Seeking Justice for Victims in Court

Written by: Mary Byron Project Intern

DISCLAIMER: While this article’s focus is on victims of domestic and dating violence, I think it is important to note a serious issue in the discussion of this topic. Too often we lose sight of the problem at hand as we often times ask questions that aren’t truly relevant in combatting the issue of violence against women. Yes, it is important to hear the voices of victims and understand their situations so we can better help them, but often times this can lead to a sense of victim blaming. We tend to ask questions or focus on topics that either directly or indirectly assign blame to the victim. In order to put an end to these crimes, we must assign full responsibility to the perpetrator. While this blog is about understanding a victim’s mentality, the Mary Byron Project’s focus is putting an end to these crimes, and we recognize that this goal revolves around a focus on the perpetrator.

Too many times, there have been cases in which if a protection order had been kept in place, a life could have been saved. This situation is illustrated in the case of Anne Johnson. According to a Huffington Post article, Anne was a victim of domestic violence who had filed for an order of protection against her ex-husband. In the petition, she stated, “I am afraid that without this protective order, Shaun Philip Hardy will continue to hurt me or even kill me in the future.” However, the order was later requested to be dismissed and Johnson reunited with Hardy for the sake of their special needs son. Johnson was later murdered by Hardy, her body found wrapped in dark plastic in their garage.

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The Verdict Is In: Mandate Domestic Violence Training for Judges

Mandatory Domestic Violence Training for Judges

Law enforcement officers, social workers, health care professionals, teachers, and other state employees have been pushed to learn about the dynamics of domestic violence, but one crucial group of people is sometimes overlooked—our judges.

It is not uncommon for a victim to change his or her story or to feel uncertain while in court. It is the judge’s role and responsibility to not only rule fairly but also to understand the position of the victim—a position often driven by fear and confusion.Continue reading

Guns, Knives, and Social Media: The New Frontier for Abuse, Harassment, and Victim Blaming

Written by The Mary Byron Project Intern

If you were walking down a public street and suddenly noticed a man beating a woman to the ground, violently hitting her, you would know that you were witnessing abuse. You would not only label it as wrong but also hopefully take action—calling the police or intervening yourself.

If you were in a store at the mall, and you heard a woman screaming threats of violence and death at her partner you would again label this as wrong and know action should be taken, whether that is bystander intervention or contacting law enforcement.

So then why is social media any different? Instinctively our gut tells us it is wrong when we see someone being physically abused or threatened in public. We must realize that our lives our now online and online abuse via social media must be viewed with the same gut-wrenching disgust.Continue reading

Making Excuses for Brutality: The Alarming Responses to Ray Rice’s Violence

Our nation’s domestic violence problem has been featured in the news quite a bit this week after Baltimore Raven’s running back Ray Rice was suspended by the National Football League for a mere two games after knocking his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator. TMZ obtained security camera footage of Rice carelessly dragging her immobile body from the elevator doors, and it subsequently went viral. The NFL’s dainty punishment can only be described as absolutely and entirely horrifying. I would think that everyone would agree. I would be wrong. ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith suggested that domestic violence victims should educate themselves “about the elements of provocation” and because Rice’s fiancé had “provoked” him, he asserts, “It’s not about him then, it’s about you.” Goodness gracious, surely no one thought he was making any sense at all in saying that her tragic beating was her own damn fault? Wrong again. Whoopi Goldberg’s diatribe on “The View” communicated the message that if only women would learn to stop hitting men, we wouldn’t be having these problems. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the age old dilemma of intimate partner violence has been solved. It was the woman all along! I suppose it’s high time we pack up the office.Continue reading