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I’m an American. I’ve lived in the U.S. for most of my life. I love my country, but…. there’s always a but. I have several, and it’s not to be against the U.S.A., it’s to be like: let’s change some of the buts.

The ‘but‘ today is sad. I wanted to keep weekend posts lighter- thinking: let’s rest from all this. But I think instead of a light post today, we need light, like a light at the end of the tunnel, like shine some light on this.

Lately when I look at the U.S. news, there’s a new story every day about a murdered or missing woman. I know stuff happens and it happens everywhere, but why do we have to think like that? It shouldn’t be like that and it doesn’t have to be.

WE HAVE TO STOP KILLING WOMEN.

We can do that. If you’re saying, but I’m not killing women, know that it’s all connected. And it starts with respect in all areas of life. Stop the killing of women- sounds like a big goal, I know. But it has to start somewhere.

We can begin to push others to respect women. If someone says something negative about women, we can find a way to stop them. How? Talk to them. Try to find the best possible way to help the other person see that it’s important to respect women. Find a way that they will listen to you so they can think about what they’re saying or doing. Even if they don’t like someone and she is a woman, that’s fine. We don’t  have to like everyone, but they can just not like them as a person, it doesn’t have to be about them being a woman. What I mean is respect.

Right now the media is hot to talk about the young pregnant mother who went missing and was found dead, Jaymie Adams. Side note: intimate partner violence escalates when women are pregnant.

They are also talking about the 43 y/o Montana high school math teacher Sherry Arnold who was killed when she was out jogging. My second grade teacher was named Ms. Arnold. Not the same person, just makes me think of her.

It seems everywhere I look, there are more dead women. I’m not talking about women killed by busses on accident or who died of cancer, I’m talking about women killed by men who hate women and often by the men who supposedly loved them.

Mary Benson and Charlotte Johnson:
Last Friday evening, in the intensive care unit of Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia which is close to the Tennessee border, a man (who BTW works as a security guard in Tennessee somewhere) shot and killed his estranged wife and his mother-in-law while they were visiting a sick family member. He turned himself in to police. The man’s wife was Mary Benson and the mother-in-law was Charlotte Johnson.

Violence isn’t usually just random. Someone isn’t fine one day and then wakes up killing women. Their behavior usually starts out with some smaller scale violation, like women hating comments or abusive possessive comments, like peeping or pushing, then groping or hitting, then battering, then rape or murder. We can’t say for every case, but it often builds. So if you see someone acting inappropriately, stop them. Believe that someone could be violent or that their behavior might escalate. If you are a woman, get away from them. Doesn’t matter if you have to be rude- just do whatever you can to get out.

Alina S. Rybnikova, a 22-year-old woman was killed in Illinois this past Tuesday by her mother’s former boyfriend–who later killed himself.

Jean Young:
Yesterday morning in the Thetford Township in Michigan, the police discovered the bodies of 52-year-old Jean Young and her husband, 53-year-old Richard Young inside their home. Jean Young had been shot several times and Richard Young was found in the garage with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. What they’re thinking is he killed her, then killed himself.

And then there’s Joseph Naso who is a former photographer accused of killing four Northern California women with matching initials in the 1970s and 1990s. In his preliminary hearing on Tuesday for his murder trial, he defended pictures of women that were found in his Nevada home in which the women were naked and in what police called “unnatural positions” and dead or unconscious. Naso said they were created for magazines that featured such work.

This last guy was more of the serial killer type, but the other murders are what have been called “crimes of passion.” Know what? That’s not passionate, it’s violent.

I think we can probably all agree that to kill a woman is a definite sign of a mental disorder, but it stems from the basic disrespect of women as people. Women are objectified in so many ways. Objects are things. We like to take care of things, but sometimes we break them and we have to throw them out. Oh well. This is not “Oh well”  when we are talking about women’s lives. We have to remind everyone that women are not objects to be broken and thrown away. This starts with respect for women as people. It is so ingrained in our culture to think women are worthless, but then we are all killed off.

These women were not the only women killed in the world recently, or even in the U.S., but they were several of many killed in the past week and they were in the news. The reason I write this blog is for us all to get a hold on this stuff and make it change. I’m not trying to bum your weekend, I want us to all recognize this is happening so together we can stop it. Things like this shouldn’t happen in the world at all and you know what dammit, they shouldn’t happen in America!

See the light. The first step is to watch where women are being respected and disrespected and to speak out against the disrespect. Both women and men can do this. There is no blame here, it’s a step up and change things gig- let’s get women respected and let’s all hang out.

A candle lit for each of these women and all women killed in the past week. May they Rest In Peace.

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