OPINION COLUMNS

Stop tolerating the intolerable

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, February 10, 2018
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As the court beat reporter for the Messenger, I’ve heard plenty of closing arguments from prosecutors over the years, and while no two are exactly the same, they almost always include a plea to the jury to “send a message.”

Send a message – to the defendant, who should be punished; to others, who would commit the same kind of crime; to our community, about what is acceptable behavior.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

It’s a way to make sure the jury fully considers the full weight of the responsibility in the decision that lies before them.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately as it applies to domestic violence.

Over a span of three weeks recently, I covered a murder trial where domestic violence was front and center. Looking beyond the graphic details of the murder itself was a tragic story of a woman who had been the victim of domestic violence from at least two different partners.

Friends tried to warn Soccorro Taylor that she needed to get out of a relationship with Jake Abel, the man who would leave painful-looking bruises on her. But she stuck around, determined to make it work, up until the day she was violently killed.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only domestic violence situation I’ve covered over the years that resulted in the death of the victim of abuse. In every case, there were warning signs.

In some cases, the victim sought help. In other cases, people sought to help the victim.

But too many times, the message didn’t get through.

Perhaps we need to speak with louder voices.

Maybe we need to listen with better understanding.

Domestic violence is one of those situations where too many times we still say “let them work it out” or “it’s none of my business.”

Or perhaps we give the benefit of the doubt to the abuser when that person denies the harmful actions or places blame on the other partner.

I have zero tolerance for any man who would verbally, physically or sexually abuse a woman, but apparently too many of us still tolerate this behavior in our society and in our elected officials.

It all begins by the worth we place on women. When men see themselves with more value than women, they see that as justification for their actions.

And too many of us tolerate it.

Enough of us were willing to tolerate it in order to elect a man as president who said it was ‘OK’ to grab women by the genitals and kiss them without permission (it’s OK, he said, because he’s “rich”). It was also apparently perfectly tolerable for a presidential candidate to routinely base a woman’s value on the level of their attractiveness.

We felt that a man who once said in an interview with New York Magazine that, in reference to women, “You have to treat them like s**t,” was qualified to effectively represent the views of 126 million adult women and be a role model for millions of our country’s young men.

We’re expected to give President Trump the benefit of the doubt over the more than a dozen women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

And on Friday, faced with a top aide who had to resign after domestic abuse allegations and photos surfaced, our president responded by saying he “wished him well” and told us to “remember that he said he was innocent,” echoing basically what he said about Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore when he was faced with accusations of sexually assaulting teenage girls.

No mention of sympathy was made for any of the injured women.

I am concerned with the message our commander in chief is sending us about the value of women.

I am concerned that the people we elected to congress to both represent us and to hold the president accountable for his actions are failing miserably at their jobs.

And I’m concerned that more of us in “red state country” aren’t sending the message that we find this type of behavior completely intolerable.

Just as juries have the responsibility to send a message that we won’t tolerate domestic abuse in our county, citizens have the responsibility to send a message by electing people who place proper value on the millions of women in our country and who will hold accountable those who don’t.

Keep the weight of that responsibility in mind the next time you vote.

Brian Knox is special projects editor.

3 Responses to “Stop tolerating the intolerable”

  1. Debbie Cox says:

    Thank you for standing up Brian !!

  2. Rusty White says:

    Brian,

    WELL DONE!!!

  3. While I agree that abuse to others, whether women, children or any other victim is deplorable and should be resisted and the perp be held accountable, this is clearly another of your thinly disguised rants against our elected president. I note you chose to omit Bill Clinton, a consumate womanizer and predictor, the Harvey Weinsteins, Al Frankens, and their ilk, and countless other Holiwood actors and professional athletes, who pose a much more recognizable front and center role model for the youth of today. No, this is Trump bashing clear and simple. If not, you would have painted the problem with the broad brush it deserves, not just aimed at the Oval Office. Why don’t we ever see from you a supportive list of accomplishments and victories President Trump has made during his first term of office, despite the collective raging of left wing media types like yourself that can see no good in the man the rest of our country chose to drain the swamp. How about an article on the harmful destructive divisiveness the left wing media is bringing to this great Republic? We grow weary tolerating the intolerable.

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