Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is a Beheading Domestic Violence?

I know the title of this blog is awful and distasteful, but "Is beheading domestic violence/domestic homicide?" is a discussion I had with a gentleman yesterday.

If you are not aware, a man in the Buffalo, NY area told police he decapitated his wife in the offices of the Bridges TV television station that he founded.

You can find the story here:

The wife filed for divorce on February 6. The husband killed her at his workplace on February 12. The New York Times article indicates there were prior incidents of domestic violence in the home that police had responded to. Clearly this is a case of domestic violence at the workplace being taken to its ultimate level (to me, anyway).

So why was there any reason for discussion about whether or not this was "domestic violence"?

Allegedly it was "not domestic violence" because the man was Muslim and had founded a Muslim-American television station to help fight Muslim stereotypes. The man I talked with suggested that it was an "honor killing" so somehow that was different than "domestic violence."

I don't blame the guy for being confused about it. . .people often are confused about domestic violence.

Let me be clear on this -- EVERYONE has the right to be safe and secure and loved in their own home. No one has the right to abuse or kill anyone they love. It does not matter the reason they give:

"I was angry"

"I drank to much"

" You pushed my buttons"

"You started it"

"I wasn't myself"

"It will never happen again"

"If you would only do what I ask. . ."

"If you would only. . ."

So don't let labels like "honor killing" or any other kind of killing confuse you. Killing a spouse is killing a spouse. Abuse is abuse. Domestic violence is domestic violence. It does not matter who it happens to.

Let's just all work together to stop it, ok?

If you need help anytime, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).

If you are an employer and you need resources and assistance for help in your workplace, we have lots of information on our website at the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence,


Dr. Rus Jeffrey said...

I too am appalled at the media coverage on this one. First off, this story almost slipped through the cracks because of the terrible plane crash just outside of Buffalo. That story took precedent over this story, also out of Buffalo. I covered the story as soon as it broke last week, and then had it on again on Monday. I did not mince words that this "beheading" was murder, abuse and related to a man who was upset because his wife filed for divorce.

To say this is an "honor killing" strips any kind of "honor" from the person dumb enough to make such a statement.

Just my thoughts.
Dr. Rus

Kim Wells said...

Dr. Rus - thank you for your thoughtful comment and THANK YOU for being a member of the media that called attention to this story and sees the situation the way it is. You are a rare person and rare professional. We need more like you.

Matt Brechwald said...

Kim, I agree that the light shed on this incident was inappropriate. We had a DV homicide in my jurisdiction approximately two years ago in which the victim was beheaded. However, there was no religious spin to it, so it was called what it was, domestic violence.

Kim Wells said...

Boise DV Police - Thank you for your comment - and for all you do to protect victims of domestic violence. It is wonderful to have caring professionals like you in our world!

Anonymous said...

I'm confused as to why this even came up??

By simple definition it HAS to be called DV, right?

I believe we should abolish the term "honor killing" as well. There is no honor for any reason for taking a life. The term seems to condone the fact that, in certain circumstances, murder is justified. If that's the case, then who gets to draw the line? You divorce me, I behead you to save my honor. While the guy down the street thinks his honor is disrespected because you spilled his beer...

Again... why did this even come up? Are people that ignorant about this?

I hope not...

Kim Wells said...

MisterNoodle - thanks for your comments. It came up because people don't understand much about domestic violence and so it is up to people like me and you to make sure we tell them. Thank you for being one of the people who DO understand. :-)

stretta said...

"Allegedly it was "not domestic violence" because the man was Muslim and had founded a Muslim-American television station to help fight Muslim stereotypes."

Way to smash those stereotypes, dude. Bravo.

Kim Wells said...

stretta - Thanks for your comment. While this certainly does not help with that stereotyping (as per the conversation I had this week), it is important to remember the point is the domestic violence issue which happens to all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds and we need to keep the focus there.

Maggie, Dammit said...

Hi Kim,

I launched a new blog this week, a collective effort of bloggers speaking out against domestic violence. The response has been tremendous already, and one of the readers pointed me over to this site. I think it's great, and I hope you don't mind that I've added you to the 'Resource' page. Come check us out when you get a chance, if you can.

Happy Friday!


Kim Wells said...

Hi Maggie! Sorry it took me a bit to respond to your comment. Thank you so much for linking the blog to - and thank you for all you are doing to end domestic violence.