Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chicken or the Egg

Via Yahoo - A new study by the Parents Television Council has counted over 400 acts of violence against women and female teenagers on prime-time ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox shows from February until May of this year. When the group conducted the same study five years ago, they counted less than 200 acts of violence against women. The PTC clocked an increase of over 120 percent for beatings, murder, threats and rape of adult women, as well as an over 400 percent increase against teenage girls.
The media watchdog said it was particularly disturbed by the use of violence against women in comedies and said it hoped TV networks and advertisers would stand up against the trend.

"I hope the industry will look at our data and be as shocked as I was," PTC president Tim Winter told reporters.

The report suggested that violent acts against women and teen girls was increasing at rates that far exceed the two percent increase in overall violence that the study found existed on TV between 2004-2009.

The PTC compared prime-time programing on networks ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox in February and May 2004 and the same months in 2009. It said every network except ABC showed a dramatic increase in stories that included beatings, violent threats, shooting, rape, stabbing and torture.

The PTC findings reflect a sharp rise in the number of crime series on TV, such as the popular CBS franchise "CSI" which is one of America's most-watched drama series.

But the report singled out Fox, saying the network allowed violence against women to be trivialized through punch lines in its satirical animated comedies "Family Guy" and "American Dad." It cited one May 2009 episode of "Family Guy" in which a character gets divorced under a fictional 18th century procedure -- by shooting his wife dead.
Our question is, which came first? Is violence against women so tolerated that it makes its way into our entertainment, or does its saturating presence in our media desensitize us to violence in reality? Or is it simply an echo chamber, where each feeds the other and makes the problem more and more extreme?

68-Year-Old Woman Murdered in Atlanta

A 68-year-old Atlanta woman is dead after her husband shot her in the head Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Wheelchair-bound Rochelle Phillips died on the scene, authorities said.

The man then shot Phillips' son in the back of the neck when the younger man confronted the man, Atlanta police homicide Det. Lt. Keith Meadows said.

"The stepson came home and saw the stepfather holding the handgun in his hand, and tried to wrestle the gun away," Meadows said.

The husband is in custody after he confessed to police what he did, Meadows said.
Phillips' son is in critical condition at a nearby hospital, police said.
Elderly survivors of domestic violence have a host of additional barriers to leaving and/or getting safe. To learn more, visit the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Macon Man Murders Wife

Another Georgia man has murdered his wife:

A Macon woman who was shot in the head Friday during a domestic dispute died Sunday night, police said.

Cynthia Rhodes, 35, was pronounced dead at 8:05 p.m. at The Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon Police spokesman Sgt. Zac Self said. She had been in a coma since the shooting, which took place Friday night at a residence on May Place in the Unionville neighborhood.

Police charged Rhodes’ husband, 43-year-old Bernard Rhodes, with murder Sunday night. Bernard Rhodes was already being held at the Bibb County Jail on a charge of aggravated assault in connection to the shooting.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Department of Justice has released Attorney General Eric Holder's remarks from a DV Awareness Month event. Some excerpts:

But just listening to, and learning from, these women is not enough. We also need to take action, both in our personal and professional lives, to help others in our community who find themselves in this situation. We owe it to them. We owe it to ourselves.

Last year, there were over a half million non-fatal violent victimizations committed against women age 12 or older by an intimate partner. And more than 2,000 women and men were killed by intimate partners last year. These are not mere statistics we are talking about – we are talking about individual human beings: friends, colleagues, co-workers, neighbors, relatives. We should be appalled that this type of violence is visited upon them in this day and age. And we must do everything in our power to stop it.

While women are by no means the only victims of domestic violence, the facts are clear – women are most often murdered by people they know. In 2007, 64 percent of female homicide victims were murdered by a family member or intimate partner. By comparison, 16 percent of male homicide victims were murdered by a family member or intimate partner. Disturbingly, intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.

The numbers are similarly staggering when it comes to children’s experiences of domestic violence. According to a survey released two weeks ago by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1 in 4 children are exposed to some form of family violence in their lifetime.

These numbers are shocking and unacceptable.

We know that the most vulnerable in our society often bear the greatest burden in times of economic hardship. That’s why the Recovery Act included $225 million in grants through the Office of Violence against Women to expand efforts to combat violence against women and to invest in the lives of those who have been victimized and remain vulnerable. These vital funds will be used to support programs like SHAWL House and to help women like Gabby.

But we also know that money is not enough. This is why today’s dialogue must also lead to action. The kind of real, concrete action that impacts the lives of those most at risk and that otherwise might be broken.

We know that violence in the home doesn’t just impact individuals and families. It devastates entire communities because it is a precursor to so many other forms of violence. When children witness or experience violence in the home, it affects how children feel, how they act, and how they learn. Without intervention, children are at higher risk for school failure, substance abuse, repeat victimization, and perhaps most tragically, perpetrating violence later in their own lives.

We know that we must be open to new ideas and approaches. We must learn from each other what has worked – and what has not. We must acknowledge the great cultural diversity in our country and rise to the challenge of providing services that are truly culturally and linguistically relevant. We must dare to think differently and we must value innovation.

As a father of three children, I recognize that change has to come from within families as well. We all need to be role models and mentors for our children so that they have the best chance of living in violence-free communities and families.

None of us can solve this crisis alone. But by working together, by using every tool at our disposal and by refusing to ever back down or give up, we can make a real difference in our homes, our communities and in our nation.
Click here for the full text.

Proof That Stalking Isn't Funny

A woman is suing Toyota over a terrifying "prank" that left her believing that she was being stalked (note that we put our quotes around the work 'prank' whereas ABC puts their quotes around the word 'terrifying').

In a lawsuit filed Sept. 28 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Amber Duick claims she had difficulty eating, sleeping and going to work during March and April of last year after she received e-mails for five days from a fictitious man called Sebastian Bowler, from England, who said he was on the run from the law, knew her and where she lived, and was coming to her home to hide from the police. There was even a fictitious MySpace page reportedly created for Bowler.

Although Bowler did not have Duick's current address, he sent her links to his My Space
page as well as links to video clips of him causing trouble all over the country on his way to her former house in Los Angeles, according to the lawsuit.

The alleged harassment lasted five days, according to the suit, and frightened Duick so much she contacted neighbors, friends and family, and the occupant of her former home about the man she feared was coming to visit. Her attorney declined to comment as to whether or not she called the police. She even made her longtime boyfriend sleep with a club and mace next to the bed for protection.

"As a result of the e-mails, [Duick] found it extremely difficult to work, and her job performance suffered," the complaint said. "[She] was unable to perform her job duties at standard levels." It turns out the prank was actually part of a marketing effort executed by the Los Angeles division of global marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which created the campaign to promote the Toyota Matrix, a new model launched in 2008.

The campaign was designed by the firm Saatchi & Saatchi to target men under 35 who "hate advertising". Instead, they could be convinced to buy a car by setting their friends up to believe a complete stranger was terrorizing their way across the country, intending to find them at home.

The prank campaign, Saatchi creative director Alex Flint told the magazine, should gain the appreciation from "even the most cynical, anti-advertising guy."
If I were a man under the age of 35, I would be pretty ticked that the advertising industry assumes that I and all of my peers enjoy laughing at people being stalked.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Man Murders Estranged Wife's Boyfriend

Women's Resource Center makes a point of saying that domestic violence affects everyone, and friends and families members of victims are often caught in the cross hairs.

After forcing entry into his mother-in-law’s Bowdon home Friday, Duane Clough allegedly assaulted his mother-in-law and his wife, and killed a man who was in the residence.

Clough, 43, of Graham, Ala., and his wife, Michelle Clough, 33, had reportedly separated several months ago after 15 years of marriage.

The male victim, Christopher Watkins, 34, of Buchanan, was believed to have been Michelle Clough’s boyfriend.

Police responded to a 911 call for help around 6:50 a.m. from Michelle Clough’s mother, Mary Thomas, 62, after Duane Clough kicked in the door of her home and severely beat her.

Thomas was able to make the emergency phone call while Duane Clough had moved on to attack the others in the home, according to police reports. However, the call was cut short when Duane Clough attacked Thomas again, this time with a knife.

“There were no weapons seen when he entered the residence. He apparently used weapons of opportunity,” Sheriff’s Office Capt. Shane Taylor said.

Though investigators said they could not divulge details about the case, Taylor did confirm that one of the primary weapons used was a kitchen knife.

After Duane Clough had already killed Watkins, assaulted Michelle Clough and assaulted Thomas a second time, Thomas reportedly pretended to be unconscious or dead until her son-in-law left her home, according to Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley.

“It appears that he assaulted each of the victims with the intent to cause serious harm or death,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t seem that he showed hardly any restraint.”
Also of note is the fact that Duane Clough was suicidal and Michelle Clough had attempted to end the relationship.
Though Duane Clough’s criminal history is not yet known, according to a Randolph County incident report, he had attempted suicide between one and two months ago. During the attempted suicide, he shot himself and was airlifted to Columbus, Ala., where he received medical treatment, the report said.

While he was in the hospital, Michelle Clough moved back into their Graham, Ala. home. Duane Clough then returned to the house after being released from the hospital less than two weeks ago.

Michelle Clough reportedly left the Alabama residence to stay with her mother in Bowdon two days ago, according to Taylor.

Duane Clough was charged with murder, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated battery and burglary.
Threats of suicide are a major indicator of lethal danger and immediately after leaving is one of the most dangerous times for a victim of domestic violence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Call to Action: Media Accountability

We received this letter today from Jewish Women International:

Every 1.4 minutes another woman in the U.S. is injured or murdered by her intimate partner. This year our efforts around Domestic Violence Awareness Month are focused on the media – asking news outlets to tell the whole story when reporting incidents of domestic violence.

Reporting these crimes with accurate language is critical to the public’s understanding of domestic violence as a specific type of crime. Seventy-four percent of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; yet, the phrase ‘domestic violence’ is rarely found in coverage of these incidents. Reporting an assault or murder as one episode in a pattern of abuse – not an isolated act of violence – is as relevant as where, when, how and to whom it happened.

Journalists’ inaccurate accounts – reports that blame the victims, or excuse abusers –reinforce myths and misunderstandings about domestic violence. All media coverage of intimate partner violence must:
  • Acknowledge that domestic violence is not a private matter
  • Use accurate language – words like abuse; assault; rape
  • Convey that domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that often escalates when a victim is trying to leave, or has left, the relationship
  • Identify the act as a domestic violence crime and place the murder in the larger context of domestic violence murders locally and nationally
Please join our call for responsible reporting: Send a letter to an editor asking newspapers to thoroughly report crimes of domestic violence.

Together we can change attitudes about violence against women and put a stop to domestic abuse in our community.
Click here to join JWI in asking the media to use the real facts and the right words in reports on domestic violence.

If you'd like to do more on a local level to respond to media reports on domestic violence, contact the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Practical Implications of a Rape Culture

Melissa from Shakesville, whom we often site for her great breakdowns of basic feminist ideals, has hit one out of the park with her practical analysis of rape culture, which is more broadly known as "a complex set of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women". As always, the Shakesville community uses language that some readers may find offensive, so use caution if you click through to the full post or any of the following links. This is a long one, folks.

"Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, making irresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-[sex] in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey that violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.

Rape culture is treating straight sexuality as the norm. Rape culture is lumping queer sexuality into nonconsensual sexual practices like pedophilia and bestiality. Rape culture is privileging heterosexuality because ubiquitous imagery of two adults of the same-sex engaging in egalitarian partnerships without gender-based dominance and submission undermines (erroneous) biological rationales for the rape culture's existence.

Rape culture is rape being used as a weapon, a tool of war and genocide and oppression. Rape culture is rape being used as a corrective to "cure" queer women. Rape culture is a militarized culture and "the natural product of all wars, everywhere, at all times, in all forms."

Rape culture is 1 in 33 men being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is encouraging men to use the language of rape to establish dominance over one another ("I'll make you my b---h"). Rape culture is making rape a ubiquitous part of male-exclusive bonding. Rape culture is ignoring the cavernous need for men's prison reform in part because the threat of being raped in prison is considered an acceptable deterrent to committing crime, and the threat only works if actual men are actually being raped.

Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women's daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you're alone, if you're with a stranger, if you're in a group, if you're in a group of strangers, if it's dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you're carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you're wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who's around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who's at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn't follow all the rules it's your fault.

Rape culture is victim-blaming. Rape culture is a judge blaming a child for her own rape. Rape culture is a minister blaming his child victims. Rape culture is accusing a child of enjoying being held hostage, raped, and tortured. Rape culture is spending enormous amounts of time finding any reason at all that a victim can be blamed for his or her own rape.

Rape culture is judges banning the use of the word rape in the courtroom. Rape culture is the media using euphemisms for sexual assault. Rape culture is stories about rape being featured in the Odd News.

Rape culture is tasking victims with the burden of rape prevention. Rape culture is encouraging women to take self-defense as though that is the only solution required to preventing rape. Rape culture is admonishing women to "learn common sense" or "be more responsible" or "be aware of barroom risks" or "avoid these places" or "don't dress this way," and failing to admonish men to not rape.

Rape culture is "nothing" being the most frequent answer to a question about what people have been formally taught about rape.

Rape culture is boys under 10 years old knowing how to rape.

Rape culture is the idea that only certain people rape—and only certain people get raped. Rape culture is ignoring that the thing about rapists is that they rape people. They rape people who are strong and people who are weak, people who are smart and people who are dumb, people who fight back and people who submit just to get it over with, people who are sluts and people who are prudes, people who are rich and people who are poor, people who are tall and people who are short, people who are fat and people who are thin, people who are blind and people who are sighted, people who are deaf and people who can hear, people of every race and shape and size and ability and circumstance.

Rape culture is the narrative that sex workers can't be raped. Rape culture is the assertion that wives can't be raped. Rape culture is the contention that only nice girls can be raped.

Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing that the victim of every rapist shares in common is bad luck. Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing a person can do to avoid being raped is never be in the same room as a rapist. Rape culture is avoiding talking about what an absurdly unreasonable expectation that is, since rapists don't announce themselves or wear signs or glow purple.

Rape culture is people meant to protect you raping you instead—like parents, teachers, doctors, ministers, cops, soldiers, self-defense instructors.

Rape culture is a serial rapist being appointed to a federal panel that makes decisions regarding women's health.

Rape culture is a ruling that says women cannot withdraw consent once sex commences.

Rape culture is a collective understanding about classifications of rapists: The "normal" rapist (whose crime is most likely to be dismissed with a "boys will be boys" sort of jocular apologia) is the man who forces himself on attractive women, women his age in fine health and form, whose crime is disturbingly understandable to his male defenders. The "real sickos" are the men who go after children, old ladies, the disabled, accident victims languishing in comas—the sort of people who can't fight back, whose rape is difficult to imagine as titillating, unlike the rape of "pretty girls," so easily cast in a fight-[sex]fantasy of squealing and squirming and eventual relenting to the "flattery" of being raped.

Rape culture is the insistence on trying to distinguish between different kinds of rape via the use of terms like "gray rape" or "date rape."

Rape culture is pervasive narratives about rape that exist despite evidence to the contrary. Rape culture is pervasive imagery of stranger rape, even though women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street, making what is commonly referred to as "date rape" by far the most prevalent type of rape. Rape culture is pervasive insistence that false reports are common, although they are less common (1.6%) than false reports of auto theft (2.6%). Rape culture is pervasive claims that women make rape accusations willy-nilly, when 61% of rapes remain unreported.

Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that there is a "typical" way to behave after being raped, instead of the acknowledgment that responses to rape are as varied as its victims, that, immediately following a rape, some women go into shock; some are lucid; some are angry; some are ashamed; some are stoic; some are erratic; some want to report it; some don't; some will act out; some will crawl inside themselves; some will have healthy sex lives; some never will again.

Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that a rape victim who reports his or her rape is readily believed and well-supported, instead of acknowledging that reporting a rape is a huge personal investment, a difficult process that can be embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, frustrating, and too often unfulfilling. Rape culture is ignoring that there is very little incentive to report a rape; it's a terrible experience with a small likelihood of seeing justice served.

Rape culture is hospitals that won't do rape kits, disbelieving law enforcement, unmotivated prosecutors, hostile judges, victim-blaming juries, and paltry sentencing.

Rape culture is the fact that higher incidents of rape tend to correlate with lower conviction rates.

Rape culture is silence around rape in the national discourse, and in rape victims' homes. Rape culture is treating surviving rape as something of which to be ashamed. Rape culture is families torn apart because of rape allegations that are disbelieved or ignored or sunk to the bottom of a deep, dark sea in an iron vault of secrecy and silence.

Rape culture is the objectification of women, which is part of a dehumanizing process that renders consent irrelevant. Rape culture is treating women's bodies like public property. Rape culture is street harassment and groping on public transportation and equating raped women's bodies to a man walking around with valuables hanging out of his pockets. Rape culture is most men being so far removed from the threat of rape that invoking property theft is evidently the closest thing many of them can imagine to being forcibly subjected to a sexual assault.

Rape culture is treating 13-year-old girls like trophies for men regarded as great artists.

Rape culture is ignoring the way in which professional environments that treat sexual access to female subordinates as entitlements of successful men can be coercive and compromise enthusiastic consent.

Rape culture is a convicted rapist getting a standing ovation at Cannes, a cameo in a hit movie, and a career resurgence in which he can joke about how he hates seeing people get hurt.

Rape culture is when running dogfights is said to elicit more outrage than raping a woman would.

Rape culture is blurred lines between persistence and coercion. Rape culture is treating diminished capacity to consent as the natural path to sexual activity.

Rape culture is pretending that non-physical sexual assaults, like peeping tomming, is totally unrelated to brutal and physical sexual assaults, rather than viewing them on a continuum of sexual assault.

Rape culture is diminishing the gravity of any sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, or culture of actual or potential coercion in any way.

Rape culture is using the word "rape" to describe something that has been done to you other than a forced or coerced sex act. Rape culture is saying things like "That ATM raped me with a huge fee" or "The IRS raped me on my taxes."

Rape culture is rape being used as entertainment, in movies and television shows and books and in video games.

Rape culture is television shows and movies leaving rape out of situations where it would be a present and significant threat in real life.

Rape culture is Amazon offering to locate "rape" products for you.

Rape culture is rape jokes. Rape culture is rape jokes on t-shirts, rape jokes in college newspapers, rape jokes in soldiers' home videos, rape jokes on the radio, rape jokes on news broadcasts, rape jokes in magazines, rape jokes in viral videos, rape jokes in promotions for children's movies, rape jokes on Page Six (and again!), rape jokes on the funny pages, rape jokes on TV shows, rape jokes on the campaign trail, rape jokes on Halloween, rape jokes in online content by famous people, rape jokes in online content by non-famous people, rape jokes in headlines, rape jokes onstage at clubs, rape jokes in politics, rape jokes in one-woman shows, rape jokes in print campaigns, rape jokes in movies, rape jokes in cartoons, rape jokes in nightclubs, rape jokes on MTV, rape jokes on late-night chat shows, rape jokes in tattoos, rape jokes in stand-up comedy, rape jokes on websites, rape jokes at awards shows, rape jokes in online contests, rape jokes in movie trailers, rape jokes on the sides of buses, rape jokes on cultural institutions

Rape culture is people objecting to the detritus of the rape culture being called oversensitive, rather than people who perpetuate the rape culture being regarded as not sensitive enough.

Rape culture is the myriad ways in which rape is tacitly and overtly abetted and encouraged having saturated every corner of our culture so thoroughly that people can't easily wrap their heads around what the rape culture actually is.

That's hardly everything. It's merely the tip of an unfathomable iceberg."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another DV Murder in Athens String

Police have identified the couple who died in a murder suicide Friday as Harry and Phyllis Marable.

The couple, who lived at 130 Chardonay St. with their son, died sometime Friday afternoon of gunshot wounds.

Their son — who is 9 or 10 years old, according to police — discovered his parents' bodies around 6 p.m. in a bedroom of their home, which is in north Clarke County between Nowhere Road and Freeman Drive. The boy did not see his parents death, said Capt. Clarence Holeman, commanding officer of Centralized Criminal Investigations for the Athens-Clarke Police Department.

Police are certain that the deaths were a murder suicide, and an autopsy today turned up nothing unexpected, Holeman said.

Friday was a holiday for students in the Clarke County School District, so the child was home, but not in the room when his parents died.

“We know he was home, but he had gone out into the neighborhood,” Holeman said.

Police have responded to domestic calls involving the couple in the past, Holeman said. While he would not say whether the husband or wife was the shooter, the called the violence “definitely domestic.”

A spate of domestic violence murders in Athens-Clarke County this year have left at least 10 people dead, including two of the aggressors.

“Every homicide that we’ve had this year was domestic-violence related,” Holeman said.

On April 25, University of Georgia marketing professor George Zinkhan III shot and killed his wife, Marie Bruce, 47; Thomas Tanner, 40; and Ben Teague, 63, who tried to intervene, outside the Town and Gown Theatre on Grady Avenue.

Zinkhan, 57, committed suicide after digging a shallow grave for himself.

Four months earlier, on Jan. 28, police said John David Latimer shot and killed his two sisters and his brother in their trailer at Hallmark Mobile Home Park in Eastern Clarke County.

Latimer, 52, pleaded not guilty to 13 felonies in the deaths of Janice Carol Patterson, 57; Sara Kathleen Tatum, 61; and Thomas Garland Latimer, 50.

On Aug. 18, Lisa Davenport was set on fire by boyfriend Phillip Scruggs, according to police. She said Scruggs was the one who burned her, lost consciousness and died 11 days later at and Augusta hospital.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Missing Georgia Woman Found Murdered

The body of Jilani Platt, a 26-year-old pregnant woman who went missing early Saturday, was found Monday.

Her husband — already in jail on a weapons charge — was charged with murder, police said.

Platt’s body was found just after noon Monday about 300 feet north of Cargo Drive in a retention pond next to Schatulga Road, said Columbus Police Lt. Lynn Joiner. Platt, who was nine weeks pregnant, was reported missing around noon Saturday, about 12 hours after her husband, Zyderrious Platt, said he last saw her, reports state.

Zyderrious Platt, 31, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, police said the arrest was unrelated to his missing wife.

Police announced just after 5 p.m. Monday that he was also charged with murder.

Jilani Platt had gone to eat at T.G.I. Friday’s with a friend around 10 p.m. Friday, reports state. Zyderrious Platt told officers he and his wife had been texting each other, arguing about the rent that evening.

She returned home around midnight, and they continued arguing, reports said. Zyderrious Platt then left to take a drive and when he returned around 12:30 a.m., Jilani Platt wasn’t there, reports state.

Jilani Platt’s cell phone and keys were missing as well, though her car was still in the parking lot, reports state. She was reported missing when she failed to pick up her nephew at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Police began searching for her in the area of her Crystal Drive home, where Zyderrious Platt was arrested at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Reports state that he had a 9 mm Luger and was convicted in 2005 on an aggravated battery charge.

Joiner said family members and neighbors were interviewed, and police determined her disappearance may have been suspicious. The friend who had dinner with Jilani Platt Friday night told police that Jilani always told her mother where she was going and that Zyderrious Platt was very controlling and that he had threatened to kill her in the past, reports state.

The search in the Crystal Drive area was halted Sunday night, though investigators continued to search Monday morning. After her body was found, Zyderrious Platt was charged with murder.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Carrollton Murder Suicide

Carrollton police believe a man shot and killed his wife before taking his own life Thursday afternoon at the couple’s home.

Police, responding to an emergency call around 2:47 p.m., discovered the bodies of Cleodus Bryant, 70, and his wife Frances Bryant, 76, at their 201 River Drive residence. A relative reportedly stopped by the residence and made the 911 call.

Coroner Sam Eady pronounced both the man and woman dead at the scene and confirmed that they died of gunshot wounds.

“From the preliminary investigation it looks like he shot her and then turned the gun on himself,” Patrol Capt. Jamison Sailors said. “At this point, we don’t know why this happened.”

Stop Making DV Jokes!

We could do much to change the way our public views domestic violence by providing training to those at newspapers and news websites who write headlines for articles. The lesson: stop minimizing violence against women and trying to turn it into a joke!

Headline: Man poisoned wife in "ill thought-out" act of love

Actual Article: A man who tried to poison his estranged wife so he could rekindle her love by nursing her back to health gets no jail time.

Headline: Man accused of plotting mayhem to win woman's love
Actual Article: Man tries to hire his roommate to kidnap a woman, slash her face repeatedly with a utility knife and torch her Toyota.

Headline: Boyfriend of the year material
Actual Article: A woman reports a former boyfriend's stalking behavior, including threats to post videos of their intimate moments on Youtube and Myspace, tried to interference with a job opportunity, and comments that, in the past, he "has killed someone."

Headline: Husband goes nuts over nuts
Actual Article: A man beats his wife in front of their children.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Call to Action: SAFE Act

From Senator Patty Murray's website:

Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) introduced legislation with Senators Sherrod Brown and Chris Dodd to ensure that victims of domestic violence have the financial means to escape abusive relationships. The Security and Financial Empowerment Act (SAFE Act) would make a number of changes in federal law to ensure that victims of domestic violence have the ability to leave their abusers, support themselves and their families while they seek help, and are not discriminated against or penalized simply for being abused.

Murray’s reintroduction of the SAFE Act comes as Congress debates health insurance reform. Murray has long insisted that we reform the insurance industry to end the practice of considering domestic abuse to be a pre-existing condition. Her efforts to reform the system in the HELP Committee were voted down by Republicans in 2006, but the health care reform bill that passed the Committee in late July does include language that would end the practice.

“For too long domestic violence victims have been victimized twice – first by their abusers and then again by financial and insurance constraints that punish them for their abusers’ crimes. The SAFE Act will help domestic violence victims break the financial chains that bind them to their abusers,” Senator Murray said. “As we work to reform our health care system to eliminate discriminatory practices against victims of domestic violence, we also need to look at the larger financial system and ensure that no victim ever has to choose between personal safety and economic security.”

Senator Murray has spent years in the Senate fighting for awareness of and protection for victims of domestic violence

Senator Murray first introduced legislation that would provide financial protections to victims of abuse in 2001. She reintroduced similar bills in 2003. 2005, and 2007.

Murray also introduced an amendment in 2006 that would have prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against victims of domestic violence, but this was defeated in committee. This amendment was introduced at a hearing of the HELP Committee considering the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act.

Background on SAFE Act:

While the devastating physical and emotional effects of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are well documented, little attention has been paid to the severe economic consequences of these types of abuse – estimated to cost U.S. employers between $3 billion and $13 billion annually.

Currently, victims of domestic violence are not expressly allowed by federal law to take leave from work for the purpose of dealing with domestic violence, nor do they have the right to unemployment compensation if they lose their jobs due to circumstances resulting from abuse. Victims who seek help to leave their abuser are often discriminated against by employers and insurers.

These restrictions often force victims to choose between their safety and their financial security. Abusers frequently exploit their victims’ economic dependence to keep them trapped in violent relationships.

To address these issues, Senator Murray is re-introducing the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act. This legislation promotes financial security for victims of abuse in several ways:

  • Allows a victim to take time off from work, without penalty from their employers, to make necessary court appearances, seek legal assistance, and get help with safety planning. For families attempting to escape a violent environment, attending to such necessities is often a matter of life and death.

  • Ensures that victims can retain the financial independence necessary to leave their abusers without having to rely on welfare by requiring that states provide unemployment benefits to victims who are terminated from employment due to circumstances stemming from domestic violence.

  • Prohibits employers or insurance providers from basing hiring or coverage decisions on a victim’s history of abuse.

  • Addresses the punitive elements of the welfare system that can penalize victims who are fleeing dangerous situations, also called the Family Violence Option.
Contact your Senators and tell them to support the SAFE Act!