If you only read one thing about the Kasandra Perkins murder

Make it this at What About Our Daughters. Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself; she did not bring that on herself by going to a concert. She was not, as published in Deadspin, a “catalyst” to her own death (also, it’s apparently now totally cool and responsible to publish anonymous, unsubstantiated hit pieces on murder victims penned by the murder’s friends. Because “context,” or something).

As What About Our Daughters points out, “According to the CDC, black women have a maternal homicide risk about seven times that of white women. Black women ages 25-29 are about 11 times more likely as white women in that age group to be murdered while pregnant or in the year after childbirth.”

Belcher, for those who haven’t followed the case, was a professional football player with the Kansas City Chiefs. He and Perkins had a three-month-old daughter, Zoey. Belcher shot Perkins nine times, then drove to football practice where he thanked his coach for the support and opportunities before shooting himself.

The New York Times quotes many of Belcher’s friends lauding him as “A good, loving father, a family man.”

We’re reading a lot about how this was a tragedy… for the Kansas City Chiefs. And for football fans.

Belcher’s teammates emphasize that if you’re dad, it’s ok to have guns int he house because you need to protect your kids. I don’t know the context of this particular quote, but it seems… unfortunate… given the context of Perkins’ murder:

“If you have daughters, you should (have a gun),” Chiefs defensive lineman Shaun Smith said Monday. “You have to protect yourself. You work so hard to get to where you at, I’ll be damned if I’ll just let someone take it from me.”

And here’s what Chiefs’ head coach Romeo Crennel had to say about the tragedy:

“Jovan is a member of our family. What he did we didn’t like, We’re not crazy about,” Crennel said. “When you go out in society, you don’t see people throwing family member out the door. They’re still loved.”

We’re not crazy about the fact that he killed his girlfriend, but hey, HE’S FAMILY and we still love that clown! Right?

Belcher’s family also cautions against speculating about relationship violence. I mean really, everyone, let’s not speculate that this was a violent relationship! All we know is that he killed her by shooting her nine times. Given these limited facts, who are we to say that he was violent?

Kasandra Perkins, on the other hand, had the nerve to go to a concert and not come home until 1 in the morning. And, according to the Deadspin hit piece, she wasn’t doing well in school and quit her job — three months after giving birth, that lazy lazy woman. Clearly she was just after Belcher’s money. And then she had the nerve to take his kid away from him! HIS KID. Who he loved. And yes sure even according to the friend who took to Gawker media to malign a dead woman, Belcher had substance abuse problems and “drank ALOT. On a nightly basis,” but Perkins was the irresponsible party for removing her child from that situation. She should have definitely stayed in the home of someone violent enough to eventually kill her.

I can’t even really finish this post, because I’m so disgusted and angry. Read What About Our Daughters. Read these domestic violence facts. And while it is indeed crucial to talk about the impact of concussions and trauma on football players, it’s also crucial to talk about what this actually was: Male violence against women they claim to “love.” Violence that fits the well-known pattern of occurring during or soon after pregnancy, and escalates when the abused partner tries to leave. Violence that is justified by a media that acts “shocked” that such a fine “family man” could kill the mother of his child, and looks for any reason — brain injury! she went to a concert! she took his kid away! — to shift blame.

I can’t. Read this:

So in closing, because I can never say this enough, the person responsible for Kasandra Perkin’s death is Jovan Belcher. There was nothing Miss Perkins could have done to cause Mr. Belcher to murder her in cold blood. He pulled the trigger the 1st, 2nd, 3rd,4th,5th,6th,7th,8th, and 9th time he shot her.

Author: has written 5281 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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76 Responses

  1. igglanova
    igglanova December 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

    He pulled the trigger the 1st, 2nd, 3rd,4th,5th,6th,7th,8th, and 9th time he shot her.

    This was a devastating piece. I wish I had more to say but, like you, I’m too upset and disgusted to think of anything particularly astute. It’s just awful.

    1. igglanova
      igglanova December 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm |

      Eep, I just realized I accidentally implied a slight against you with this, Jill. I just meant that this line of yours reflects my reaction also: ‘I can’t even really finish this post, because I’m so disgusted and angry.’ Hope that clears things up, if there was any doubt.

  2. Kasabian
    Kasabian December 3, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    I think American society draws a very distinct, artificial line between “good” and “bad” black people. People like Chris Brown and Jovan Belcher get to be the ‘”good” ones; because they can sing or throw a football. Then everyone else, the “welfare mothers” and the “thugs” and pretty much the entirety of all black women are labelled as the ‘bad’ ones.

    So when one of the ‘good’ ones kills or beats up his girlfriend, the community rallies around them. We’d rather canonize a murderers and women-beaters than admit that the artificial Hutu / Tutsi exists and is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  3. DSJ
    DSJ December 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm |

    Here’s something factual and not based on an unsubstantiated claim from a biased party:

    In a University of Maine Police Department incident report filed on April 1 of 2006, the reporting officer said he went to Adroscoggin Hall to respond to a report of a male with a “serious cut” on his arm. The officer said he found Belcher receiving medical treatment for cuts to the wrist and thumb. The report added, “The injuries consisted of possible severed thumb and lacerations to the wrist. … There was a lot of blood.”

    The officer also said, “I was told that Belcher was upset over a girl and punched out a window.”

    In another incident on Feb, 25, 2007, officers responded to a complaint of disorderly conduct and noise at Gannett Hall. The report said the complaint was called in by somebody who “became concerned about the raised voices” of Belcher and a girlfriend.

    The report said Belcher and the woman both said she was supposed to contact him by 11 p.m., and did not. “He became worried and when she did show up he told her that he did not want to see her until the morning. She asked to stay with him, but he said that it would be better to leave,” said the report.

    1. Kerandra
      Kerandra December 4, 2012 at 12:39 am |

      This is anecdotal, but I was a student at UM in 2006. This guy had a reputation for being a violent jackass.

      I’m seconding Kasabian’s frustration with male-bodied individuals being lionised for entirely unacceptable actions.

      A note: it’s Androscoggin Hall, your source missed a letter. When I left, that dorm and the others in its quad were known for loud 1st years and members of the various Uni teams. Fortunately, I never had to live there.

  4. Henry
    Henry December 4, 2012 at 12:21 am |

    The “girlfriend” finally gets a name. Tired of everyone feeling sorry for this guy and the news media treating the victim like a non-person. I’m glad he killed himself…he murdered someone.

    1. Alison
      Alison December 4, 2012 at 12:32 am |

      I’m glad he killed himself

      Yeah, no. Not helping. This is not okay to say, ever.

      1. EG
        EG December 4, 2012 at 1:00 am |

        Why not? Am I not supposed to be glad when a woman-abusing murderer who’s made a child motherless dies? Am I supposed to pretend that I’m sorry he’s not around to hurt more women?

        1. Alison
          Alison December 4, 2012 at 1:15 am |

          Did I say you should be sorry? No. But there’s a big difference between not being sorry and being gleeful. I don’t celebrate death, even of horrible people. If you do, well…fine, rock on, but I think that’s a repugnant way to be. You can think someone was awful and did horrific things – which this man pretty obviously was and did – without thinking they deserve death for it. Or at least, I can.

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll December 4, 2012 at 2:38 am |

          Did she say anyone deserved death?

          There’s a big difference between thinking someone deserved death and being happy they’re no longer capable of abuse.

          Now he can’t abuse anyone ever again. Not other women, not any prisoner unfortunate enough to get targeted or any prison guard in the wrong place at the wrong time, nor any prison staff (like nurses).

          Good.

        3. EG
          EG December 4, 2012 at 8:20 am |

          I don’t celebrate death, even of horrible people. If you do, well…fine, rock on, but I think that’s a repugnant way to be.

          You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, but if you’re going to go around telling the rest of us what’s OK to say and what’s not, you might want to give some reasons. I find what you’re saying sanctimonious and priggish, but I doubt that merely stating that opinion is going to change your mind.

          There are a lot of people whose deaths I feel fine about celebrating. I practically threw a party when Jesse Helms died. And when a woman-abusing murderer dies, I do indeed feel glad that there’s one less abuser in the world.

        4. William
          William December 4, 2012 at 9:42 am |

          I don’t celebrate death, even of horrible people. If you do, well…fine, rock on, but I think that’s a repugnant way to be. You can think someone was awful and did horrific things – which this man pretty obviously was and did – without thinking they deserve death for it.

          Some of us, perhaps victims of abuse ourselves, do not have the privilege to see someone who is violent and abusive and not think “how much better this world would be without them in it.” EG said anything else I would have to say better.

        5. Tim
          Tim December 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm |

          Have you ever been a survivor of the suicide of a family member or close friend? If so, you might understand why somebody would say it’s not helpful or OK to say that. I understand your sentiment, but allow that some people might not think suicide is a thing to be glad about.

        6. EG
          EG December 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm |

          I understand. I just disagree.

      2. Natalia
        Natalia December 4, 2012 at 7:24 am |

        Suicide is never to be taken lightly, but the truth is – when someone crosses the kind of line that Belcher did, well…. yeah, one can actually say they’re “glad” that this person isn’t around anymore. Not in a gleeful way, but in the whole, “I’m glad this particular chapter is over.” If only because there is a small child involved. At the very least, Belcher can’t come back from the dead and shoot the child too.

    2. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan December 4, 2012 at 12:37 am |

      I’m actually pretty okay with him killing himself, too. He just shot people in the wrong order; should’ve done himself first.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L December 4, 2012 at 11:08 am |

        Unfortunately, it never happens that way. By a remarkable coincidence, people who do this always seem to make sure to kill their wife/girlfriend first, so no other man can have their “property.”

        1. matlun
          matlun December 4, 2012 at 11:41 am |

          Um. You are surprised that people do not actually do it in the other order?

          Or do you believe that most suicides also kills their wives?

          Your comment makes no sense

        2. EG
          EG December 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

          It’s a pretty standard joke, matlun, based on the fact that had he killed himself first, he could not then have killed anybody else.

        3. matlun
          matlun December 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm |

          I got Bagelsan’s post. Donna’s confused me, though.

        4. Donna L
          Donna L December 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

          I didn’t really think I was being all that subtle.

        5. matlun
          matlun December 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm |

          Fair enough. Let’s just put it down to my lack of reading comprehension.

    3. Chataya
      Chataya December 4, 2012 at 9:13 am |

      Should have done it sooner.

  5. abra
    abra December 4, 2012 at 12:27 am |

    I absolutely agree with you, there is no one responsible for Perkin’s death but Belcher but the only context (and I have admittedly read very little) I’ve read about the brain injury is whether TBI contributes to football players (and members of the military) acting out violently and unexpectedly post-TBI. I didn’t read it as an excuse, there can be none, but part of a search for ways for better intervention:

    –If we understand that TBI can lead to both low inhibition and high propensity to violence, how might we better support those with TBI?

    –If we know that TBI contributes directly to such abhorrent acts, what responsibility do we have to prevent them by altering the game of football, for example?

    It was part-and-parcel of a defense of Bob Costas’ call for better gun control. Did having a gun available excuse Belcher’s actions? No. Did the easy availability of guns contribute to the tragedy? Maybe there was no reasonable gun control that would have prevented him having that gun but the larger gun culture means the shooting of someone is rather commonplace. Similarly, would a potential TBI excuse Belcher, no, it shouldn’t but did a TBI contribute to the state of mind (to which there are many, many other contributors) in which he shot her? Maybe.

    1. karak
      karak December 4, 2012 at 8:34 am |

      My aunt’s sister’s husband stabbed her to death with a butcher knife, and the man that tried to beat my mother to death got pretty far along in the process with his bare hands. Her doctor told her she was lucky the cracked skull hadn’t cause brain bleeding or brain swelling and killed her.

      It’s not about guns. In this context, stop talking about guns because abusers use their hands, their knives, windows, stairs, doors, tables, whatever they can to assault a victim. Pretending it’s about guns misses the fact it’s about people who are abusers and attack other people.

      1. William
        William December 4, 2012 at 9:47 am |

        It’s not about guns. In this context, stop talking about guns because abusers use their hands, their knives, windows, stairs, doors, tables, whatever they can to assault a victim. Pretending it’s about guns misses the fact it’s about people who are abusers and attack other people.

        I’d go so far as to say that focusing on guns is yet another means of excusing the actions of an abuser and obfuscating the fundamental nature of what they did. Understanding the link between TBI and violence is great, but people who have had no history of TBI also regularly abuse and murder their partners. What we’re talking about here isn’t access to weapons or medical history or whether a woman stayed out until 1 in the morning (fucking really?!), we’re talking about the fact that domestic violence is endemic in our society. Everything else, every side discussion, is an attempt to draw our attention away from the fact that we continue to allow domestic violence to be a lesser offense, one which we “aren’t crazy about” but tolerate.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L December 4, 2012 at 11:06 am |

          And I’d go so far as to say that what you’re doing is deliberately obfuscating the role that easy access to guns plays in domestic violence murders just as in every other kind of murder in the USA. Especially given your rather notorious pro-gun agenda.

          I’m sure there’s just as much domestic violence in other countries, but I don’t even have to look up the statistics to know as a certainty that the number of murders is lower.

          Believe it or not, it’s possible to talk about more than one thing at the same time.

        2. Esti
          Esti December 4, 2012 at 11:18 am |

          What Donna said. Yes, a number of men who shoot their partners would still murder them even if they didn’t have access to guns, but I’m willing to bet some of those deaths would not have happened if the perpetrator hadn’t had a gun.

          Think about situations in which the murder was not planned in advance, but where the partner lashed out violently as an argument escalated. If you do that with your fists, you might still kill someone — but it’s less likely than if you lash out with a gun. The night Chris Brown attacked Rihanna, he was in a violent rage and threatening to kill her while doing everything he could with his hands to hurt her. If he’d had a gun on him, would she still be here?

        3. William
          William December 4, 2012 at 11:21 am |

          Yes, must be my notorious pro-gun agenda talking here, not a concern for the ways in which we ignore and excuse domestic violence. God knows I’ve never worked with DV victims in my professional life nor had them in my family, must be my stubborn support for a notorious human right like self defense and not an actual frustration in the ways in which we so routinely distract ourselves from the fact that women aren’t considered people. Thats is, you’ve got me…

        4. matlun
          matlun December 4, 2012 at 11:32 am |

          There may be a larger discussion to be had about guns and violence in the US, but I do not think it is applicable in this case.

          He shot her 9 times. That means he was very committed to the action, and he was a very strong man. There is no reason to think it would have ended differently without the gun.

        5. karak
          karak December 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm |

          I feel that saying, “This is a moment to talk about gun violence” still erases the fact that this a moment to talk about people who beat the everloving shit out of their domestic partners. It shifts the conversation to getting bogged down in gun rights.

          We’ve got to keep shoving in people’s faces that men beat and kill their partners. And I have to be honest–I believe most of the women who were murdered by a gun would be dead eventually anyway. My aunt’s sister was murdered when she had a restraining order filed and police protection. Talking about gun control laws would not have saved her. Talking about men beating women would have saved her. A world where her husband was actually kept from accessing her, a world where maybe the signs of abuse would have been jumped on earlier and she could have gotten out of there.

          Hell, a world where her husband’s world didn’t crumble at the thought of a woman leaving him, where his entire identity wasn’t wrapped into controlling another human being would have saved them both.

      2. Jadey
        Jadey December 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm |

        Guns don’t cause abuse and DV anymore than drugs cause addiction. (And I mean that seriously). But from a harm reduction perspective, guns are extremely effective weapons compared to most other options and likely have a higher success rate. To make up some illustrative numbers, if beating someone to death has a 15% chance of failure (i.e., the victim lives – which is really a success from our view, of course), and stabbing someone has an 8% chance of failure, and shooting someone has a 2% chance of failure, then the additive effect over multiple attempts of murder is that guns kill *more* people.

        Take a thousand incidents of beating violence versus a thousand incidents of gun violence, using those made-up numbers, and you would have 150 survivors versus 20, or 130 more people walking around alive. I don’t know what the actual numbers are (and obviously there are a few more factors that would get into play – when it comes to threats but not intended violence, guns tend to subdue faster whereas fists might motivate more retaliation which might lead to more injuries and deaths), but my point is to say that none of this changes the fundamental problem of a thousand hypothetical instances of violence, but it does underscore how more effective means of killing people = more deaths.

        I’m not anti-gun (though I’m not entirely pro-gun either), but we can talk about the role of access to guns in DV without it only being a “blame the gun, not the person” debate, which I think both sides would agree is silly.

        1. Jadey
          Jadey December 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

          I should say that the actual percentage differences may be smaller (I’m really not sure), but the additive effect over *hundreds* of thousands of incidents over time means that the gap just keeps widening.

      3. abra
        abra December 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm |

        Really, because some people will commit acts of violence no matter what, we don’t ever need to address why and how people commit acts of violence?

        To draw a parallel, because there will always be some people who drive recklessly (drunk, distracted, tired, or just ignoring safety), we never need to address why they do and all we can do about the ~48 auto fatalities per year is say “bad, bad people who drive recklessly.”

        No, we look at what are the circumstances in which people are most likely drive recklessly, we change the penalties and give people other option than driving in general and in specific situations, we raise awareness about the consequences, etc. We even do things like redesign roads to minimize the impact of the people who still drive recklessly (and unavoidable no-fault accidents) despite the penalties and efforts to encourage responsible driving.

        Being an evaluator by trade, I am all for effective problem-solving. To do that you have to make some effort to understand the problem. Would changing gun culture and/or effectively treating/supporting TBI eliminate every case of DV? No, it won’t even prevent every case of gun-related, post-TBI case of DV. But, if done effectively, it may prevent many.

        Not being able to prevent an individual case of violence is not the same as not being able to affect the social-structural contributors to violence.

        1. abra
          abra December 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

          *48K

        2. Jadey
          Jadey December 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |

          Out of curiosity, evaluator in what field?

          (Evaluator out of psychology here.)

        3. abra
          abra December 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

          Public policy.

          DV is not my area but I was on a team for a social program that required the provides to go through DV-prevention/intervention training every year. As I was evaluating implementation, I also went th

        4. abra
          abra December 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

          Sorry, don’t know what happened…

          …I also went through the training (5 years of participant observation). And, outside of the training, there was consistent discussion about effectively dealing with DV even though the program was not intended to be DV-focused so that got be a significant part of the evaluation.

          *providers

    2. Lindsay Beyerstein
      Lindsay Beyerstein December 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

      Saying that TBI may have contributed to Belcher’s actions in no way absolves him of responsibility. Even if he just “snapped,” as the post put it, that would still make him guilty of second degree murder. The fact that he drove to apologize to his coach shows that he still knew the difference between right and wrong, which makes him legally responsible for what he did.

      I don’t think domestic violence advocates are helping their case by downplaying TBI. Think how common abusive relationships are in the population at large. Then consider a game that puts large numbers of young men in position to get their brain pummeled on a regular basis. How many of them were abusers to begin with, statistically speaking? How many of them are now at increased risk of killing their partners if their brains are damaged in a way that damages their impulse-control? Isn’t the game effectively holding every woman in an abusive relationship with a player hostage? It’s the same with guns.

      There are lots of abusers out there, and easy access to guns makes it that much more likely that some of them will act on their homicidal impulses.

    3. snorkellingfish
      snorkellingfish December 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

      –If we understand that TBI can lead to both low inhibition and high propensity to violence, how might we better support those with TBI?

      Isn’t this really a ‘what about the menz’ argument? The willingness of the media to turn to talking about TBI almost says, “Okay, a woman’s been murdered, but the real issue is whether men have traumatic brain injuries.” There are plenty of times and places to talk about TBI; I don’t think this is one of them.

  6. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet December 4, 2012 at 12:32 am |

    Yep, yep, yep. I can barely deal with this topic right now. A close friend’s sister was just murdered by her husband in England this weekend, so this being all over the news has been forcing me to draw some unhappy parallels with how people talk about it. I’ve already deleted several Facebook “friends” for posing questions on the memorial page like “What do you think she did?”

    I don’t know “what she did.” I do know her husband stabbed her multiple times in front of their young children. But by all means, let’s try to figure out how she must have provoked him.

    That was a great piece, but I’m gonna have to read it again after I go cry.

    1. tlfk
      tlfk December 4, 2012 at 7:50 am |

      I am really sorry to hear about your friend’s sister. And I am really sorry that some people in your life couldn’t even take two seconds to think about what they were posting to a memorial page to see how that might be hurtful to that women’s loved ones and her memory.

  7. miga
    miga December 4, 2012 at 12:53 am |

    Ironically, Belcher was part of an anti-domestic violence group. This entire situation is just so fucked up and sad, and I really feel for Kasandra, their daughter, as well as the people who had to witness his violence- his mom and teammates in the parking lot.

    I have a feeling multiple things contributed to his murder-suicide, but none of them are Kasandra’s fault and none of them alone completely robbed his brain of its conscience.

  8. tlfk
    tlfk December 4, 2012 at 8:09 am |

    Hmmm, I had initially thought the media coverage around this case, while not particularly good or nuanced, wasn’t absolutely terrible, and there was at least some talk about domestic violence. And fans seemed reluctant to talk about “honoring” Belcher. I guess I just should have waited another second for all of the worst stuff to come out.

    DV is so complicated, and the press didn’t have all the details, so I (kind of) gave them a pass for not mentioning DV much when writing about it at first. But I did notice the quick jump to the conclusion that this might be part of a brain injury. Fine to throw that out there (I don’t know much about that topic), but was there any more substantial evidence that this was a contributing factor as opposed to the fact that it might have been an abusive relationship? Why was it okay to speculate on that and not DV?

    Fortunately, I had not come across the awful victim-blaming, although I suppose that was just a matter of time. I did come across fans saying “yeah, it was murder, but it wasn’t like it was pre-meditated?” ???? I read that he “pointed a gun at her head and shot her”. 9 times. He may not have been planning it for weeks (or he may have), but that’s very different from “there was a scuffle and the gun went off”. I know what that fan meant, that this was a “crime of passion”, and that somehow is different/kind of okay. The fact that this idea still carries so much weight shows how far we have to go on educating people what DV is all about.

    1. William
      William December 4, 2012 at 9:50 am |

      DV is so complicated, and the press didn’t have all the details, so I (kind of) gave them a pass for not mentioning DV much when writing about it at first.

      How, how is DV complicated? This is a man who murdered a woman, unless there is some kind of affirmative defense floating around out there that has been uniquely kept under wraps there isn’t anything complicated here at all. You don’t need a history for it to be domestic violence, fucking murdering a partner is more than enough to qualify.

      No, no passes.

    2. catfood
      catfood December 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |

      Is there any possible way in which shooting your girlfriend isn’t domestic violence? How could that possibly be “complicated”?

      1. Rhoanna
        Rhoanna December 4, 2012 at 10:27 am |

        Well, it could be self defense; or she could be the one who’s abusive. But there’s no evidence of that here (at least that I know of, not exactly following the case).

        1. matlun
          matlun December 4, 2012 at 10:48 am |

          @Rhoanna: Since he shot her 9 times, any self defense argument would seem pretty absurd. Even as theoretical speculation.

      2. matlun
        matlun December 4, 2012 at 10:44 am |

        Is there any possible way in which shooting your girlfriend isn’t domestic violence?

        In the literal sense you have a point. The question that we do not know the answer to (but there has been much speculation about) is about whether this was a classical case of DV. Ie the “normal” situation is that there is a long history of abuse that finally escalates into murder.

        In this case AFAIK, there is no information indicating that was the case. This seems to have come pretty much out of the blue according to what I have been able to find. Which is probably also the reason for all the brain injury speculation etc – it is very human to try to find any kind of sense or explanation when something like this happens. In truth, nobody seems to have any solid information, and all the analysis is just speculation.

        In the end, I am not sure the reasons matter that much anyway. Kasandra Perkins is still dead, and so is Jovan Belcher.

        1. auditorydamage
          auditorydamage December 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

          Frankly, in cases where one partner kills another, there are two things I can almost guarantee:

          1) Neighbours, family, and friends will express shock and surprise that the alleged perp could do such a thing, s/he was such a nice person (in practice, it’s almost always “he”; for unknown but guessable reasons, witnesses seem more willing to use negative adjectives when describing abusive women), did so many good things for people, such a happy couple, etc. In cases where the family was treated as an outgroup by neighbours, words like “quiet” or “weird” get used; in these cases, the anecdotes are notably negative. Murmurs of that c-word I lost my shit about below pop up. Denial abounds, as if no one has ever documented the behaviour of abusers and the dynamics of abuse – or, worse, as if it’s quietly tolerated so long as no one does anything that can’t be ignored.

          2) Somewhere in a file cabinet, storage room, or disk, is a series of incident reports documenting years of escalating abuse that wasn’t taken seriously by law enforcement, who tend to have no training in or understanding of abusive relationships and likely managed to underreport events anyway due to their own biases about DV – and if the abuser in question is a cop, well, you figure it out. One or two reporters may eventually write a sentence or two mentioning the calls to police while reporting on the later trial, assuming there is one.

        2. matlun
          matlun December 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm |

          But “he was such a great guy and this just came out of the blue!” is not, in fact, true.

          Perhaps. I get that it is a very common theme and often it just means “I had no idea about the true nature of this guy I thought I knew”, but from my limited reading it seems more true here than in many other cases. I have no inside knowledge, so I am also just speculating…

          Somewhere in a file cabinet, storage room, or disk, is a series of incident reports documenting years of escalating abuse that wasn’t taken seriously

          Yes, that is what I meant with the “normal” case. And even when the reports are taken seriously, any intervention attempts are all too often ineffective. Depressing and ugly, but this is the world we live in…

      3. tlfk
        tlfk December 4, 2012 at 10:47 am |

        Sorry, I did not express myself very well. What I meant was that DV can be complex in the way people will relate to their abusers (i.e., not so cut and dry, “well, if he was abusing her, why didn’t she leave?”), and that not all abuse is reported or easily reportable (i.e., there may not have been any past reports of DV b/c it can be hard to report DV if it’s not physical). I was just giving the MSM the benefit of the doubt that they really don’t know how to write about DV, and I shouldn’t have, I know. They should know better. I apologize – I truly was not trying to minimize what happened, or suggest it wasn’t DV.

  9. Shannon
    Shannon December 4, 2012 at 8:45 am |

    BF and I were watching the show “NFL Today” on CBS when we heard this report. With the single exception of one cast member – James Brown – every single man on that panel defined this tragedy as a loss for the Chiefs, for the team’s fans, and for Kansas City. James Brown introduced the segment and plugged a domestic violence charity with whom he works, and he ended the segment by saying “Let’s not forget that a woman has died.” Otherwise, there was a lot of hand wringing over what this meant for the team. No mention of what it meant for her family, or for their child (although Dan Marino did manage to mention the fact that a child exists). It’s all about the football, people.

  10. Liz
    Liz December 4, 2012 at 10:37 am |

    I know Deadspin was awful for printing the emails from the anonymous friend, but the comments on the story might make your day. I would say more than half were complaining or irate at the victim blaming going on.

    Also, yes, the guy shot his girlfriend and if he hadn’t committed suicide as well, there would not be this outpouring of sympathy for his family. He would be treated like any other athlete that commits murder. But, by all accounts I have read (which are only a couple of him done by various media outlets) he was a generally nice, humble, person. I don’t know how you can go from a glowing story 10 days before the incident to this murderer. I have a problem with people assuming there was domestic violence before this incident. Even in the two previous incidents described above, he seemed to only harm himself. While I know that victims of domestic violence can be very skillful in covering up the abuse (whether by choice or force), I think we would have heard something some out about it if their relationship had a history of domestic violence. I do wonder if the combination of alcohol and drug abuse, in conjunction with a concussion (he had missed the previous game due to the concussion) caused him to do something he normally would not have done. Is there a way to talk about this without feeling like I’m giving the guy a pass? Because that is not my intent.

    Let me reiterate that I am absolutely NOT blaming Kasandra. She seemed to be trying to get her and her child out of a bad situation and made the unfortunate mistake of giving him another chance. She didn’t deserve what happened to her one bit and all my prayers go out to her family and friends.

    1. tlfk
      tlfk December 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm |

      I understand what you are trying to say. But as to the comment that there is no previous record of DV – I think there can be a pattern of DV w/out it necessarily being physical, which makes it harder to document in a police report. An abuser can be controlling, and emotionally/psychologically abusive, and threaten violence implicitly, w/out ever getting physical. And we don’t know if any of that happened; but if it did, it wouldn’t necessarily be documented in any way that people way outside of the relationship (like media or fans or strangers) would necessarily have access to.

      I know someone who told the story of her husband’s psychological abuse – he was never physical, until she left, and then he tried to kill her. I understand you are saying that we don’t know what happened here, but I think it is possible that this was going on and it wasn’t well known, especially if people around the situation don’t name what is happening “abuse” (that was the case with the woman in the above story – she never called it abuse when it was happening).

    2. PennyArcadia
      PennyArcadia December 5, 2012 at 5:38 am |

      The problem with the interpretation that substance abuse could be the cause of this or that an otherwise peaceful guy ‘just snapped’ because he was angered, is that it already is the common way of reporting on these incidents, and that it completely overlooks the fact that so many of them follow clear patterns. Patterns that so often do indicate previous abuse.

      There is the pattern of escalation during or following a pregnancy. There is the pattern of escalation when the victim tries to extricate themselves. There is the pattern of control – I don’t know about anyone else, but the reports that the argument was over Perkins’ arriving home at a certain time raised a red flag the size of a small country in my head. The police report above stating “Belcher and the woman both said she was supposed to contact him by 11 p.m., and did not.” only confirmed that for me. Punching through a window out of anger because your gf didn’t call you at a certain time? Hoo boy. Even if he only hurt himself, that screams ‘unsafe person’ to me. Even the ‘glowing story’ can easily fit the pattern. Abusers can be charming, good at their job and excellent parents and abuse can stay hidden forever.

      There could be circumstances and explanations, but everyone everywhere else is always quick to jump on them already. It’s the common narrative, that obfusciates patterns that are visible if only people were looking in the right direction.

  11. Foxy
    Foxy December 4, 2012 at 10:47 am |

    This is time to take concussions seriously

    1. nilbogboh
      nilbogboh December 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |

      Time to take domestic violence seriously too.

    2. EG
      EG December 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |

      It’s time to take violence against women seriously. It’s not an accident that he went after the mother of their child shortly after she left. It’s a classic DV pattern.

    3. Andie
      Andie December 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm |

      Thousands of people suffer concussions and manage NOT to kill their spouses.

      Funny how that works. Almost makes you think it goes deeper than simply repetitive head injuries, doesn’t it?

    4. AK
      AK December 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

      I think it’s time to take both seriously. I don’t think that the domestic violence aspect of this should be overlooked, but a typical NFL player has also been sustaining head injuries regularly since high school at least, and TBIs are known to lead to violent behavior. Even though not every player is going to become violent, there is a big problem with domestic abuse and suicide in current and former NFL players. The repeated head injuries these players suffer and their effects need to be discussed, IMO.

      That said, it doesn’t matter whether a head injury made him violent or not. In the end, he killed a woman and is being defended, and that is sick. Domestic violence is a separate issue than TBIs, since obviously everyone with a brain injury doesn’t become violent and every abuser doesn’t have a brain injury. They both need to be discussed honestly and without victim blaming.

      That’s how I see it, anyway. I have suffered from domestic violence and I’ve also had a TBI (unrelated) that did actually make it very difficult for me to control my temper for some time afterwards (I was never violent towards another person but I was very angry very often), so it’s hard for me to say that either discussion should necessarily be prioritized over the other. It’s just terrible that a tragedy has to happen to make either conversation occur.

  12. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage December 4, 2012 at 11:15 am |

    One of these days, I’m going to design a poster with a background composed of male headshots, every last one a man who killed a woman he knew. Overlaid text will read:

    These people were all called “nice guys”.

    These “nice guys” ABUSED and KILLED their partners.

    My local paper had a pair of items yesterday, one about an abused guy who falsely confessed to killing a child to save his partner from jail, the other a sentencing hearing for a guy who practically decapitated his wife in a rage and tried to claim it was self-defence. The first article contained clear statements from friends and relatives that the woman who actually killed the child was abusive. The second revolved around the killer’s support from their children, even those who initially described him as a monster, and made curiously ambivalent statements about whether the victim was somehow aggressive herself. I didn’t know whether to scream or cry.

    Between this and the stuff I hear from people in a position to know what ends up in police reports, I’m overflowing with rage. Our society remains in willful denial about the dynamics of abusive relationships and the influence of patriarchy. I’m fucking done with all the dancing around the subject that takes place when violence against women takes place. Suddenly, it becomes about weapons availability, or illness/injury, or “culture”*. Such crap, all to avoid talking about what’s actually happening. Fuck that shit. All of this is about nothing more than men with power & control issues attacking women because they can, because no one holds them responsible for their acts of terror and violence until they go so far as to kill – sometimes not even at that point.

    * This one infuriates me the most, because it’s all too common to hear that line trotted out where I live in certain cases. Patriarchy and abuse take place everywhere. The forms in which they’re expressed and practiced may differ between people, but they exist in all cultures. This claim is used to simultaneously demean entire groups of people, deny the prevalence of abuse in privileged groups, and convince victims they should simply accept what is being done to them. It’s racist, sexist bullshit.

    1. EG
      EG December 4, 2012 at 11:46 am |

      This is a great comment. Thank you for it.

  13. bleh
    bleh December 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

    How sad is it that privilege extends even to the privilege of murder with impunity?

    1. tomek
      tomek December 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

      what??? is most stupid thing said ever.
      if he didnt had killed himself, he be arested definitely. not prvilege

      1. gahanon
        gahanon December 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm |

        I’m pretty sure that award isn’t going to bleh…

  14. ellie
    ellie December 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm |

    It seems that it is a never ending cycle of women trying to get out of being blamed for being the victim. SHE went to the concert, SHE got home late, and SHE wanted to quit school. There are probably lots of signs that he was escalating and she was unable to recognize or verbalize what was going on at home. Throw the “celebrity-ism” on top of that, and you have a recipe for disaster. We need to continue to reach out to all women and make sure they know there are safe places to go where they will be heard.

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  16. CharlleneA
    CharlleneA December 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

    If it is one thing I cant stand it is people today who say women who are killed “deserved” to be killed. As we talked about in class many people in our society think if a girl is dressed in such a manner she deserved to be raped. Just like Perkins “deserved” to be killed! Its outrageous and just not true. Is she the one that was asking her boyfriend to kill him? Doubtful. He was definitely responsible and should be held accountable.

  17. SydneyO
    SydneyO December 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

    I am a huge football fan (not of the Chiefs specifically), so of course I heard about this incident. I hadn’t, however, heard about all of this ridiculous backlash. This is the same kind of thing that we talked about in class relating to rape victims. Women all over are being blamed for what happens to them. This is a phenomenon known as blaming the victim, which doesn’t make sense. Holding the person responsible who physically assaulting the other would be too much to ask for. “She was asking for it,” “she shouldn’t have worn that short of a skirt,” “she shouldn’t be walking outside that late at night.” The fact that there are people out there that say she shouldn’t have gone out to the concert and shouldn’t have taken her baby away from a dangerous, abusive, murdering father is just ridiculous. I understand that he was a great guy. Often times the abuser, as we learned, is a person the community loves. But Perkins didn’t give him the gun and say “shoot me 9 times.” That would literally be asking for it. This hysteria needs to stop.

  18. Yael K
    Yael K December 6, 2012 at 12:54 am |

    After reading this article and listening to lecture in class I realized how violence plays a vital role on our society. I’m sure at first Belcher was charming and everyone loved him. However, this is why we can see clearly that the media holds women responsible for what goes on in our world. Why would Perkin’s deserved to be killed? Just because her boyfriend was abusive? That is no reason to be killed and she was surely not asking for it. I am frightened by how people think that just because a woman is in the wrong place at the wrong time it’s automatically their fault. There is no wrong place, people should not be murdering other people. It is horrifying that this is what our world has come too.

  19. Let It Go. | Lizzy in the City
    Let It Go. | Lizzy in the City December 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

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