Breaking the Silence About “Snuff”

By Jeanne Sarson | Apr 5, 2011


Torture ‘porn’ Images Do Exist

News reports talking about a recently released book about the violent brutal acts Col. Russell Williams inflicted against women suggests that negating child ‘pornography’ charges were part of a negotiated justice-deal. By invisibilizing the charges of child crime scene images that were on his computer, which is what so-called child pornography is, was a deal made with Col. Williams so he would plead guilty to the many other crimes he committed against women and girls; such as breaking into their homes, wearing their underwear then taking photos of him-Self as trophies. He also immobilized and raped several women in their homes. He progressed to holding Jessica Lloyd and Marie France Comeau captive, repeatedly humiliating and terrorizing them, raping them and eventually killing them, all the while taking photos of all his violent acts that he was committing against them.

However, in the news article, "Sex killer Russell Williams had child porn, but no charges laid", [1] there are two issues that I find most distressing. These are:

1. The sexualization and objectification of women in the language of the author of the book being referenced in this article when it is written that Col. Williams’ “sexual interests were much wider than that”, referring to the violent crimes he committed. Naming the violence acts as “sexual interests” dismisses that such acts of violence against women are rooted in misogyny, are about power and control and about domination; these acts are about the dehumanization and objectification of women. For example, Col. Williams, after prolonged terrorization, rape, humiliation and murder of Jessica Lloyd, dumped her body in his garage like a piece of garbage, then later threw her behind a rock in a wooded area in Ontario;[2] treating her body as he did her - as worthless, without dignity or human value. Such attitudes and acts of brutality must not be sexualized as “sexual interests”.

2. I have yet to see in written in news articles that Col. Williams’ photo trophy documentation of his killing of Jessica Lloyd and Marie-France Comeau named as “snuff” photo images. So I will break the silence. Snuff images are photos or movies taken of the killing of a woman, generally following acts of sexualized violence - sexualized torture - committed against her. This was the act committed against Jessica Lloyd and Marie France Comeau. I break the silence because, since 1993, Linda and I have listened to the intimate finite details, spoken by women mostly, of the torture victimization they endured since early childhood. Torture-snuff is a horrifying ordeal spoken of by some of the women. When they have repeatedly tried to tell authorities they report being confronted with social denial, called “crazy” and discriminated against in various other ways. Such as when authors write that snuff does not occur, therefore, for those who tried to tell such writings make them appear to be lying. Listening to the women so victimized speak of their horrification in relation to snuff exposure, we break the silence to reveal the reality about the existence of torture-snuff imagery.[3] 

It must be recognized and named that snuff photo image recording was an act of violent brutality committed by Col. Williams against Jessica and Marie France. In so naming that snuff photo images were taken their tragic suffering and death may help children and other women when they attempt to speak of snuff exposure victimization because now there is this real-time knowledge that Col Russell Williams did, in fact, record snuff images. Therefore, it can no longer be said that such brutality does not exist!

Jeanne, March 30, 2011
[1] Ha, Thanh Tu. (2011, March 29). Sex killer Russell Williams had child porn, but no charges laid. Globe and Mail.
[2] Babbage, Maria. (2010, October 20). Colonel revelled in cruelty. The Chronicle Herald, pp. A1, A2.
[3] Ritual Abuse-Torture: The Invisible Abusers, 'Non-State Actor' Torturers, and Human Traffickers under Our Writings.


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