Harvard Students Protest Return of Professor Guilty of Sexual Harassment

Harvard Students Protest Return of Professor Guilty of Sexual Harassment

AUSTIN SIEBOLD was browsing through Harvard University’s course catalogue when an intriguing subject caught her eye.

“I saw this class, it was on colonialism, post-colonialism and de-colonialism, and I thought that sounded really interesting,” she recalls, “And then I clicked on it and it was taught by John Comaroff and I was like, ‘Holy…'”

John Comaroff is a professor of African and African American studies who was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting several graduate students. The university conducted an internal investigation into the 78-year-old’s behavior and found him guilty of verbal misconduct in violation of its guidelines on sexual and gender-based harassment and professional conduct.

No wonder Austin was shocked to see that Harvard had quietly let the fox back into the hen house.

Rape Culture At Harvard University

“The reality is that our campus promotes a culture of sexual abuse, a culture of misogyny and harassment and discrimination,” explains student activist Rosalie Couture.

Couture’s view is supported by the fact that in February 2022, 38 faculty members including Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Jamaica Kincaid signed a letter questioning the findings of the Comaroff investigation. Its closing paragraph states, “We the undersigned know John Comaroff to be an excellent colleague, advisor and committed university citizen […]”

This is a typical example of the bystander betrayal that marginalizes victim-survivors of sexual assault. The self-serving arguments usually sound like:

  • (S)he’s nice to me so (s)he deserves a pass.
  • (S)he makes money for the company/institution so (s)he deserves a pass.
  • Their work is good so they deserves a pass.
  • Their songs/movies are good so they deserves a pass.

It is also an example of how manipulators excel at grooming their social circles into blindly supporting them, even in the face of glaring evidence of their wrong-doing and convictions.

However, when the facts about Comaroff came to light, the faculty members who supported him were left red faced. A week after the publication of the letter, 34 of the signatories withdrew their support.

Did Rejection Trigger A Rant About Corrective Rape?

Lilia Kilburn told The New York Times that Comaroff kissed her lips without her consent. She informed him that she was in a same-sex partnership to repel further advances from the professor. Instead of backing off, she says Comaroff began ranting that in some parts of Africa she and her parter would be targets for so-called corrective rape or femicide.

For his part, Comaroff’s attorney say that he “categorically denies ever harassing or retaliating against any student.” He acknowledged that he discussed rape with Kilburn but claims to have done so in a paternal way to warn her of the dangers women in same-sex couples might face in Cameroon.

Unsurprisingly, Kilburn and two other graduate students, Margaret Czerwienski and Amulya Mandava are suing Harvard University for dismissing repeated allegations that Comaroff was harassing students and ignoring claims that he leveraged his position of power to frighten the students with threats of sabotaging their careers if they report his aggression.

Students Do Not Feel Safe With Comaroff On Campus

Students were horrified to learn that Comaroff was allowed to return to teach at Harvard for the fall 2022 semester. They launched a protest over his present on campus which Harvard ignored because they welcomed Comaroff back to teach for the Spring 2023 semester.

Harvard is sending a clear message that, when it comes to sexual harassment and assault, the institution will protect itself and its faculty but students are on their own. Ultimately, the student uprising is a demand for the right to study in peace without fear of sexual harassment or assault from those in positions of power.

Student activist Rebecca Araten says, “This man is not safe to interact with undergraduate students.”

Is Harvard University An Abuse Enabler?

Austin spearheaded the second demonstration against Comaroff on February 25, 2023. After she saw his course in the catalogue, she says, “I enrolled in the class and used information I was able to gather from that to help me plan this.”

She alerted Our Harvard Can Do Better, a student association that aims to dismantle rape culture at the school. They collaborated with Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers’ Feminist Working Group. The action received support from Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard and the Student Labor Action Movement.

In their official statement, Our Harvard Can Do Better, repudiated Harvard for hiring Comaroff in 2012 despite allegations of sexual misconduct that stretched back to the 1970s. They described the school’s enabling of the disgraced professor as “shameful.” Furthermore, they are accusing Harvard University of being “systematically biased in favor of abusers.”

Taking Matters In To Their Own Hards

Per The Harvard Crimson, over 100 students attended Comaroff’s Colonialism and its Postcolonial/Decolonial Afterlives: Critical Readings class on January 25. As soon as the professor started to speak, the students stood up and shouted in unison, “Justice for survivors!”

As the protesters exited the classroom, Comanoff responded to their demonstration with a smirk. One of the students confronted him and said, “Smile in hell, asshole!”

The students then marched to the Baker Center where Comaroff’s office is located. They taped pages from Kilburn, Czerwienski and Mandava’s lawsuit to his door.

The student activists are demanding Comaroff’s resignation and calling for an end to Harvard’s “cultures of harassment, misogyny, and discrimination.”

Will their calls for justice continue to fall on deaf ears? And, if so, should Harvard University retain it’s status as an elite institution when it is failing to keep students safe and many of its most esteemed faculty members are so barbarously ignorant about rape?

References

  • Boit, D.A.C., Hamid R.D., and Schisgall E.J. (2023, January 25) ‘More than 100 Students Walk Out of Embattled Harvard Professor Comaroff’s First Class of Semester.’ The Harvard Crimson. 
  • Alaimo, K. (2022, February 14) ‘Harvard professors’ initial letter of support for John Comaroff sends a disturbing message.’ Think – Opinion, Analysis, Essays. NBC News.
  • Hartocollis, A. (2022, February 8) ‘A Lawsuit Accuses Harvard of Ignoring Sexual Harassment by a Professor.’ The New York Times.
  • Kim, A.H., Xu, M. (2022, February 10) ’35 Harvard Professors Retract Support For Letter Questioning Results of Comaroff Investigations.’ The Harvard Crimson. 
  • Our Harvard Can Do Better. PRESS RELEASE: 100s of Students Shut Down Abuser’s Class. January 24, 2023.

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Non-Fatal Strangulation Is A Predictor Of Femicide

Non-Fatal Strangulation Is A Predictor Of Femicide

Non-fatal strangulation in intimate partner violence is a powerful predictor of femicide, the main cause of premature death for women globally. A woman who has been targeted for non-fatal strangulation by a partner or family member is 750% more like to be killed by the same perpetrator.

Non-Fatal Strangulation Is A Gendered Crime

Non-fatal strangulation, also known as non-fatal asphyxiation, affects 10 times as many women as men, making it a gendered form of domestic violence. It occurs in 45% of attempted femicides.

Non-fatal strangulation and stalking are considered two of the most serious red flags of escalating aggression that can lead to femicide.

“It actually takes about 7 seconds occlusion of the blood vessels to make someone unconscious,” Gail Starr, clinical coordinator for Albuquerque Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE).

Healthcare Workers Can Be A Lifeline For Victim-Survivors

Informed healthcare professional are often the only hope for women targeted for non-fatal strangulation by current and former intimate partner or family members. It is often overlooked as victim-survivors are often too terrified and disoriented to report the violence they are experiencing at the hands of their partners and family members.

Traces of non-fatal strangulation are only discernible in 50% of the cases. Therefore, learning to identify the signs of non-fatal strangulation is crucial in femicide prevention.

Some physical signs of non-fatal strangulation are:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Brain damage
  • Hoarse voice
  • Paralysis
  • Motor and speech disorders
  • Stroke
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence 
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Seeing dark spots
  • Tunnel vision
  • Memory loss

Non-fatal strangulation can lead to strokse as there is a risk of blood clots forming in the artery. The strokes can occur days or weeks after the act of violence occurred.

Some psychological signs of non-fatal strangulation include:

  • Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Suicidality
  • Dissociation
  • Compliance
  • Amnesia

Legislation Against Non-Fatal Strangulation

So far non-fatal strangulation has been criminalized in England and Wales, where it carries a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

References


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Steve Goncalves on Bryan Kohberger: ‘He was hunting them’

Steve Goncalves on Bryan Kohberger: 'He was hunting them'

THE FATHER of Kaylee Gonçalves, a victim of the King Road Homicides, alleges that there is evidence that suspect Bryan Kohberger was stalking his daughter and the other residents of the house prior to committing the crimes.

*Trigger Warning: This article discusses violent crimes. 

Per CNN, Steve Gonçalves shared his thoughts on Kohberger’s alleged aggression. He explained that evidence suggests the Ph.D. student had been targeting Kaylee and her friends long before the night of the murders. He says, “He was stalking them, he was hunting them. He was a person looking for an opportunity and it just happened to be in that house. And that’s hard to take.”

The Affidavit of Probable Cause alleges that Kohberger stalked the victims’ residence no less than 12 times prior to the murders.

An act of extraordinary cowardice

Kaylee and her friends Madison MogenXana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, were killed in a brutal knife attack on November 13, 2022 at their off-campus residence near the University of Idaho. Kohberger has been charged with first degree murder in connection with their deaths. Police believe he acted alone.

Mr. Gonçalves discussed the cowardly nature of Kohberger’s alleged crimes, explaining that his daughter and the other victims were probably asleep during the attack. He says, “She had her phone right next to her and she couldn’t call 911. So these were just girls that went to sleep that night and a coward […] picked his little opponent that was girls.”

Madison Mogen (left) and her best friend Kaylee Gonçalves (right) on International Women’s Day 2022. ©instagram.com/kayleegoncalves

Kaylee’s father also believes that Kohberger may have had some kind of contact with her and/or the other victims prior to the murders. He thinks it’s possible that the suspect may have had a particular focus on one or more of the students. He said, “I’d be a little bit surprised if there wasn’t a clearer touch point that would suggest that he was interested in one or two of the people more than he was the others.”

Steve Gonçalves and family are seeking the death penalty

Mr. Gonçalves shared that he and his wife, Kristi, attended Kohberger’s court hearing. He said Kohberger refused to make eye contact during the proceedings. He explains, “He knows I want him to look me in the eye. So he didn’t. He’s scared to look at me in the eyes […] understand what’s about to happen to him.”

Idaho is a state that carries the death penalty and the Gonçalves family are pursuing justice for their daughter Kaylee to the full extent of the law. Mr. Gonçalves shared his view on the matter, “You know, he picked the wrong family. We’re not scared of a conflict. We’re not running. We’re coming at him.”

Mr. Gonçalves said that someday his family forgive Kohberger for his alleged crimes. However, he thinks serving life in prison is not a sufficient punishment for taking the lives of Kaylee and her friends. He did not mince words about his stance, “He has to pay for what he’s done. If you want to play God’s role, then you’re going to have to go answer to Him.”


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DNA Evidence Links Bryan Kohberger to Moscow Murders

DNA Evidence Links Bryan Kohberger To Moscow Murders

In the early hours of November 13, 2022, four University of Idaho students lost their lives in a brutal knife attack in a rental home near the campus. They were Kaylee Gonçalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

*Trigger Warning: This article discusses homicide. 

Bryan Kohberger, a 28 year old Ph.D. student was arrested on charges of first degree murder in connection with the students’ deaths. So far he is the only suspect and law enforcement believes that he acted alone.

The suspect’s DNA was found at the scene of the crime

According to Cathy Mabbutt, the Latah County Coroner, the autopsy showed that the students were stabbed multiple times in their sleep. The students were wounded on their chests and other areas of the upper body. They also sustained some defensive wounds indicating that they tried to resist. The Moscow Police Department confirmed that none of the attacks were of a sexual nature.

Mabutt revealed that the perpetrator used “a pretty large knife.”

Later it emerged that a DNA sample was obtained from the button on a leather knife sheath found near Kaylee and Maddie’s remains. Though the murder weapon has not been found, the sheath had contained a 7-inch Ka-Bar Fighting/Utility knife with a steel clip point blade (see image below).

USMC Ka-Bar Combat Knife | Bryan Kohberger | King Road Homicides
A USMC Ka-Bar Fighting/Utility Knife similar to the one allegedly used in the King Road Homicides.

DNA procured from Bryan Kohberger

The FBI observed Kohberger for four days at his family home in Pennsylvania over the Christmas holiday. At 4.00 am the suspect emerged from the residence to take out some rubbish. He was wearing surgical gloves and disposed it in the trash can at neighboring house. 

The FBI took the items Kohberger had thrown in the trash and had them analyzed for Kohberger’s DNA at the Idaho State Lab. The DNA turned out to be a perfect match for sample collected from the leather sheath found at the crime scene.

References


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
In the USA call 1-800-799-7233 or log on to thehotline.org.
In the UK call 0808 2000 247 or log on to nationaldahelpline.org.uk.


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Non-Fatal Strangulation to be Criminalized in England and Wales

a person touching a woman s eye with a bruise

NON-FATAL STRANGULATION is slated to become a criminal offense in England and Wales, carrying a sentence of up to seven years in prison. The expansion of the UK’s cutting edge domestic abuse bill to include non-fatal strangulation will close a gaping legal loophole that has enabled perpetrators of intimate partner abuse and domestic homicide to escape justice – until now. 

The initiative to amend the Domestic Abuse Bill and criminalize non-fatal strangulation was led by the Center For Women’s Justice, who met with Justice Secretary and Lord High Chancellor Robert Buckland.

Nogah Ofer, a solicitor at the Centre for Women’s Justice, said, “It is time that as a society we stopped normalizing and ignoring [non-fatal] strangulation.

“The vast majority of these crimes are committed against women,” the Lord Chancellor told the BBC, “They are often a precursor to even more serious violence.”

What is non-fatal strangulation?

Non-fatal strangulation is compression on the neck to seriously obstruct respiration and cause harm, but not death. It is an antecedent to gender-based homicide. The Femicide Census reports that a woman is killed by a man every three days in the UK.

The practice is different from so-called erotic asphyxiation because it is:

  • Non-consensual.
  • Intended to cause harm and induce fear.
  • Occurs in the context of abusive power and control.

Why is non-fatal strangulation a gendered crime? 

Non-fatal strangulation affects 10 times as many women as men, making it a gendered form of intimate partner violence.

According to a 2019 report from the Office for National Statistics:

“Around one in six (17%) of female victims were killed by strangulation, asphyxiation, this was the second most common method of killing for female victims. In contrast, a much smaller proportion (3%) of male victims were killed in this way.”

What is femicide?

Femicide is a term that describes the killing of females by males because of their gender. Diana Russell coined the term in 1974. It is the principal cause of premature death for women globally.

Domestic Abuse in the UK in numbers

In 2019, some 2.4 million adults in the UK were targets of domestic abuse:

  • 1.6 million women
  • 786,000 men

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the incidence of domestic abuse has skyrocketed, creating a ‘pandemic within a pandemic’

“Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime perpetrated on victims and their families by those who should love and care for them,” says Victoria Atkins MP, Minister for Safeguarding.

The socio-economic cost of domestic abuse in England and Wales is estimated to be a staggering £66 billion

Women usually experience approximately 50 episodes of intimate partner violence before they report.

References


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
In the USA call 1-800-799-7233 or log on to thehotline.org.
In the UK call 0808 2000 247 or log on to nationaldahelpline.org.uk.


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8 Facts About Non-Fatal Strangulation

What is non-fatal strangulation? | Coercive Control

Non-fatal strangulation is a form of asphyxia produced by continuous application of pressure to the throat. In the context of domestic abuse, it is a tool used by one person to threaten, frighten, and subjugate another person. It is an act of abusive power and control. Research shows that it is a high-risk marker for intimate partner femicide. Every year 50 000 women are killed by intimate partners or family members around the world.

What you’ll learn in this article:

  1. What is non-fatal strangulation?
  2. Common types of non-fatal strangulation
  3. What are the risks of non-fatal strangulation?
  4. Physical effects
  5. Psychological effects
  6. What is the purpose on non-fatal strangulation?
  7. How is non-fatal strangulation different from erotic asphyxiation?
  8. What to do if it’s happened to you

According to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, “A woman who has suffered a nonfatal strangulation incident with her intimate partner is 750% more likely to be killed by the same perpetrator.” 

What is non-fatal strangulation? 

The term non-fatal strangulation is compression on the neck to seriously obstruct respiration and cause harm, but not death. It is synonymous with choking, stifling, and throttling. In the context of domestic abuse, it is distinguished as an act of gender-based violence commonly used by perpetrators of coercive control. 

Common types of non-fatal strangulation

The three (3) main types of non-fatal asphyxiation are: 

  • Hanging when a person is suspended with a ligature around his or her neck, which constricts due to the gravitational pull of the person’s body weight.
  • Ligature occurs when the pressure applied around the neck is with a ligature only.
  • Manual occurs when pressure is applied to the neck with hands, arms, or legs. 

In the context of domestic abuse, these acts of aggression occur by force and against the victim’s will. Perpetrators of non-fatal asphyxiation constrict the throat of the victim by:

  • Using one or both hands
  • Applying pressure with a forearm
  • Applying pressure with a knee or foot
  • Use of objects, such as a strap, plastic, rope, belt, scarf, cord, scarf, necklace, etc. 

What are the risks of non-fatal strangulation?

Obstructing the upper airway can be lethal. Non-fatal asphyxiation can lead to a decrease of oxygen and cause brain damage or cardiac arrest within minutes of the attack.

Physical effects

Some of the physical effects of non-fatal asphyxiation are:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Brain damage
  • Hoarse voice
  • Paralysis
  • Motor and speech disorders
  • Stroke
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence 
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Seeing dark spots
  • Tunnel vision
  • Memory loss

Psychological effects

Some of the psychological effects of non-fatal asphyxiation are:

  • Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Suicidality
  • Dissociation
  • Compliance
  • Amnesia

What is the purpose of non-fatal strangulation? 

Non-fatal asphyxiation is a non-consensual power and control tactic used by one person to express physical dominance over another. In the context of coercive control, it is an instrumental type of violence used to foster compliance and submission in the person targeted for the abuse.

How is non-fatal strangulation different from erotic asphyxiation?

What differentiates non-fatal strangulation from so-called erotic asphyxiation is context and consent.

While both non-fatal asphyxiation and so-called erotic asphyxiation are expressions of physical dominance, some of the key differences between them are:

Non-fatal strangulation is:

  • Non-consensual.
  • Occurs in the context of abusive power and control.
  • Intended to cause harm and induce fear.

Erotic asphyxiation is:

  • Consensual.
  • Occurs in the context of mutual sexual pleasure.
  • Is not intended to cause harm.

What to do if you’ve experienced non-fatal strangulation?

If you’ve experienced non-fatal asphyxiation, get help immediately! Support is available in the USA at The National Domestic Violence Hotline. and in the UK at The National Domestic Abuse Helpline.

References


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
In the USA call 1-800-799-7233 or log on to thehotline.org.
In the UK call 0808 2000 247 or log on to nationaldahelpline.org.uk.


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Ireland’s First Coercive Control Conviction

Ireland's first coercive control conviction

Ireland’s first coercive control conviction highlights the importance of active bystanders. Judge Elma Sheahan sentenced 52-year-old Daniel Kane to 10.5 years in prison for coercive control, intimidation, and repeated assaults on his 43-year-old ex-partner. Kane’s campaign of domestic abuse took place over twenty months between 2018 and 2020.

Coercive control is a pattern of acts used by one person to secure emotional, psychological, and financial dominance over another person. It is the most extreme form of domestic abuse in existence. It was criminalized in Ireland in 2018. 

Neighbors feared for victim’s life

Kane is the first person in Ireland to receive a coercive control conviction after a trial. Judge Sheahan found that his aggression was unprovoked and motivated by his contempt for the 43-year-old victim.

His daily alcohol-fueled attacks on his partner caused neighbors to  fear for her life. Consequently, the police were called to the premises on five different occasions.

One  neighbor recalls, “There were genuinely times I thought he was going to kill her — that’s how bad it was. The level of violence and aggression heard inside those walls was very distressing at times, at all hours of the day and night.

“And it wasn’t just normal rows. It was frightening what you would hear, between his aggression and her screams.  I called the gardai and reported it to the ­management company, that’s all you can really do.”

The extent of Kane’s control over his partner terrified her to such an extent that she initially refused to make a complaint leaving the police unable to intervene.

In 2019, emergency medicine consultant Dr. Niamh Collins contacted investigators and expressed fear of  a “real and substantial” threat to her life. Armed with medical evidence, police were able to charge Kane.

From victim to survivor

After Kane was charged, the victim felt safe and found the courage to tell her story. Moreover, she was able to provide a detailed victim impact statement about the intimate terrorism he inflicted on her. Yet he continued to threaten her from behind bars. Between March and July 2020, he told her he would send nude videos of her to her family and friends and publish them online if she didn’t withdraw her statement.

In a display of remarkable courage, she went ahead with the case, testifying to the court that she “might be dead or in a vegetative state” if not for the intervention of the  doctor and police. She encouraged other victim-survivors to reach out to services like Woman’s Aid and the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support.

Orla O’Connor, the chief executive of the National Women’s Council of Ireland and Chief Superintendent Finbar Murphy at Blanchardstown Garda Station praised the survivor.

Chief Superintendent Murphy said, “This brave woman’s evidence in this investigation was vital.

“This case shows that any victim of domestic abuse shouldn’t suffer in silence — the abuser will convince them the [police] won’t listen but this is wrong.

“We will listen, we will investigate and the fault always lies with the aggressor. The Garda are skilled and experienced to deal with these types of investigations.”

“There are other tools at our disposal such as barring orders and we will continue to use those. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from — it’s against the law for anyone to behave in this appalling fashion. Everyone is entitled to dignity and respect.”

For more information visit Ireland’s National Police and Security Service.

Cruelty of the most vicious nature

The court found that Kane’s coercive and controlling behavior began in earnest once he had isolated his partner from her family and friends. 

Judge Sheahan said Kane showed disdain for the victim with totally unprovoked and unpredictable acts of “cruelty of the most vicious nature”, including:

  • Financial abuse
  • Punching
  • Burning her foot with a cigarette
  • Cutting her face and neck with a pizza slicer
  • Stomping on and fracturing her arm
  • Head-butting when she was recovering from nasal surgery, and
  • Strangling her, leaving bruises on her throat

He subjected her to humiliation by forcing her to sit naked on a sofa while he ranted verbal abuse at her. Because Kane took all of the victim’s money she could not escape.

A contributing factor to this lengthy coercive control conviction was Judge Sheahan’s disconcerting observation of Kane’s refusal to accept responsibility for the pain he caused – behavior that is typical of dark triad personalities high in narcissistic and anti-social traits.

In addition to his coercive control conviction, Kane was charged with intending to pervert justice for trying to intimate his ex-partner into withdrawing her statement. He pled guilty.

Domestic abuse occurs in the context of coercive control

Sarah Benson, chief executive of Women’s Aid, underscores the role coercive control plays in domestic abuse relationships. She describes the pattern of abuse as “tactics designed to isolate someone, erode their self-esteem and their sense of self-worth.”

Signs of coercive control include but are not limited to:

  • Isolation
  • Obstruction of employment
  • Monitoring time
  • Deprivation of basic needs
  • Monitoring communication
  • Taking control of daily life
  • Put-downs
  • Rules and regulations
  • Financial abuse
  • Threats
  • Criminal damage
  • Assault or rape

“It would be true to say that the vast majority of domestic violence and domestic abuse relationships occur in the context of coercive control.” said Ms. Benson, “Criminalizing coercive control is an incredibly important piece of legislation because that is how domestic violence and abuse manifests itself, in a pattern of behavior. To see that recognized and vindicated by a jury is excellent progress.”

A landmark coercive control case

Ireland’s first coercive control conviction demonstrates a departure  from the culture of silence in which domestic abuse thrives. It also shows  the vital role played by informed bystanders in preventing domestic abuse.

With the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, Ireland is now  the only country in Europe with definitive coercive control legislation.

“This is a landmark case in Ireland and we hope that it will encourage many other women living with the terrorizing pattern of coercive control to come forward and to know that they will be believed and understood,” Catríona Gleeson, a spokeswoman for Safe Ireland said, “This case also sends a strong message to abusive men that if they think that it is acceptable to control, isolate, intimidate or degrade a woman, as this man did on a prolonged basis, they will have to stop this behavior or they will be convicted of a very serious crime.”

A gendered crime

While holding space for male survivors and recognizing that it happens to some men, it is important to understand that coercive control is a gendered crime. In other words, the extreme levels of violence and domestic homicide associated are more likely to happen to women.

Forensic social worker Dr. Evan Stark of Rutgers University who first coined the term, explains, “coercive control is a strategic course of oppressive behavior designed to secure and expand gender-based privilege by depriving women of their rights and liberties and establishing a regime of domination in personal life.”

He characterizes coercive control as:

  • Rational, instrumental behavior and not a loss of control
  • Ongoing rather than episodic, and
  • It is based on multiple tactics i.e. violence, intimidation, degradation, isolation, and control.

Global Incidence of Domestic Homicide

The systemic nature of coercive control is such that every year 50 000 women are killed by intimate partners or family members.

Men20%
Women80%

Source: UNDOC Homicide Statistics. Page 18.

Resources


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse. In the USA call 1-800-799-7233 or log on to thehotline.org. In the UK call 0808 2000 247 or log on to nationaldahelpline.org.uk.


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