Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anti-Immigrant Laws Put Women in Danger

Georgia's HB 87 immigration law is controversial for a great number of reasons, but one of the least discussed is the danger in which it places immigrant victims of domestic violence.
The delegation, led by Domestic Workers Alliance, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, and others, described the stories of women who had suffered indirect consequences of anti-immigrant policies, due in large part to the intense culture of fear that deters women from coming forward about abuse they've suffered or seeking help from public institutions. Anxieties about any contact with authorities -- even as the victim of violence -- could turn many women away from seeking law enforcement protection, which further segregates immigrants, whatever their legal status, from the rights they deserve under the law.

Already, under current immigration policies, a woman who fears getting caught without papers may often make a cruelly rational choice to stay with an abusive partner, rather than report domestic violence--in hopes of avoiding deportation or separation from her children. Many women may also forgo basic health care for themselves or their children for fear of coming under the radar of law enforcement.
Some members of Congress are trying to expand such laws, and thus such fear, to the entire nation.
According to immigrant advocates, a new immigration enforcement bill being considered in Congress would undermine existing immigration law by removing prosecutorial discretion and deferred action, two components that protect undocumented victims of domestic violence.

Michelle Ortiz — the supervising attorney of Lucha, a unit within the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center — says that Rep. Lamar Smith’s Hinder the Administration Legalization Temptation Act (better known as the HALT Act) would force immigration authorities to deport victims of domestic violence who reach out for help.

“Under the Violence Against Women Act, which has existed for 15 years, there have been specific protections for victims of domestic violence,” Ortiz says, “particularly for people who self-petition, who are victims of domestic violence at the hands of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.”

“When their self-petition is approved, and have already proven they are a victim and married this person in good faith, the Immigration Service gives them deferred action. That is not a legal status, but a protection from deportation, and provides a means to apply for work authorization.”

By ending deferred action, the HALT Act would strip immigration authorities of their authority to protect victims. The HALT Act would also affect the prosecutorial discretion memos issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which, according to Ortiz, are working.
We live in a state where nearly 100 women are killed each year in domestic violence homicides and in a country where a woman is battered every 9 seconds. We cannot afford any policies that deter women from seeking help, regardless of their immigration status. We will continue to update you if there are opportunities for legislative action on this issue.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Aragon, GA Man Charged in Wife's Death

According to the Fish Wrap, police say an Aragon, GA man is charged in the shooting death of his wife on September 17, 2011.
...the incident leaving Rita Merritt, 27, of 11 East 2nd St., Apt. A, Aragon, dead and her husband, Shay Merritt, 31, in jail without bond on a felony murder charge.

Police said they at first thought this was a suicide attempt but Shay Merritt confessed that night to the killing, according to Greg Ramey, Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Merritt family.

Clayton County - Possible Murder, Attempted Suicide

From the AJC:

Clayton County police spokesman John Schneller said a woman was dead and a man was taken to the hospital with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shootings occurred at a house in the 2500 block of Daley Court in Morrow.

Neighbor Harry Toney said police told him the shootings were the result of a domestic dispute.

Toney said a woman, man and three children lived at the house and had lived there since around the first of the year.

Further details were not immediately available.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Georgia Has 6th Highest Rate of Men Killing Women

In it's annual report on men murdering women, the Violence Policy Center found that Georgia ranks the 6th highest in the nation among women killed by men.
The national homicide rate of women killed by men in single-victim, single-offender instances was 1.25 per 100,000, the study said. There were 1,818 such female victims during 2009.

“Violence against women too often escalates to homicide. Prevention of such violence deserves serious and sustained attention from law enforcement officials and policymakers alike,” Kristen Rand, the center’s legislative director, said in a prepared statement.

The center said its study used the most recent data available from the FBI’s unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report. It is released each year as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

The 10 states with the highest rates of women murdered by men were in descending order Nevada, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota, Hawaii and Missouri, according to the study.

Where weapons use could be determined, firearms were used in slightly more than half the homicides, and more than two-thirds of those firearms were handguns, the study said.

Ninety-three percent of the victims were killed by someone they knew, and 63 percent were wives or intimate acquaintances, the study said.
The full study is available here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Men's TV is on the Defensive

Jezebel had a really interesting article yesterday discussing some of the backlash our culture is seeing to women's advancement. Specifically, this season on television, we're seeing a host of new shows trying to put men and women back into their gender essentialist places, where men build civilizations, kill things, and don't act gentlemanly and women are servants and/or sex objects.
In all of the aforementioned shows, men and/or masculinity is threatened by women and/or femininity. You can thank the mancession for that; the media has so hammered into men's brains that they're the real victims while women in the workforce aren't in such bad shape. Now we see television capitalizing on that. Be it consciously or otherwise, these male-targeted shows are creating blatant ties between the rise of women and the fall of the economy.
The problem with gender-essentialism is that it is limiting, and not just to women. Rigid conservative gender roles say that women don't belong in the workplace, but they also say that men don't belong in the home as caregivers to children. They may say that women must dress modestly or else they deserve to be assaulted, but they also say that men can't be trusted to see a woman in a mini-skirt and not rape her. They say that women are overly emotional and thus irrational and that men should bottle up all of their feelings and only deal with problems through violence. None of this sounds very healthy or fulfilling.

There isn't a finite pool of human rights. If I gain/claim more of my rights, that doesn't mean that there are fewer rights for you. Everyone deserves freedom to be who they are, to express their personality, to pursue their chosen career, to have involvement with their families, and to express their emotions constructively. We only forfeit those rights when we do something wrong (such as commit a crime), and even then some rights are inalienable. Everyone has the right to be safe from violence. There aren't male rights and female rights, there are human rights, and by opening all options to all people by dismantling rigid gender roles, we are expanding those rights for everyone.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Best DV Article Ever (So Far)

This is a really great article that tells survivors' stories respectfully, doesn't victim-blame, and does a great job of illustrating many of the common issues that survivors of domestic violence face. All around, it is a fantastic article. We don't get to say that very often, so we encourage you to click through and read.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Share Your Ideas with Vice President Biden

The White House, under the leadership of Vice President Biden, who has been a long-time ally to those of us working to end violence against women, has launched a new website called 1 is 2 many. '1 is 2 many' wants to engage a younger generation in creating innovative solutions to address dating violence and sexual assault in schools and on college campuses around the country.

The campaign also includes 'Apps Against Abuse' – a nationwide competition to develop an innovative software application that provides young adults with tools to help prevent sexual assault and dating violence. Since many incidents of dating violence and sexual assault occur when the offender, often an acquaintance, has targeted and isolated a young woman in vulnerable circumstances, the application the White House has envisioned will offer individuals a way to connect with trusted friends in real-time to prevent abuse from occurring.

This is your chance to be part of a solution. Talk about violence against women, tweet about it (#1is2many), and see what you can come up with. What we know if that violence against women won't stop end until all men choose to stop using violence. In a world full of prevention messages targeted toward women (always watch your drink, don't walk home alone at night, be careful what you wear), how can we target men? How can we make violence less cool and less socially acceptable? How do we teach respect to a new generation?

We can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gilmer County Man Arrested for Wife's Murder

A Gilmer County man was arrested for the murder of his wife after trying to blame the killing on a home invasion.
Gilmer County sheriff's Lt. Frank Copeland said Donald Bossa, 76, who had been living at the home with his wife for six years has been taken into custody and charged with murder after his 67-year-old wife, Barbara, was found dead.

Copeland said Bossa confessed to killing his wife.

Bossa had initially called authorities early Wednesday to report that his home at the Coosawattee River Resort, about 75 miles north of Atlanta, had been invaded, the Associated Press reported.

He is being held at the Gilmer County Adult Detention Center. Copeland said the case is under investigation but the motive appears to be a domestic violence situation that got out of control.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bossa family.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

LaGrange Man Killed While Trying To Hide Ex's Body

The AJC reports that a fire in Fairburn last month was started by a man trying to burn his ex-girlfriend’s body.
Bridges’ ex-girlfriend, Beverly Bland, 34, was strangled before the fire, police said.

Two children who lived with Bland at the Garvey Drive house weren’t home at the time of the fire, police said.

Few said Bridges, 35, doused a sleeping bag with gasoline and laid Bland’s body on the bag to set it on fire. But his plan literally blew up in his face.

“When he threw that match, the vapors of gasoline are what ignited,” Few said. “There was an immediate fireball that blew the windows out.”


According to records obtained by Channel 2 Action News from the Fulton County emergency call system, Bland and Bridges worked together at the PetSmart distribution center in Newnan and had broken off a relationship in May.

A supervisor told emergency operators that following a dispute at work the day before the incident, Bridges would not let Bland out of his car.

The supervisor, Larry Miller, could not be reached by phone Tuesday, but he accused Bridges of “stalking” Bland, saying Bridges even entered her home through an open window the week before the fire.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bland family.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Police Suspect Clayton Co Woman's Boyfriend in Her Murder

From the AJC:
The Clayton County mother found stabbed to death in her bedroom, while two kids were tied up in her home, may have been killed days before she was found, police said Tuesday.

The woman's boyfriend, 33-year-old William Nazario, has been charged with murder, according to his arrest warrant. Nazario was taken into custody Monday evening in Bartow County, where he was found at a hotel with one of his girlfriend's children. He is expected to be returned to Clayton County, but police have declined to say when Nazario will be moved.

Arrest warrants state that Nazario allegedly fought verbally and physically with Korean Bowden on Friday. Nazario allegedly has admitted to police that he stabbed Bowden and tied up two of her children to prevent them from seeing what he had done, the warrant states.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bowden family.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DV Homicide-Suicide in Kirkwood (Atl)

A murder-suicide in Kirkwood, a neighborhood in east Atlanta, leaves three dead.

Atlanta police say the killings of two men and a woman apparently stemmed from a dispute between the woman and her former boyfriend.

Police say the woman, 50-year-old Angela Pearson, was found dead in her home on Thursday along with her son, 24-year-old Darryl Pearson, and the ex-boyfriend, Charlie Woods.

Investigators say all three apparently died of gunshot wounds.

The AJC reports:
Nicole Pearson said her mother had broken up with Woods in June, and he had never been violent or abusive.

In the last few months, though, strange things started happening: A dog disappeared from the house; a family computer printer was sabotaged, and on Wednesday, someone put sugar in the gas tank of Pearson's car, the daughter said.

A family friend, Schquetta Hammond, said Woods was suspected because he had a key to the house. Hammond said she urged Angela Pearson to go to the police, but "she told me, ‘He's harmless,' and she was not going to call the police."
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pearson family.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Henry County Man Suspect in Girlfriend's Death

From Fox 5 News:
Police in Henry County are seeking a man they believe shot and killed his live-in girlfriend.

Police say 38-year-old Richelle Gates was having an argument with her live-in boyfriend, Fernando Alberto Scott, Tuesday morning when words erupted into gunfire.

Police say Gates’ 18-year-old son was inside the Hampton home on Goldleaf Drive when his mother was shot and killed.
Henry County police are looking for 54-year-old Fernando Alberto Scott.

Police believe Scott fled in a gray 2009 Ford Focus with Georgia tag number PD94JQ.

According to police, Scott is to be considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Henry County police at 770-288-8250 or 770-957-9121. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gates family.