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Pre-2008 Posts

Today’s Male Terrorism: Men Killing Their “Girlfriends”

Rebecca Griego

So a couple of days ago, 41 year-old Jonathan Rowan shot and killed Rebecca Griego, 26, while she was in her office at the University of Washington, where she was the Program Director for the Architecture Department.   She had done everything right.  She’d taken out a restraining order which required him to stay at least 1,000 feet away from her.  He’d threatened her sister, and her sister had taken out a similar restraining order.  She had moved several times, had stopped answering her phone, and had worked at home for a month so he wouldn’t be able to find her at work.  She had circulated his picture and let her  coworkers and campus security know she was being stalked and that they should watch out for Rowan.

Nevertheless, Rowan, who took up with Griego when she was 19 years old and he was 33, walked into the building where she worked, shot her dead, then shot himself.  Police say he had multiple IDs and multiple passports.  He had told friends he couldn’t return to England, where he was born, because he was wanted there and would be killed.  He was only employed occasionally.

In my town, Gig Harbor, 62 year old “John Williams,” not his real name,  wanted for sexual assault, attempted murder and kidnapping in Oregon, unbeknownst to Turi Bentley, 66, who was his “girlfriend”, this week shot Bentley dead, then shot himself, and topped off his murder spree by shooting a man  in his 40s, whom he had once described as his “best friend” and who tried to intervene in “Williams” abuse of Bentley.  The man is in the hospital in critical condition.

“Williams” was a conman and liar and Bentley never knew it.  She had lived in small, quiet Gig Harbor for years,  had children and grandchildren.  She and her murderer had recently moved into Bentley’s mother’s house,  on the same street Bentley had lived for years.  And, Bentley had money.  “Williams” had none.  He claimed to be all sorts of things — retired naturopath, pastor.  He had a box full of fake ID’s in his attic.  Bentley met him through multi-level marketing work selling health products, either online or at a conference.  Friends described Bentley as a good woman taken in by a really bad man.

Yesterday, Arthur Mann, in his 30s,  walked into the CNN offices in Atlanta, picked a fight with Clara Riddles, 22,  his “girlfriend,” who was pregnant, grabbed her by the hair, pulled her into an elevator and when she resisted, screaming and crying, he shot her in the head at point-blank range.  He was shot, in turn, by a security guard but survived and is in the hospital.  Coworkers say the girlfriend was a quiet woman who never told anybody she was being abused.

Take a close look.  These are men, murdering women they claim to “love,” then offing themselves because what’s a life without your prized possession,  your prized piece of furniture, your cash cow, your meal ticket?   What gets to me?  The headlines:  “Two dead in domestic dispute.”  “Two shot and killed in murder-suicide.”  “Shootings leave two dead.”

Say what?  Two are not “dead.”  Two are not “left dead.”  THREE MEN MURDERED THREE WOMEN THEY CLAIMED TO LOVE.

The efforts to obscure the facts of who did what to whom are horrifying and despicable.  These are men.  Killing women.  One of the men, “Williams,”  had previously tried to kill another woman, and she was hiding from him in Oregon.

Women almost never kill men.  When there is a “domestic dispute” and someone gets killed, it’s almost guaranteed to be a woman.  Where there is a murder-suicide, look for a man, killing a woman, because he can’t have his way with her.

Murder of Rebecca Griego by Jonathan Rowan, More

Murder of Turi Bentley by John Brandon, aka “John Williams”

Murder of Clara Riddles and her unborn child by Arthur Mann

Heart

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Discussion

24 thoughts on “Today’s Male Terrorism: Men Killing Their “Girlfriends”

  1. Exactly what I’ve been saying and writing for some time. Women murdered by their male partners do not ‘choose’ to be murdered. Men who murder their female partners, girlfriends or simply female acquaintances make that choice – not the women. Headlines such as ‘tragic case of family murdered’ clearly hides the realities. These cases are never ‘tragic’ they are deliberate cold-blooded acts of men committing murder. All too frequently the woman and her children too are murdered by the male partner who is reported by the media as being a ‘loving husband, partner etc.’ no these men are not ‘loving’ they are abusers and they all have committed murder. The only tragedy is the fact it continues to be women and girls who are being brutally murdered by men who believe they have the right of life and death over women and girls.

    Posted by jennifer drew | April 4, 2007, 6:11 pm
  2. Heartbreaking. Where does it end? BTW Your news link has Arthur Mann rather than Arthur Watts.

    Posted by Pippa | April 4, 2007, 6:32 pm
  3. My error, Pippa, thanks, I fixed it. And yeah, where does it end. What bothers me is, it’s as egregious as ever, maybe more. After decades of anti-violence-against-women work. :(

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | April 4, 2007, 6:33 pm
  4. Man strangles his 19 year old girlfriend, dismembers her and GRILLS HER FUCKING BODY for two days…

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/25/ap/national/main2607203.shtml

    Did we not hear this one? Someone please tell me can this ever be understood? She was a college freshman… Someones daughter, sister, cousin… just starting her life… where is the logic in this? or right there is none..

    excuse me I need to go throw up now…

    Posted by Divine Purpose | April 4, 2007, 8:29 pm
  5. Where does all the hatred come from?

    Posted by Branjor | April 4, 2007, 9:53 pm
  6. Ok I’m stepping into the lions den here and I don’t expect to come out alive. This has nothing to do with man vs women there are sick individuals, male and female. I wish all men treated women with the dignity and respect they deserve but that’s not reality. There are wrongs and rights in every aspect of life do we need to add fuel to the fire, do we need to single out every sick, twisted male crime and hang that flag to the mast of all men. Try and emphasise the good millions of men do as well as condemning the arseholes who deserve to be wiped out.
    I would insist on castration, hanging, the electric chair whatever it took to clear the world of all devients male and female. I believe in the institution of family and that includes men and women working together for the good of their children. Read my post http://daveross.wordpress.com/2007/04/03/women-at-work-whats-wrong-with-being-a-mother/ with an open mind and let me know what you think.
    Muslim and christian won’t put things right until they start to communicate, understand and show some compassion. Men and women are the same, there are some good some bad as you so eloquently point out. I am sickened by this as a human being, we are all the same species lets start working together to a common goal. We’re finished unless we do.
    Keep your passion and use it wisely.
    Dave

    Posted by daveross | April 4, 2007, 11:11 pm
  7. It’s a form of dissociating men from their actions…like talking about ‘women GETTING raped’ as if they were getting groceries or a haircut or something, when what is happening, of course, is that men are raping women.

    Domestic dispute and ‘left dead’ and phrases like that handily take the focus off of what is really happening, which again, is that men are killing women. It makes it all sort of equal somehow, or brings in some sort of third party, who left two equally innocent people dead.

    After all, if we were continuously bombarded with stories about what MEN do to WOMEN, then everyone might start realizing exactly where the problem lies and might start addressing it.

    Posted by Miranda | April 4, 2007, 11:54 pm
  8. You can’t just say MEN brutalize women and children. Men feel a surge of pride at the mere mention of the word (who doesn’t like to be reminded of their superiority, after all?), which makes them feel all singled out and guilty for identifying first with the male murderers instead of the female and/or child victims.

    Posted by justicewalks | April 5, 2007, 1:15 am
  9. “Ok I’m stepping into the lions den here”

    Nah, the world belongs to people like you. So the martyr joke is a bit of a stretch.

    Posted by Rich | April 5, 2007, 1:51 am
  10. Oh God… thanks for posting on this. I have been thinking about this sort of man-on-woman violence for some time now. How do people miss the gender element in it?? The state of Michigan was preoccupied with the murder of Tara Lynn Grant during the month of February — killed by her husband while their children slept upstairs, dismembered, and scattered, poor woman. He was caught. A school shooting in Midland, MI: boy lures ex-girlfriend to meet so he can “return her stuff,” and shoots her in the school parking lot in front of her mother, then kills himself. *So* many others, so many…. The threat of violence from those that we know prevails.

    Posted by Anon. | April 5, 2007, 2:16 am
  11. Miranda said:
    “After all, if we were continuously bombarded with stories about what MEN do to WOMEN, then everyone might start realizing exactly where the problem lies and might start addressing it.”

    I think about this a lot. How many 24-hour news stations, websites updating constantly, etc. would it TAKE? Even if every existing news outlet reported nothing but men’s violence against women, I don’t think it would cover it all.

    Posted by Melissa | April 5, 2007, 3:17 am
  12. The headlines are bad enough, but another thing that really got to me about the first case you mention here was what the assistant Police Chief said about it.

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/309945_swat02ww.html?source=mypi

    Wittmier said. nothing might have been able to prevent the shooting.

    “It’s unpredictable what people will do,” Wittmier said.

    I had this to say about that on my blog:

    Unpredictable? This was entirely predictable. Only the timing and exactly what he intended to do to her was in doubt. The system failed this woman utterly, and this assistant police chief says nothing could have been done? Presumably tracking down a man hell bent on murdering his ex is too low a priority for the police, since such intent is unpredictable, according to him. Under those conditions, yeah, maybe nothing could have been done to prevent this.

    I heard a bit of the story Divine Purpose mentions on the news and wanted to blog about that, but at the time I could not find anything about it on the web.

    Posted by Aletha | April 5, 2007, 4:08 am
  13. Heart, your third link (the one you fixed, about the murder of Clara Riddles?) does not go anywhere.

    Posted by Aletha | April 5, 2007, 7:07 am
  14. Miranda said:
    “After all, if we were continuously bombarded with stories about what MEN do to WOMEN, then everyone might start realizing exactly where the problem lies and might start addressing it.”

    Most of the time in the media headlines, the perpetrator (and therefore sex of the perpetrator) remains invisible, even when it is male on male violence. However, if a woman does commit a crime of the same magnitude, you can bet that “woman shots/kills X” is in the headline, the sex of the perpetrator in these cases is NEVER hidden. This leads the general public to assume that ‘women are just as violent as men’, when 90-95% of violent crime is actually perpetrated by males. If headlines revealed the perpetrator, then a bit of a trend would be revealed.

    Also, frequently it is only referred to as “a tragedy” when the male in the story dies (by his own hand), or if the female victim is fairly young [and usually attractive].

    Althea said:
    “Unpredictable? This was entirely predictable. Only the timing and exactly what he intended to do to her was in doubt.”

    Absolutely. Time and time again women seek help from the legal system to get protection, and little follow-through is done when TROs are repeatedly broken.

    Posted by stormy | April 5, 2007, 8:43 am
  15. Wittmier said. nothing might have been able to prevent the shooting.

    If they’d jailed him for violating the restraining order, which she reported after he threatened her over the telephone, then the shooting wouldn’t have happened.

    Posted by Miranda | April 5, 2007, 10:36 am
  16. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Twenty-five years ago I worked at a battered women’s shelter in upstate NY. I’ll never forget the time a woman who’d been hiding in one shelter after another was shot by her “boyfriend” at the courthouse, where she’d gone for a child custody hearing; he also shot the male shelter advocate who was with her. The headline in the NYPost read “Two Shot Dead in Lover’s Triangle.” Lover’s Triangle! It made me realize that every headline I’d ever seen like that was a case of domestic violence.

    Posted by marcys | April 5, 2007, 4:43 pm
  17. Heart: thank you for continually bringing this to the light. Thank you for naming it.

    Posted by Q Grrl | April 5, 2007, 5:03 pm
  18. Ok I’m stepping into the lions den here and I don’t expect to come out alive. This has nothing to do with man vs women there are sick individuals, male and female. I wish all men treated women with the dignity and respect they deserve but that’s not reality. There are wrongs and rights in every aspect of life do we need to add fuel to the fire, do we need to single out every sick, twisted male crime and hang that flag to the mast of all men. Try and emphasise the good millions of men do as well as condemning the arseholes who deserve to be wiped out.

    WTF? I just read this shyt! What is this? “It is not me, it is them, I’m one of the good guys! ”

    Note how the sick individuals, male and female get equal billing as if women are killing men equally. Sometimes I just want to reach through the computer screen and slap the shyt out somebody.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | April 5, 2007, 6:21 pm
  19. Aletha, fixed and thanks for the heads up, thanks to you, too, Q grrl!

    Divine Purpose, such a horrible story, which I am intending to blog about. Very difficult to. At some point, the mind and spirit and body, for that matter, just reel. :(

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | April 6, 2007, 12:41 pm
  20. I know it… I havent been able to talk about it in myspace… I want to but cannot seem to think of anything other than hatred and profanity… So when I am more calm I will try.

    I literally though I was going to be sick when I read that damn story… she was just a baby.. I remember when I was 19 being lied to by a man who was in fact 35 tellin me he was 25 and something didnt seem right about that so I kept my eye on him… When I kept pushing him to give it to me straight, and also with his brother willing to out him, he came clean and told me he was THIRTY FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had just graduated from HS. I am no dummie either… somethin didnt look right and I just was like FU peace I’m out, dont call me. If you will lie about your age what the hell else are you hiding? damn pedo…

    These men like younger women because they think we are easy targets. It is easier to control a woman who is just starting out, someone fresh untainted by other women… Someone who hasnt yet been taught her worth as a woman.. Someone who is just starting out, vs someone who has been down the road and know the signs… But of course this can happen to anyone regardless of age. This jerk was 37, my ex-jerk was 35… THAT COULDA BEEN ME!!! He promised me everything, oh I’m older I make more, I am more established etc. other men will only want you for your body all that bullshit they try to tell you… I am one of the lucky ones who grew up watching our women work their ass off to get ahead and knew that the ticket to success was not in some man’s pocket nor his damn pants!!! none of his sorry ass attempts would fly with me… but he tried it.

    I cant help but think about how this all played out. She was 19, starting college. He was 37, has a child left her for the ex and another ex then got pissed off when she broke off and found another man… Wanted his cake and to eat it too, and when that was no longer possible… he strangeled her, he dismembered her.. HE GRILLED HER for two fucking days and NO ONE SAID SHIT…. not many questioned it… black smoke and foul odors… the firemen were called when the flames got out of hand, but arrived when things were calmer and he said he was cooking for a wedding………….. A WEDDING!!!!! I think about HER idea of HER wedding… I think about her dreams, her hopes, her goals… Her fantasies at 12 of what her children would be like, what to name them… Her wedding colors, the way she will style her hair.. the floral arrangement…

    He contacted a community activist, ex panther present panther something like that, and confessed to her murder… he claims he disposed of her body in a dumpster… the state says that tax payers should not have to foot the bill in recovering her body… so there is a volunteere effort. 140 volunteers to find her body, which has been burned to ASH…not dumped in some landfill… I think about her mother crying hoping that, although her baby was murdered, she will be able to have some closure and there will be some sort of peace for her baby… HER BABY! I think of her friends, and classmates who have joined the search… I think of the numbness her parents felt when they received the call. The horror and nausea felt at the realization of what the FUCK he had been grilling day and night for two days…

    What the hell do you say about all this? How can you speak on it? Maybe I just did what I didnt feel I could do… and there is no comfort in tears.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | April 6, 2007, 3:46 pm
  21. Heart, since I don’t yet have a blog, in the interests of all the readers I hope you can recommend or allow me to recommend the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. Every female in every country should have the privilege of reading this book. It’s only 12 bucks (probably less in the States) and says what the media and educational and justice systems won’t. It gives you strategies on how to deal with violent and abusive men and people. It recommends how to protect yourself. It was written by an expert specifically for WOMEN, since we are the targets of much male violence. I hope this helps some people. It has certainly helped me.

    Posted by mearl | April 6, 2007, 7:23 pm
  22. Hey, Mearl, I agree– I gave two of my daughters that book for Christmas this year. I think it’s a GREAT book. There are two other books I think ALL older girls and women should read: Why Does He Do that: Inside the Minds of Abusive and Angry Men (keep this severely away from angry and abusive men you or the girls in your life may know) and Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life by Ginny NiCarthy.

    This letter was in the Seattle Times today in response to the Griego shooting (the UW employee) and I thought it was GREAT:

    ***

    Failing Rebecca
    But for inattention to her stalker, she might be safe

    Editor, The Times:

    As a University of Washington staffer and Campus Radical Women member, I was floored by UW Assistant Police Chief Ray Wittmier’s comments in response to the murder of Rebecca Griego. His characterization that it was “an isolated domestic situation not involving anyone [else] on campus” is way off base ["Months of stalking end with 2 dead at UW," Times page one, April 3].

    Griego’s coworkers were hugely affected, and only by happenstance weren’t in the line of fire when she was shot. Domestic violence often extends into the community and workplace, as it did this time.

    Seattle and UWPD’s justification for lack of preemptive action relinquishes responsibility for what happened. Griego might still be alive if the stalker’s violent threats had been taken seriously, necessary precautions were taken, and Griego were given protection.

    Domestic violence, though considered private, is a widespread social problem. It must be addressed by the campus and larger Seattle community. For starters, we should demand:

    • Full police and legal protection for victims of rape and domestic violence;

    • Fully funded campus and citywide education on the roots of violence against women and strategies for how institutions and police deal with it;

    • More state funding for women’s domestic-violence shelters.

    — Mary Ann Curtis, Seattle

    ***

    So true, that the response SUCKED. Something like, “Well, you know, we have lots of relationship drama on the UW campus, people threaten people all the time, whaddya gonna do!” She should have been given a place to work that was safe, escorts, there should have been totally increased security in and out of the building, or the guy should have been flat out locked fucking up then shipped back to the UK to face whatever charges were pending against him there.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | April 7, 2007, 3:56 am
  23. The headline in the NYPost read “Two Shot Dead in Lover’s Triangle.” Lover’s Triangle! It made me realize that every headline I’d ever seen like that was a case of domestic violence.

    Think of how many incidents we don’t even hear about (or people don’t even read) because they’re so misleadingly portrayed. The New York Post has to be one of the worst papers on the planet, so that doesn’t surprise me at all, but I’m sure they’re not the only ones doing it.

    Lover’s triangle… Who the hell even read that story and wrote that with a straight face?

    Posted by gingermiss | April 7, 2007, 4:58 am
  24. Heart said:
    “There are two other books I think ALL older girls and women should read: Why Does He Do that: Inside the Minds of Abusive and Angry Men…”

    Absolutely, essential reading on domestic violence.

    Heart also said:
    “…then shipped back to the UK to face whatever charges were pending against him there.”
    *tuts* We actually have plenty of domestic abusers over here already, thanks but no thanks! ;-)

    Posted by stormy | April 8, 2007, 3:20 pm

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