Violence Against Black Girls/Update on Dr. Teleka Patrick

These past few weeks I have been numbed by stories of violence against little black girls. The horrifying murder of 2-year old Tierra Morgan-Glover by her own father. He left her to die in a creek while she was still locked in her car seat.

“Prosecutors had said he killed Tierra to get back at her mother for breaking off their engagement. They said he weighed down her pink car seat with a tire jack to ensure it would sink. Her body was pulled from a creek in Wall Township, about 20 miles from her Lakehurst home, with one tiny black and purple sneaker sticking out of the water.”   http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1745059

The murder smiles. Photo from:  http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1745059
The murder smiles. Photo from: http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1745059

 

 

The case of Relisha Rudd has also chilled me to the bones. The 8-year-old has been missing since early March. Her mother allowed 51-year-old  Kahlil Tatum to take custody of her. The mother meet Tatum at the homeless shelter she and her children were staying at. The case has gotten even more confusing, after Tatum was found dead in a park. Where is Relisha?  This case has been disturbing on so many levels.

Despite the very suspect behaviors of Rudd’s mother and other family members, For Harriet’s Stephanie Sneed points out how the system also failed Rudd:

“In more affluent communities schools are safety nets for students, a place to turn when their home lives are lacking. However, Relisha, like numerous other students in DC, attended a school whose student body demographic, location east of the Anacostia, and perpetually low test scores made them all but invisible to the DC Public School system. Inexperienced teachers are funneled in and have no more qualifications for teaching than they do for dealing with the socioeconomic factors that prevent many students from prioritizing education over survival. Teachers, who are mandated reporters, often don’t know what signs to look for aside from easily discernible bruises, but it is critical for teachers to be trained on how to identify abuse, including sexual abuse. When a student misses 30+ days, excused or not, this should be a red flag.” http://www.forharriet.com/2014/04/on-relisha-rudd-and-why-we-must-care.html

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I was sad after I read that the body of Dr. Teleka Patrick had been found. The cause of death has not yet been determined. Patrick was struggling with mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a victim of foul play. Hopefully more will be said about her case soon:

“The coroner in Porter County, Ind., confirmed Wednesday that it was Teleka Patrick’s body that was pulled Sunday from Lake Charles in northwestern Indiana. The site is about 15 miles east of Gary and near where a car belonging to the 30-year-old doctor was abandoned Dec. 5 along Interstate 94.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/10/teleka-patrick-found-dead_n_5124701.html?ir=Crime

Rest in Peace Dr. Patrick

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Black and Missing Part. 2

One of my favorite websites to stay informed about missing black people is Black and Missing But Not Forgotten. I follow this organization on their Facebook page.  They do a really good job of posting quickly about the latest case of a missing black person/updates if that person has been found, etc.

It’s on their page I learned about the disappearance of Dr. Teleka Patrick and the death of  Avonte Oquendo. Both of these cases highlight that our community needs to take better care/support of those struggling with mental health issues or developmental disabilities.

I am also alarmed at the many cases of missing black teen girls. Many tend to be found as runaways, but many more are victims of kidnappings/assaults/murder. Black children/young adults are more likely to be exposed to violence:

“Compared with other segments of the population, victimization rates for African American children and youth are even higher. Evidence suggests that Black youth ages 12 to 19 are victims of violent crime at significantly higher rates than their white peers.4 Black youth are three times more likely to be victims of reported child abuse or neglect, three times more likely to be victims of robbery,5 and five times more likely to be victims of homicide.6 In fact, homicide is the leading cause of death among African American youth ages 15 to 24.7”  http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/other-projects/youth-initiative/interventions-for-black-children%27s-exposure-to-violence/black-children-exposed-to-violence

Teen dating violence also makes black teen girls more vulnerable to becoming a missing victim. As well as (and probably more so) older men in the community preying on/”dating” teen girls.

It’s important our community is educated on the issues of mental health, the violence many young people are subject to,  and kicking the R. Kellys of the community to the curb. It could help to prevent some of these missing cases…

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Dr. Teleka Patrick
avonte-oquendo
Avonte Oquendo
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The latest case from Black and Missing But Not Forgotten…missing teen Shirdyn Toe