Year: 1994 Source: Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, v.5, no.1, (1994), p.147-166 SIEC No: 20061039

Between 1870-1920, the suicides of 13 British Columbian women, identified as prostitutes, provoked a response out of all proportion to their numbers. This essay examines this response, focusing first on the narratives created by witnesses at the inquests & then on the interpretations of those who did not literally know the dead women. It is argued the bodies of the dead can be read as a text which invoke multiple interpretations & meanings. The inquest process helped create & bolster a particular moral & social identity which utilized the prostitute as a metaphor of social evil. When this response was no longer evoked, prostitutes’ deaths were excluded from the inquest process. (85 notes)