Culture March 20, 2017
Shana Grice was found dead just six months after cops fined her for “wasting police time” with complaints against violent ex.
It’s not a novel story, but devastating all the same. Women routinely have their cases brushed off by uninterested police officers or officials whose first instinct is to question their responsibility in the situation.
In this case, it was a 19-year-old from East Sussex, England, who had complained on multiple occasions about ex-boyfriend Michael Lane, 27.
Grice had tried to report Lane numerous times before, saying he had become obsessed with her after she got back together with her previous partner, Ashley Cooke. But, I mean, she’s a young girl so she obviously is just playing with people and stirring up drama — right?
Well, that’s basically what the police thought, charging her with a fixed-penalty notice for “having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report.”
This occurred after Lane had allegedly stalked her and left rude messages on her new partner’s car. And the penalty came after Grice had said Lane’s obsession had continued, resulting in assault.
So, why did police think she was lying? Apparently, her ex – the one who sent unwanted flowers and left threatening notes – had texts suggesting she had wanted to date him. Because, you know, if you agree to go out with someone you then forfeit all rights of privacy and safety and control over your own body thereafter.
Following that hearing, Grice went back to court to report that Lane had stolen her keys and broken into her home to watch her sleep. Is your head about to explode right now? Because after ALL OF THAT and complaints that Lane was following her and making disturbing phone calls with “heavy breathing,” the police labeled the situation as “low risk.”
Look how that turned out. Grice was only 19. Now, if you’re thinking – sure, that’s terrible. But you can’t really blame all police for that one incident. To that I say, sure I can. This happens all the time.
Look at this New Orleans case in which a woman and her friend were killed by her ex-husband just two weeks after complaints were ignored by police. The city settled a federal lawsuit about the case, giving $25,000 to the woman’s daughter. It certainly didn’t bring back her mother though. Or this situation in which a woman was arrested for reporting her own rape. Cops literally told her it didn’t happen.
And while this isn’t a real-life case, women are likely all familiar with the infuriating reality depicted in Jennifer Lopez’s 2002 film “Enough.” Her power and strength to overcome her abuser herself in the end are inspiring, but not all women are that fortunate.
Too often, women’s concerns are not taken seriously. People accused of crimes in this country are innocent until proven guilty. But in most cases women trying to report abuse or sexual assault are considered liars until proven truthful.
Hell, even a woman judge basically told women that rape is their fault if they get drunk beforehand. That’s how f**ked the system is. Because it obviously makes so much more sense to teach women to be more responsible than to teach men NOT TO RAPE. Wait – that makes literally zero sense.
Tracey Ullman mocked that backwards thinking with a hilarious and poignant video from her BBC One show. The two-minute clip sees Ullman as a detective, putting the blame for a robbery on the clearly shaken victim because his nice suit made him look “provocatively wealthy” and like it was an “invitation” to be robbed.
It shines a light on the absurd way many crimes against women are handled by law enforcement. In Grice’s case, while a judge has ruled her death a murder, Lane still denies it was by his hand.
Grice’s case has been referred to watchdog, an independent police complaints commission. Although again, that won’t undo the horrific and senseless murder of a 19-year-old girl.
How many more women have to die before society finally makes a change? Whatever the case, it will have been too many.
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