All Articles Tagged "violence"

Kerry Washington Speaks Out In Response To Recent Shootings: ‘The Violence Must Stop’

July 9th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Splash News

Splash News

After this week’s tragic series of events, many celebrities are using their platform to spread positive messages to their fellow Americans.

Scandal star Kerry Washington now joins the growing list of individuals who are penning open letters in response to traumatizing violence that’s ensued over the past 72 hours to her 2.9 million Instagram followers.

“There are no words that can encapsulate the pain of our bleeding hearts,” she wrote on Friday (July 8) afternoon.

We all matter but statement that ALL LIVES MATTER will only be true when we fully embrace that #blacklivesmatter

A photo posted by Kerry Washington (@kerrywashington) on

“Today, again, I am called to put my hand on my heart and affirm that: I matter. MY life matters. As a human, my life matters. As a woman, my life matters. As a Black person, my life matters. My life matters. And yours does too. Whoever you are.”

Washington’s words follow the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers and a deadly sniper shooting in Dallas, Texas, which left five police officers dead and seven injured.

“The violence must stop. We must do better,” she concluded.

The Smallest Victims Of The Freddie Gray Violence

May 18th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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The traumatic events that unfolded in Baltimore last week left us with numerous images that will shape how we remember, feel and continue to process this ordeal. These images involved primarily adults, young adults and teenagers. Not caught in most of the Freddie Gray violence coverage, by contrast, were the youngest, most vulnerable witnesses: children under the age of three. These are young and careful observers, closely attuned to and affected by the events happening around them.

Many young children are left with impressions and feelings that will influence them for years to come, whether they exhibit fear or curiosity in the events today. The way parents and caregivers psychologically “hold” their children, and help them manage and process what they have seen and feel can have lasting results.

Reaction to the type of emotional and violent activity that took place in Baltimore is highly personal and subjective. But we are able to benefit from extensive research and a depth of knowledge on how the youngest observers process and experience these events. Unfortunately for many of the families affected by last week’s riots, they’re dealing with realities that could potentially and profoundly undermine their efforts to support their young child’s healthy development.

For instance, there are nearly 222,000 children under the age of three currently living in Maryland, and 58 percent of them experience at least one risk factor that potentially impedes their development, from poverty to residential mobility to unemployed parents. In Baltimore, the overall child poverty rate is 29.4 percent — much higher than in the state as a whole. And one in five Baltimore children under age 5 lives in deep poverty. These children face real challenges to their positive development, without much of a boost to help overcome them.

These statistics shape a narrative that is daunting, one in which the obstacles parents must overcome to provide the children with the best start in life feel almost insurmountable.

If we’re going to turn around the outlook for Baltimore’s children, we have to change the lens through which we view the situation. Recognizing the enormous potential in our young children that healthy growth and development would unlock, will help guide us toward smart investments in programs and services that show significant returns for children, their families and society.

One such program is home visiting for young children and families. These dual generational programs have shown a range of benefits — from improving children’s health and school readiness to enhancing parents’ ability to support their children’s development to improving family economic self-sufficiency. For every dollar invested in home visiting, the public realizes a savings of $1.80 up to $9.50.

Early Head Start, which serves families and children prenatally to age three, is another such program. A rigorous national evaluation of Early Head Start found significant impacts in language skills, social skills and behavior.

The Promise Heights Project is a program situated squarely in a neighborhood highly affected by the recent events in Baltimore. It provides an array of interventions to young children and families, including B’More for Healthy Babies, services for pregnant and postpartum women; and Parent University, parenting education for families with children up to five years old. Many of their services are integrated into Early Head Start, Head Start and “Judy Centers,” Maryland’s comprehensive early childhood centers. Particularly relevant for the current circumstance, they deliver trauma-informed services that facilitate healing for young children and families.

If we use the events in Baltimore as a way to ignite a serious discussion about investments to support its youngest citizens, we can change the way they experience traumatic situations and also build a strong foundation for them to succeed in school and in life. Of course, we must have a comprehensive strategy that encompasses economic development and support for older youth. But promotion of strong outcomes begins at birth. With programs like home visiting and Early Head Start, these children will have the benefit of knowing they are starting out on a positive trajectory for whatever type of challenges they may face. And Baltimore will show the nation the power and the promise we all know it has.

Brenda Jones Harden is an associate professor in the Department of Human Development & Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland College Park, and a board member of ZERO TO THREE. Matthew Melmed is the executive director of ZERO TO THREE, a national nonprofit committed to promoting the health and development of infants and toddlers.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

It’s Time To Stop Sweeping Campus Sexual Assaults Under The Rug

November 14th, 2014 - By TaMara Griffin
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Source: Corbis

Source: Corbis

With some of the country’s prestigious colleges and universities under federal investigation for the mismanagement and handling of campus sexual assault claims, policies, and procedures, the current administration has developed a task force and begun spearheading an aggressive campaign to bring awareness to the issue of campus sexual violence. Despite the heightened attention about campus sexual assault in the media, there still seems to be a lack of discussion, programming and available resources for survivors. As a result, many campus sexual assaults go under or unreported and most survivors suffer in silence given the fact that many campuses are not properly prepared to respond to an incident. In addition, campus administration, staff, faculty, medical personnel, clinicians and therapist still seem to be missing the mark when it comes to providing effective reporting measures, survivor support and treatment options. These factors help desensitize the issue and create more complex concerns in the management of survivors and perpetrators. It also makes it even more difficult for survivors to report assault, heal, and seek out support and/or treatment. Given this lack of preparedness, consequently, many survivors end up dropping out of school, suffering from mental health challenges or substance abuse issues.

Because sexuality affects how we think, act and even how we relate to other people, it is very important that survivors of campus sexual assault heal; however, this can only happen once the survivor feels safe and supported by campus administration, staff, faculty and the community. It’s also important for campus administration, staff, and faculty to understand the dynamics of campus sexual assault. They must realize that there is no quick fix. Sexual healing is a process that occurs overtime. It can take several months to several years for a survivor to report the assault, come to terms with it, and begin the process of healing.

The journey to healing from a campus sexual assault is best undertaken only after a survivor is in a stable and safe environment and seamless, coordinated services and a significant support system are in place. Therefore it is critical for campuses to recognize this need and step up to the plate and begin to make our campuses and communities surrounding the campuses safer. In order to address campus sexual assault, campuses must first create a culture of healthy sexuality. It takes a coordinated effort from everyone. Men must become advocates, comprehensive and culturally relevant prevention programs grounded in best practices must be established, and bold awareness campaigns, by-stander intervention techniques, and sexuality training for all campus administration, faculty and staff, community partners and members should be put in place. In addition to survivor support, there must be anonymous and confidential reporting options, aggressive investigation procedures, perpetrator accountability and perpetrator programs designed to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Something must be done to make college and university campuses safer! It’s time to stop sweeping campus sexual assaults under the rug.  Speak up! Speak out! Speak often! Speak Positively!

10517587_10152337526693315_3514000000734284521_nDr. TaMara loves nothing more than talking about sex! At the age of 13, she told her mother she wanted to be a Sex Therapist! Her passion is deeply rooted in spreading messages about healthy sexuality. Dr. TaMara is a sexologist, sex therapist, educator and motivational speaker with more than 20 years of experience speaking, writing and teaching about sexuality. She travels the country helping individuals embrace and honor their sexuality. Dr. TaMara has published numerous books and articles. She is the owner of L.I.F.E. by Dr. TaMara Griffin Live Inspired Feel Empowered LLC-LIFE Follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or

Violence Against Black Girls: A Parenting Conversation

October 3rd, 2014 - By Kweli Wright
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The names Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Jordan Davis have become household names and have even prompted PBS specials. These names elicited comments from President Barack Obama. These names prompted the heartfelt responses of “hoodies up” and social media avatar black outs, but the names Renisha McBride, Rekia Boyd, and Angelia Mangum and Tjhisha Ball did not.

These four Black girls are only a few victims of acts of violence that mainstream major media outlets inadequately cover, and when they do cover these stories–just like with Black male victims–they place the blame on the victims. It is our responsibility to talk to our children about these acts of violence against Black girls at home since the conversations are not happening in the media and schools at large.

Violent acts against Black women and girls are a prevalent and a little discussed topic in both the media, educational institutions and homes.

As the parents of Black children, it is necessary for us to speak to our boys and girls about the violence Black girls and women deal with every day as often as we discuss violence against Black men and boys. From early ages, Black girls deal with street harassment, sexual violence, and other forms of physical violence including but not limited to murder. According to a study conducted by the United States Department of Justice, Black females are twice as likely to be victims of intimate partner homicide than white females and four times as likely to be murdered than their white counterparts. A study conducted by the Black Women’s Blueprint found that approximately 60 percent of Black females have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18 and a recent study by the NAACP and the National Womens’ Law Center found that Black female teens are more likely to experience out of school suspension than their white counterparts. Whether violence against Black women comes from the state, like the Oklahoma police officer accused of sexually assaulting seven Black women, the public humiliation of Jada, or the gang rape and gruesome murder of the 36-year-old Black female free style rapper by three men in the Atlanta, Georgia area it is on us to speak up and out about these incidents in public spaces and in our homes.

Historic and current acts of violence and murder against Black females is a topic we need to be discussing in our homes so that our daughters and sons are able to identify different forms of abuse, do not feel shamed into silence if they are victims of, or see, a violent act about to be committed, and are not perpetrators of these violent acts.

When discussing the violence Black girls endure with our children it is important to:

Keep the conversation age appropriate and answer questions in an honest way

Go into the conversation with talking points that clearly articulate your point of view

Ask your child questions about instances that they have heard of or encountered where Black girls were at the receiving end of any form of violence

Identify the different forms that violence can take so that they are able to identify them

Remind them that violence is never the victims fault

Take steps to ensure that your home and parenting techniques reflect a home that is free of violence and a safe space to ask questions so that they feel comfortable speaking to you about these forms of violence

Ignoring the violence Black women face is a dangerous and gross disservice to our child, our families, and ourselves. We must start talking to our children about violence against Black women and girls as often as we do with Black men and boys.

As Tara Jefferson Pringle, founder of TheYoungMommy stated, “I often hear (rightfully so) about the dangers Black men encounter on a daily basis, but less so about what I need to prepare my daughter for. If we don’t confront these issues (and that includes making sure our children are aware), then we are doing a disservice to our children by only focusing on one gender.”

Who Is To Blame?: Child Kills Man At Gun Range

September 3rd, 2014 - By Rich
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Accidents happen. As a parent, I often find myself struggling to teach my kids a lesson when they make mistakes that result in circumstances that could hurt other people. Sometimes I yell at them out of anger, but quickly realize that although I want them to prevent these kinds of mistakes, I have to take some responsibility. Last week, my son almost cracked my iPad walking down the stairs. I was furious. Then I thought about it, why would I let a four-year old walk around freely with this iPad in his hands? It’s not really his fault if it cracks. It’s mine for letting him hold him. I might as well just smash it on the floor right now. Well, imagine if I just handed him a gun.

On August 25, the MacLachlan family walked into the Last Stop Range in White Hills, Arizona, just 60 miles south of Las Vegas, with their nine-year old daughter. The family was on what is being described in reports as a “vacation excursion.” Firing range instructor Charles Vassa, 39-years-old, was on duty. The girl’s mom was recording her daughter learn how to shoot guns with her phone. In the video, the girl is learning how to shoot an Uzi. While shooting, the Uzi recoiled upward and shot the instructor in the head. A tragic ending.

Now, regardless of where you stand on this at this point, let me note that the gun range’s policy permits children eight years and older to fire guns under adult supervision with the instructor there. As a result of the accident, the policy is now under review. But apparently, at the time, it was standard industry practice. So it almost can be chalked up as a freak accident. From a legal standpoint, county prosecutors say that the instructor was likely the most criminally negligent in the incident because he allowed the girl to shoot the gun knowing she couldn’t handle it, as she was not trained. But let’s put legal theories aside. A man lost his life.

Regardless of who is to blame for his death, the danger presented by putting an Uzi in the hands of a nine-year-old seems obvious. And I’m not just talking about physical danger, but emotional as well. If you ask me, parents can get locked up for a lot less. When I have to run to the market and my seven-year-old wants to stay in front of the TV to see “Dog With A Blog,” my response is “No. The police will come get me.” Her safety is my main concern, but I have to admit, I would trust her in the house alone for 15 minutes way more than I would trust her to hold a gun for a half a second.

New Jersey lawyer Kevin Walsh represents the family and has said they are devastated. He also said that after the accident, the family prayed that Vacca would survive his injury. Vacca’s family stated that they feel sorry for the child and want to comfort her. No charges have been filed in the case.

I read and researched the story over and over because I didn’t understand how this accident happened so easily. Family goes to gun range. Nine-year-old shoots Uzi. Child kills man at gun range. The details seemed almost too simple. There was one thing that stuck out to me though. It was a line from the police report that said immediately after it happened, “the other children were taken away from the range.” The whole time, I admit, I judged the parents for letting their child shoot at a gun range. But…there were other children there???

But Ferguson, What About Black On Black Crime?

August 26th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Black On Black Crime FergusonPJ is a former member of the Bloods. Big 20z is a former member of the Crips. In Ferguson on the now infamous West Florissant Avenue, they marched side by side chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and demanding an end to violence. They also eold a sign, which read in blue and red lettering: “NO MORE CRIPS. NO MORE BLOOD. ONE PEOPLE. NO GANG ZONE”

I asked them about rumors of there being a truce between the two gangs in the St. Louis area. Big 20z confirmed them: “The truce is real. And it is a beautiful thing.”

PJ and Big 20z have been personally holding a vigil against police brutality and for Michael Brown on a 24-hour bases, even going as far as to set up a make shift encampment in the parking lot of a furniture store, which is also right on the edge of the pre-approved protest zone established by local and state law enforcement.

Big 20z assured everything is “all love” when both sets show up at the same time to protest. In fact, he said, it’s like one big family. When I asked him who called the truce between the rival gangs he explained it was the “new generation” who were tired of what he alleges is constant brutality from the police, as well as the threat of prison.

“Young black men are dying from the police and they are dying from the gangs too, if I can be honest with you. But this is a bigger problem, so we took it upon ourselves to focus our energy on making a better solution for the community we live in. The gang don’t (sic)  matter no more. We’re standing up. We need food, education, not to live in poverty. You got people in two counties away living better than we do and what exactly makes them better than me? That’s what the Crips and Bloods realized. We were fighting each other over who was better than the other when we should have been standing together and fighting together.”

Big 20z said right now the truce is limited to the St. Louis area, but he and PJ have been actively spreading the message of their union to Bloods and Crips across the country. “They were like, ‘y’all turned up for real,’ “ PJ said. “And we’ve been letting them know that they can do the same thing. They can’t beat all of us. And we’ve been taking out each other for years. So now we are focusing our energy right where it needs to go.”

I asked PJ if he thinks the truce will last? Both chuckled before PJ answered. “Why does it keep on going on? What’s the purpose in me keeping on killing somebody? For a color? I’m trying to make sure my granny, my future kids, my little brother, my little sister, my nephews and my nieces live fine. They need a good education just like everybody else. We need jobs just like everybody else. We can’t depend on them. We got to start getting our stuff back together.”

Despite what many have come to believe, folks in Missouri are clearly concerned about black on black violence. Although Ferguson itself is relatively calm — the word used by most residents to describe the area is “quiet” — St. Louis city is another story.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWendy January has traveled to Ferguson from the notorious East St. Louis just about every single night. Her motivation to see justice in a case in which she feels the police are trying to “get over.” She was also upset over the local and state government’s militarized response to what she said were mostly peaceful protests. Since the murder and the subsequent protest began, January said she, too, has noticed a calm in the community.

“That’s why I’m really for this movement, because there has been no violence in the city. Can’t nobody touch a Black person right now. We’re not going to let it happen and nobody has gone out to do anything dumb, so I’m with this. We are for one another and we all got each other’s back. Something they said we would never do. We’re mourning but we’re all sticking together.”

Only the August crime stat numbers can confirm or deny January’s impression. Those won’t come until September; however her words reflect what many folks around St. Louis county have been saying about their respective communities: out of the racial crisis came black unity.

While the mainstream media hangs exclusively onto the words and actions of the NAACP, there are many different groups actively also organizing in Ferguson. There are numerous Black clergy groups – way too many to name individually – and the brothers and sisters from the Nation of Islam as well. There are Black liberation groups and Black Greek letter organizations too. Even the Hebrew Israelites have come to march through the streets in their purple and gold robes.

In a sense, the activism around Justice for Mike Brown has become a microcosm of Black culture. Some folks turn to the Gospel, like Cassandra Brookfield who, on the way to getting her tires rotated, stopped by one of the protest tents on South Florissant to pray for them. “I wanted to go out and protest but I work the second shift,” she shared. “So I decided to pray with them and for everybody’s safety. God’s love is key to solving all of this.”

Others like Pastor Cori Bush of Kingdom Embassy International have taken a more on-the ground approach by setting up a help tent near the memorial where Mike Brown was gunned down. She’s been on site every day with several organizations, including the People Health Center and Hope Well Center, providing crisis intervention as well as grief counseling to local residents within the apartment complex and beyond who were most affected by the unrest.

College-Bound Athlete Killed In Memorial Day Shooting

May 27th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: NYDN

Source: NYDN

A family is left to mourn after a New York man was gunned down in front of his home on Memorial Day. 20-year-old Dowayne Henry was sitting on the front stoop of his family’s Springfield Gardens home with two other men around 1:20 am when a gunman opened fired, the New York Daily News reports.

Henry’s family members describe him as an ambitious young man who worked as a preschool teacher and a salesman at Champs Sports to save money for college. He also had high hopes of playing college basketball.

“Most important to him was basketball,” said Andrew Douglas, 49, Henry’s uncle. “That was his life. He loved it.”

Henry attended Monroe College, but relatives say that he was preparing to transfer to York College to play basketball.

“He was a funny, caring person,” said Kimberlyn Leslie, 27, Henry’s older sister. “He was saving up to have enough money to go back to school.”

Police officers have not confirmed a motive for the shooting, but the victim’s uncle says he believes it may have been over an expensive pair of sneakers that his nephew was wearing. Leslie adds that her brother took great pride in his sneaker collection.

“He loved to rearrange them,” she emotionally told reporters on the steps of the family home. “He would put the ones he liked the most on top.”

Those who knew the athlete are still in shock over the senseless crime.

“Oh my God, it’s sad,” said Henry’s Champs co-worker Leah Sivells, 19. “He was the hardest worker I knew and so strong. I just saw him yesterday.”

A 25-year-old man was also struck in the back during the shooting. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition. Police are still on the hunt for the gunman, who witnesses say wore a gray hooded sweatshirt.

“I Am The Victim, Too”: Jordan Davis’ Murderer Michael Dunn Talks Becoming A Victim By Standing His Ground

February 19th, 2014 - By Raven Carter
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From The Grio 

The Florida software designer accused of killing a black teenager during an argument over loud music compared himself to a rape victim, telling his fiancee in a recorded jailhouse phone call that the police were trying to blame him for the shooting when he was only defending himself.

In a series of taped phone calls and jailhouse visits released Tuesday by prosecutors, Michael Dunn also expressed surprise at the media attention his November 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis outside a Jacksonville convenience store had drawn and expressed confidence that he would be exonerated once a jury heard all the facts.

Dunn, 47, was convicted Saturday of three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at three of Davis’ friends who were all inside an SUV, but the jury hung on a first-degree murder charge for Davis’ death. Dunn, who is white, has argued that he fired at Davis after the teen threatened him and raised a shotgun or something that looked like one after he asked the teens to turn down their rap music. No shotgun was found in the SUV.

Dunn is facing 60 years in prison when sentenced and State Attorney Angela Corey says she will retry him on the murder charge, which carries a potential life sentence. A phone message left for Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, was not immediately returned.

In a December 2012 phone call with his fiancee, Rhonda Rouer, Dunn compares himself to a rape victim, saying the detectives wanted to blame him for the shooting, not Davis and his friends. Inmates at the Duval County Jail are warned that all phone conversations and visits will be recorded and can be shared with prosecutors except for those with their attorneys.

Read more on this case at 

Getting Away With Murder: Michael Dunn Verdict – No Teachable Lessons

February 17th, 2014 - By Rich
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17 year-old, Jordan Davis was shot and killed while sitting in a car with his friends in 2012. That is a fact. Michael Dunn, the older white male who shot him (after what he perceived to be a gun) is going to jail presumably for the rest of his life. That too is factual.

Everything else after that gets a little foggy. Point blank – Jordan Davis, was gunned down in the state of Florida, which has been under the media and judicial microscope since Trayvon Martin’s death, trial, and the acquittal of neighborhood watchman-turned-artist/celebrity boxer George Zimmerman. Davis ultimately was slain for refusing to turn down what was called “thug music” loudly. According to Dunn, he felt threatened – saw a gun, fired ten shots, and then drove 175 miles to his home, where he was later arrested.

Truth be told, Dunn didn’t have to pull up next to that Durango that Davis and his friends were in. If he thought the music was loud he should have ignored it. Simply letting things go means that Davis would have continued to live his life, Dunn would be a free man, and Davis’ friends may not see the world as a cold place like they may now.

Once again assuming that the justice system would prevail and Dunn would go to jail for gunning down a minor regardless of race is what we as people were hoping for. As a black male and parent I hoped that just once someone wouldn’t be getting away with well – murder. Michael Dunn was convicted of three counts of second-degree attempted murder and one count of shooting deadly missiles. There was a hung jury on the first-degree murder charge–that actual one in which Dunn would have been punished for the crime he actually committed. Even if Dunn is convicted for the rest of his life he can hang his head in his cell knowing that he is not in there for killing Jordan Davis, but attempting to and haphazardly being successful.

Here’s the thing. The first-degree murder was never going to stand. Murder in the first degree means premeditation and many times is difficult to prove. In the sense of an altercation gone tragically awry – that is hard to prove. Technically, it could be murder in the first degree because he went into his glove compartment, pulled out his gun, then fired ten shots into the SUV. From a legal standpoint they got it right. I think the issue is what Dunn was charged with in the first place is where Florida got it wrong this time.

Where does that leave me today? I’m a twenty-eight year old black male. I like to listen to rap music and when I do I like to listen to it loudly. When it’s cold outside I wear hooded sweatshirts and when it’s particularly cold I’ll actually have the hood on my head. I have just as much luck being gunned down as well.

While I am not yet the proud father of a son of my own, I am the father figure to my nephew who is seven. What do I tell him about how to avoid being in a circumstance that could have him suffer a similar fate (Other than don’t move to Florida)? There’s nothing I can tell him.

There always seems to be a new way that we as black males arouse suspicion and come off like we have guns on us. In the sixties, we learned while visiting Mississippi not to whistle at white women because that could get us killed. We reach for our wallet in New York City to show we are who we say we are – and get shot forty-one times. No hoodies and as of now please don’t blare that new whatever you’re listening to at the time because it just might get you shot. What I would tell my nephew is that there is nothing you can do. I would probably say this word for word to him: “While it might not seem fair, the system isn’t fair. You can’t argue back. Turn down your music if someone asks you to. Don’t make any sudden moves. Don’t reach for your wallet or anything in your pockets. It’s dumb, but it just might save your life.”

Why You Should Think Twice Before Sharing The Sharkeisha Video

December 2nd, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: WEAR

Source: WEAR

Last week, the name Sharkeisha was trending on Twitter. And I’m sure many of you did the research and discovered the story behind the name. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, Sharkeisha is the name of a teenage girl from Houston who beat and kicked her former friend in the face, all over a boy.

We intentionally didn’t publish the story, despite some of your requests to do so, because it wasn’t a story we hadn’t seen before. Just because the video had gone viral didn’t make it anything more than gratuitous violence that we couldn’t justify further promoting on the site. I know some of you will argue that we’ve published viral, violent videos here before. (Remember the Ohio bus driver?) But we usually do so, to promote discussion, pose questions about morality or ask you what you would have done in the same situation. There was no need to do so with this ridiculous video, as we would hope that none of you all are out here fighting other women over a man or boy.

So why do I say all this? Because today we are going to talk about that story. And not from a standpoint that glorifies Sharkeisha but hopefully one that promotes sympathy toward the victim, the girl who was brutally assaulted and has had to relive the pain and humiliation of that day as video of the fight is being circulated around the internet. Her name is Shamichail Manuel. The 17 year old and her mother sat down with WEAR, an ABC affiliate in Pensacola, Florida  to talk about how this viral video has made the incident so much worse. She told reporters, “I’m going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life.” Manuel also says that presence of an audience and the eventual cell phone video that ended up on World Star made her believe that she was being set up. She said the incident was “very hurting and crushing” to her especially since she considered Sharkeisha a very close friend.

Manuel’s mother, Olevia Henderson, expressed how she feels about her daughter’s abuse being shared across the internet. “The video’s just going, going, going. And they’re making jokes. They’re taunting. They’re glorifying the girl Sharkeisha but they’re taunting my daughter at the same time.”

Henderson shared an recent experience at the grocery store where the incident came back to haunt her again. “I was in the grocery store yesterday and the girl was checking out my groceries and the baggers were just laughing and talking about it. And I said that’s my daughter in that video and their whole facial expression changed.”

Surely, they probably wouldn’t have guessed that they would be in such close proximity to the mother but the fact that they were laughing and joking about it in public indicates that in sharing this video, people are forgetting that there was a real person involved in this incident. That was a real teenage girl being kicked in the face by someone she thought was a friend. It’s not something we should be so quick to share, make memes from or laugh at. As Manuel asked, “How would you feel if that was your daughter or your son and that happened to them? How would you feel?”

You can watch the full interview with Manuel and her mother in the video below. But I must warn you that it contains the most graphic scenes from the video and also images of the injuries Manuel sustained afterward.