(If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please see the information at the bottom - below the squiggle)

UPDATES at bottom of diary


This past weekend, it was frustrating to watch the way the news cycles handled the story about the murder suicide that left Kasandra Perkins, a beautiful young mother, dead, shot and killed by her boyfriend NFL player Joyan Belcher who then killed himself.

From the Saturday morning news to the Sunday afternoon football games and into the Sunday evening news most of the focus had been on Belcher, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, while so little was said about the woman he killed, and the infant he orphaned.

The breaking news reports began Saturday by describing a dramatic scene at Arrowhead Stadium; 25 year-old Kansas City Chief's player Jovan Belcher fatally shot himself in front of his coach and the team's general manager. How awful, imagine being those men witnessing that horrible scene.

Apparently, Belcher first killed his girlfriend, then went to the stadium, thanked his coach and the team's general manager and shot himself as police arrived.

He was a star player. He was a charitable person. He played for University of Maine and the coaches and staff there - no, make it the whole state - was  proud of him.  He was loved by his fellow players.  Yes, some knew the couple's relationship had been strained recently, but no one saw this coming.

Our local Boston news reports Saturday into Sunday morning had anchors repeatedly asking why football players kill themselves. Each report showed photo of Junior Seau while they ruminated about football, concussions and related issues that drive players to suicide.

No question the main focus was on the Belcher and speculations about why he killed himself.

A local Kansas City station reported:

Belcher's agent has been tweeting from his account and is encouraging everyone to donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at afsp.org.
Details about his girlfriend were sparse, but the reports included rumors the couple had been arguing:
The argument apparently started about 1 a.m. Saturday, when Kasandra Perkins returned to her Kansas City home from the Trey Songz concert at The Midland and drinks afterward with friends.
Her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, lived with her and was mad that she’d stayed out so late, a friend of Perkins said.
The disagreement ended tragically about seven hours later, when Belcher killed Perkins by shooting her multiple times at the couple’s home, witnessed by his mother who was in from New York visiting the couple and their 3-month-old daughter

Some stories had reported that Belcher's mother had come to town to help with the baby as the couple had been arguing lately and needed to sort some things out. Each of these stories reported that the Chief's would play their game Sunday as scheduled, and how devastated Belcher's teammates were.

fbkasandraandzoeySunday, midday, was when our local stations reported the couple recently had a baby. I decided to do an online search to learn more about the mother who was killed, and the baby left behind. I found the baby is a girl, Zoey, 3 months old. But there was little about who Kasandra was, just a facebook page.

More stories were published about the incident, with reports that the couple had been arguing lately and speculation that a custody battle might have been brewing.  

More details about their last argument and strained relationship were reported in a story updated Sunday evening in the Long Island Newsday sports section:

Kasandra Perkins had gone out Friday night with girlfriends to a Trey Songz concert "to take a break," said friend Lynell Diggs.
"He [Belcher] didn't want her going out with the baby at home," said Diggs, who was among the group of friends at the concert.
He wanted her home, with the baby. She went out anyway.

Of course this is a tragedy for both families, but the fact is there was one man with a gun and one young woman with no way to protect herself. Blame in on football injuries, blame it on the gun, blame on the stress of the football season. But, I hope this will shed the a little more light on domestic violence, because it was domestic violence that, in the end, killed Kasandra Perkins.

Yes, the Chiefs had a moment of silence before Sunday's game for the victims of domestic violence. But they didn't mention Kasandra's name.

While Zoey will have to grow up with the story of her father killing her mother and then killing himself, the true victim here, the one who could not defend herself against a football player with a gun, was Kasandra.

A story published online Sunday night just before 10pm by the Kansas City star finally gave details about who Kasandra was, how she met Belcher and includes interviews with stunned friends.

Her friend Shelby sums up my reason for writing this diary:

And as more details about the tragedy are likely to come, friends say what can’t get lost is how Perkins loved her life as a mother. A life that ended just as it was beginning.

“I don’t want her to get overshadowed by who he was,” VanCompernolle said. “I know he was a Chiefs player and a lot of people know him, but she deserve recognition, too.



My personal apologies for my frustration that guns are an excuse here - I did add gun violence tags and there is no question that the availability of guns adds to this discussion overall.  I guess overall my feelings are that guns or no guns, this was an act of domestic violence. The man was a star football player and she was the girlfriend. Images of fans wearing his jersey and shrines set up with a U of Maine helmet etc honoring him have really gotten to me in the past 24 hours.

I also added a suicide tag, but I am involved in some work, locally, w/suicide prevention and what I see is so far removed from the suicide in this situation.

BUT, all of this is about what we each bring to the table. Reading so many comments reminds me we all bring something different to the table and that is what makes this KOS community so wonderfully interesting. We all start from a progressive place, and from that seed the diversity grows.

Maybe it's just my local media, I turned the midday news on the in the background here, and one of my favorite anchors read a story about this incident with "IMPORTANT UPDATES."  The updates were about how Perkins and Belcher had guns and spent time at gun ranges shooting together. Nothing more about that.
Then we saw images of fans in Belcher Jerseys and other memorials to him.
And from there the reporter went into the head injury/football relationship and new studies...  they did, however, flash the photo from her facebook page - at the top of this diary.


WCVB Boston posted this story on their website - short and to the point - excerpt:

In a segment about 90 seconds long, Costas paraphrased and quoted extensively from a piece by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock.
After praising the column, Costas said: "In the coming days, Jovan Belcher's actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, wrote Jason Whitlock, is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

- snip -

The online reaction to Costas' segment was swift, with many people criticizing the broadcaster for expressing his personal views on a program meant for entertainment.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline "The Hotline" provides services and links to anyone needs help with domenstic violence issues  1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Advocates who are Deaf are available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST) by videophone (855-812-1001), instant messenger (DeafHotline) or email (deafhelp@thehotline.org).

Hotline advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services.

Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 8:36 PM PT:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 8:39 PM PT: Laurence O'Donnell interviewed Bob Costas Tuesday night - and the perspective was perfect.

Originally posted to 51 Percent on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Sluts, Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Rape and Domestic Violence, Depression and Suicide, and Sexism and Patriarchy.

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