Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “domestic violence”

Why Are Men So Silent?

EOM Contributor

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed in 1994.  Since then it has reduced the rate of domestic violence by 58%.  This has saved countless lives.  It is up for re-authorization now and has been revised to provide protection for Native America women, gays and lesbians (yes, the act actually protects men against domestic violence, too), mail order brides and illegal immigrants.  The Republicans are refusing to approve re-authorization of the act.  Apparently, the four groups of people mentioned above aren’t worth protecting.

The Republicans are also fighting any discussion of reasonable gun control.  They, along with the NRA, are trying to make you believe that all guns will be removed from your possession.  President Obama has outlined 24 proposals to reduce gun violence.  None of them involve taking away your guns.  Many people believe we need even more guns to prevent a tyrannical take-over by our military, pushed by our own government.  There are 330 million Americans.  There are approximately 310 firearms in this country.  Do you really believe we don’t already have the firepower to stand-up and defend ourselves?

Yesterday we learned that a hero of last year’s London Olympics has been charged with premeditated murder in his hometown of Pretoria, South Africa.   Oscar Pistorius, also known as “Blade Runner”, was the winner of a silver medal.  Oscar shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steemkamp, four times.  He claimed he believed she was an intruder.  Police report that there had been a history of domestic violence between Oscar and Reeva.   Statistics show that a victim of domestic violence is eight times more likely to die if there is a gun in the home.   64% of the women who are murdered each year, die at the hands of a family member or intimate partner.  In most of these murders there is a history of police reports and trips to the ER, yet even then guns are not removed from the home.  Having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death and that of your spouse and children.  If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owing neighbors and their families to die in a gun related accident, suicide or homicide.

In the two months since the Sandy Hook shooting, there have been over 1000 deaths by gunshot in America.  When will we stop the madness?

With all the news media discussing gun control, violence and other issues that concern women (reproductive rights), I find little discussion locally.  I work in the hospitality field and have the opportunity to talk to many people.  The women I’ve spoken to are vocal in their support for reasonable gun control and reproductive rights, the need to reduce violence in this country and particularly violence against women.  The men are strangely silent, other than to say they refuse to give up their guns.  Do they not have mothers, wives, sisters or daughters?  Do they not care that 1 of 3 American women will be the victim of a violent attack at some point in her life?  Are the men in your life talking about these issues, or are they just “women’s issues?”

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law

A Florida woman is facing 20 years in prison for standing her ground.  Marissa Alexander is a 31 year old mother of three.   Her husband, Rico Gray, had been arrested twice for domestic battery.  One of the violent attacks sent Alexander to the hospital.  After that, Alexander obtained a protective order against Gray.  That order was still in effect on August 1, 2010, when Gray flew into a violent rage.  What caused such rage?  Alexander had sent a picture of her newborn daughter to her first husband.

Gray has told prosecutors that he has five baby mamas and he has abused them all.  He said “they had to walk on eggshells around me”.  He said he “punched women in the face, shoved them and choked them.”

Alexander was in her bathroom when Gray went into his jealous rage and tried to force his way in.  He is seven inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than Alexander.

When she managed to get by him, she panicked and ran into the garage, forgetting her car keys.  She couldn’t escape from the garage because the door wasn’t working.  So she grabbed her gun from her car and headed back into the kitchen, where Gray confronted her again.

Gray admitted he was “going towards her” when she fired one shot that was high and to his right.  At that point, he left with his two sons.

Gray admits that if his sons hadn’t been in the house, he probably would have taken the gun from her and “put my hands on her.”

The judge in the case has ruled that the “stand your ground” law doesn’t apply because Alexander could have escaped through the front or back door instead of going to the garage.

I don’t imagine that judge has ever been in a situation where she feared for her life, at the hands of a man who had previously beaten her to the point of being hospitalized.  It’s easy in those moments, to panic.  She blindly got away from him, without the forethought to go through the front or back door.  Or maybe she had forethought to get to the car and get her gun.  In that case, she was simply “standing her ground.”

Interesting that George Zimmerman wasn’t arrested the night he killed Trayvon Martin, but Marissa Alexander was arrested, charged and faces 20 years in prison for defending herself.  In a case where no one was hurt.  Apparently “stand your ground” doesn’t apply to black women in Florida.

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