New Year’s Eve is coming — the deadliest time for domestic violence
Yet, men on the internet are still finding ways to blame the (murdered) victims
New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day may just be the deadliest 24 hours for domestic violence. From 5 p.m. New Year’s Eve in 2017 to 5 p.m. New Year’s Day in 2018, 10 women across the U.S. — different ages, socioeconomic groups, and ethnicities — were killed by a past or present partner. For comparison’s sake, on an average day, two or three women are killed by intimate partners.
If it happens again this year, will one of the 10 victims be someone you know, or will one of the perpetrators be someone in your family who you worry has violent tendencies — but you didn’t want to get involved?
The end of the year creates a toxic storm.
Experts say that the end of the year creates a toxic storm: Alcohol mixes with end-of-year budget woes and relatives in close quarters (including kids home from school). For some, the pressure is too much.
In the 24-hour period two years ago, some of the couples in these deadly incidents were married senior citizens, some were young West Coasters, and one family lived in a remote part of Texas. The only thing the cases had in common was that a man decided, for whatever reason, he had the right to end the life of his partner or ex and take her away from her loved ones.
Domestic violence against women in the U.S. appears to be getting worse.
The problem of domestic violence against women in this country appears to be getting worse. More than 1,500 women were murdered by men they knew (not strangers) in 2016, a rise over previous years.
(For those wondering, the rate of women killing past or present male partners is about 25 percent of the rate of men killing women).
Domestic violence killings appear to be on the rise in New York City, even though crime as a whole is dropping there. In that city during the first week in November, there were three brutal domestic violence killings in one week.
In one case, a woman named Jennifer Schlecht was in the process of divorcing her husband (whom she’d met while both were at Columbia University). She told her father she was afraid for her 5-year-old daughter. Within days of her expressing her fears, all three family members were found dead in their apartment. Neighbors were apparently unaware of what her husband was like behind closed doors, telling the New York Times, “I talked to him yesterday. I clean the sidewalk and he jogs every day, and he stretches and we joke.” Schlecht had dedicated her life to making sure young women in foreign countries got good health care, but had transferred to her New York office to be closer to her daughter.
Public officials rarely address the media about these cases, saying there’s no threat.
Public officials rarely address the media about these cases, saying there’s no threat to the public. But there is a threat when people don’t talk about it.
Last year, the president announced, on the second day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, on the White House lawn, “It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of. This is a very difficult time.”
Imagine if he’d also used his influence to raise hell about the propensity toward violence against women when a relationship ends. None of the women killed in domestic violence would even get the chance to defend themselves. The men in their lives decided their fate forever.
Imagine if officials were raising hell about intimate partner murders and not false accusations.
Part of the problem may be the way these cases are looked at by society, and the way young men are allowed to turn them around and blame women for their own deaths. If you read any tragic story about domestic violence on the web, a cadre of men comments that it’s the women’s fault for not leaving sooner, or for dating “bad boys.” Some even claim that these women provoked the men into killing them, or complain that women have some sort of advantage, so men have to kill.
Never mind that sociopaths learn, over time, exactly how to present themselves as charming and “nice.” For instance, check out this man and his puppy:
Men who read stories about murdered women and then leave victim-blaming comments are not “nice guys,” and not in a position to judge. In fact, they themselves probably present themselves to women as kind, while they’re blaming women for their own murder behind closed doors…
Perhaps, approaching the new year, the families of these types of men, and young men approaching dating age, can discuss how to handle the end of a relationship properly — a discussion that parents largely don’t have with their adolescent kids. Or perhaps they can any circumstance in which a woman feels differently about something than their partner does, and how to handle it properly.
Above is a photo of “John Oz,” who was named this October as a person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend in New Jersey. She had filed charges against him for assault in September. A month later, she disappeared. Her body has not been found as of this writing.
Look at him with the puppy.
Can you reconcile this photo with someone whose girlfriend had to file assault charges against him? You can if you realize that anyone can come off as nice and sweet at first. Sociopaths work at blending in.
Don’t blame the victims for not anticipating what might happen down the road.
Some claim there’s nothing they can do, but there are laws and steps that can help protect victims of domestic violence, as well as pointers to coaches who talk to teenagers. There is much more than can and should be done in our society (click the link for a CDC report, which includes everything from having coaches talk to sports teams in high school about respect, to encouraging men in the military to get counseling. These programs have a documented success rate).
Perhaps we can talk about laws, shelters, and solutions, instead of blaming women, excusing violence, and diverting these discussions to how it’s a “scary time for men” because of potential false accusations.
We need a change in the conversation so that people stop looking away.
We need a change in the conversation so that people stop looking away when their male family members and friends are brutal and violent and blaming. And so that people stop pretending women’s activism isn’t needed today, when it’s needed as much as ever.