Without the benefits paying for medications, it will be like carrying a second mortgage; and we will eventually be homelesss. My manager will be contacting me again once he returns from vacation.
It’s one more agency that has proven that even though NONE of this is my fault, I am solely responsible to fix it, even if it means potentially losing my house doing it.
It’s sad that my only resort at this point will be relying on the giving of strangers, and who knows, they may give nothing also.
Please change your laws for others, so they are not left in desperate situations such as this.
Let’s be honest. I will never receive my brother back, I will never receive justice; the investigation that should have occurred from the beginning, nor will I, and most importantly, from the RCMP, receive a formal and sincere apology for the pain, the injustice, the errors, the lies, the last moments of intimacy with my brother that they stole from us as they swarmed us in their undercover operatorion.
I will also never be recognized as anyone who is worthy of feeling or of being impacted on such a deep level that it has affected my life in the way that it has because, I, in the eyes as the Criminial Injuries Reviews Boarsds am JUST a sibling. As JUST a sibling, I was my brother’s first beat friend, born 16 months apart, we spent most of our childhood together mainly trying to survive it. As JUST a sibling, I spent most of the last weekends of his life at his home. As JUST a sibling, I was cast aside assuming most of the responsibility as my mother took front and center as the main victim and not once did anyone bother to ask how Inwas doing, and nor did I offer as it seemed irrelevant when the words “No parent should have to bury their own child,” were repeated daily. There was no room for my grief.
I attended a homicide support group before my boss forced me to speak at an event 20’yeara later that would mimic me speaking at my brothers funeral and as it was not a support group for siblings only, there was a lady that repeated those same words I’d heard 20’yeara earliers “no child should have to bury their own son.” I realized I couldn’t compete with that. There truly is no place for siblings. We are not recognized.
My condition is not treatable at the support group level and it was a complete slap in the face to be provided pamphlets and links to such supports.
I am now at the point where my delay in getting the proper treatment has cost me my job. Had Victim Services or the RCMP stepped up to help and not pushed me to the side because apparently I am NOT a victim, which in reality is complete absurdity, I’d be on track to getting my life back.
I’m sure Jason Dix, Mike Ritchie, and Gord Steinke are doing better than I am.
So please tell me – why is it that that siblings are not considered family? Not considered to suffer any affect from homicides. We are pushed to the sides and literally left to hold it together, left to keep our families spirits up, all the while shoving our own grief down until one day it becomes too much.
The interesting and sad thing is that instead of trying to stuff my feelings down for twenty years and instead began to self destruct, I would find myself in a paid treatment facility. But I didn’t. I pushed forward and stuffed my feelings down as I was taught throughout my childhood and 20 years later, I am hit with. with the most torturous thing I’ve ever experienced. Like I’ve said before, I was perfectly happy in my career and life and am just as shocked and frustrated to hear of late onset PTSD as anyone reading this.
I want the RCMP to finally take some accountability. I’ve not once received an apology for what has been stolen from me. You may not have killed my brother but your errors haunt my sleep every night and it makes my stomach churn that Jason Dix sits in the lime light time and time again for his wrongful imprisonment and then knowing that you use that particular Mr Big Sting as a training tool.
I see your glaring errors every night in my nightmares and the photos from the court room of my brother. I have flashbacks when I see the RCMP insignia and anyone video taping.
But according to Crime Victim Services, they ate “sympathetic” to my grief but stand behind their ridiculous policies that I am not an victim.
I am recommending that:
A) in complicated circumstances such as my own, this be overrides, and
B) there be a global definition of what constitutes a victim of crime.
Do you have any idea what it’s like to lose your best friend, have his face displayed I ever news out possible and yet tossed to the side because of the phrase “no parent should ever have to bury their child first.” I’ve been to those publicly funded groups and they leave me just as lost as as I felt going in. I sit in silence as I hear the stories of parents having lost their children or spouses, knowing there is no place for me as a sibling.
We have been pushed aside by our families, forgotten by the RCMP, and now considered insignificant despite the proven diagnoses by multiple doctors. This is not new, I am sure.
Please consider taking a closer a look at the policies of province and stop the allowance of rogue policies. PTSD is PTSD and siblings should be considered part of the family, especially in complicated cases as was my brothers.