Thursday, December 06, 2012


I was angry on Sunday afternoon when football commentators pussy-footed around the grim fact that a player for the Kansas City Chiefs murdered his partner the day before.
The only one who stepped up was Bob Costas, who called for greater gun control.

Jovan Belcher shot and killed Kasandra Perkins, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium where he killed himself in front of his coach. This was a terrible act of domestic violence , so simply speaking about a team in shock and reporting that his team-mates were playing the game for Belcher (yes, they went ahead with the game) was not good enough. There was a moment of silence before the game to honour victims of domestic violence, but this was a real situation which resulted in the deaths of two human beings. Why weren't they playing the game for Perkins, who was the victim?

We now know that the Chiefs had provided counselling for Belcher, 25, and Perkins, 22, the mother of his child, because of their financial and relationship issues. We can make men rich for playing a game. When will we teach men in our culture that intimidation and violence is not acceptable? We do not own our partners --that's why we call them partners. We don't own our children --they are gifts within our relationships. We just don't want to acknowledge the relentless litany of violence against women in our society.

In our household we talk about this all the time because of Ruth's work as a crisis counsellor for Bethesda House, our local shelter. The situations she describes stun me and cause me shame as a man.  I keep wondering how we as the church can do more. I continue to raise the issue in our presbytery through our Mission, Outreach, and Advocacy committee. It's not enough.

I appreciated the article in the Toronto Star by Cathal Kelly. It was honest and well written. We need more of this.

Any thoughts about what transpired? What about the broader issues of domestic violence in our culture. What can the church do?

Read about the Green Patriarch on Groundling


roger said...

Tragic, especially for Perkins and the child. It just shows you that even with million dollar contracts, it doesn't equate to happiness and contentment.

I read a book in which the author(a psychologist) wondered why some time couldn't be spent in your high school years learning how to cope with stress and mental health issues. He felt it should be part of the curriculum, just like math and english.

I'm not saying that would have prevented this tragedy, however I think the idea deserves some consideration.

IanD said...

I was struck, too, but how little attention was paid to the victim from the outset. No matter which way you slice it, it's all quite tragic.

Laurie said...

I believe they were all victims. He had many problems with depression, many head injuries, etc. A sad day for all involved. So sad for their child. Not a great start in life.

Nancy said...

I had heard about this, very tragic for all.

Roger, so that you know, more is being done in schools around mental health. It is working its way into the health curriculum. My Grade 8 daughter came home Tuesday saying that they had had a presentation on mental health. The Safe Schools Act deals with a lot of anti-bullying and giving students strategies to cope. It is a start, but still a long way to go.

Laura said...

I agree Roger...somehow our world needs help with dealing with stress...and perhaps eliminating some of the self inflicted stress humanity creates for itself.
The White Ribbon Campaign has been in the news a bit of late...leading males into the solution.....Seems the only way, other wise just band aids.

Yes church, school and every other socially responsible oganization need to keep talking to this issue...well more than talking.

David Mundy said...

I appreciate that several of you have raised the issues of mental health and stress.

I have to say though that I have come to realize that much of domestic abuse and violence is about power and control. This is deeply rooted in male culture and has to change.