Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Family Violence in Baltimore

On March 31st a Baltimore man, Mark Castillo drowned his three children in a hotel bathtub and then attempted suicide. He had a history of mental illness and domestic abuse. His wife Amy filed for a restraining order in December of 2006. At the hearing in January 2007 Judge Joseph A. Dugan Jr. denied a restraining order partly because Amy was still having sex with her husband. Amy testified that she had sex with her husband because she feared what he would do if he suspected that she was taking action against him. "I am not satisfied," Dugan said, "that indeed there is clear and convincing evidence of abuse in this case."

I heard about the deaths of the children on Monday but did not know about the denial of the restraining order until today. Check out the Feministing post about it.

It is absolutely horrid to think that a judge would deny a restraining order based on sex. This woman consented to sex with her husband out of fear for her family. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)states that “If you didn’t say no because you were legitimately scared for your life or safety, then it may be rape. Sometimes it isn’t safe to resist, physically or verbally — for example, when someone has a knife or gun to your head, or threatens you or your family if you say anything.”

Castillo threatened to kill his children many times and had attempted suicide before and put the blame on his wife. Amy Castillo also testified that Castillo once told her that "the worst thing he could do to me would be to kill the children and not me so I could live without them." Castillo raped his wife and she was denied a restraining order because of it.

How are we supposed to move forward with women’s rights if our legal system cannot even protect us from domestic violence and rape? How is it possible that some would think that it is unnecessary to protect women and children from abusive relationships?

1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

While women are less likely than men to be victims of violent crimes overall, women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner.

Three in four women (76 percent) who reported they had been raped and/or physically
assaulted since age 18 said that a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, or date committed the assault.

Read more statistics on the Family Violence Prevention Fund website.

We need to recognize the violence that is occurring in our communities and homes and work to end it. Rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are not "family or relationship problems." Just because it is happening inside someones home does not mean that it is not our problem. It's everyones problem. Get Involved.

1 comment:

Jay said...

i heard about this case and yeah, it's disgusting. how negligent can our courts be? To think that this type of shit happens everyday --maybe no ending in murder, but def. resulting in prolonged abuse -- is gross. Thanks for posting.