Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Macon Teen Murders Ex-Girlfriend, Kills Self

From Macon.com:

Family members say 17-year-old Shenerica Brown enjoyed listening to music, dancing and hanging out with friends, much like other teenage girls.

An 11th-grade student at Washington County High School in Sandersville, Brown wanted to be a registered nurse after graduation, said Nastacia Taylor, Brown's cousin and friend.

Brown's plans were cut short Sunday morning when her ex-boyfriend, 19-year-old Ardavius Foster, fatally shot her and then turned the gun on himself.

"They had been having domestic problems for quite a while," said Washington County Sheriff Thomas Smith.

Brown's family said the couple had a 4-month-old daughter, Ardasia Foster.

Late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, Foster went to Brown's great-aunt's house at 156 Mayview Drive and the two argued, Smith said.

Smith said deputies aren't sure what Brown and Foster argued about, but they previously had engaged in arguments about visitation with Ardasia.

During the argument, Foster took the baby to his car where he retrieved a .45 caliber pistol, Smith said.

Brown followed Foster outside where the two continued to argue until Foster fired two shots at Brown hitting her in the chest and face, Smith said.

He then turned the gun on himself, firing a single shot into his head, Smith said.

Brown's great-aunt and two other people witnessed the shooting and called deputies about 12:15 a.m., Smith said.

Washington County Coroner E.K. May said Brown and Foster were taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Taylor said Brown ended her relationship with Foster about two weeks ago.

Foster showed up with a gun at the Sonic Drive In where Brown worked last week and threatened her, she said.

"He said if she ever tried to leave him he'd kill her and kill himself," Taylor said.

Smith said murder-suicides are uncommon in Washington County, especially ones with such young victims.

"It's very, very rare," he said. "Our prayers go out to both families. Both families are really suffering."

Funeral services for Brown will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at The Word of Life Ministries in Sandersville. Services for Foster are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Marshall Grove Baptist Church in Sandersville.

So far this year, 34 people in Georgia have died in 18 murder-suicide incidents, according to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Violence at the Emmys

Ten minutes into this Sunday's Emmy Awards, many past victims of sexual violence turned off their TVs. Why? Because memories of the violence they experienced were retriggered by a tasteless bit by the show's hosts.

During the opener, hosts Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst, and Ryan Seacrest are all dressed in tuxedos. As the only female host, however, Heidi Klum cannot be allowed to remain fully clothed for long, and, in a display that can only be described as horrifying, Bergeron and his guest on stage William Shatner proceed to rip her clothes off, revealing a skimpier and sexier outfit underneath.

Attention Emmys: Violence against women is not a joke. It is not shtick. It is not funny. Heidi Klum is more than a body to be displayed, and by reducing her to such through an act of violence, you have communicated to the entire country that ripping a woman's clothes off against her will for your own sexual gratification is not only acceptable, but amusing.

This is why violence against women is still a common occurrence.

h/t to Shakesville.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Murder-Suicides Hit Fourth Family in Central GA

From WMAZ 13 in Macon:
Domestic violence resulted in murder, then suicide for at least the fourth time this year in Central Georgia.

The most recent tragedy happened Monday in a Bonaire home where deputies say Edmund Rowe shot his wife Allison, then turned the gun on himself.

Lt. John Holland says the couple worked at Robins Air Force Base and married last May. They did not have children.

Holland says they're still trying to figure out what led to the violence.

Counselors at HODAC say in most cases, there's no indication of trouble to outsiders. But on the inside, the violence almost never comes without prior warning.

In a Perry neighborhood where a domestic murder-suicide happened in August, Crystal Busching can't forget what happened two doors down. That's where the father of two children murdered his sons, shot his wife, and then killed himself.

Busching said, "I knew those two little boys. I sit out here and read now. It's sad not to see them out riding their bicycles. They were sweet little boys."

Tuesday, Busching heard about a similar incident in Bonaire. The murder-suicide there brought to mind another case of the same crime at a Fort Valley apartment in late August. Also in January, a Warner Robins man also killed his wife and himself. Busching said, "You think of it happening in Atlanta and places like that, but never in this area."

Nicole Poss at HODAC can't recall a string like this either. She said, "It's unusual for our area. It doesn't happen."

But four times this year, it did. Poss said people on the outside usually find out about the trouble inside after it ends in tragedy. Poss said, "People keep it to themselves. People don't want to publicize it if they're having trouble in their marriage. I'm not sure what signs people think there should be."

She says there not always easy to spot, but warning signs can include a temper, jealousy, acting bossy, trying to control money and forcing sex on the partner.

Busching says she never knew of problems down the street, but now she says no one in her neighborhood can forget. She said, "I don't think we ever will. I think were really just all trying to let it sink in and cope with everything that's happened, even though it's been awhile. It's still fresh on your mind."

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 94 percent of the offenders in murder-suicides are men. 74 percent of murder-suicides involve intimate partners, such as a husband or boyfriend. 75 percent of them occur in the home.

Those statistics held true for all four of the recent cases in Central Georgia.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Street Harassment Update

From Salon:

Sure, snapping a cellphone picture of a street harasser is good for humiliating the lech -- and alerting other women to his modus perverandi -- on the Web site Holler Back NYC. But, as a story in the New York Times shows, it can serve him with far more than embarrassment.

Last month, a 28-year-old woman was walking up a set of stairs -- wearing a skirt -- at the Dyckman Street station when she noticed a man suspiciously close to her. He just so happened to be fiddling with his cellphone and someone nearby told her that the man had snapped an up-the-skirt shot. The woman told the Times: "I said I had to do something. Since he is taking pictures of me, I am going to take pictures of him." So, she followed him onto a train and readied her cellphone. "And I told him 'smile' because I am going to the police," she said. She took a photo of his mug, e-mailed it to police and filed a criminal report. Bravo!

It's the kind of admirable act hardened city dwellers expect to lead nowhere -- except, thanks to the snapshot, a police officer recognized the suspect in a subway station earlier this week and he was charged Wednesday with attempted sexual abuse, harassment and unlawful surveillance. How's that for bursting your bubble of cosmopolitan cynicism!

See our original post on the topic here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Woman Murdered, Devalued

For this week's blog posting, we refer you to Womanist Musings, who comments on this article as well as we ever could:
Elizabeth Acevedo died on August 22. She was only 38 years old, far too young to die. Very little is known about her, but what the New York Post wants their readers to be aware of is that she had one leg, and that she was a prostitute. Throughout the brief article they only bother to refer to her by name twice. It seems that her profession did not entitle her to even the dignity of being assigned a victim status.


When researching to see if I could find out more information about her tragic passing, I came across a post at Bossip wherein Acevedo is further demeaned. They have a mock picture up and refer to her murder as, "some pure comedy indeed." Only in a world where women are routinely devalued could the death of a prostitute be referred to as a joke.


The devaluation of women is a world wide phenomenon. The patriarchy tries to assure us that we are not oppressed. They offer the women of the middle east as examples of real oppression. The blood of Osborne, Acevedo, Caldwell, Robertson and Beck assure me that misogyny and violence against women is a real and ever present danger here in the so-called enlightened west. These women are no different than you or I, there only fault was to be born female in a world that is obsessed with phalocentric worship.

This is not a case of hysterical whining. Yes women can vote, we even have the right to make seventy cents for every dollar a man makes, but now is not the time for complacency. Now is not the time to be lulled into the false belief that because some things have improved that we are living in a utopia of ovarian freedom. The reality is that daily women are beaten, raped and murdered. We have not come close to dismantling male privilege. We must stand up and demand justice. It is not okay to slaughter us, and it is not okay to treat us as disposable bodies. The blood of one woman is the blood of all.
Please visit the Womanist Musings blog to read the whole post.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

18% of Young US Women Have Been Raped

A new report issued by Child Trends found that approximately 18% of women aged 18 to 24 years report having been raped at least one in their lives. The summary to the report reads:

Forced sexual intercourse is, unfortunately, a somewhat common experience among young adult women – almost 1 in 5 have reported having experienced forced sexual intercourse at some point in their lives. It is also an experience shared by all groups of women, including women of all racial/ethnic groups, and women of all socioeconomic statuses. Women who have experienced forced sexual intercourse report a number of different types of force used during the incident, and most commonly report experiencing verbal or physical pressure and being physically held down. Approximately a third of the women reported being given alcohol or drugs, being abused by someone who was bigger or a grown up, or being threatened, and approximately a quarter of the women reported being physically hurt.

Know More Say More is an initiative by the Family Violence Prevention Fund to educate people about rape and birth control sabotage in violent relationships. The site allows women like "Kylie" to tell their stories:

I had a serious experience with birth control sabotage. When I first met my ex, he never wanted to use condoms. He did want me to use the ‘morning-after pill,’ I’ll admit. I was quite young and didn’t know how to stand up for myself, so I became pregnant after coerced sex.

For the next four years, I stayed with my ex for the sake of the baby, suffering the most horrific kinds of abuse—physical and emotional. His “reason” for abusing me? Because I “trapped” him through pregnancy. Although the only thing I’d been doing since the pregnancy was begging him to let me leave, he threatened to kill me, the baby, and my entire family if I ever attempted it.

At the time, I really believed him. I had no friends, no phone, and no Internet for information. If he caught me calling anyone, he would become extremely angry, which is why he burned all of my address books in front of me and changed our phone number constantly. I couldn’t help but wonder at times if instead of me trapping him, it hadn’t been the other way around.

The good news is that I’ve been single for three years now, live on the opposite side of the country, and will never be trapped again. I just wish I’d had more information when I desperately needed it.
According to the site, 51% of adolescent mothers on public assistance in one study, and two in three of those who experienced domestic violence at the hands of their boyfriends, experienced some form of birth control sabotage by a dating partner. Some 25 to 50 percent of adolescent mothers experience partner violence before, during, or just after their pregnancy. Forty percent of pregnant women who have been exposed to abuse report that their pregnancy was unintended, compared to just eight percent of non-abused women.

In addition, violence is linked to a wide range of reproductive health issues including STD and HIV transmission, miscarriages, risky sexual health behavior and more. Women disclosing physical violence are nearly three times more likely to experience a sexually transmitted infection than women who don’t disclose physical abuse.

Visit Know More, Say More, to learn more.

H/t to Feministing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Save Funding for Girls who have been Prostituted

From the Interfaith Children's Movement:

During this year's Georgia legislative session, one of ICM's proudest accomplishments was helping win inclusion of $560,000 for a Regional Assessment Center for prostituted adolescent girls. The center opened in June with 12 beds and already has a waiting list. On average, one girl a week is referred for help.

Now the $560,000 you helped secure for the Regional Assessment Center is frozen. Without action the program will run out of funds in 3 months.

Because of the state budget shortfall, the Regional Assessment Center is one of the programs being recommended for elimination.

In September the Governor will decide what state program cuts become final. We have a small window of opportunity to raise concerns about cutting 100% of 2009 funds for this critical program.

We need services and programs for children who have been prostituted, because metro-Atlanta has become a national hub for the prostitution of adolescent girls, with the trafficking of girls from across the state and across the nation becoming an ever-increasing problem. Right now, child-victims are sent to Youth Detention Centers (YDC) because enough appropriate services do not exist.

The Regional Assessment Center needs your help.
  1. Write or call Governor Perdue to restore funding for the Regional Assessment Center.
  2. Call, write, e-mail or visit with your senator and representative in the Georgia General Assembly.
  3. Write or call the members of the Joint Committee on Child Sexual Exploitation.

Information on making these contacts can be found here.

More information on the sexual exploitation of children in Atlanta can be found here.