Three women, one child the latest victims of men
Jun 27, 2007 04:30 AM
So, World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Chris Benoit – a.k.a. "The Canadian Crippler" – sent "several curious text messages" to friends last weekend before apparently strangling his 43-year-old wife Nancy, smothering his son Daniel, 7, and then hanging himself.
Atlanta authorities suggest he may have suddenly snapped in a fit of 'roid rage.
Or was Nancy about to toss him out of the (marriage) ring?
Meanwhile, east-end Toronto sewing machine technician Alton Beckford killed his common-law wife, her mother and himself Monday night, just after returning from his 13-year-old stepdaughter's Grade 8 graduation. The girl escaped with self-defence wounds.
Beckford had reportedly lost his job five weeks ago because, according to what he told neighbours, he had complained about unsafe working conditions.
Guess he must have "suddenly snapped" after five weeks of hormone rage of a different sort.
Or were the women about to boot him?
After all, the Star's Betsy Powell tells me, Beckford felt burned by another woman.
In any case, the bottom line is, three more women and one more child are dead, victims of the men in their lives.
And always, the storyline is the same.
Each case is treated as an isolated incident. Nobody connects the dots. The word "femicide" is never used – and indeed is not even recognized by my spell checker.
In the U.S., reports the FBI, men murder an average of three women – and often their children – every single day. That's down 25 per cent from the period 1976-1996, perhaps because there are more shelters. But fears are that as the personal bankruptcies increase and employment nosedives, the killing will increase.
Canada's record is also spattered with blood.
Yes, as in the U.S., our rate of spousal homicides has declined in recent years. Women's groups report an average of 80 femicides in Canada per year – and that's unacceptable. Some 25 women a year are killed every year in Ontario alone, while the health-care system staggers under the $1.5 billion cost of abuse.
Most of these deaths are deemed "preventable and predictable" by the experts. The warning signs are well-documented.
At the University of Western Ontario's Centre for Research on Violence Against Women, there are stacks of studies, including a 2005 Domestic Violence Death Review Committee report to Ontario's chief coroner.
It shows that the "most consistent" and "most common" factors are "an actual or pending separation; a prior history of domestic violence; and depression (or other mental health or psychiatric problems)."
We're not talking severe mental illness. We're talking depression. Like losing your job, your family, your home, your manhood.
So, it's never a simple matter of a woman recognizing the threat to her life – she knows a broken jaw when she feels it – and sticking around for more punishment because she's too dumb to go.
There's little chance of getting out, once you're in.
And, as anybody who reads the posters in the TTC knows, you often don't know you're in until you're pregnant. That's usually when the violence begins.
Maybe we will never discover what really happened in Fayette County, Ga., or in Scarborough.
But we do know it will happen again. And again. And again.
In the end, only one thing needs to "suddenly snap" and that's the outrage.