Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Reminder For Those Who Dismiss Violence By Men In Relationships

From CNN:

A man killed two women and left their bodies in the basement of a house, then beat and raped the daughter of one of the victims in the same home, authorities and a relative of the victims said.

Fabian Hands, 46, was booked on two counts of homicide and two counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony.

The responding officers (from Omaha, Nebraska or nearby) came to the house where the murder victims were found but at that time they didn't know about anything other than the interaction they saw between Hands and the rape victim who survived. With the lingering bigotry too many cops still have about relationship violence, sloppy responders could have dismissed what they saw as a fight where the woman resorted to a false accusation of rape and they could have left the woman with this murderer.

If that had happened I believe this woman would have been murdered so she couldn't testify about her mother's or her aunt's murders. Without the daughter as a witness this man could have tried to spin three deaths as a murder/suicide with the daughter as the shooter and with him, her mother's boyfriend, as another intended victim who is lucky to be alive. Maybe he would have been caught, arrested and convicted, but that isn't a sure thing. It still isn't.

If this man gets an attorney who looks at the evidence and sees that the evidence is overwhelming, that person could decide that Hands' only chance of acquittal is to base the defense on a story which creates the perception of reasonable doubt. With overwhelming evidence that Hands is guilty, the daughter could be painted by the defense as the real criminal who cried rape to frame an innocent man and to make herself look like a victim. This defense would only be effective if it plays into the bigotry of the jurors or even one juror who would refuse to agree to a guilty verdict.

Lack of evidence to support this theory would be "proof" that the woman is really good at framing an innocent man. This is where attempts to introduce negative character information about the survivor would be desirable for the defense with an attempt to exclude any negative character information about the defendant in order to create the desired contrasting illusions.

Fortunately, many of those who routinely believe these sorts of lies become more skeptical when someone ends up dead. Unfortunately, it shouldn't take murder for people to stop accepting the lies and myths of those who want anti-victim bigotry to trump evidence and complete investigations.

Those who routinely call women like this survivor liars, or highly probable liars, until the crimes against them become undeniable -- even for the harshest critics of women who report rape or domestic violence -- contribute to crimes like this one. They do so by feeding the rationalizations of men like Hands and by showing them that generally they can get away with their violence.

Most of these types of criminals have a history of violence against women and if those earlier acts of violence were dealt with seriously by law enforcement and the public, 2 murder victims might be alive today.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:29 AM   0 comments links to this post

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