#YesAllWomen requires all men to speak out
The tragedy of this past weekend in Santa Barbara and the plea of guilty in a Waltham case today come together in powerful terms for Ambassadors for the Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign. The misogynist rants of Elliot Rodger – the 22-year old man who gunned down women who he claims would not date him – takes us back to the Montreal Massacre of 1989, the response to which launched the international White Ribbon Campaign. The guilty plea by Jared Remy in the murder of Jennifer Martel might put an end to the trial but reminds us that much needs to be done to prevent domestic violence homicides and violence in general. With both cases, we must complement our efforts to hold offenders accountable for their own actions with opportunities for early intervention and prevention. How can we – as parents and a community – raise boys who are respectful towards women, who are emotionally literate, and do not turn to violence to solve their problems or pain. In response to the California murders, the #YesAllWomen hashtag that began trending on twitter and facebook highlights how many women are affected by violence in so many ways. Men, we have important work to do together to help one another as parents and as agents of change.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Today’s news that Jared Remy entered a guilty plea in the murder of Jennifer Martel is noteworthy for two reasons. First, the due diligence of police and the Middlesex District Attorney as well as the exposé by the media over the past few months might have made this outcome seem inevitable. However, perpetrators of domestic violence rarely admit responsibility for their behavior. Second, even in his admission, Remy tried to assuage his guilt by suggesting Jennifer had some responsibility for his actions, alleging that she was the one who came at him with a knife.
While we respond to today’s development in Massachusetts, we also join people around the country who are reeling from the tragic mass murder in Santa Barbara, California this weekend, where another man blamed women for his horrendous acts of murder.
“The connection is not lost on us,” said Debra J. Robbin, Interim Executive Director of Jane Doe Inc. “While no one would think to blame the victims in Santa Barbara, victims of sexual and domestic violence often face questions about how their own behavior and decisions might have contributed to the violence. No one wants to believe that someone they know – a child, a partner, a friend or a colleague – is capable of such violence. If there is a lesson for all of us, it’s that when we ignore or minimize the warning signs of domestic abuse and other forms of violence, we do not hold offenders accountable and we put people at risk. Conversely, we can do more to prevent this violence by becoming more aware and learning how to be active bystanders.”
Jane Doe Inc. and its member programs point to websites (www.janedoe.org) and programs where people can learn more about the warning signs of domestic violence and the risk factors of domestic violence homicide as well as find local resources for themselves or someone they know. Among the most common risk factors for domestic violence homicide are access to weapons, past threats or attempts at suicide, controlling a victim’s daily activities, and attempted strangulation.
Advocates acknowledged the swift and broad public response to the Martel/Remy case – from the media’s in depth coverage to grassroots petitions and legislative action - as proof that people are concerned about these issues. Robbin noted, “Each and every day in Massachusetts, there are thousands of victims of sexual and domestic violence who need support and whose lives and safety depends on our collective and consistent action.”
For more information, please contact JDI.
According to statistics maintained by Jane Doe Inc., there have been 8 incidents of domestic violence deaths in Massachusetts since January 1, 2014, resulting in 5 murders (3 women, 1 man associated with a woman, 1 man possibly in self-defense) and 5 additional domestic violence-related suicides (2) or other perpetrator deaths (3 by police). Two cases were murder-suicides.
No charges have been or suspect named yet in the most recent case in Brockton so this is not included. There was a long – and recent - history of domestic violence so the Coalition is tracking it closely.