06 March 2016
Mother’s day 1982 was the last time I saw my mum alive.
Back in 1982 when my mum went missing, the local Shettleston cops treated her as a wee drunk poor woman who they couldn’t be bothered wasting resources on. When she was found floating down the River Clyde they didn’t even bother to question her abusive boyfriend Peter who that day had stabbed my brother — as he was persistently asking Peter about his missing mother.
The cops just shrugged their shoulders and moved on. She was a wee poor insignificant woman who authorities never gave a fuck about.
Peter had served time for trying to kill women in the 70s but still the cops never asked why he was last seen at the river with my mum.
Peter told the cops mum fell in and legally he didn’t need to report this happening. Five days she was gone before the river gave up her battered body. Peter walked free to kill again.
Your social economic status should not be measured in how much the police care — remember my mum’s case was just two years after the famous attack on Glasgow woman Carol X who was gang raped and slashed to bits. Despite Carol X naming and picking out her attackers the cops refused to charge them and Carol’s private prosecution was one of only two to succeed in Scotland in the 20th century. The other involved a fraud case in 1909. She successfully jailed her rapists with the help of Lawyers who took her case on free of charge. It shocked a nation how a wee woman was treated.
Glasgow police had a history of ignoring the plight of female victims of violence.
I hope things have changed. It is too late for my mum but It’s not too late for women today and with organisations like Scottish Women’s Aid hopefully that attitude will be a thing of the past.
I wrote this for my mammy-
She had dark thick hair and quick hazel eyes; she could smile and shout at the same time.
With a chubby finger I would trace the lines around her eyes and make up stories about the moles on her chin.
She would sit with me and stare into my face. “What do you see Janey?” she asked me once.
“I see you, mammy, you have brown dots on your eye,” I whispered back.
“They are the stains of the past,” she told me as she cupped my face close.
The stains of her past could have been cleansed, I could have washed them with her in our old age — but she went away and died too young, I was too young, I miss telling stories about her face.
I am a mum, I trace the shape of my daughter’s face with my wrinkled fingers and I get to tell her wondrous stories about the moles on her chin; she has brown dots on her eyes, they aren’t blemishes though.
They are stars passed down by a woman who mistook them for stains.