Femicide among the Young

I can’t stop thinking about Deserae Turner. Like, all night long some nights, for several weeks now. In February, Turner, 14, was lured into an isolated location near Logan, Utah, by two 16 year old boys and shot in the head. They’d talked about slitting her throat but “could not go through with it,” so instead one of them stole a gun stashed under his older brother’s mattress and shot her in the head, then threw her in a ditch. She is surviving but requires continuing intensive therapies.

The boys will be charged with attempted murder.

They said they did it because they grew tired of her Snapchatting with them.

What else? Because they had access to a gun. Because some asshole stores a gun in a place where people without fully developed frontal lobes can get to it. Because we don’t teach young men how to handle conflict. Because children have cell phones and social media accounts that throw them into a world of violence.

“[W]hen women hate men, we hurt their feelings. When men hate women, they kill us.”–Jessica Valenti. 

But mostly because these young men learned, and never seemed to question, the idea that if they didn’t like a woman, they could kill her. And to be clear: they would kill a girl for “too much” Snapchatting as much as they would for ignoring their Snapchatting. Ultimately, this is about men and boys’ proprietary orientations” toward women and girls.

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Above, Deserae Turner, shot and left for dead by two 16 year old boys who grew irritated with her social media contact with them. 

The Violence Policy Center reports that thirteen times as many women were killed by men they know than by strangers. Ninety-three percent of 2014’s women murdered by men knew their murderers. Sixty-three percent were wives or intimate partners of their murderers. From birth to age 35, homicide is among the top 4 killers of women. The men sleeping next to us remain the biggest threat to our lives.

The Turner case doesn’t come from nowhere. It’s part of a larger pattern of male ownership, control, and violence against women and girls. It should keep you up at night too.


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