One third of women murdered in the US are killed by their intimate partners, which includes but isn’t limited to, boyfriend, husband, lover, ex boyfriend. Just because the statistics prove that men that women know and trust can be deadly, police don’t always treat it as such.
The police more often than not help in the cycle of victim blaming, and giving the man the benefit of the doubt over the “emotional” women. This applies to the case of Shana Grice, 19, who was found dead last August with her throat slit, and they found two attempts to start fires in her apartment.
The case is made even more horrific with the knowledge that she’d already gone to the police about her ex-boyfriend, who is the key suspect in the case at this time, and they issued her a fine for wasting police time. Her ex boyfriend, Michael Lane, 27, is accused of murder, and is standing trial, those he denies it was him.
After they had broken up and Shana had got back together with her ex, Michael’s behavior became even more irrational. They told jurors at the trial that Michael became “obsessed” with her.
Shana went to police in February of last year, telling them that Michael was stalking her, he’d allegedly hid outside her house, brought unwanted flowers, and also left a note on the car of her current boyfriend that read, “Shana will always cheat on you”.
When she reported him to the police, and was issued with a fine for failing to mention that he was her ex.
The fine was for “having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report“.
She probably didn’t mention that he was an ex, because she was worried they wouldn’t take the report seriously.
Last March, police were called because Shana told them that Michael pulled her hair and tried to take her phone away from her, after he showed up outside her home, unannounced, after she’d been to the pub with her friends. The police apparently spoke to him, and he showed them text messages claiming that she wanted to be with him.
Then in July, the Court was told that Michael had stolen Shana’s keys to the backdoor of her house, and then walked inside to watch her sleep before leaving. He was cautioned to “stay away”, but on July 9th, when Shana called the police again to report that he was following her, and she was getting phone calls with heavy breathing, they labelled it “low risk”, and didn’t both with it again.
Since the police weren’t doing anything about it, and making it obvious it didn’t seem to be a priority, Shana talked on the phone with Michael. They played a recording of the call at the trial, which included a bit where they discussed his irrational behaviour. She confronted him about his behaviour, and he replied with, “I’m just not right in the head.” Shana then suggested he get psychological help, and he replied, “Obviously something’s not right, but I don’t know what it is. I need to find out, or be locked up or something.”
Michael allegedly did several other things to Shana as well, putting a tracking device on her car, demanding she pay him back for things he bought for her when they were together, and told a friend that she “needed to pay for what she’s done“.
His defense is that they’d had sex two nights before the murder, he’d returned to visit, found the door open, and then found her dead. He then claimed to have been scared, ran off, and then told his family what he’d found. He continues denying it was him, and the trial will continue for some time.
This case is just another example of the police not taking women seriously. Women are murdered by their intimate partners constantly, and apparently the police don’t think it’s a big enough deal, after repeated calls about stalking, and assault, by a twenty-seven year old man against a teenager, to deem it worthwhile. If the police had done their job, and believed Shana, when she was obviously fearing for her life, the young woman would still be alive.
Society teaches that women are hysterical, easily upset, and too emotional, and this definitely translates into a case like this. They didn’t believe that her concerns were rational, when if you look at the facts, they most definitely are. Men should not be allowed to torment and harass women, simply because they used to be in a relationship. Relationships are not free passes to abuse.
More needs to be done to inquire into why her case wasn’t taken seriously, and what punishments the police are going to have for dismissing this.