Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Christmas Story

On Christmas Eve, Renota and Saundra Brown were found dead in the basement of a home in Omaha, Nebraska. Saundra's boyfriend Fabian Hands was arrested in connection with their murders and the alleged rape and assault of Saundra Brown's daughter. According to KETV:

Police said they went to a home at 4213 N. 21st St. on Christmas Eve. When police entered the home, they discovered the bodies of two females in the basement. Also inside the home was a relative of the victims, who told officers that she had been sexually assaulted. While police talked to her, Hands came from the bedroom and allegedly assaulted her in front of police.

As tragic as the story is, what caught our attention were follow-up interviews with the perpetrator's brother:

In my heart of hearts, I know my brother wouldn't have sexually assaulted anyone.

Sandra and my brother, Fabian, were verbally abusive to one another and sometimes it got physically abusive to one another. They had a strange and unusual relationship. They would fight just to make up. They decided to stay together -- even him talking to me recently about getting married.

Fabian was like a sweet giant. He loved people. He loved life, and I know for a fact he loved Saundra.
There was known to be violence in the relationship, the bodies of his girlfriend and her sister were found in the basement, and police witnessed Hands assaulting his girlfriend's daughter. Yet his brother still cannot fathom that Hands would have perpetrated violence against a woman?

It is difficult to think that people we know and love are capable of such acts, but we know that, in Georgia, between 1/4 and 1/3 of all women will be abused or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Each of these assaults has a perpetrator, and though he may be your son, brother, childhood sweetheart, best friend from college, a deacon at your church, your financial planner, or the captain of your child's soccer team, that does not mean that he is not capable of violence. Batterers may look very different in public than they do at home, and one of the most important things that you can do to end domestic violence is to believe women when they disclose the abuse to you, and to stand with the survivors in demanding accountability for violence rather than making excuses for a criminal because he is "such a great guy."

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