The laughter ripped through the silence of the morning, another day was beginning for myself, but had already begun for the men in front of me. I joined in with the friendly banter, more cheer filled the crisp morning air.
The memories of that morning still hung fresh in my mind, a few months shy of a year later. This was only one of the times I shared a laugh with this work mate. His name now plastered over the news, a shock to those of us who knew him. A path that turned sour, and now a life sentence has been handed down.
The media has a way of twisting stories to their own narratives, with the latest movement being aimed at male-only domestic violence. I am not saying that women do not go through some horrible ordeals, but, the rise in comments from women shutting down male rights, while screaming that women’s rights need to be expanded again. In an ever-changing world, I am seeing things fall, The voices of those keyboard warriors screaming out that they should be protected while belittling the other sex, because of a few. Those that scream out that there is injustice in the system while being filmed bashing themselves with a hammer.
I heard about the death of a lady before I heard the news. Another friend, contacted me to say it was her cousin. The angst, the hatred, the pain she dealt with was confronting. I took the time to read the articles. Following on from the recent rise in death in domestic violence cases had been raised once again. The reports stated a woman who loved her children, a great neighbour that would not lift a finger against another. One that was a victim to the ever-growing number of aggressive males. My friend supported the narrative from the papers, but although I was sympathetic with her loss I couldn’t get the feeling that something was off.
He had this kind of patience about him, our boss is known for his outbursts, ones that can cause most to retaliate, not him. He was always polite, happy to have a laugh or chat. He even was known to have an attraction to another worker and was seen as a single parent. Not one that was supposedly in a relationship. I never questioned his life outside of the workplace, it wasn’t one that I felt I needed to know. Our age gap was enough to know that workplace mates were where that would stay.
I hadn’t seen the name, of the partner who had stabbed this mother. It was like my eyes skimmed past it, I mean what is the chances that you work with the cousin of the deceased and the killer. But when he was not at work, and the gossip hit the floor I looked again at the news reports. His name stuck out like a sore thumb. But it still didn’t seem right. Not that he killed the woman, but about how it happened or why.
I posted the link on my Facebook page, it was sad news both ways. Families are torn, children without a mother and a now-incarcerated father. Cousins, friends and loved ones left in an eternal mourning. But above all that a note that will ring above his head forever, an abuser. A wife beater and ultimately, a woman killer.
My gut sunk, I had been writing my novella Duncan Heights, which ultimately has a man who has killed both men and women, but up until this, I hadn’t known anyone that had killed in such a cold turn of violence, that I knew of. I couldn’t write, the thought of that night flashed before me as I envisioned the events described. A body turned up, naked in a field not far from where I live, and the killer has now turned real. But it has been a stall in the writing sense.
I still couldn’t believe what had happened, but I knew a few things seemed off if this cousin was so involved with the victim how did she not know the partner? a partner that worked in the same place. I talked to another friend, one whose husband had been the man’s friend for a long time. I wanted to see what they knew about the situation. The story dug deeper, from the victim is not this perfect neighbour, mother or partner. Not that we are all perfect in life, we all go through our own way, but this narrative played out by the news sources, painted a clear line for those to walk along in the path to blaming.
The victim had left him and taken off overseas with another man, leaving him with their two young kids, in which he had received help from this friend and others. Clothing, money etc to help in the circumstances. The victim had returned not long before her untimely fate and started the relationship back with him. Now as I said people choose to go their own paths for whatever reason, but what I found out upon this curious investigation may have sparked the issue.
He and she were known to smoke pot, get involved in drinking and what not, when all this went down in the early hours of the morning, he was off his face, one said she had come home from working the late shift, another said she wasn’t working. Whether or not she had been taking drugs or drinking herself I don’t know. But an argument or a fit of drug-induced paranoia endured and she lost her life.
She was pregnant, how far along I don’t know. Was it his or was it the other persons I don’t know, but you would wonder if that had the final tipping point to it. A view that was shared was that being a person inside of her he should get double life sentences. I am no lawyer so for that, I wouldn’t know, but what wouldn’t help in the sentencing is the pro-abortion group, with abortions being allowed up to now 32 weeks (correct me if I am wrong.) The group has pushed for the no life until it takes its first breath law (again correct me if I am wrong- I don’t really want to go searching to find where I have seen it). In that case, I guess that is why the sentence was only life.
My friend wanted to get a lawyer to help him reduce the sentence. It was a hard thing to hear. Although he didn’t seem the type to do this, he did. I asked after if they had gotten the lawyer in which she responded: “He doesn’t want one, he accepts what he did.” It was a decent thing to hear, he is taking the weight of the judgement he handed to another. He was according to the friend remorseful, but that didn’t help the cousin. Not that you can blame her, the threats of death to this man, from behind bars carried out through family inside, will be the only way she will find her peace, if even then.
The system will most likely keep him out of the general public, they don’t take to well to certain kinds of people behind caged doors, but I doubt the news will travel if he does run into her people.
I started this post a week ago, between bouts of pain with my hands, busy days and nights and wondering how to go with this story, I felt it would just benefit myself in just letting it go. Letting the words fall, the questions and some answers seep onto the page and ultimately accept that I will not see this man again. No more laughing moments, no more good mornings or friendly chats.
The question still lingered for me, was this really a case of domestic abuse or a result of substance abuse gone awry? There was no way really for me to find out if he had hurt her before, her cousin said she would have known if he had, but don’t we all say that? Was this really just a one time moment that could have been avoided if he had not been under the influence? Just like those who drive while drunk and killing another being? They may not have wanted to take a life but it happened.
All I know was that it was time to let go of the way the media portrays stories to take advantage of certain movements or drive others into a false narrative. The anger I have towards today’s journalism is in no way good for me.
I wonder though, with the other women that were killed by their spouses or by men over this past year or in the past. I wonder, if the narrative in their story was adjusted, just that little bit to make it sound more likely the victim was the angel, was the innocent one or didn’t provoke the attacker just that little bit too much. Maybe just maybe the story told was the truth, but in this case, there is more behind the story.
A life lost,
Children now parentless,
A moment of anger,
A change needs to happen.
Till next time, Keep smiling
The Stubborn Australian
[Disclaimer – In no way do I mean to offend the family of the victim in this post. I am not trying to ruin the victim’s reputation as a good mother, friend or family member. In my search to find out the truth or a more reasonable answer to why ( by using a middle ground from sources).]