Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why Does This Happen?

This ABC News article not only shocked me, it made me nauseated. I actually had to go wash my face and drink some water after reading it.

From the article:
According to a number of studies, homicide is one of the leading causes of death for pregnant women in the United States. Studies in Maryland, New York and Chicago determined that about 20 percent of women who die during pregnancy are murder victims.
You read that right, the number one killer of pregnant women in America is homicide. It goes on to say the killer is almost always the father of the child.

My regular readers know I ended an unhealthy relationship earlier this year. I still love her, and had she ever been carrying my child I would have been elated beyond words. I can't fathom this. I know that violence against women is an often shamefully unreported issue in America. But this, this truly sickens me. To think of a man killing the woman he loves and his own child is just beyond my ability to comprehend.

The women the article points out are all white. I wonder how the actual numbers break down; is this a white phenomenon, or is the media just typically covering it in the "missing white woman syndrome" way. I suspect, as with serial murders, it is more prevalent in white men.

I thought I had a lot to say about this, but words fail me. They seem very inadequate.


Gourmet Goddess said...

"To think of a man killing the woman he loves and his own child is just beyond my ability to comprehend."

To be blunt, I am actually surprised this doesn't happen more often. Actually, I think it probably happens far more often than any of us think. I've seen/heard about it far too often. A neighbor in my hometown attempted to kill his wife with a pick ax. Luckily, other neighbors intervened. My own father attempted to strangle my mother with a telephone cord. He threatened to kill us both on multiple occassions.

For you, I think, the stumbling block might be that "love" part. From my conversations with you. I think you actually know what love is. Most of the men I have known have no clue. They understand love as possession, as in the need to possess and control the woman in their lives. Combine that with a general desire to avoid dealing with adversity or challenges and even the slightest inkling that the best way to deal with problems you can't avoid is through violence, and you have a ticking time bomb.

And actually, it happens among all races. The media tends to focus on white women though - the white woman in peril sells newspapers.

All this being said, it is very disheartening to listen to the news lately. Seems like there is a new one of these every single day, at least in my area. Some guy just north of me killed 6 members of his family and himself. Another guy just south killed his wife and three children, wounding himself in the leg. He blamed it on the wife and is currently under arrest in Missouri, awaiting an extradition trial. There was another shooting in Indiana, with the man killing a teenage girl who wouldn't date him. It just goes on and on and on.....

Brave Sir Robin said...

Most of the men I have known have no clue. They understand love as possession, as in the need to possess and control the woman in their lives.

I think that is probably true, but I've never understood that. How can you love someone if you don't want that person to be free to be who she really is. I want the person I love to be happy and fulfilled to her utmost potential and desire, how could that ever happen if she was only something to "possess".

I really don't get it. Yet that being said in my experience women (I know, rash generalization) tend to be attracted to the men who have those very traits.

Gourmet Goddess said...

No, it's often true. It's a weird psychological thing. There is something very seductive about being wanted so badly. For many women, that super-aggressive and (to me) overbearing male possessive behavior is that outward sign that shows the world that you are good enough, that you are a real woman, that you've proven your worth beacuse some man wants to own you. In the beginning, it's easy to overlook danger signs associated with that kind of desire.

Then again, I am one of these radically independent females who is somewhat indifferent to whether or not some male wants to possess me and would likely be slightly skeeved by someone hanging all over me, obviously trying to mark his territory. So take my thoughts with a grain of salt :)

celticfeminist said...

The fact is, a woman's chance of becoming a victim of domestic violence/homicide increases when she's pregnant. Relationships that were perhaps not physically violent, but abusive nonetheless, often escalate to violence with pregnancy. And relationships that already involve violence often increase in the amount and severity of the violence - which often leads to murder.

Chances are it's, as all abuse ultimately is, about power. The pregnant woman is suddenly more vulnerable ... add in the idea of "sharing" a "possession" and you've got a ripe mix for violence and abuse.

As for the dominant race of the abusers/abused - it covers everyone. It's not a mostly white or mostly non-white phenomenon. Nor is it mostly poor or middle class or anything. Domestic violence is insidious because it infects all walks of life. It's under-reported, largely taboo to talk about, and one of the most prevalent and hurtful things about society.

(I know all of this because I used to work at the YWCA here in Cinci - which runs the only battered women's shelters in the area and has been on the forefront of making domestic violence a talked about problem.)

celticfeminist said...

I should add - it's unfathomable to you because you're a good person.

I only wish it were unfathomable, period. To everyone. *sigh*