A daycare center associated with Shoreline Community College north of Seattle has been in complete lockdown for a week after the “boyfriend” of an employee threatened her with violence. This was no idle threat; the guy has a history of violence and posted bail last Friday after being arrested on a charge of domestic violence. Police confiscated a gun in that arrest. The guy also has a history of going on a rampagewith a baseball bat in the home he shared with his girlfriend and their three children.
To protect the employee and the children in the daycare center, and in light of recent events at Virginia Tech and here in Seattle at the University of Washington, college officials have stationed an armed guard at the door of the center, are keeping doors locked, and anyone wanting entrance to the center must ring a doorbell. Employees are wearing identifying tags.
Of interest to me is the response of parents of children in the daycare center, some of whom have pulled their children out, and some of whom have stated they feel the woman who has been threatened should be fired. Others state they feel all of the children are in immediate danger because of the threats against the employee, despite the additional precautions. I very much appreciated what the President of Shoreline Community College said to a reporter on the news last night, “We are going to take violence against women seriously.”
I think it would be completely wrong for this employee to be fired from her job because her boyfriend has threatened her and is violent. Women who take the risks inherent in letting their supervisors know about situations l ike this deserve to be protected and respected, not fired. I am also sympathetic to the concerns of parents. Who knows what this guy might do? One woman said she is a survivor of domestic violence and empathizes, but still will not bring her child to the center now because she fears for her child. Those of us who have lived through domestic violence know what these men are capable of doing; parents are understandably fearful, and domestic violence survivors are understandably triggered. Other parents caught on camera in the news last night say they will continue to bring their children to the Center and will support both the college and the employee. There are no easy answers in this situation. It costs everybody.
If this is not male terrorism, then what is it? The threats of one violent man against his girlfriend because she is leaving him means that 111 children must now be cared for behind locked doors. It means hiring an armed guard to patrol the entrance. It means parents must now fear for their children, must find other persons to care for them, must rearrange their lives and schedules and invest additional energy in order to attend parent meetings in order to discuss how they respond to this man’s violent threats, which echo hundreds and thousands and millions of similar threats, and acts, of male violence against women.
Meanwhile, the guy posts bail and walks. For him, it’s just another day.