Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Valdosta Man Charged With DV Homicide

According to the WALB News:

Valdosta police found 47-year-old Charlotte Grant suffering from severe head injuries in her home near 600 New Hudson Street. Around midnight, paramedics rushed her to South Georgia Medical Center where she died.

Minutes after witnesses had given police a description of the suspect, they found 58-year-old Kenneth Brown and charged him with murder. Investigators say it appears he struck Grant with an object which officers later recovered and believe to be the murder weapon.

The Tifton Gazzette reports that the couple were believed to have lived together.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Grant family.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Man Killed in Violent Altercation

A Spalding County woman was forced to stab her husband in self-defense because he was strangling their son.

No charges are expected against a Spalding County woman who stabbed and killed her husband Sunday night as he was attempting to choke the couple's son, police said.
Investigators believe the incident began with a physical fight between Ricky Evans, 39, and 37-year-old Schmanthe Evans, said Capt. Tony Ranieri with the Spalding County Sheriff's Office. After Ricky Evans struck his wife, the couple's son, Reauarius Evans, got involved, Ranieri said.

Reauarius Evans called 911 to report the incident, and his mother called two minutes later to report the same incident, Ranieri said. Deputies found Ricky Evans dead inside the front door of the Highfalls Road home, he said. Reauarius Evans sustained a severe cut to his hand and was transported by ambulance to Spalding Regional Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Investigators believe the woman acted to protect her son's life, and charges are not expected to be filed, Ranieri said.

"This is a very tragic incident that took place and the only findings the investigators could determine were that Schmanthe Evans was trying to protect her son," Ranieri said in a statement Monday night.

Family members told deputies the couple had fought constantly over the years and that Ricky Evans had a history of violence.
It is unfortunate that many women are forced to take the life of another person to keep themselves safe. Here in DeKalb County, two women were tried in 2010 for killing a spouse who had a history of abuse against them. Thankfully, both of them escaped spending the rest of their lives in prison, but their lives were changed forever. It is vital that we provide women with whatever supports we can to help them end abusive relationships before they have to take such drastic measures.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Evans family.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Harrisburg Man Kills Son, 13, Then Self

As reported by the Gazette Times:

Linn County sheriff’s detectives determined that Darwin D. Stout, 49, killed his son Jared Stout, 13, before taking his own life, Sheriff Tim Mueller announced Thursday afternoon.

According to the state medical examiner, a postmortem examination Thursday indicated both died of knife wounds.

LaMae Stout, 58, the wife and mother, found the bodies when she returned home from work at about 7:30 Wednesday night. She went to a neighbor, who called 911.

The deaths apparently occurred Wednesday morning. No one else was at home.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stout family.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gwinnett Man Accused of Killing Girlfriend

The AJC reports that a Lawrenceville man is accused of murdering his girlfriend.

Allen DeWayne Williams was being held in the Gwinnett County Detention Center Tuesday on murder and assault charges.

Williams, 49, is accused of beating his girlfriend to death Sunday, Channel 2 Action News reported Tuesday evening.

The TV station obtained an arrest warrant with the details, which indicated that the death occurred in the 900 block of Buford Dr. and that the victim was Betty A. Ranow.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ranow family.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Macon Man Charged in Girlfriend's Shooting

WSAV in Savannah reports that a man has been arrested in the shooting death of a Macon woman.

The 65-year-old estranged boyfriend of a woman found dead inside her home nine months ago has been charged in her fatal shooting.

The Crawford County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that Jerry Odell Hicks is charged with murder in the death of Kaye Molton Elkins. He also faces several firearms charges linked with the 61-year-old's killing.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Craig Rotter said the two had a tumultuous relationship with a history of domestic violence.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Elkins family.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cobb Man Charged With Double Murder

The AJC reports that a Cobb County man is accused of killing his ex-wife and her new partner.

A Kennesaw man has been charged with shooting two people to death early Saturday.

The bodies of Fatoumata Ntiamoah, 27, and Mohamed Zaine, 32, were found by Cobb County police around 4 a.m.

Investigators later arrested and charged Michael Ntiamoah, 32, with two counts of murder, aggravated assault and burglary.

Michael Ntiamoah and Fatoumata Ntiamoah were married at some point, Officer Joe Hernandez told the AJC on Sunday.

Fatoumata Ntiamoah was in a relationship with Mohamed Zaine, and they were living together when they were killed, Hernandez said.
Updated reports state that Fatoumata Ntiamoah was found on a driveway and Zaine was found inside the townhouse the two shared, neighbors told Channel 2 Action News. Neighbors said they heard nearly 30 shots and watched as Michael Ntiamoah chased the woman down the street, shooting at her.

We can't emphasize enough how these "private" matters never remain private, and how domestic violence regularly spills out into public spaces, putting others in danger. As far as we know, Ms. Ntiamoah did everything "right". She certainly ended her marriage and moved to another residence. Still, she was not safe, and neither was anyone in her neighborhood that night. That is why holding batterers accountable for their violence socially and legally is so vitally important. We need to make batterers feel that they will suffer undesirable consequences if they continue their violent behavior.

And, better yet, we should all make a commitment to raise our children with the understanding that violence against a partner is never acceptable.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ntiamoah family.

Columbus Murder-Suicide

As reported by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

Investigators have tentatively determined that [Alisha] Kendrick was shot and killed by her husband, Christopher, sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, Columbus Police Capt. Gordon Griswould said. A local state trooper drove to the Kendricks’ house Wednesday afternoon after Alisha didn’t report to work.

An autopsy conducted Thursday revealed both victims died of gunshot wounds to the head.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kendrick family.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Armies Using Rape As Tool Of War To Be Shamed

In a piece of cool news, the United Nations Security Council has voted to publicly shame armed groups around the world who use rape and other abuses of women as a weapon of war.

This may not seem like much. After all, it's not a withdrawal of a privilege or a formal sanction of some sort, but it is a big deal for the UN to recognize that they must condemn violence against women, especially when it is used as a weapon to systematically harm and demoralize groups of people.

Also, what we know is that public stigma can be a powerful motivator. If a man's friends make it clear that they disapprove of spousal abuse and they think badly of men who do it, many men will be less likely to harm their wives, knowing that they will face a loss of social status. Clearly, the UN is hoping for the same results in the nations to whom they draw attention with this effort. We hope it works.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Soldier Stabbing May Have Been Self-Defense

Online Athens reports that the solider killed at Fort Stewart may have been stabbed in self-defense.

Army investigators suspect a slain Fort Stewart soldier found bleeding outside his barracks may have been stabbed in a domestic fight in which he was the aggressor, a spokesman for the Georgia Army post said Wednesday.

Fort Stewart officials identified the slain soldier as Alante L. Whiting, 22, of Westland, Mich.

Whiting, an intelligence analyst who joined the Army in 2008, had just returned from a yearlong deployment to Iraq about 18 hours before he was killed Dec. 8.
It is incredibly tragic that this young man was killed within a day of returning from war. It is equally tragic that, if he was indeed killed in self-defense, that one of his first acts upon returning from war was to initiate violence against an intimate partner. It is incredibly important that our military families receive the help that they need as they deal with the trauma of service and of separation. It is equally important that our military take domestic violence seriously and provide protections both to soldiers and to spouses if violence is suspected inside the home. provides information and resources for those in military households who are experiencing abuse. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thompson High Student Arrested for Murdering Ex

A 15-year-old Georgia student has been murdered and her boyfriend has been charged with the crime.

In McDuffie County, the community is dealing with its third murder in two weeks. The body of 15-year-old Shakira Hudson was found behind her home Friday morning.

Melita Hudson, Shakira Hudson's aunt: "It's awful, It's awful. I never would have thought anything like this would have happened."

Friends and family were in tears, after news quickly spread at Thomson High School that the 15-year old student was killed.

Pedrinisha Few, Shakira Hudson's friend: "She was like, 'You heard about Kira?' I said, 'what happened to her?' She said she was dead. I said, 'please don't tell me that.'"

Shakira Hudson's body was found on near a shed at the back of her home at Washington Place Apartments, in Thomson.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents tell us they were tipped off by the McDuffie County School System.

Hudson's Aunt says her neice's boyfriend, Terry Johnson, was that one that told teachers.

Melita Hudson: "He was in class, he went on up there and told them they needed to go check on her because she's hurting real bad."

Family members say they saw Johnson talking with Hudson Thursday night....

Melita Hudson: "When my son pulled up, they were talking outside. When he got ready to leave, they moved to the side of the apartment."

Now, investigators are working to piece exactly what happened.

Investigators arrested Shakira's boyfriend, Terry Johnson, on Friday evening. He has been charged with murder.
If you suspect your teen may be involved in an abusive relationship, please call the national teen dating violence helpline at 1-866-331-9474. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hudson family.

Monday, November 29, 2010

College Park Man Accused of Murder

According to 11 Alive news, a College Park man has been arrested, accused of shooting and killing his estranged wife in a crowded mall parking lot Sunday evening.

College Park Police found Asa Stean Barrow fatally shot in front of the Old National Discount Mall on Godby Road in College Park.

Lt. Bruce Braxton said in a statement their initial investigation revealed James Barrow shot his wife then exchanged gunfire with mall security guards before fleeing the mall.

Sunday night College Park police were hunting for Barrow in a white sedan.

Police found Barrow at a relative's house in Troup county. Barrow is being taken back to College Park to face murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated stalking charges.
This is another killing in a public place that could have brought serious harm to uninvolved bystanders. It is a further reminder why domestic violence will never just be a private, family matter but instead is an issue that everyone should care about.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Barrow family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lincoln County Murder-Suicide

In the latest of a rash of recent DV murder-suicide or murder-attempted suicides in Georgia, Lincoln County investigators now report that a man killed his wife, then himself in Lincolnton.

Investigators are now calling it a domestic dispute; they say 53-year-old Christopher Holloway shot and killed his 37-year-old wife, Pamela, before turning the gun on himself.

A family member discovered the couple inside their Lincolnton home around 7:54 Monday morning. That family member then called the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, who later called in the GBI to help with the investigation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Holloway family.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fort Valley Murder-Suicide reports the death of married couple, which the coroner has determined was a murder-suicide.

Peach County Coroner Kerry Rooks said 54-year-old James Wallace shot his wife, Annie Ruth Wallace, also 54, multiple times Friday afternoon and then turned the gun on himself.
The couple was reportedly in the midst of a divorce.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wallace family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Domestic Violence Murder in Douglasville

WSB also reports today that a Douglasville woman was killed and a man injured in what police are describing as a "domestic" situation. Little else is known at this time.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Police: Lawrenceville Man Kills Wife

WSB reports that a Lawrenceville man is accused of killing his estranged wife, then shooting himself in front of their home.

Police said a preliminary investigation revealed that Robert Taylor, 37, and his wife, Joy Taylor, 38, were separated. Police said Robert Taylor returned to their home on Park Creek Circle near Lawrenceville on Sunday night and confronted Joy Taylor.

Police said the two were engaged in a verbal argument in the driveway when Robert Taylor shot and killed Joy Taylor. Police said Robert Taylor then shot himself.

Robert Taylor was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center for treatment of life-threatening injuries. He was listed in critical condition.
As always, our thoughts and prayers are with the Taylor family.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

He Would Never Hit a Girl

An Atlanta teen was beaten to death outside a party this week. According to witness accounts given to the AJC, this is what happened:

Two young women got into a fight outside a party. One of the women struck a male partygoer.

The young man did not hit back, saying that he doesn't hit girls, but vowed that the next guy who walked by would get what she deserved.

18-year-old Bobby Tillman walked by.

The young man who was struck began to beat Bobby Tillman. Three others joined in.

They beat Bobby to death.

Do you see why it isn't enough just to teach our sons not to hit girls? The young man in question absorbed that lesson to the letter. What he did not learn was not to hurt women, not to threaten or intimidate them in order to control their behavior. So, instead of hitting her, he chose a random bystander to hurt, letting her know that this was her fault. He was seeking her anguish, her anger, her shame. He punished her by assaulting Bobby. Yes, she hit him first, but he reacted with a much greater degree of violence, and now an innocent young man is dead and a young girl is left, for the rest of her life, feeling like she caused his death.

It is not enough to teach our sons not to hit girls. Men who are arrested or who are enrolled in family violence intervention programs often learn not to hit women. They don't always learn not to use verbal abuse, or financial abuse, or threats of suicide, or other means of controlling women. Our sons, and our brothers, and our coworkers, and our friends need to learn that violence is never a problem-solver. They should also learn to treat others with respect, and that it is never okay to use controlling tactics to punish another person or to get a person to do what you want. No one should have been hit that night, and certainly no one should have died.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tillman family.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Augusta Man "Person of Interest" in DV Murder

An Augusta grandmother was found stabbed to death in her home, and her former partner has been identified as a "person of interest".

Authorities discovered the body of [Norma Jean] Mobley, 52, a mother of four and grandmother of seven, in her residence on the 1600 block of McCauley Street in Cherry Tree Crossing about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Authorities named Samuel Steplight as a person of interest Wednesday. Steplight and Mobley had been living together for about four years before splitting up a month ago.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mobley family.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rome Man Kills Wife, Self

According to a preliminary police investigation:
The preliminary investigation indicated that Jeffery Ware shot his wife, Jeannine, 47, during an argument at their Booger Hollow Road home, and then turned the gun on himself, said Capt. Mark Wallace of the Floyd County Police Department.

Police are still investigating what led to the shooting.

The woman was holding her 16-year-old son’s leg when she was shot in the back and at least twice more, Wallace said.

The couple’s 14-year-old son was also in the home, but it was not clear late Wednesday where he was at the time of the shootings, Wallace said. It was the 14-year-old who called 911, he said.

The teens were not injured.

Jeffery Ware was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Barry Henderson. Jeannine Ware was pronounced dead on arrival at Floyd Medical Center at 5:46 p.m., Henderson said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ware family, especially the young men who are left without parents.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Atlanta Man Charged with Killing New Bride

According the the AJC:

Police say 29-year-old Minchillo McLester fatally shot his 25-year-old wife, Madison McLester, early Sunday after they returned from a Halloween party. He's being held without bond on a murder charge at the Fulton County Jail, with a scheduled court date of Nov. 15.

The pair had married Oct. 10. Police do not have a motive in the killing.

Madison McLester was found on the floor of their home in the 1000 block of Oak Street, in southwest Atlanta. She had been shot several times, police said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Women Arrested for DV Murders

Two Georgia women have been arrested recently for murdering their husbands. WRC knows that women are also capable of using violence, but we also know that women are much less likely than men to murder a spouse or intimate partner. In addition, much of the violence used by women that men's groups cite to prove that men are equally as victimized happens in self-defense. When viewing these two murder cases through that lens, it is certainly interesting to note that both homicide victims had a history of domestic violence.

From WALB:

An Albany woman, who shot and killed her ex-husband Monday night says she'd long been the victim of domestic violence.

33 year old Marlina Hamilton is charged with killing 32 -year old Christopher Donaldson.

Donaldson had just gotten out of prison in March and Police say he and Hamilton, who divorced two years ago, were talking about moving back in together.

Police were called to Hamilton's home around 10:30 that night because of an argument, and officers told Donaldson to leave.

He returned a couple of hours later and was shot.
From the AJC:

A 53-year-old northwest Georgia man was shot and killed Wednesday night, and his wife has been charged with murder.

Walker County deputies were dispatched to the Flintstone home after receiving a call about a domestic dispute, the Rome News-Tribune reported. Deputies found D.C. Hollis dead on the living room floor, according to the report.

Hollis apparently died from a single .38-caliber gunshot wound to the head, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson told the newspaper. An autopsy will be conducted at the GBI crime lab.

Hollis' wife, 53-year-old Jimmie Nell Hollis, was arrested and charged with murder, Wilson said.

The couple has a history of being arrested, according to the Walker County Messenger.

D.C. Hollis was released from state prison in 2006 following his conviction on aggravated assault charges, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.
This is not to say that either man deserved to be killed, but you don't often see newspaper reports of female homicide victims that mention that she spent time in prison for assault or that he claims she had of a history of abuse toward him. Even if we count cases where women kill their partners in self-defense, or to end a lifetime of abuse as these cases may be, the unfortunate reality is that women are still disproportionately killed by their partners and men are disproportionately the ones who do the killing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

White House Remarks for DVAM

President Obama made remarks today as part of a Domestic Violence Awareness Month event. Here is an excerpt:

Those stories remind us of how cruel, how menacing domestic violence can be -- because it happens at home, the place where you should feel safe. Because the abuse comes at the hands of the people who are supposed to love you and trust you. Because escaping domestic violence is not only associated with a great deal of fear but also incredible financial and legal challenges that often leave victims of abuse feeling trapped.

That’s what we have to change. And I say that not only as a President, but as a son, as a husband, as the father of two daughters. Now, we’ve made a great deal of progress in recent years. But everybody in this room understands that our work is not yet finished. Not when there’s more we can do to help folks looking to restart their lives and achieve financial independence. Not when there’s more to do to ensure that the victims of abuse have access to legal protection. Not when children are trapped in abusive homes -- especially when we know the lingering damage and despair that this can cause in a child’s life. Not when one in every four women experiences domestic violence -- and one in six women are sexually assaulted -- at some point in their lives.

The full remarks are available here.

At the event, the President also announced plans for a series of federal domestic violence initiatives. From Politico:

There are programs targeted at children, including a fund to assist pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence in five states — North Carolina, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia and Washington — and Head Start centers in six states – Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico and South Carolina – will launch a program to help staff members identify signs of domestic violence in children and respond appropriately.

HUD will release guidelines for housing authorities and landlords who have tenants who may be victims of domestic violence, a move that codifies protections outlined in the Violence Against Women Act. The FDIC will expand its Money Smart financial literacy curriculum on Friday to include information for victims of domestic violence.

The Justice Department will announce the start of a pilot program intended to get more private lawyers to offer services to domestic violence victims pro bono. “Beginning in New Orleans and Baltimore, private law firms will hire law students who have participated in law school clinics and defer their start dates while they work at domestic violence service providers,” the White House fact sheet states.

The initiatives also include a new website,, which will be up and running this week to help employers address the impacts of domestic violence in the workplace.
It is amazing what can be accomplished by a government that takes domestic violence seriously, and we applaud the Obama administration for these efforts.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More News from Churches

The Epsicopal Diocese of Atlanta has posted an article on their website about the role churches can play in stopping domestic violence. They also cite one of the most important facts when it comes to the importance of faith organizations taking a stand: women who are experiencing domestic violence in Georgia are much more likely to reach out to their church than to law enforcement or domestic violence agencies like ours.

We did a special interview in our fall newsletter with Victoria Ferguson, an advocate at our safehouse. Victoria has a background in theology and works with women who are experiencing crises in their faith because of family violence. She also provides advice for faith-based organizations in working with both survivors and abusers. You can find our newsletter here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Effects of Wrongful Arrest

The Albany Herald provided coverage this week of a Domestic Violence Awareness Month event hosted by a sister DV agency in Georgia called Liberty House. The discussion focused on an extremely important topic: the number of women whose lives are negatively impacted by calling the police because they are wrongfully arrested for using violence in self-defense.

It bothers domestic-violence survivors that victims have to fear being jailed for protecting themselves.

“My husband put a .357 Magnum to my head, and he beat me with a belt,” said Karen Lawrence, an Albany resident. “But if I hit him and gave him a scratch, he would just say go ahead and call the police. They’ll put us both in jail.”

Lawrence spoke from the audience at a Liberty House-sponsored discussion on domestic violence labeled “The Face of Domestic Violence” Thursday at Darton College.

Her experience also touched on Tuesday’s gunshot killing of Christopher Donaldson by his ex-wife Marlina Hamilton, Lawrence said.

“If the man leaves when the police were there and then he comes back, everyone I know in that situation knows that the man comes back much more mad,” Lawrence said. “Any woman will tell you that.

He is mad you called the police and he is mad you made him leave.”
Women's Resource Center offers a twice-monthly class that provides "anger management" for women who have been arrested for domestic violence. What we have observed in this class is that most of the women were arrested for using violence in self-defense. Other women were arrested for provoking a fight that they knew was coming because he had a history of using violence against her and she was tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Many of the women could benefit from anger management instruction, but most need domestic violence counseling and services.

The effects of these arrests cannot be understated. Many women lose their jobs, some lose their housing or public benefits, and some lose their children to their batterers or to state custody. These women also learn very quickly not to call the police ever again, meaning that they also lose the protections of the legal system. These wrongful arrests allow her to keep being victimized and are more likely to keep her in the relationship than to help her escape from it. This is an important discussion that many organizations are afraid to have and we applaud Liberty House and the Albany Herald for talking about this issue.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Man, 2 Children Dead in DV Murder-Suicide

Media outlets around the state are slowly releasing details about a Southwest Georgia man suspected of killing his 15-year-old and 8-year-old stepchildren, then himself.

From Fox 31 in Southwest Georgia:

Colquitt County Sheriff's officials say it started as a domestic violence situation between Kejie McDougald and his wife Angela. But it ended with the death of the husband and their two children.

“She got away from him, escaped from the house ran to a neighbor. In [sic] the husband took the lives of two children and himself,” said Colquitt County Sheriff Al Whittington.

Investigators say the kids, both boys ages 15 and 8, were just getting ready for bed when the violence broke out.

It's also an especially tough case for the sheriff's department, because Angela McDougald is one of their own.

“She is a deputy sheriff with Colquitt County. She has been with us since I think '02, just a fine young lady,” said Whittington.

This crime affects a large part of Colquitt Count, because not only did Mrs. McDougald work for the sheriff's office, but she was assigned at the Colquitt county school system, where her husband also worked and both of their children attended classes.
People are always shocked when someone they know commits an act this violent, but we would remind everyone that batterers don't walk around with a neon sign on their chest that says "beware". They look like everyone else, and just because they are nice to their neighbors or good at their job does not mean that they aren't capable of violence within the home.

Another truth is that survivors of domestic violence don't wear signs on their chest identifying themselves as such. Many of us have a stereotype of a domestic violence victim in our head. She is usually covered in bruises, cowering in a corner, has no self esteem, and is in need of rescue. Occasionally WRC meets women like that, who have been so beaten down by years of abuse that they have lost their sense of self, but more often the women, just like the men, look like everyone else.

This is certainly a teaching moment for an entire county about what domestic violence can look like. We should also remember that this is not just a teaching moment, but the loss of three lives to a problem that our society largely ignores. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McDougald family.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lawrenceville Man Kills Wife, Self

The AJC reports that a Lawrenceville woman, who died due to lacerations to her neck, was murdered and her husband, also found dead at the scene, committed suicide. The couple's 12- and 9-year-old children were present in the home and report hearing the couple fight the night before.

The two were found dead inside a house in the 2000 block of Carriage Way near Lawrenceville, police said.

Gwinnett police spokesman Edwin Ritter said that the couple's 12-year-old son went to a neighbor's house around 7:30 a.m. and told the neighbor something was wrong with his father and that he might be dead. The neighbor phoned police, who responded and found the couple dead inside the home, Ritter said.

The home where the incident occurred is in a neighborhood of middle-income families off Old Peachtree Road, between Braselton Highway and Ga. 20, according to Ritter.

Neighbor Christopher Smith, told the AJC that he was awakened by the children screaming.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hall family.

Monday, October 4, 2010

DeKalb Man Kills Wife, Attempts Suicide

CBS Atlanta reports that an Avondale Estates man killed his wife Saturday, then attempted to take his own life.

Police were dispatched to the 1100 block of Berkeley Road around five a.m. Friday. There they found the body of 64-year-old Karen Jenkins and her critically wounded husband Ronald Jenkins, also 64.

Police said it appears Karen Jenkins was stabbed to death, and Ronald Jenkins had self inflicted slashing wounds to both wrists.

Ronald Jenkins was transported to Grady Hospital in critical condition. He has been charged with murder.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jenkins family.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Palmetto Man Murders Wife

A Palmetto man is accused by police of murdering his wife.
Fredrick Gathoga, 41, was arrested after his wife, Naomi Mwangi, was found dead on the kitchen floor of their Carlton Point Drive home.

Palmetto police charged Gathoga with murder, said GBI spokesman John Bankhead.

Police believe Gathoga killed his wife during a domestic dispute, said Bankhead, whose office was called to assist in the investigation at about 1:15 a.m.

The cause of death is known, but the medical examiner's report has not been made public.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mwangi family.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sports Writers Pay Attention

Right on the heels of another article taking athletes and teams to task for their use and acceptance of domestic violence, comes this article from Scoop Jackson on Real Clear Sports. He makes a declaration that we wish all men understood:

As a man, it would be irresponsible of me to continue to ignore it. Continue to tune out the pattern. Continue to pretend that these are just isolated incidents.

As a man -- especially a man who covers sports for a living -- that would make me a coward.
This too is a fantastic article meriting a full read. Here are some of the highlights:

These are not just cases of "Floyd Being Floyd" or "Lance Being Lance" or "Chris Being Chris." The issue is bigger than them individually. This is about all male athletes -- black, white, straight, gay, old, young, paid, not-paid, superstar or unknown -- and how they control personal anger and how they handle personal issues. Again, we can no longer afford to look at these incidents as isolated.

A study by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, cited in a 2003 story in the Los Angeles Times related to the Kobe Bryant case, found that male athletes are accused of committing an average of two reported acts of violence against women per week. According to Richard Lapchick, one of the authors of that study, those numbers haven't changed since then.

University of Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey, sent a text to his former girlfriend stating, "Time to Die, b----," according to Gainesville police. Rainey has been charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony...

Just the fact that University of Tennessee fans are printing up orange "Time To Die" T-shirts for their upcoming game against Florida this weekend is reason enough for us to increase our investment in a solution.
Please check out the whole thing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

DV, Not Just For Athletes Anymore

Domestic violence is well-known to permeate locker rooms, but it seems that the attitudes that perpetuate violence against women are spreading to sportscasters as well. The Huffington Post reports that ESPN personality Jay Mariotti is being charged with domestic violence against his girlfriend.

Seven misdemeanors are being filed against Mariotti, including domestic violence with injury, false imprisonment and grand theft, city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan said. Each count carries a maximum of a year in jail.
As per usual, the defense has wasted no time in painting Mariotti as the victim.

"We are confident that the facts will show the complainant was extremely intoxicated that night and abusive toward Mr. Mariotti," [Mariotti's defense attorney] said.
According to the LA Times:
LAPD sources said the couple began fighting at a club in Santa Monica after Mariotti accused his girlfriend of flirting with another man. The argument continued outside the club and as the pair left in their car.

The argument continued at the couple's Venice-area apartment, where Mariotti allegedly pushed and shoved the woman. During the altercation, Mariotti grabbed her arm, leaving marks, the sources said.

Police were called to the apartment and found his girlfriend, who has not been identified, with cuts and bruises.
As per the unusual, ESPN immediately issued a statement to the Associated Press stating that they did not plan to continue using Mariotti in their programming.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Georgia Ranks High in Men Killing Women

According to the FBI, Georgia now ranks 10th in the nation for the per capita number of men who kill women. The report, provided by the Violence Policy Center, details national and state-by-state information for 2008 on female homicides involving one victim and one offender. Nevada ranks #1 for the number of women killed, followed by Vermont, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and South Carolina. Read the entire report here, which includes a section specific to Georgia.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Firearms in the Home Make DV Murder More Likely

The Federal Way Mirror reports on a study from the New England Journal of Medicine that found that having a gun in your home makes it three times more likely that you or someone you care about will be murdered by a family member or partner.

Another study published in the Journal of Family Psychology shows a higher likelihood for children to experience behavior problems once they have witnessed firearm-related domestic violence. One East Coast state, however, did consider enacting legislation that would make it easier for domestic violence victims to obtain firearms — only to face denunciation from domestic violence victim advocacy groups that instead support stronger legislation against gun ownership for abusers and from various police agencies that were not eager to have more weapons being introduced into volatile situations that often require police intervention.

The position in a Sept. 11 Federal Way Mirror column by Mark Knapp — that since laws designed to reduce the frequency and severity of domestic violence crimes don't always work, and that potential crime victims should be trained in the use of firearms (and encouraged to get firearms by government attorneys) so that these potential victims can enact vigilante justice — is sending the wrong message to our community. This is not an issue of the proper exercise of a Second Amendment right. This is an issue of the responsible exercise of a Second Amendment right. Study after study shows introducing more firearms (by a perpetrator or a victim) into a domestic violence situation normally results in an escalation of that violence.

Many people we talk to at community education events say that if they were ever in an abusive relationship, they would get their own gun and fight back. These studies prove what a bad idea that can be. Instead of introducing more guns into homes where violence is taking place, we should support the enforcement of the guns laws we have in place to remove guns from batterers' reach entirely.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Murder-Suicide in Sandy Springs

A man is accused of killing his wife and them himself outside of a baby shower in Sandy Springs.

Edward Shaw, 45, and his wife Lillian, 44, were attending a baby shower at an apartment on Summit Springs Drive when an argument turned deadly, police said.

Witnesses said the Fayetteville couple stepped outside and continued arguing. They said the man shot his wife several times before turning the gun on himself.

He was rushed to North Fulton Hospital, where he died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

The couple was in the process of getting a divorce, police said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shaw family.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Talking About Rape

People use the word "rape" in all sorts of conversations. Sometimes it's a metaphor, as in "Big business is raping the environment". Sometimes it's used as a threat, as in " The Bulldogs are going to gang-rape Florida this weekend." Sometimes it's used to describe the crime of rape, but when we use it is so many other contexts, it starts to make us take the actual experience a lot less seriously.

Don't believe us? Read this article by Kira Cochrane for the Guardian [warning for adult language]. She goes on for paragraphs listing many recent instances of rape being used as a metaphor, rape jokes told by comedians, and sexual assault scenes in movies used for comedic value, ending with the conclusion that people these days just don't take rape very seriously. I hope we don't need to convince you that it is serious.
As Sandy Brindley, national co-ordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland, says: "Rape is so particularly traumatic and so meaningful in so many ways, that there's something about using the word in other contexts that diminishes the reality of it, and the impact it has on women's lives. Rape is a powerful word, and it's powerful for a reason, because of that devastating impact."

Aside from suggesting rape isn't all that serious, these jokes also underplay its prevalence. Estimations of the number of women raped or sexually assaulted in the UK every year are necessarily imprecise, but they range from 47,000 to 100,000. It is thought that around one in four women are victims of sexual violence in their lifetimes. In telling rape jokes, or throwing the word casually into conversation, there is an assumption that the person you are talking to won't have experienced this – or that, if they have, you just don't care about the memories you might provoke, the anxiety you might trigger. "I think people don't necessarily realise how common rape is," says Brindley, "and that when they're speaking to an audience there will definitely be people there who are rape survivors. On that basis, I think you have to have some recognition about the impact of what you're saying."

In my view, rape jokes feed a culture in which jurors either disbelieve rape complainants, or just don't think rape is that significant: I spoke to a juror once who said he didn't feel comfortable convicting a defendant of rape because the woman had only been violated orally.
It may be hard to imagine that one joke or one metaphor can be directly linked to a juror acquitting a rapist, but it never is just one joke or one metaphor. We live in a culture that finds these jokes not just acceptable, but funny, and rape metaphors not just tolerable, but clever. When a rape survivor hears her traumas talked about glibly, or joked about, she gets the message that what happened to her isn't considered all that bad, regardless of how she feels about it. She is told that she is not important and that her experiences are not important. What is more important is making a clever threat, or having a good laugh.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Doctors, Just Ask

Reproduction coercion, a term used to describe tactics men use to control the reproductive lives of their partners, is very common in relationships that involve violence. Coercive tactics can include forcing women to have sex or perform sex acts they find distasteful, refusing to use or interfering with the use of contraceptives, forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, or forcing women who would choose to carry a pregnancy to term to have an abortion. Reproductive coercion is present in the lives of many teenage girls who become pregnant.

A new study reveals that all doctors and other health professionals need to do to reduce the prevalence of reproduction coercion is to ask women about it.

In two of the clinics, women patients were asked whether their boyfriends had pressured them to get pregnant (for instance, by threatening to dump them if they didn’t get knocked up). Clinic workers also asked patients whether their boyfriends had sabotaged their birth control (such as by breaking condoms on purpose or hiding birth control pills).

In the two comparison clinics, patients were treated as usual.

Three to six months later, researchers followed up with all of the patients to see if they had been coerced into getting pregnant. Among women who were recent victims of intimate partner violence, the patients who were asked about pregnancy coercion and birth control sabotage were 71% less likely to become pregnant against their will, according to the study. They were also more likely to break up with their boyfriends – 52% of them did, compared with 45% of their counterparts who were treated at the clinic where pregnancy coercion and birth control sabotage weren’t discussed.

The results were published online this week in the journal Contraception.

The researchers speculated that the higher rate of break-ups contributed to the lower rate of unwanted pregnancies. The findings suggest that educating women about pregnancy coercion and birth control sabotage can empower women to get out of unsafe relationships.
If all it takes to reduce the rate of reproductive coercion is talking about it, please talk about it! Talk about it with your doctor or other healthcare providers and encourage them to contact their local domestic violence agency for tips on discussing it with their patients. Or, if you are a healthcare provider, please begin asking the question and have the phone number or pamphlet of your local domestic violence advocacy agency close at hand for those who need it. How could you justify not doing something so simple that can have such an impact on a woman's life?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Jerry Lewis Advocates Violence

Comedy Icon Jerry Lewis has done his civic duty this Labor Day weekend by reminding anti-violence advocates just how much work we still have to do.

"I'd smack her in the mouth if I saw her," he offered the interviewer when asked what he'd do if he saw [Lindsay] Lohan. "I would smack her in the mouth and be arrested for abusing a woman!"

He continued, "I would say, 'You deserve this and nothing else' ... WHACK! And then, if she's not satisfied, I'd put her over my knee and spank her and then put her in rehab and that's it."
It is clear that Lewis feels that violence against women is a perfectly acceptable way to get women to change a behavior that you don't like and that it's so uncontroversial, he's willing to say it in a television interview. Look at what he says: "'You deserve this and nothing else' ... WHACK!" He sounds just like a batterer who thinks his victim deserves no respect or kindness, just violence. However you feel about a celebrity or anyone else's behavior, using physical violence against them should not be an acceptable way to get them to change.

If you need any additional proof that violence against women is cavalierly accepted, check out the poll that accompanies the linked article. At the time of posting, 89% of voters think his comments were "spot on."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DV Shoot-Out Kills Three Men

According to the Dalton Daily Report, a Dalton man threatened to kill his estranged girlfriend and her children at a birthday party, starting a shoot-out that killed three men.
A harrowing 911 call detailing threats by an intoxicated boyfriend to “put this gun to your head and pull the trigger” caused Mindy Bullard to beg for her life and the lives of her seven children at the scene of a birthday party near Dawnville last Thursday.

“I’ll kill them too,” David Dwight Hartline, 41, of Summerville, replied to the pleas.
The Chattanooga Time Free Press reports:

The sheriff said victim Mindy Bullard’s estranged boyfriend David Dwight Hartline, of Summerville, Ga., had been drinking and was told not to come to the party. When he did arrive, an argument broke out. Investigators believe the boyfriend was the first person to fire shots, but there was an exchange of gunfire, the sheriff said. At least 25 shell casings were recovered at the scene.

When authorities arrived, Bullard’s father, Edward Henry Manz III, a Chattanooga resident, and Hartline both were dead in the home. Bullard’s ex-husband, Kenneth Simonson of Cleveland, Tenn., was alive in the home but later died at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Ga.

Bullard, also shot in the legs, crawled to a neighbor’s home. Her wounds are not believed to be life threatening, the sheriff said.

Whitfield County Coroner Bobbie Dixon said all of the victims had multiple gunshot wounds, and much of the gunfire was recorded in graphic 911 calls released to the Times Free Press this afternoon.
This is another tragic example of why domestic violence is not just a matter to be handled by a couple behind closed doors. Batterers don't stay home all day with the shades drawn. They work, go to restaurants, attend family functions, worship, and interact constantly with other members of the public. Their partners do, too, and that means that the violence also goes to work, restaurants, family functions, and worship services and interacts constantly with other members of the public. The messages we give in all of these settings influence whether a batterer feels secure enough in that setting to use violence overtly or not (for example, if his friends constantly tell sexist jokes and tell him he needs to control his wife, he may feel that they would approve of his violent behavior), but if violence against women is a routine part of a man's world, he will not leave that part of himself at home. This was one situation where that violence was triggered in public, and now three people are dead.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.

Friday, August 27, 2010

DV Murder in Warner Robbins

Via, Warner Robbins police report that a man who killed his wife Monday had planned a murder-suicide.

Maria Garcia, 38, was found dead in the doorway of her home at 102 Murray Place by neighbors about 7:35 a.m. Monday, according to police and neighbors who found the body. She had been shot twice, according to the Houston County coroner.

Her estranged husband, Jose Garcia, 44, who was stabbed twice, was found unconscious about 7:40 a.m. in the parking lot at Northlake Apartments at 310 Northlake Dive where he lived, police said. He remained hospitalized Thursday.

Tabitha Pugh, public information officer for Warner Robins police, said Thursday that a warrant has been signed for Jose Garcia’s arrest on the charge of felony murder. The warrant is not expected to be served until he is released from The Medical Center of Central Georgia, she said.

Jose Garcia’s stab wounds were self-inflicted with a large knife, Pugh said. Police believe that Jose Garcia went to the home with plans to kill Maria Garcia and then kill himself in what was to be a murder-suicide, Pugh said.

We can't say enough that if a batterer is willing to kill himself, it makes him much more dangerous to those around him. Many women hear their partners make threats of suicide if they leave and think that they will feel responsible if he harms himself. What they don't hear is the implicit threat that a man willing to take his own life does not plan to suffer the consequences for any of the actions he takes before he dies. Those men are extremely dangerous and many domestic violence homicides are, indeed, murder-suicides. If your partner has a history of violence and is threatening suicide, there are many ways that you can help him find help without remaining in a relationship in which your life is in danger, too. Please call your local domestic violence program before it is too late.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Garcia family, especially the children.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sylvester, GA Murder Suicide

According to FOX 31 Online:

GBI agents say it appears 68-year-old William Miller shot his wife 66-year-old Sarah Miller and then took his own life.

Their bodies were discovered Saturday afternoon by their adult daughter at their home on the 700 block of Youngblood road in Sylvester.

Their bodies have been sent to Macon for autopsies.

This is the fourth murder-suicide in southwest Georgia in the last three months.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Miller family.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A DV Double-Standard for Athletes?

Are athletes let off the hook more frequently when it comes to abusing their partners? Sports Illustrated's Jeff Benedict thinks so and outlines how:
Athletes are less prone to fear consequences, especially when it comes to their off-the-field behavior. [Carolina Panthers linebacker Mark] Fields confronted his ex-girlfriend outside a child care facility at 5 o'clock on a Monday afternoon. [Mets closer Francisco] Rodriguez couldn't have picked a more public place to berate his girlfriend and strike her father than at a ballpark, never mind the fact that there were security guards on hand.

Most of us would consider this behavior pretty brazen. Yet athletes who run afoul of the law are used to getting out of jams. Look at [Indiana Pacers rookie Lance] Stephenson. While starring at Abraham Lincoln High in Coney Island, Stephenson and a teammate were arrested in October 2008 for allegedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl inside the school. At the time, Stephenson was being recruited by schools like North Carolina, Kansas, Memphis, USC and many others. He was on his way to becoming the all-time leading scorer in New York state history and leading his team to four consecutive New York City championships. He'd become such a big phenomenon that a courtside announcer had nicknamed him "Born Ready" and a reality web series about him was being planned under the same name.

All of that was jeopardized by the felony sexual assault case pending against him. But here's where it pays for an abuser to be an athlete. After Stephenson pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, the University of Cincinnati offered him a scholarship. He became the Big East's Rookie of the Year in 2010 and was selected drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the second round of June's NBA Draft. It was as if the incident at his high school didn't matter.

But these matters often come back to bite teams that sign players with a rap sheet. Now Pacers GM Larry Bird has to decide what to do. If Stephenson is convicted on felony assault charges for the incident last weekend, he'll face a minimum of seven years in prison. The team just signed him to a contract that reportedly guarantees him $700,000 this year and $800,000 next year. The only thing Bird has said so far is that the organization will send a clear message to the community that cannot be ignored.

The only person who needs a clear message is Stephenson. He may have been born ready to play hoops, but the game is doing him no favors by enabling him to keep skirting responsibility for his actions. Until his case is resolved, the last place he should be is in an NBA uniform.
The full article is well worth a read, if for nothing else than the list of high-profile athletes whose abusive escapes you may or may not have heard about. There is a real reason why researchers and activists like Benedict and Jackson Katz put so much emphasis on intervening with athletes. That's a good approach, but an even better approach might be to couple that intervention with some for GMs on why domestic violence should be taken seriously. Battering athletes aren't going to stop using violence until they see actual negative consequences for doing so.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Your [Female] Body Belongs to Us

In 2004, a young Missouri woman went into a bar. Also at that bar was a film crew for the popular pornographic series Girls Gone Wild. During their time at the bar, the film crew encouraged the women present to remove clothing. Women who chose to could do so and be filmed. The young woman in question, we'll call her Jane, chose not to remove her clothing. She said, "No." Audibly. Despite that fact, the woman next to her pulled down Jane's top and exposed her breasts to the cameras.

Four years go by, during which time Jane marries and has children. Then, a friend of her husband recognizes her from a Girls Gone Wild video and tells her husband. She is, understandably, mortified. Jane never signed a release giving Girls Gone Wild permission to use her image and, in fact, was the victim of a sexual assault because she never gave the other women permission to expose her breasts. She sued.

She lost.

A jury on Thursday rejected a young woman's claim that the producers of a "Girls Gone Wild" video damaged her reputation by showing her tank top being pulled down by another person in a Laclede's Landing bar.

A St. Louis Circuit Court jury deliberated 90 minutes before ruling against the woman, 26, on the third day of the trial. Lawyers on both sides argued the key issue was consent, with her side saying she absolutely refused to give it and the defense claiming she silently approved by taking part in the party.

The woman, identified in court files as Jane Doe, was 20 when she went to the former Rum Jungle bar in May 2004 and was filmed by a "Girls Gone Wild" video photographer. Now married, the mother of two girls and living in the St. Charles area, Doe sued in 2008 after a friend of her husband's reported that she was in one of the videos.

"I am stunned that this company can get away with this," Doe said after the verdict. "Justice has not been served. I just don't understand. I gave no consent."

But Patrick O'Brien, the jury foreman, told a reporter later that an 11-member majority decided that Doe had in effect consented by being in the bar and dancing for the photographer. In a trial such as this one, agreement by nine of 12 jurors is enough for a verdict.

"Through her actions, she gave implied consent," O'Brien said. "She was really playing to the camera. She knew what she was doing."

Stephen Evans of St. Louis, her lawyer, argued Thursday that Doe never gave consent — and even could be heard in original footage saying "no" when asked to show her breasts shortly before another woman suddenly pulled Doe's top down. Evans said the company usually gets women to sign consent forms or give verbal consent with cameras rolling.

"Other girls said it was OK. Not one other one said, 'No, no,'" Evans said. "She is entitled to go out with friends and have a good time and not have her top pulled down and get that in a video."

Told of that reasoning, the tearful woman said, "I was having fun until my top was pulled off. And now this thing is out there for the world to see forever."

This is the same victim-blaming rhetoric that we hear for all sorts of violence against women. If she wears a revealing top, she's implying consent to sex, even when she says "no". If she remains with an abusive partner, she's implying consent to be hit. If she leaves her home in a skirt, she's implying consent for people to look up her skirt, even if she is just a 16-year-old in Target. If our bodies continue to be interpreted by the law as public property, it will never be safe for us to walk outside. And, if our husbands or partners view us as their property, it isn't safe for women at home, either.

Friday, August 13, 2010

We Hate The Way You Lie

On Friday morning, a WRC staff member was on CNN’s American Morning to discuss “the glamorization of domestic violence”, specifically in the context of Eminem’s new video featuring Rihanna. Because we couldn’t fit everything there is to say about the video in a time-limited interview, you get it here. If you haven’t seen the video, search “Love The Way You Lie” on Youtube. Done? Let’s get started.

Best-Case Scenario

The best-case scenario for this video is the one Eminem and Rihanna are promoting. Eminem just got out of rehab and has stated that he’s trying to make amends for the things he’s done wrong in his life. This album is called “Recovery” and the songs on it reflect that theme. Because he has a lengthy history of violence against women, he decides to write this song to give his fans a glimpse into the mind of a batterer. After all, he begins the song rapping, “I can't tell you what it really is. I can only tell you what it feels like.” He’s letting us know that this is how a batterer views an abusive relationship.

Viewed through that lens, the scenario is pretty realistic. A batterer doesn’t see himself using power and control. He thinks her temper is as bad as his. He sees her fighting back in self defense and thinks that she’s violent, too. He says he just snapped, but, when he tells her it won’t happen again, he knows he’s lying. He enjoys the heightened emotions, the “drama”, and the make-up sex (which she might enjoy or to which she might be too scared to say no). He assumes she likes it too, or else she wouldn’t be around. Still, he acknowledges that she has tried to leave him before, and, if she tries again, he’ll kill her.

We all know Eminem purposefully recruited Rihanna to sing his hook. She says that the experience was cathartic and that she was drawn to the lyrics. She plays the victim as the abuser sees her – a woman who likes it when he lies and likes it when he hurts her. We’re supposed to see Rihanna’s face and remember all of the victim blaming that we did even though we have graphic photos of her beaten almost beyond recognition. We’re supposed to be sickened by the thought that anyone could like that level of violence.

Rihanna also sings about the true #1 reason that women tell us they stay in abusive relationships - love.

Worst-Case Scenario

The worst-case scenario is that Eminem just made another song to add to his violent repertoire. How is this substantially different from the lyrics to Kim:

“Sit down b---h
If you move again I'll beat the s--t out of you
Don't make me wake this baby
She don't need to see what I'm about to do
Quit crying b---h, why do you always make me shout at you?”

“Come on we're going for a ride b---h
Sit up front
(Well I can't just leave Hailie alone, what if she wakes up?)
We'll be right back
Well I will you'll be in the trunk”

Or ’97 Bonnie and Clyde:

“Oh where's mama? She's takin a little nap in the trunk
Oh that smell (whew!) da-da musta runned over a skunk
Now I know what you're thinkin - it's kind of late to go swimmin
But you know your mama, she's one of those type of women
that do crazy things, and if she don't get her way, she'll throw a fit
Don't play with da-da's toy knife, honey, let go of it (no!)
And don't look so upset, why you actin bashful?
Don't you wanna help da-da build a sand castle? (yeah!)
And mama said she wants to show how far she can float
And don't worry about that little boo-boo on her throat”

“There goes mama, spwashin in the wa-ta
No more fightin wit dad, no more restraining order
No more step-da-da, no more new brother”

Love the Way You Lie paints a picture of what relationships look like to guys like Eminem. Not just violent relationships, all relationships. They are always jealous, violent, dysfunctional, and destructive to those involved. Both parties are equally to blame. Sometimes she starts it, sometimes he starts it, but each has a horrible temper and the rage controls you both. Sometimes you hate it, but mostly you love it. The emotions are so heightened that being together feels like a high and the passion burns like the flames of a house fire. It’s the new version of a Harlequin romance, complete with sexy young stars. This may be domestic violence, but both parties are equally to blame. The video ends with them curled up peacefully beside one another in bed.

Most Probable Scenario

When it comes right down to it, the intent of this video doesn’t matter. You can say something that hurts someone, but saying that you didn’t mean to doesn’t erase their pain. The intent of this video may or may not have anything to do with how it is interpreted.

Most people, especially young people, will take this video at face value. Most people will draw on their own life experiences and what they have seen in the media as they interpret the song and the video. If this is the only type of romantic relationship you have seen, you won’t know that relationships can look different. If every man you loved has hit you, you won’t know that there are other ways to love. We’re told by popular culture that this is what relationships looks like. Equitable partnerships and mutual respect are boring. Watching this video is titillating. It’s exciting. This is what young people will strive for.

Men’s rights groups will tell us that this video is an accurate depiction of most domestic violence. They say that women are equally violent and that the violence in most relationships is mutual. For the moment, let’s assume that is true. Let’s assume that women aren’t fighting back in self defense, or that they aren’t starting fights because they are tired of waiting for him to snap and just want to get it over with. Let’s pretend for a moment that they are equally responsible for the violence. Some women might enjoy the heightened emotions. Some women might find appeal in the “love is suffering” meme. But never in this song does Rihanna threaten to kill anyone. Even if the slapping and pushing is mutual, Eminem takes it to a whole new level when he says that, if she tries to leave again, he’ll tie her to the bed and set the house on fire. Maybe she enjoyed things until that point, maybe she was equally violent until that point, but men were the killers in 97% of domestic violence fatalities in this state in the past five years. Women are much more likely to kill a partner in self defense

Speaking of women, did anyone notice how this post differs from most of the media surrounding this song? Yeah, we’ve barely mentioned Rihanna. That’s because Rihanna is an adult woman and, no matter her life experiences, she is allowed to make her own choices. She is allowed to participate in this song if she wants. So, instead, our comments focus on the project – the song and video as a whole. By critiquing the project, of course we are critiquing the involvement of everyone who participated. But Rihanna didn’t ask to be the posterchild for domestic violence, and we don’t believe that a survivor’s life should forever be filtered through the lens of domestic violence. We think everyone involved with this song is sending a bad message to those who listen to the song and/or watch the video. But we aren’t going to hold Rihanna to a different standard than anyone else. No one should have signed up for this one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Riverdale Woman Killed by Ex

The AJC reports that police are hunting the ex-boyfriend of a Riverdale woman who has been shot to death.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was shot multiple times, Channel 2 Action News reported. She was found about 2 a.m. at the Chateau Forest Apartments on Church Street. There were no signs of forced entry, Channel 2 reported.

Police recovered a gun from the scene, according to Channel 2.

Our thoughts are prayers are with the woman's family.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Murder-Suicide in Grady County

A man and woman are dead after an apparent murder-suicide in Grady County.

Investigators say they got to the scene on Temple Terrace Circle to find the bodies of 29-year-old Marketh Simpson and 31-year-old Lucretia Simpson.

Officers say the violence happened in front of their seven children.

“Individuals were found outside the house, just outside the house in the yard by family members because they were on the scene when it happened. It does appear that they were involved in a domestic dispute at the time but as far as releasing who did what. I want to see the autopsy results first," said GBI special agent Steve Turner.

The bodies have been sent to the crime lab in Atlanta for autopsies. Those results are expected sometime tomorrow.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Simpson family.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Calhoun Man Kills Ex, Shoots Two Teens

A Calhoun man was hospitalized in police custody Friday after allegedly shooting his ex-girlfriend to death and wounding her teenage son and nephew before being shot by police.

Gordon County Sheriff's deputies arrested Paul Buchannon late Thursday night after a four-hour manhunt, finding the suspect hiding near Hill City Baptist Church in northern Gordon County.

Buchannon was shot by law enforcement officers after he threatened them with a gun at the end of the manhunt.

He is accused of fatally shooting Christy Ann McKnight, 40.

Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston said Friday afternoon that no further medical updates are available on the two teenage gunshot victims that Buchannon allegedly shot before killing McKnight.

McKnight’s son, Dustin Lee Henderson, 17, and her nephew, Cody Shawn Adams, 19, were transported to local hospitals, one with a gunshot wound in the back, and one with a shot to his leg.
According to the Dalton Daily Citizen, Buchannon had a history of domestic violence, but it was unclear if the arrest occured with McKnight as the victim or in a previous relationship.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all three victims.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Husband Causes Car Accident That Kills Wife

We cannot begin to tell you how often we hear of abusers putting their partners in danger in the car. Batterers will, like in this case, jerk the wheel while she is driving, hit her while she is driving, open the car door and attempt to push her out, or use many other tactics that could be dangerous to those in the car and to other drivers. Unfortunately, a jerked wheel in this case resulted in the death of a woman and injuries to her ten-year-old daughter.

Accident investigators believe Lawrenceville resident Eddie Waters, 35, grabbed the steering wheel of a southbound 2003 Buick Regal on Monfort Road about 6:30 p.m., causing the driver — his wife — to plow through a mailbox and utility pole, finally striking a tree.

Waters’ wife, Ruby Spencer, 39, of Lawrenceville, died at the scene. Waters — the front passenger — and a 10-year-old girl seated behind him were hospitalized with injuries that weren’t life-threatening, said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Brian Kelly.

The child is Spencer’s daughter, Kelly said.

Waters was later arrested and booked at the Gwinnett County Jail on felony involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor reckless conduct charges. He remained jailed Tuesday morning on $16,900 bond.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Spencer family.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ban on Guns for Batterers Upheld

In a follow-up to this post, a federal appeals court upheld a ban on gun possession for a domestic violence offender in a ruling that several anti-violence advocates applauded Wednesday for providing some clarity after the U.S. Supreme Court's recent landmark decision on gun restrictions.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled 10-1 on Tuesday to reinstate a southern Wisconsin man's conviction for having a gun while on probation for a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. The decision followed the high court's ruling last month that made Chicago's outright handgun ban unenforceable. The court held that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live.

The Wisconsin case was being closely watched by advocates of gun rights and domestic abuse victims, particularly in light of the Supreme Court's ruling. While the court signaled some gun restrictions may survive legal challenges, it offered assurances only on laws that bar felons from having guns.

"Even with the new definition of the Second Amendment, it (Tuesday's ruling) shows that you can still have reasonable gun restrictions," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said of the appellate ruling. "This case really reaffirms that you can have limits."
We are grateful to the Appeals Court for making what we see as a sound ruling protecting the safety of women across the country.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Unknown Victim Identified as DV Murder

A murdered woman found near Savannah has now been identified and was a victim of domestic violence.

According to autopsy results, a body found June 18 near Juanita Road in Liberty County is that of Hinesville woman Savannah Smith, 22, who previously had not been seen since June 8. Hinesville Police Department Detective Thomas Cribbs confirmed Smith’s identity at 4 p.m. Friday.

The body, which law enforcement officials recovered in the Gum Branch area, originally was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab in Savannah for an autopsy, according to Cribbs, but was eventually sent to a lab in Atlanta because more extensive tests were necessary.

Smith’s boyfriend, Maurice Newsome, 21, who was arrested June 17 in Atlanta and charged with aggravated assault, will now face homicide charges, the detective said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Smith family.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Let's Talk About Mel Gibson

It always takes us a while to comment on a celebrity incident of domestic violence, because what we're really interested in is how pop culture in general reacts to the crime. Let's break down what we've heard about Mel Gibson.

First, we have reports that the couple are splitting up, but that things have turned "messy". Normally breakups that are "messy" don't involve a restraining order, but right off the bat Gibson's wife feels the need to seek legal protection. Her order against him is granted, but his legal team seeks an order against her that forbids her to speak publicly about their relationship. After all, he doesn't want to be held accountable for his actions, does he?

However, as in many cases, the details begin trickling out. He hit his wife while she was holding their child, he threatened her with violence, and he yelled racist and sexist epithets at her. He acted like every other batterer that the Women's Resource Center knows.

There are thousands of men who do exactly what Mel Gibson stands accused of doing. In the words of a sister organization, Casa Myrna Vazquez in Boston:

They don’t garner national attention like the Mel Gibsons, the Charlie Sheens or the Chris Browns. We’ll never see photos of the bruises they inflict on their victims, or hear audiotapes of their abuse. Their victims won’t be front page news unless they happen to die at the hands of their abusers. And yet the toll these abusers exact on their victims, and our society, is enormous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, nearly 5.3 million incidents of domestic violence occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older. Imagine Mel Gibson’s rant repeated over 5 million times. That’s the reality on the ground. Intimidation. Insults. Physical violence. Death threats. It will happen to one in four women in their lifetimes.

The financial statistics, also compiled by the CDC, are equally alarming. The costs of domestic violence against women exceed an estimated $5.8 billion every year. That figure includes nearly $4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical and mental health care and another $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity. Victims of domestic violence lose a total of nearly 8 million days of paid work - the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs - and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity each year as a result of the violence they endure.
Gibson's wife is also being treated just like most victims. The media immediately dismissed the restraining order she filed as a ploy to affect their pending divorce. She had to tape record the violence and release it to the press just to to get the police to investigate her claims. And she has to face everyone under the sun, including other women, making excuses for him.

Meanwhile, his fans are waiting for any excuse to forgive and forget.

Hmmmm. This sounds so familiar.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Albany Man Kills Wife, Self

An Albany man has killed his wife and himself at their vacation home in Ft. Gaines.

The Clay County Sheriff says 65-year-old Ronald Cox shot and killed his wife, 68-year-old Bobbie Cox around 11:30 Wednesday morning. He then sat in the home with his wife's body until 6 p.m. Wednesday night before taking his own life when he saw neighbors pull in their driveways.

Sheriff Roger Shivers says Cox left a note telling neighbors what he had done on their doors. Sheriff Shivers and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation worked the case. The Sheriff says Ronald Cox was depressed and was dealing with a lot of financial hardships that may have led to the murder suicide.

These are the 9th and 10th lives taken by domestic violence in Georgia just in the month of July. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cox family.

Monday, July 19, 2010

GA Man Kills Wife, Son, Self

On Friday night, an Early County, Georgia man shot his wife and two children, then himself.

Matthew Lowell Justice, 37, shot his wife, 36-year-old Amy Lynn Justice, and their two children late Friday night, Mark Pro, assistant special agent in charge with the GBI, told the Associated Press.

Matthew Lowell Justice died from his wounds at the scene of the shooting, which took place in the family's Early County home, north of Blakely, Capt. Will Caudill with the sheriff's office said. Amy Lynn Justice was transported to Early Memorial Hospital in Blakely, where she died, Caudill said.

The couple's 14-year-old son, whose name is not being released due to his age, was taken to a Dothan, Ala., hospital, Caudill said.

He died Saturday afternoon, Pro with the GBI said.

The 11-year-old girl was treated and released from a local hospital, he said.

The couple were both teachers and were well-known in the community. Matthew (the perpetrator) was actively involved in their church's praise choir. Investigators are hoping the 11-year-old will be able to shed some light on what happened.

The past few days have seen a rash of murder suicides across the country including Michigan, Texas, California, Illinois, Connecticut, and two in Georgia.

The whole Justice family, but especially the young survivor, are in our thoughts and prayers along with all of the families who have lost loved ones this week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not Something We Need To Be Worried About

On this blog, we try to regularly draw attention to ways in which domestic violence in dangerous to everyone, not just the individuals involved. This is important, because many people still don't see domestic violence as a serious threat. Case in point:

A Raleigh, North Carolina woman was found shot to death in a Buckhead apartment Wednesday. Here is a quote from a neighbor:

"I'm hoping it's more of a domestic dispute rather than something we need to be worried about".
In other words, domestic violence is OK. It's not something I would be bothered by.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Decatur Man Kills 5-year-old Son

On Monday, a Decatur man was charged with killing his 5-year-old son and attempting to kill the 4-year-old as well. The man and his estranged wife were in the process of a divorce. The mother's attorney speculates that this was the father's way of hurting the mother. He was seeking full custody.
Spruell [the mother's attorney] said Melanie DeToma left her husband in January and sought an uncontested divorce.

The two DeTomas had reached a temporary agreement through mediation, but a final settlement had not yet been reached or filed in court, Spruell said.

The visitation agreement was that the father would have his sons on alternate Fridays until the following Monday morning. This Monday, however, he did not bring the children to his soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law as was the agreement, Spruell said.

That prompted Melanie DeToma to call her lawyer, who called Gary DeToma's attorney.
Spruell and his client then called Decatur police, the DeKalb Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Family and Children Services, but the agencies said there was not enough to allow them to go into Gary DeToma’s apartment without permission.

“We tried to get the property owner and the property manager to let us in, and they said they wouldn’t unless the police let us in,” Spruell said.

“We did everything thing that we could do and not a single government entity wanted to help us out,” Spruell said.

Decatur police said no one responded when an officer went to the door earlier Monday.

"The residence was secure and the officers observed nothing suspicious," the police said in a statement.

Spruell and Melanie DeToma also called Gary DeToma’s employer, who said he had not come to work. State Sun Electric declined to comment.

Melanie DeToma knocked on Miller's door around 8 a.m. and asked her to call the property manager. Miller said the property manager came over immediately, but told police she couldn't let them in. Miller said she was surprised that one of the boys hadn't opened the door. They often opened it for no reason after learning how to, she said, and surely would have answered a knock. She said she was also surprised to see Gary DeToma's van outside the apartment. He usually left for work by 6:30 a.m.

Miller left for work. Later, one of Gary DeToma’s co-workers came to check on him. When Gary DeToma didn’t answer his knocks, the co-worker, an electrician, took an extension ladder off his truck and climbed up to look into a bedroom window, Spruell said. He saw Gary Jr.’s body on a bed, the attorney said.

The co-worker was able to persuade the younger boy to open the door.

“He went in and saw Mr. DeToma and the little boy was deceased,” Spruell said.

Moments later, Melanie DeToma made her second trip of the day to the her husband’s apartment.

When she drove up, she saw the co-worker standing on the sidewalk with Will, still in his pajamas.

A police report says an officer who was dispatched to the apartment just before 1 p.m. found the dead boy. The official cause of Gary Jr.'s death is pending an autopsy to be performed Tuesday, but the results will not be released until a toxicology report is completed in two to three weeks.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the DeToma family.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Man Shoots Ex, Kills Self in Augusta

An Augusta man with a history of stalking the mother of his children shot her at the plant where she works before turning the gun on himself. The man was angry that his victim would not renew their relationship.

The man -- identified as Alfonicia Gilbert, 35, of the 2800 block of King Street in Augusta -- shot his ex-girlfriend as she sat in her car in the parking lot of the Covidien plant at 1430 Marvin Griffin Road about 7 a.m., Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Calvin Chew said.

Afterward, he turned the gun on himself.

Chew said the woman, identified as Tiffany Bush, 28, of Girard, Ga., was in serious condition at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
Gilbert did not have a restraining order against him, but it is clear that he was stalking the victim.

Gilbert was recently thrown out of a doctor's office Bush was visiting, Chew said.

"He came there unannounced and made a scene," he said.
No domestic violence charges had ever been filed against Gilbert, but this incident makes it clear that not all, and maybe not even most, victims of domestic violence go to the police. Especially in stalking situations, the victim might not identify with the label of "domestic violence" or "stalking" and might not think of calling the police. Alternately, they might not believe the police can help them. It is vital that friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers understand what domestic violence and stalking look like, so that they can advise victims that help is available.

Additionally, this further underscores the need for employers to take domestic violence seriously. According to CBS news:

The shooting comes a day after a man angry about a child custody dispute with his girlfriend shot her outside the New Mexico manufacturing plant where she works, then forced his way inside and killed two employees before turning the gun on himself. The girlfriend remains in critical condition.
If you would like Women's Resource Center to help your Atlanta-based business create a plan for helping employees dealing with domestic violence, and for keeping your other employees safe, please call us at 404-370-7670. Outside of Atlanta, call 1-800-799-SAFE to be connected to an organization in your area.

The Bush family is in our thoughts and prayers and we wish Tiffany Bush a full and speedy recovery.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Atlanta Man, 19, Kills Girlfriend, 17

Atlanta police Wednesday were looking for a 19-year-old man suspected of shooting his 17-year-old girlfriend to death.
The shooting happened shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday at a home on Detroit Avenue in northwest Atlanta, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office.

"It appeared that there was some type of argument," Atlanta police Lt. Paul Guerrucci told WSB-TV. "At this point, we're not clear ... what the argument was about."

The names of the suspect and the victim, who WSB reported was pregnant, have not been released.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shellman, GA Man Kills Girlfriend

A Randolph County, Georgia woman was shot and killed Sunday. Her boyfriend shot himself but survived, and now faces murder charges.

Family members say Carolyn Johnson and her boyfriend of several years, Ricky Starling started arguing the morning of July fourth. But family members say the argument quickly escalated, and Randy Starling pulled out one of his shot guns shooting Carolyn twice, as family members including several of her grandchildren were just feet away.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Johnson family.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

3 Shot, 1 Dead in Auburn Shooting Spree

A Barrow County man shot three men, killing one, Tuesday night before carjacking a truck and fleeing to Buford, where he was apprehended before he could harm his girlfriend, authorities said.

James W. Bush, 42, of Winder, is charged in the crime spree that began about 8:40 p.m. in a Woodview Drive yard near Auburn, police said. Upon his capture, Bush became unresponsive, possibly the result of a drug overdose. He remains hospitalized, authorities said.

A motive for the shootings is under investigation but appears to be domestic-related, said Barrow County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Maj. Todd Druse.

Police said Bush opened fire outside the residence, where they found two men injured in the front yard and another man — Antonio Zavala, 30 — dead in a nearby vehicle.

The injured victims were identified as Alex Lopez Narvaez, 31, and Alvaro Zavala Echevarria, 35. Both are listed in stable condition at area hospitals and are expected to recover.
Gwinnett police received information that Bush may have wanted to harm his girlfriend, thought to be living near Buford and working at a Sonny’s Barbecue restaurant on Ga. Highway 20, said Gwinnett police Cpl. Edwin Ritter.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Bush was released from prison in April after serving two years for entering a vehicle and possessing tools to commit a crime in Gwinnett County.
We are so grateful that police intervened before Bush could reach his intended victim, but saddened by the injury and death of his other victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Zavala family.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When Do Batterers Deserve Our Forgiveness?

AKA, another Chris Brown post. We've had several requests to comment on Chris Brown's emotional breakdown during his Michael Jackson tribute at the BET awards. Many people in the media and many of Brown's fans feel that he has been punished enough and that it's time for us to forgive. Many others think that Chris Brown has never truly apologized for his use of violence and that this is another carefully constructed ploy to revive his career. As always, WRC wants to defer to the experts. We want to know what survivors of domestic violence think.

Survivors are certainly not a monolithic group, and many will have differences of opinion, but when wondering if it's time for forgiveness, Ruth from Feministing, a survivor herself, writes:

On the last day of the US Social Forum, I ran into an old friend from a campaign I had worked on a few years back. I had seen her on the first day but bee-lined in the other direction. I was dodging her because the only Rose she had ever known was a woman who felt trapped in a domestically violent relationship. I have since left that relationship. Years have passed since then, but I am occasionally haunted by memories when I see an old friend from that era of my life and they ask me the dreaded question, "Are you still with him?"

Blood on my walls. Cops at my doors. Large scars on my back from being pushed on the floor. These are the things I remember with great sadness when my memory is triggered by an old friend's concern about my present well-being or the sighting of male aggressors of violence. These are the things that ran through my mind when the BET awards showcased Chris Brown, probably one of the most infamous batterers of our generation. And if Chris's presence alone on a stage that drew 7 million viewers isn't enough of a stab in the gut, Jermaine Jackson pressed the knife by claiming that it is Chris, in fact, who needs healing.

Ann Powers over at the LA Times also used language that disarmed me. Although Powers conceded that BET airing Chris Brown was problematic, she described Chris as someone who will "forever be in recovery." It's as if there has been a pandemic of amnesia and some among us have forgotten who the victim really is here.

America's conversation about Chris' conviction of felony assault has officially been shifted to the controversy at play in Chris' tears. Adding insult to injury were the stars and fans who have been caught on camera cheering on him, his performance and calling Sunday night's performance a comeback. I can't help but ask: what about us? What about the women who relive their experiences when a man is given a platform to imply that his pain is greater than the brutality he has inflicted on a woman's body? What about Rihanna? Where is the tribute for survivors and what has BET done to change the scourge of violence in Black women's lives?

I am thankful for the presence of male allies who have the courage to stand up and remind us that African-American women ages 15 to 34 die more from the violence of a current or former intimate partner than by anything else. Than By Anything Else. This makes BET's decision to air Chris a profound act of traitor-ship against women and girls. Plain and simple it was an irresponsible action taken by BET. And this can't be wanded away by Queen Latifah serving as a host and a two-sentence plug about Dorothy Height. BET owes African American girls and women so much more than a year grace period for one of the most remorseless batterers of our time.

If a victim wants to or can forgive her batterer as part of her own healing, that can often be a healing choice for her. But please stop asking us to forgive Chris Brown. We will continue to hold him, and Charlie Sheen, and Mel Gibson, and all other famous batterers accountable for the violence they inflict on their partners. There is certainly a place for forgiveness, but until these men start actively trying to undo the harm they've done by partnering with an organization like Men Stopping Violence, we can't take their apologies seriously. After all, using violence against a partner is supposed to harm your career. That's why they call it punishment.