In the days following the murder of Kasandra Perkins by her partner and Kansas City Chiefs player, Jovan Belcher, I have seen a litany of excuses as to why she was murdered. It has been blamed on concussions, financial problems, youth, even the culture of the NFL.
But I have the answer.
The answer is simply woman abuse. Kasandra Perkins was murdered, by a man, due to violence against women. This man made a choice to murder a woman, his partner, and the mother of his child. He made this choice not because he has a mental health issue, not because he was young, and not because he plays football. He made this choice because he had a certain attitude toward women. Misogyny is not a diagnosis in the DSM-IV, nor in the DSM-V. It is not a medical diagnosis because it is behaviour and choice men in our culture make. It is a behaviour that he knew would be excused because he is a Male Celebrity Sports Figure.
If we want violence against women to end, we must stop excusing this behaviour. We must stop giving reasons as to why men are hurting women. We must say what it is, we must call it what it is- it is violence.
Jovan Belcher had murdered another teammate, another man, would there be excuses for his behaviour? No. Would that teammate be forgotten? No. Would his life be overshadowed by the fact that he was killed by Belcher? No. He would be idolized, forever a martyr in the history of the NFL.
Would we say, “Oh, it’s because he’s young.” “It’s because he had financial problems.” “It’s because he had too many concussions.”? No. We would simply say, “It is wrong to kill another human being.”
Why then, are we denying Kasandra Perkins dignity in death? We are denying her “human being” status by giving reasons why Belcher murdered her. Why are the judges and juries in our heads giving excuses as to why this man decided to murder another human being? Yes, she is a woman. Yes, she is a human being. Yes, this was violence against women, pure and simple. And yes. It was wrong.