Chris Watts has admitted to strangling his wife Shannon Watts to death. On August 14, a week ago, an Endangered Missing Alert for her and her two daughters was issued. Since then, her and her family’s faces have been plastered all over news magazines. Every day for 6 days, Shannon Watts was the lead story. On its face nothing seems unusual about that.
But, one must consider that every day, approximately 3 American women are murdered by a current or past intimate partner. The majority of the victims were under the age of 40, and 15 percent were pregnant, just like Shannon Watts.
Shannon Watts doesn’t fit the profile, however, in that she’s White. Black women were most likely to die by homicide of any kind, at 4.4 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Native American women, Hispanics, and finally whites and Asians. Hispanic women who were killed are the most likely to be killed in connection to partner violence (61 percent of all homicides of Hispanic women). It is likely that on the day Shannon Watts was killed by her husband, 2 other women were killed by their partners, as well: same day, same circumstances…except that Shannon is White, and the two other victims are most likely minorities.
We won’t hear their names, see their pictures; their friends won’t be interviewed. They and their stories will be buried—without any fanfare because to the media, their lives didn’t matter. And that means their lives don’t matter to our broader society either, as the media and what it chooses to cover are simply a reflection of what our society cares about.
I’m a Black woman. I want my life to matter. I want my story to be told. Don’t I, don’t we, deserve at least that?
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more