By Rebecca Bocchinfuso – Director of AMICUS
Almost everyone has or knows someone who has a story of a crazy ex-partner. Behaviour can range from one sending constant emails or letters upon being blocked on every possible social media account, to abusive or controlling conduct throughout the relationship. Sometimes the subject is a topic of light hearted jokes between friends, but what is often overlooked is the dangers of such behaviour.
I want to start things off by acknowledging that while men are also the victims of abusive relationships, coercive control and stalking, this post will be focusing on the experience of girls and women. The reason behind this is that women are socialised to endure harmful male behaviours from young. We are taught throughout childhood to accept male attention as a compliment, no matter the measure. The boy teasing or hitting us in our elementary class is just him doing so because he likes us. We are told ‘boys will be boys’ to excuse these behaviours rather than taking the time to educate children on appropriate ways to express their feelings. As a result, the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ is, in reality, just a euphemism for ‘girls must endure’.
Upon hearing of the tragic deaths of 4 University of Idaho students which took place at the end of 2022, people all around the world were wondering what happened to these poor students. Victims Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; and Xana Kernodle, 20 were found deceased in their student home back in November. Weeks went by with no suspect until police arrested Bryan Kohberger. Kohberger, a 28-year-old Phd student studying criminology at Washington State University, who has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.  Sources have spoken out alleging that prior to the students’ murder, Kohberger had sent repetitive messages to one of the slain victims over Instagram, to which she never replied. Bryan is set to face trial later this year, and as such has not been convicted of the murder of these four students.
These alleged details are chilling for anyone hearing them, but the story seems all too familiar. Male entitlement to the female body, or female attention, and a subsequent inability to handle rejection. A man approaching you at a bar can easily turn dangerous, especially if you have the ‘nerve’ to turn him down. A woman exercising free will and autonomy?How dare you! Current figures indicate that women are more likely to be killed by their current or former partners than anyone else. Facts like these remind us of the unfortunate reality that we, as women, need to be cautious of the men who become attracted to us.
Dodgy behaviour like stalking or constant unwanted messages are not things to be flattered about and should not be taken lightly. In fact, such conduct shows a flagrant disregard for your boundaries and personal autonomy. It is important to recognise the signs of abuse early so as to not become accustomed to being abused and victimised in our daily lives. Anyone experiencing worrying behaviours should report such conduct immediately, as it could very well save your life.
 ‘Bryan Kohberger’s trial for the Idaho murders is months away. How strong is the case against him?’ (The Independent, 22 January 2023) <https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/bryan-kohberger-idaho-murders-trial-evidence-b2263904.html> accessed 27 January 2023.  Hope Sloop, ‘Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger is accused of messaging female victim on Instagram weeks before killings - and 'pestered her with more DMs when he didn't get a reply' (Daily Mail, 18 January 2023) <https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11646569/Idaho-suspect-Bryan-Kohberger-repeatedly-messaged-victim-INSTAGRAM-killings.html> accessed 27 January 2023.  ‘Bryan Kohberger’s trial for the Idaho murders is months away. How strong is the case against him?’ (The Independent, 22 January 2023) <https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/bryan-kohberger-idaho-murders-trial-evidence-b2263904.html> accessed 27 January 2023.  ‘Femicide Census Reveals half of UK women killed by men die at hands of partner or ex partner’ (End Violence Against Women, 20 February 2020) <https://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/femicide-census-reveals-half-of-uk-women-killed-by-men-die-at-hands-of-partner-or-ex/>accessed 27 January 2023.