Things That Matter

The Murder of a Teen Mom By Her Boyfriend is Raising a Discussion Around the Prevalence of Femicide in Abusive Relationships

On Thursday, 27-year-old Junior Fayiah Carlos was sentenced to life in prison over the violent murder of his 19-year-old girlfriend, Christine D’Cruz. According to reports, Carlos murdered D’Cruz on December 30, 2017 in her apartment in Mandurah, Perth, Australia. Carlos killed D’cruz in a fit of rage after they had been arguing about the paternity of their child, who was just weeks old. Carlos claimed that he killed D’Cruz in self-defense after she had gotten ahold of a kitchen knife and threatened him. However, prosecutors noted that he was “delusional” due to the dangerous cocktail of drugs and alcohol he was on at the time. 

According to reports, Carlos was high on marijuana, methamphetamines, and sleeping pills when he stabbed her 35 times, partially decapitating her. 

After he killed D’Cruz, Carlos apparently covered her with a blanket, left her in the bathroom, and fell asleep. 15 hours later, he called a friend and allegedly admitted: “she’s dead”. According to authorities, Carlos and D’Cruz had had a turbulent relationship during the two years they were together. Two weeks before D’Cruz was murdered, she had even filed a restraining order against Carlos, but continued to see him. D’Cruz’s family claims that D’Cruz had long been abusing her, citing unexplained bruises and other injuries she suffered before his death. According to records, Carlos had also been previously convicted for attacking a former partner of his. 

The death of 19-year-old Christine D’Cruz is making international headlines because it shines a spotlight on the fatal violence that women universally experience at the hands of men. 

Femicide–what the Oxford dictionary defines as “the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender”–has been at the top of people’s minds in recent days. On November 3rd, women took to the streets of Mexico to march in honor of Dia de Muertas–The Day of Dead Women. The march was a tribute to the thousands of women who have died due to domestic violence in Mexico–nine every day. The activists staged the march to be right after Mexico’s famous Dia de Muertos in order to bring awareness to the public health crisis that plagues Mexico and, indeed, countries across the world.

According to the World Health Organization, femicide is usually “committed by partners or ex-partners, and involves ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner”. The same study revealed that while only 5% of all murders of men are committed by an intimate partner, 35% of all murders of women globally are reported to be committed by an intimate partner. 

It’s also notable that although D’Cruz had seemingly taken steps towards ending the relationship (i.e. taking out a restraining order against Carlos), she still kept seeing him in private.

 As domestic violence activist Beverly Gooden revealed before in her viral Twitter hashtag campaign #WhyIStayed, there are a myriad of reasons why women stay in abusive relationships. “It’s not easy to leave when you remember how it used to be, or when they romance you during the good times,” Gordon stated on her website. “Or when they promise it is the last time. Because you believe in love and you believe in them”. 

Emotional reasons aren’t the only reasons women stay in abusive relationships. They also do out of fear for their lives. According to the 2018 Femicide Census, “55% of the women killed by their ex-partner or ex-spouse in 2017 were killed within the first month of separation and 87% in the first year”. For women, sometimes staying seems like the safer option. 

Since Carlos’s sentencing, D’Cruz’s family is now teaming up with domestic violence groups to seek an inquest into the way the authorities handled the murder of their daughter.

Although Carlos is headed to jail, the family is still suffering from what they feel was a mishandling of their daughter’s murder case.  Although Carlos was sentenced to life in prison, he will be eligible for parole in just 19 years. Although we can’t read the minds of the parents of Christine D’Cruz, we can’t help but wonder if they consider the possibility of such a brief sentence as justice for the lost life of their daughter. 

According to the family’s impact statements at the time of the trial, D’Cruz’s family is devastated and plagued by grief at the death of their beloved daughter. They expressed sorrow that their granddaughter would now grow up without a mother. They revealed that D’Cruz had dreams of working in childcare. The judge in the case revealed that D’Cruz’s father still “looked around for his daughter even though he knew she was dead”.

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Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

Things That Matter

Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

David McNew / Getty

A shooting that occurred over the weekend in Compton, California has sparked shock, alarm, and outrage.

The shooting occurred sometime around 7 p.m. on Saturday at MLK Transit Center in Compton. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the gunman made his way toward the passenger’s side of the deputies’ car and shot two deputies with a pistol without precedent.

One of the victims is a 31-year-old mother.

On Saturday, the sheriff’s department tweeted surveillance footage of the shooting which also captured the gunman fleeing the scene.

According to reports, the gunman fired into the deputies’ car without pretext.

“This is just a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job, and actions and words have consequences. Our job does not get any easier because people do not like law enforcement,” Alex Villanueva, the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, said in a statement. “It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time.”

According to Villanueva, both of the deputies (Claudia Apolinar a 31-year-old mother and a 24-year-old man) were sworn in just 14 months ago and are in critical condition at the hospital. According to the sheriff’s department both are “fighting for their lives” but “it looks like they’re going to be able to recover.”

Apolinar and her partner were both shot at close range. Apolinar was shot in the face and torso and her partner sustained multiple gunshot wounds Seeing that he was in need of immediate medical treatment, Apolinar managed to make a tourniquet for him before medics arrived.

According to the New York Post, Apolinar is a former librarian who graduated from the academy last year.

“We’ll see what the long-term impact is. We don’t know that yet, but they survived the worst,” Villanueva explained.

Local officials have announced a $100,000 reward for information on the gunman and his whereabouts.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke out against the attack and condemned it in a statement calling “Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on.”

Speaking about the incident, Democratic US Rep. Adam Schiff called the attack “cowardly.”

“Every day, law enforcement officers put themselves at risk to protect our community,” Schiff stated in a post shared to Twitter. “I hope the perpetrator of this cowardly attack can be quickly brought to justice.”

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Jussie Smollett Speaks Out For The First Time In Months About His Alleged 2019 Attack— ‘They Won’t Let This Go’

Entertainment

Jussie Smollett Speaks Out For The First Time In Months About His Alleged 2019 Attack— ‘They Won’t Let This Go’

Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty

In early 2019, “Empire “actor Jussie Smollett found himself thrust into the public spotlight of scrutiny after it was reported that he had been the victim of a hate crime. His original claim initially prompted public outrage and a flood of support from fans. Then, nearly three weeks later, the public was shocked to learn that Smollett had been charged with disorderly conduct and the false filing of a police report after it was determined that the attack had been staged. Worse? Officials suspected that Smollett himself had choreographed the entire attack from start to finish. In March of 2019, the actor was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report that claimed two men attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs at him.

Since then, the charges against Smollett have been dropped but his reputation remains tarnished. The court of public opinion has determined that he is a liar and fabricator. Ultimately he was dropped from his role on his show and he has remained relatively silent about the issue.

Now, a year after the alleged attack Smollett is speaking out about the controversy in a rare interview.

On Wednesday, the actor made an appearance in an Instagram Live conversation with author and activist Marc Lamont Hill. During the interview, Smollett addressed his ongoing trial calling the situation “frustrating, to say the least.”

“It’s been beyond frustrating, and I certainly am not going rogue,” Smollett explained. “I’m still taking the advice of my attorneys and everything like that, but I don’t really see, honestly, what staying quiet has really done, like, where it has gotten me. … It’s so much bigger than me.”

Smollett went onto share what the past year has done to him and shared that his legal team recently filed a motion against his indictment. The motion is set to be reviewed in court on Thursday. “I believe I have to give it up to God,” Smollett explained before adding that he thinks the legal motion will fall in his favor.

“They won’t let this go,” he explained. “It doesn’t matter — there is an example being made. And the sad part is that there’s an example being made of someone who did not do what they are being accused of.”

Addressing accusations that his original claims were all a hoax, Smollett said that “From the very, very beginning, it was set up to seem like I was lying about something or everything.”

Smollett claimed “there would be no reason for me to do this” and called the accusations “bulls—,” before adding that the “last thing” hew would ever want to do is “be portrayed as a victim.”

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