Which woman will die today?

I get flack on this blog periodically for talking about why sexual and domestic violence needs to be considered through a gender lens.  Lots of commenters here think this means I don’t care about men who experience violence, or think all men are violent.

I try to be very clear that I abhor all violence, and like many other women who work to end violence against women, I also challenge and campaign against other kinds of violence.

But this morning, it strikes me, again, how important it is that we remember gender.

The media has been reporting on four dead women in Aotearoa.  All killed, or allegedly killed, by men in their lives with whom they had been intimate.

Nai Yin Xue was found guilty of killing his wife An An Liu last week.  He strangled her.  She’d previously fled his violence to stay in a Refuge, had gone through a court process to have him successfully prosecuted for assaulting her and her daughter, had sought and been granted a protection order – and the justice system knew he had held a knife to her belly and threatened to kill her – but like the vast majority of men who assault their partners, he had not been seen as violent enough to sentence to prison time.

Two women in Porirua, Joeline Rangimaria Edmonds and her boarder 16-year-old Jashana Maree Robinson, were murdered last week.  Police have charged a man with name suppression – and a protection order from Ms Edmonds – with their murders.

And finally, we have the delightful case of Sophie Elliot, a young woman stabbed 216 times in the face by her ex-partner Clayton Weatherston, who alleges he is guilty only of manslaughter.  The court case has been littered with descriptions of their “torrid and tumultuous” relationship – just as An An Liu allegedly died, not because her abusive husband strangled her, but because she was trying out some fancy sex thing involving near strangulation.

No doubt Ms Edmonds found baseball bats sexy too.

I am sick of these women-hating myths which play out whenever men are violent to women they have loved.  All three of these relationships were historically violent before the men killed – just as they always are.  In two of the relationships, the women had done all they could under the justice system to keep themselves safe – they had gone through the expensive, arduous and frightening process of applying for protection orders.

And the justice system, the communities they live in, and the wider New Zealand climate in which we excuse violence against women again and again and again by blaming women and refusing to create a culture of non-violence? 

Please, commenters here who excuse male violence, take note.  These cases are not isolated examples – they are typical of the most severe violence which is perpetrated on women in abusive relationships. 

Rest in peace, An An Liu, Joeline Edmonds, Jashana Robinson and Sophie Elliot.

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2 thoughts on “Which woman will die today?

  1. I understand that money is tight at the moment with the recession and that women’s refuge wants more money each year and not less but…. (I am not talking about all women just the norm of society)

    when these women phone the police they are saying, “This relationship has broken down” and the police response is to put a protection order out on the man.

    I don’t think many women consider the seriousness of the protection order because they stay in intimate relations with the male. It is as if the protection order is a tool to say, “You can come in OUR (it is the man’s and woman’s) home when I say and you can sleep in your car and stand at the door getting frustrated when I say.

    It is not working and if society doesn’t start putting men’s voice as equally important, women are just going to keep doing what they are doing and more deaths will follow.

    I am not saying women need to give up power or saying men should control women.

    What I am saying is that, “Men and women need to understand both have feelings of pain whether being a victim to the situation or being angry over the situation”.

    To me, saying this is only one genders issue or that men must play as puppets around women’s whims is never going to solve DV but make it worse.

    If women understood how much men are confused with the mixed messages or even considered this is tough on them too, we would start getting somewhere. IMHO

    • Hi Julie,
      I don’t know how to respond to your comments, because this post had nothing to do with money for Women’s Refuge. It’s to do with women being killed by their male partners/ex-partners. You’re right the protection order system does not always work – because some men continue to choose violence, including and up to murder.

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