Voice Platform and Support Network for Families of Missing and Victims of Crime
A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something.
"Behind the scenes" this is a topic that we actually run into fairly often ... how much information is too much to pass on to those with missing loved ones regarding their case, efforts being conducted, etc.
I'm not actually so much of a believer of deciding someone else's life opinions for them however - thus thought it best to ask all of you, yourselves, upfront ...
Would you like certain information not shared with you? Would you prefer that a certain category of "help" was discouraged from looking into your loved ones case?
What about gatekeepers who have not explicitly been told to act as one your behalf directly by you?
Also, what are your thoughts/feelings regarding having your missing loved one's case discussed on online public forums?
To be honest, this really bothers me - seems to again go back to the attempts of an advocate and/or missing persons org trying to "own a missing persons case" ...
One cannot find that which is kept hidden - keep it in the dark and they'll be no light brought to it.
I agree, and most disagree with me as well. Yet, I know how it feels to see reports on the news
about your loved one, and never knew a story was about to air, the shell shock alone is a tough
hurdle to bare. I do not feel it should be PUBLIC forums, families really get hurt, keep them Private. Rather I would wait til the loved has been found then ask the family if they mind the story going Public Forum, etc. The public has a right to know, yes they do, but not at the families expense at my hand.
The Public may deserve a story but the story should be the Families choice of what is written, My opinion only...
Forums can be so good to help get the information to the public on a missing loved one...but they can also be disastrous when those who decide to start voicing opinions based only on face value and have no real inner knowledge of the family dynamics or the person they are making accusations against...all in an "opinion." I honestly have not decided as yet whether I truly like public forums...I think if they are going to be sleuthing types it should be private rooms. I've seen too many families have to suffer further distress because some online reader 100's of miles away make opinions, or theories, that are so far from the truth:( Much as I hate to say this...there are also those that thrive on creating malicious havoc. Sara and I know too well about this back from the forum for Stacy Peterson. There were so many that caused unnecessary disruption and created havoc that it was literally unbelievable at what lengths people went to:(
I would like if everyone had the courtesy to have certain things approved by the family before pressing the "post" button. If it wasn't something written by the family member, and you want to discuss the case, maybe just make sure the family is ok with it. Just my thoughts.
The families should always be the gatekeepers of their own missing loved one's case. If a spouse or parent just doesn't have the skills to be able to do this then they should appoint preferably another family member or close friend to help them. Trained advocates should only be used to consult with and as an avenue for hopefully trustworthy resources.
As far as forums/discussion: If discussed on an online forum it should be by permission of the family and the family should be able to delete any comments that might interfere with the investigation or that causes deep distress within the family.
On rare occasion we've seen family members create their own drama or family fighting can occur .... all I can say is when that happens then the public just needs to walk away or step back from the forum and not fuel that kind of behavior. A trained advocate should just be quiet during something like that too as taking sides or fueling fights is not the role of an advocate. The families are living with ongoing trauma, they are tired and frustrated so it is so understandable how family fighting can be triggered by almost anything. The public and the advocates do not need to be the trigger.
No one should act on the families behalf without permission.
As you all know, I very rarely add my opinion to things but sometimes, I just can't help myself.
Any person or organization that tries, or even attempts to try to keep information from others or acts/pretends as though they are the ONLY person/organization that should "look into" a case, "investigate" a case or "advocate" a case, should immediately be SHUT DOWN!
When dealing with families of the missing, I do believe that the family needs a spokesperson, per say. But that does not mean that person should be the Gatekeeper. I don't fully understand why a case needs a Gatekeeper, other than law enforcement anyway.
And, IF the family decides they want a Gatekeeper, then that should be respected and they should be the person(s) to appoint such person. No one person should automatically consider they are in that role unless the family is specific to such.
Just my opinion...
I think it's absolutely horrible for any org to try to own a case. I have recently heard of one org making families sign a contract that they will only work with them. That is so crippling for a family. It hurts my heart thinking of anyone only having one avenue. Especially when all orgs do so many different things. No two are the same. I think if anyone feels they are are trapped by a gatekeeper, they should politely decline any further assistance from that person(s). There are plenty of unselfish people in the world that will help you get to where you are going without expectations.
I suggest encouraging a broad based information exchange and avoid the gatekeepers. I would not keep anything secret from anyone. The objective is to find your loved one. The people who will not want to help because of some personality trait of a missing person will probably not know anything of use in the first place. If your missing person was a prostitute, for instance, let every street walker in the region know that she is missing. They have their eyes and ears to the ground where it matters. Jack Mauldin
I guess I'm not really sure what a "gatekeeper" is...except to say that I believe nobody can speak better for a missing loved one than a member of the family themselves. Even with all of the families we work with...the first task we do is ask who is going to be the family Spokesperson... and if the family is too distraught, it is ok to have a close relative or friend. The media wants AND NEEDS to see the family ask for their missing loved one when at all possible. It makes a connection. To have a spokesperson to be the organization assisting the family is not anything that we would ever do...it just doesn't make sense. It's about the missing person...their family and the need to get the info out regarding the missing loved one...as priority.
As for "owning" a case...that should be a definite heads up to the family that there is probably something going on behind the scenes that shouldn't be going on. Never on this earth would I, or anyone I know, tell a family that "we" are the only ones! The more awareness, the more who help, the more who know...the more apt for information and possible recognition of a missing loved one. We also never take tips/leads. We are not the police. We do not covet our cases...we guide families and we assist. We provide tasks and we sponsor events. We do all necessary to help them.
As for signing a contract? That is truly bizarre! First I've ever heard of that! Now while this may sound contradictory....part of our guidance is to alert our families to those that we know are unsavory, under investigation or have a poor reputation... IF we see our families have been contacted by such "people" or "organizations"...that is something that I would never want to see is for a family in pain to be taken advantage of. We just had a case in which a family was led by a supposed "private investigator" down a terrible path and while I cannot tell a family to not hire one, I can advise them to consult with their private investigators at the police or sheriff and see if they may recommend they get one and or a name. Just far too many scammers out there:(