People Are Saying Joy Lane and Karen Elaine Smith Reveal a Bigger Problem With Domestic Violence Against Black Women

(Photo: Cedric Anderson via Facebook)

People Are Saying Joy Lane and Karen Elaine Smith Reveal a Bigger Problem With Domestic Violence Against Black Women

The issue is more complex than just mental health, gun control, or Facebook.

Published April 18, 2017

In the month of April, the nation has witnessed two independent and horrific shootings at the hands of Black men. The first happened on April 10 when a man named Cedric Anderson walked into the San Bernardino elementary school where his estranged wife worked. Upon entering the North Park Elementary classroom when Karen Elaine Smith taught kids with special-needs, Anderson opened fire. He killed Smith, one 8-year-old, Jonathan Martinez, and injured 9-year-old Nolan Brandy. He then took his own life. 

On Sunday, Steve Stephens, 37, walked up to Robert Godwin, 74, and shot him from point-blank range. Stephens then uploaded a video of the killing to Facebook and blamed his ex-girlfriend Joy Lane for the murder. Earlier today, Stephens killed himself during a pursuit with Pennsylvania State Police.  

In both cases, conversations of gun violence and mental health among Black men have frequently occurred. Also in both cases, the issue of domestic violence — specifically against Black women — has not been as heavily discussed. 

For Smith, her estranged husband came into her safe place of work and opened fire against her and innocent children. However, for Stephen's ex-girlfriend Joy Lane, her abuse is not as obvious to some. 

Before taking the life of Godwin, Stephens ranted about Lane and how she would not call him, which enraged him. All of his anger led him to take a life and blame it on a woman. This may not be the type domestic violence we are taught, yet his action to kill an innocent man and blame his partner is a terrible act of abuse. 

A report posted by the Violence Policy Center in December of 2014 revealed a troubling statistic about Black women and death by gun violence. Of the Black women killed by firearms during that year, 57 percent were killed by a partner. 

Additionally, the study revealed Black women are killed by men at a rate higher than any other race. 

  1. Following the death of Karen Elaine Smith, many women called out the domestic violence issue in the case
  2. The shooting in Cleveland led a movement to protect Joy Lane from getting blamed for Stephens's act
  3. The incidents in San Bernardino and Cleveland prove the severity of domestic abuse and the need for a national dialogue
  4. Specifically, the complex dynamic of wanting to uplift Black men while also protecting Black women from those men who are violent and abusive

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Cedric Anderson via Facebook)


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