One of the most frustrating issues to those of us interested in gender-based violence is to read media accounts that gloss over, or worse, ignore the issue of gender and, in particular, violence directed at women and girls. Today’s article in the Washington Post (following up on this week’s missed opportunity in the HIV gel article) declares a “chance encounter” led to a women being beat and stabbed (with scissors) by a man she knew. In fairness, it says the authorities claimed this (was it their choice of words? is it the media’s responsibility to realize it was gender and not chance – just as it was skin color and not injustice that claimed the lives of African Americans?).
While it states Williams, (I hate to say this but) the “alleged” killer, didn’t know she was coming (how did they know this? did he say it? was it the truth?), he did, in fact, know her and was present in the studio. Had a man walked in would he have done the same thing? This is the key question. If this was a racially-motivated or even a homophobic-motivated crime, society would be asking the SAME QUESTION. Once we start asking ourselves if gender was an issue, we’ll be able to detect gender-based violence. Targeting women solely because of their gender is a hate crime, discrimination, and mysogynist. Only when we become aware of gender-based violence will we be able to work towards preventing it. The next question is, how many murders do we have to witness before we gain this awareness?
Here was another story this week -
Twice this guy is suspected of killing a mother and daughter. Does anyone question why he’s targeting mothers and daughters and not fathers and sons or fathers and daughters?
Police Chief Roberto L. Hylton said the same suspect may be responsible for the slaying of another Maryland mother and daughter, and also is being investigated for homicides in other states.
The unnamed man, currently held on weapons and sex charges, holds two master’s degrees.
Hylton said he is well read and very familiar with law enforcement.
He predicted the man will be remembered as “one of America’s most infamous killers.”
He will be remembered. But his victims will not. Nor will many be able to understand that their gender was their risk factor, and that, ignored, it will allow more women and girls to be killed by men in senseless, tortuous deaths.
And then there was this one…
“Them cops didn’t find nothing — not a damn thing,” Lord’s grandfather, Vincent Caruso, told The Philadelphia Daily News.
From the beginning, the family had complained that police in Camden, Collingdale, Pa., and Collingswood, N.J., had been reluctant to search for Lord because of her rough past.
The police didn’t even want to look for her – she wasn’t quite “worth” looking for, was she? Jack the Ripper was able to terrorize London because he was, after all, killing the “dregs” of society – prostitutes – and getting away with it. To this day, serial killers often target prostitutes because they know society might even appreciate ridding it of such “evil” women (murder, in fact, is the number one cause of death for prostitutes). Having said this, society has pimps, drug dealers, gang members – and I’ve yet to see serial killers try to wipe out these guys. So again, we see the gender component at work.
Try this exercise. Fill in the blank, replacing Jenna Lord as the victim. In which scenario would society have more outrage?
Two (white men) followed ___________, killed ____________, and set __________ on fire.
(a) the black couple (b) the gay man (c) an Amish person
Any of these choice would indicate the killers were targeting people for their race, sexuality or lifestyle and the media would highlight this. But targeting random females – for no apparent reason – other than they are women – gets virtually ignored. It’s insane.
1.5 to 3 million women are killed by men each year. Often, the men are known to the women. Other times, they are not – they are just women - and that’s all it takes.