A few days ago, I was shocked to read about the death of Dr. Jeannine Shante Skinner. Dr. Skinner was murdered by a man she was dating. I was further appalled by some of the comments I read on the Internet, regarding the killing of this beautiful woman. It was the typical rhetoric leveled at Black women who are victims of interpersonal violence. It wouldn’t happen to them if they didn’t love “thugs.” The pictures that I’ve seen of the couple together, is that of a polished/professional man. Most likely, he is a sociopath who knew how to camouflage who he really was, well.
Initially, I was going to title this post “domestic violence (DV).” However, after reading more about the case, I learned that Dr. Skinner had only been with the guy a couple of months. The couple did not live together. She took him to church to meet friends and family. She seemed to be taking her time getting to know him. All the “right things” we tell women to do, when they begin seeing someone. This wasn’t a long-term relationship, were there were incidents of recorded frequent violence. That’s why it’s disturbing so many folks are chalking up Dr. Skinner’s death to a DV situation…of a woman who didn’t leave when she had the chance.
It can be argued, Dr. Skinner saw something that DID raise a red flag and she decided to end the relationship. It was probably what triggered the guy to kill her.
While we have gotten a bit better talking about domestic violence, we don’t talk enough about dating violence, particularly for older women. Usually, the focus of dating violence tends to be on teens/young people. Regardless of age, abusers will latch on right away during the dating stage, pushing for full-blown relationships.
Currently, there is debate if whether a fellow who has decided to win his ex back by playing the piano everyday in a park until she comes back, is romantic or abusive behavior. When I first saw the story trending, I thought it was odd, but figured he must really miss her. After reading why many women felt his behavior was abusive and controlling, I had to agree.
As folks pointed out, he is a grown man (early 30’s). He should be able to handle rejection at this point in his life. Second, the couple had only been going out a few months, much like Dr. Skinner and the guy she was dating. Why is this guy so torn up, what is essentially the getting to know you stage. maybe the ex decided he wasn’t all that. It’s unfair to put the onus on this woman to be in a relationship with him, if she’s decided to move on.
Sexism in this country, dictates that women have to reciprocate affection if a guy expresses interests in her, of if they have been together longer than two minutes. Women aren’t required to continue seeing someone, if they don’t want to. But too many men, due to male privilege/entitlement to women’s’ beings, feel they can keep invading a woman’s personal space, because she will eventually “see the light.”
And for some men, if the woman doesn’t “see the light,” they become violent, as probably was the case in the murder of Dr. Skinner.
Dating doesn’t equal to being in a long-term relationship. More men need to understand this.