Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When A Guy Says He's Going To Rape And Murder Call The Cops

From a KOMO News story about a case out of Pierce County in Washington state:

Travis Gillihan now admits he's guilty of the crime that nearly took the girl's life. Gillihan has had 11 months to reflect on the shooting and raping of a 15-year-old acquaintance. [...]

After the attack friends of the victim said Gillihan warned them he was going to attack the girl. "Rape her and kill her and put her in a cardboard box in the ocean," said the victim's friend, Nick Brown, of what he heard Gillihan was planning to do.

Police said it might have been a different outcome had someone contacted police about the threats, but the girl's friends said that they didn't believe the threats and thought Gillihan was just acting out.

I don't care if people think statements such as this are a joke, any such statement needs to be reported both to the police and to the person who is the target of this threat. That these "friends" left this girl vulnerable through their silence contributed to this violence.

Much of the rhetoric about what makes someone a "real" rapist and the accompanying denial of most rapes when the rapist doesn't fit the "real" rapist mold contributes to these people's silence.

It's no wonder this man felt confident enough after this crime to send text messages to friends seeking an alibi. From his perspective they'd protected him when he was planning his crime so why would he think they would do any less after he did everything he planned -- except aim well enough when he shot her multiple times after raping her.

When this girl accepted a ride from this guy she thought of as a friend she was not stupid or responsible for his violence in any way. We all trust so many people in ways that most people don't even think about as being risky. We trust people when we walk into businesses. We trust people when we call a service person when a furnace goes out. We trust people when we are pulled over for speeding.

The problem in violent crimes is not trust, but the exploitation and violation of that trust.

All those who label rape victims stupid for trusting someone who turns out to be violent help men like this view their intended victims as being responsible for what the violent person does to them. This victim blaming allows rapists to tell themselves that their victim could have avoided danger if she really wanted to and is therefore not a true victim.

If this girl hadn't been able to escape through the woods despite being shot a total of 5 times and hadn't found a house where people could call 911, this might be a missing person's case where Gillihan would claim to be wrongly suspected because of his meaningless "jokes."

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:59 AM   2 comments links to this post


At August 22, 2008 12:09 AM, Anonymous Holly said...

It boggles my mind when people think someone is "just joking" and ends up actually committing the crimes that were the butt of all their "jokes." Yep, definitely call the cops and if you think it's just a joke, call the cops anyway and tell them that while you may even be apprehensive it will happen, it is still considered a threat.

At September 23, 2008 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm i know his brother sad story guy is going to be someones toy in prison... i feel bad for his family the girl and the girls family its messed up... 18 years old and threw his life away... he comes from a good family too there very decent people theres no excuse for what happened


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