February 22, 2012

What about Love?

5 to 40 years. That’s the time George Huguely will spend in prison (assuming he doesn’t get credit for time already served—which I’m sure he will). It doesn’t seem fair considering he took away her whole life. George Huguely killed Yeardley Love and he did so with malice; but the jury decided he did so without premeditation. I’m sorry, but no one walks over to have a conversation/argument with his girlfriend and then just murders her on a whim. Especially after making a comment about killing her during an online chat the week before.

And I don’t care how much alcohol he had to drink. No one drinks enough to just decide to brutally beat his girlfriend/ex-girlfriend/anyone to death. Alcohol continues to be the number one drug involved with domestic violence incidences. But this fact does not excuse the behavior. We prosecute drunk drivers. Why didn’t we prosecute a drunk murderer?

They didn’t allow cameras in the courtroom. And I’ll be honest, I haven’t read every article on the circumstances and evidence surrounding this case. But as someone who has studied violence against women, domestic violence, and healthy relationships, I can tell you that this case is one more example of an abuser (murder!) getting off easy. There are too many grey areas surrounding domestic violence. And unfortunately given the circumstances that generally surround these relationships, there will probably always be grey areas. But grey areas do not make any type of violence…or murder…ever ok or acceptable of any kind.

The commentators think he got off easy because of how he looks, his background and his overall demographic. I agree that all of these factors come into play. They always do. Not just with domestic violence cases, but with all court cases. We are a visual society and we make judgments based on appearances. But in the courtroom we are supposed to make judgments based on the evidence presented.

I’ve always been drawn to this horrific event because Yeardley was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and would have graduated in 2010. And although I never met her, I know what it’s like to be a college senior, and I know how it feels when graduation is just a couple weeks away and the real world is full or possibilities. And having worked in the field of domestic violence I was always interested in what people had to say about this case. Greek life, college athletics, and what the media describes as an ‘on again’ ‘off again’ relationship filled with jealously created a media frenzy where people felt like they could comment on the relationship and the case.

We can all relate to this terrible case in some way. Whether it’s because we’ve been in a sorority, hung out with college athletes, or known someone in an unhealthy relationship. And regardless of what you think about this verdict, we can all be activists and make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
No one deserves to be abused by his or her partner. No one asks for it. And no one should get away with that kind of abuse.

So what are you going to do to promote healthy relationships?

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