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."