The Silence is Deafening: Who is Speaking For Kasandra Perkins?
By now, you know about the murder/suicide that was committed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. You have probably heard the gory details of Belcher’s shooting of his girlfriend, followed by Belcher killing himself in front of Chief’s staff at their facility. You likely saw the tearful interviews given by his teammates, following their emotional victory the very next day. Everything we’ve heard about for the most part, centers on the perpetrator, Jovan Belcher, professional football player. So far, the media has said little about the actual victim: I’m going to do my best to introduce her to you.
Her name is Kasandra Perkins, and like many women, she is a victim of domestic violence. Unlike her boyfriend Jovan Belcher, she does not have a large community of fans and teammates to mourn for her. She does however have a baby daughter, a daughter who will grow up to know very little about her parents, a daughter, who may someday, become a victim of violence herself. What Belcher did to Kasandra saddens me. The fact that Belcher is mourned more than Kasandra sickens me. The fact that this tragedy is not spurring on a larger conversation about violence against women terrifies me.
This is not a sports story: this is a story that gets repeated over and over, year after year. It’s the story of misogyny of anger, of control. It’s the story of patriarchy, of men desperately trying to maintain superiority in their relationships with women. It’s a culture of machismo, of teaching women where their place lies in the still male dominated pecking order. It’s a story in which a happy ending is never an option. It’s a story that will repeat indefinitely until the majority of men (and many women as well) can stand together and put a stop to it.
Guys, we can’t be silent about this: we must speak out on abuse, stop blaming the victim, and place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the abuser. In this case the blame falls on Javon Belcher. He is not the victim, Kasandra Perkins is. Until we as a collective gender can stand with women to express our disgust toward this violence that is too often covered up, and too often blamed on the victim, violence against women will continue.
That’s not an ending to a story that I wish to keep reading, what about you?