Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

In the News (8.8-15.8.16)

“I did not want her to become a decrepit old hag”: why elderly men kill their wives by @glosswitch

I did not want her to become a decrepit old hag. I loved her too much for that.” Those are the words of 89-year-old Philip Williamson, who last week  received a suspended two-year prison sentence for the manslaughter of his 83-year-old wife Josephine.

A retired teacher, Josephine was suffering from dementia and becoming increasingly dependent on her husband, who had terminal cancer. Philip claims to have been following his wife downstairs when “something took over me and I pushed her”. Once she had reached the bottom, he also strangled her. The judge presiding over the case, Joanna Cutts QC, accepted that in killing Josephine Philip “felt this was the only way to limit or prevent her suffering”.

Philip Williamson is not the first husband to make such a decision on behalf of an elderly wife suffering from dementia. In December last year Ronald King, 87, shot dead his wife Rita, 81, at the care home where she lived. King told staff that his wife “had suffered enough”. He was found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, in what the investigating police officer described as “a particularly sad and tragic case”. Other cases, such as that of Angus Mayer and his late wife Margaret, who had Alzheimer’s, have yet to come to court.  ....

Abuse is not always ‘visible’ and Megan Short was punished by death for realizing this via @FeministCurrent

Last week, Megan Short, 33, posted a request to Facebook, asking for help moving on August 6. Only weeks earlier, she had commented under an article posted by a friend, saying she was leaving her husband. The article, written by Leigh Stein, was titled, “He didn’t hit me. It was still abuse.” In it, Stein explained that, while working at a diner, her boyfriend made her shower twice a day, so she “wouldn’t smell like French fries after work” and so that she could shave her entire body, “or else he wouldn’t touch me.” He also told Stein she “wasn’t sexy” and that, therefore, he needed to sleep with other women. Stein didn’t see her relationship as abusive, at the time, because her abuse was invisible — there were no bruises to prove it. “I didn’t know what to name what I couldn’t see,” she writes. ....

The Price of Safety: How the housing system is failing women and children fleeing domestic abuse by Solace Women's Aid

Our research shows that many perpetrators of domestic abuse remain in the family home whilst survivors and their children are forced to move frequently between temporary and often unsuitable housing, resulting in increased financial cost and poor recovery from the original trauma women and children experienced in the family home. The impact of such numerous moves throughout the survivor journey can be far reaching: children moving school many times; survivors unable to establish new friendships and networks, find work or continue with training and education; financial instability and forced reliance on welfare benefits.

Of the 121 women who came into and exited the Solace refuges in 2015, 22% had a secure tenancy on arrival whilst only 13% had a secure tenancy on departure. However some women arrived without a tenancy and gained a tenancy on leaving the refuge. 87% of women left the emergency shared accommodation provided in refuges for continued temporary accommodation. ...

The case of Lee Salter: why Sussex University still needs to say sorry by @anyabike

On Friday (12 August) the Independent carried a shocking story. In September last year a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex, Dr Lee Salter, carried out a horrific assault on his then girlfriend, Allison Smith, a former student of the university. He punched her in the face, knocking her out, stamped on her, threw a container of salt at her, causing a chipped tooth and a nosebleed, and poured salt in her eyes and ears. You can see photos of her physical injuries in the Independent report. Her mental injuries continue: she remains traumatised by what happened.

Allison Smith told the university what had happened. And yet throughout the 10 months that it took for the case to come to trial, Sussex University allowed Salter to continue to teach, and ignored her protests about this.

Salter pleaded not guilty, but on 13 July he was convicted of assaulting Smith and of criminal damage. He was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 150 hours of unpaid work in the community. He is appealing against his conviction. ...

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