Recent headlines make us wonder: Is it 1954 or 2014?
June 24, 2014
A Tennessee judge let an abuser, who resisted arrest after beating his ex-girlfriend, out of jail before the “12-hour cooling off period” because “victims sometimes give incorrect information.” The abuser then went on to brutally attack the victim - who was collecting her belongings from their home – that very same morning, when he should have still been in jail. . . Is it 1954 or 2014?
A Sheriff in Arkansas responded to questions about the failures of the justice system in the brutal murder of a woman by her ex-boyfriend (who hadn’t been monitored by parole, repeatedly violated protection orders, and threatened to kill her and her family) by saying, “I’m asking you, what’s wrong with the women? It doesn’t make any difference what kind of training officers get. You can tell that person they are at risk. But they will keep going back. Women continue to live in that environment. Why don’t you do a study on why victims go back to these abusers? Why do they do that?” The victim in this case had fled the abuser and started a new life. While out on bail, the abuser shot her in her head - murdering her in front of her children. Is it 1954 or 2014?
A well-known public figure advises a child seeking advice not to “get your father busted” when his dad threatens his mom with a gun. He told the boy “your mother ought to take care of that” and advised him to ask his mom to get his father “some help.” Is it 1954 or 2014?
We have come a long way since we first started identifying and naming domestic violence. We are doing a better job of holding perpetrators accountable and supporting victims to find safety and stability. In fact, a Chief of Police in Tennessee is a leader in holding the Judge mentioned above accountable and seeking reforms in the ways that abuse cases are handled.
But attitudes like these remind us that there is so much work still to do! Expecting victims to have supernatural powers to stop abuse. Telling victims to “just leave” when violent perpetrators continue to stalk, harass, abuse, and even murder them. Letting the justice system and abusers off the hook while punishing and blaming the victims. It has got to stop.
Join us by tweeting your #1954or2014 stories. Stop blaming victims. Start holding perpetrators accountable. Turn the calendar – it is 2014 – let’s act like it.