Dr. S. L. Tasker of the University of Victoria and Priscilla de Villiers, formerly of CAVEAT are conducting a survey into the response of siblings to homicide. The survey is also sponsored by the National Crime Victim Foundation.
I do not know Dr. Tasker, but Priscilla is a colleague and dear friend; we served together on the board for the Canadian Association for Victim Assistance (CAVA).
A word of caution: the survey will take you about an hour and can be quite traumatizing. I myself had to leave it for a while because I found myself getting too upset; I came back to it 3 weeks later.
A sample of one of my responses:
When you look back on your life from the time of the murder to now, were there any turning points (good or bad), setbacks or both for you? Please give examples and say why you think these were important points in your life. Again, you are welcome to write as little or as much as you would like to.
My entire life is informed by this event:
– I became an actor because the first play I ever saw I saw with Theresa.
– I started caring about school and won the Governor General’s Medal because I didn’t want my parents to have another “problem child”
– I never did drugs because we were lead to believe she died of a drug overdose.
– I turned down an academic scholarship to McGill University because I couldn’t stand the idea of being in the province where she died.
– I eventually moved to New York City because I couldn’t bare to be in the country where she died.
– I went to NYC to study theater.
– Toronto became bearable because it was neutral: I was indifferent to it.
– In 2001, when my daughter was 5 I had a life changing event. I could not stand it any longer to have the circumstances of Theresa’s death clouded in mystery (what would I tell my children?). I began investigating it myself, discovered it was a murder, most likely a serial murder… and that the authorities had done nothing.
I got sucked down a black hole (Friedrich Nietzsche: “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”)
– This all lead to the destruction of my marriage and divorce.
The survey is in French and English. If you would like to take it, please email me (you will need a passcode in order to complete the survey: I can give it to you)