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When is Murder not Murder?

When is murder not murder? In the eyes of the law, it seems that it is not murder if a man kills his wife.

I was deeply upset this week to hear about the death of Hendrikje Priester of Abbotsford who was murdered on March 25th by her common-law husband. There is much about this story that shocks me.

The first shocking thing is that this story was not considered newsworthy. The only media attention her death received was one small news piece in the local weekly paper. We didn’t see radio or television coverage and nothing in either of the daily papers We see this time and time again but it always surprises. When a woman is killed by her partner it is not deemed by the media to be noteworthy. Why is this? If a woman was killed by a stranger, it would be all over the news but when killed by her partner it is insignicant?!?

Stephen Lewis in his Forward to the book “The War on Women” says that as a society, we should see the murder of a woman by by an intimate partner to be an appalling breach of trust and that we should mark such murders with more reverence and attention than other murders. But this is not what happens.

Second, I am frustrated by what appears to be a lack of concern by the police in this matter. The way I came to know about this story is that a friend of mine had had a few brief encounters with Ms. Priester. He was very concerned for her safety and had passed his concern on to the police but the article does not suggest that the police had done anything to try to prevent this tragedy.

Finally I was angered to read the last line of the newspaper article. It reads, “Investigators are calling this a domestic homicide and have determined the death is not linked to other recent murders.” By calling Ms. Priester’s death a “domestic homicide” the horrific nature of what happened to this woman, not only in her last minutes of life, but in the years leading up to it are some how “domesticated” and made not so bad. Furthermore, we are encouraged to feel that this “domestic homicide” has nothing to do with the rest of us. There are no “links”. How appalling. Let’s not forget that 2 women every week are murdered by their intimate partner’s in Canada. How about for a link! When are we going to stop seeing such tradgic losses as isolated events instead of seeing them for what they really are, part of the pattern of hatred and violence that some men exact on their partners.

I know almost nothing about Hedrikje Priester. Was she a mother, a grandmother? Who did she love and who loved her? Who is grieving her loss? I for one want to take a moment to remember this woman. I hope you will too.
Karen.

3 responses to “When is Murder not Murder?”

  1. laura meechan says:

    Why dose it take someone too be dead for these abuse women to get noticed ..try talking to some one that is a surviver and still going through this.to speak and show how it need to be improved.my self im dealing with 4 .R.C.M.P.files Burns Lake,Langley,Surrey .ect on the same man 1Abbptsford file .i.live with a D.E.V.R.S.alarm in my home .been to court 5 times there is 24 diffrent charges on this man .he has beaten my and killed my horses ,dogs, cattle,harassed me now for 4 years and im just going to court on the 13 of may..please talk to women that are survivers ..I fell that if some one would listin to the one that have made it .there would be a change ..

  2. Diane Priester says:

    I would like to thank “Karen” and all of the other people that have stepped up and have made statements about what happened to my mom. I would like to tell you that my mom had 6 grandchildren and they all thought of Dan Casgrain as their step grandpa. I know that my children (2 of the 6) grandchildren are in extensive therapy along with myself. What had happened to her was unexplainable. There is alot of issues around this case. My mom had phones 911 two times and had no response. I think that if the police had responded that my mom would still be alive today. The man who had done this has been released out of prison and charges are still pending on the autopsy report. There are so many domestic crimes happening to women every day that alot of people don’t hear about. It is a shame that there is not more done for these people.

    Thankyou again to everyone for there support

    DIANE PRIESTER and Family

  3. Debb says:

    I find this whole case as a injustice to Mrs Priester. The first set of charges that were in place was 1st degree murder that is what this case was. Not what he ended up getting convicted on – common assault. Hell the woman is dead because of what he inflicted onto mrs priester. Crown said they could not prove premeditation. That’s a load of bs. What does one call when a despute that had ended both parties in separate rooms? He – Mr. casgrain goes out of his room and into hers and grabs her and drags her to the kitchen floor and proceeds to kick her in the head. I dont have to go to fricken law school to know that in its self is premeditation. He knew full well what he was doing under the influance or not he knew. Its individuals such as that who get away with murder of the 1st degree by manipulating the penial system money talks andbullshit walks. I could of done a better job than the crown did the whole case was a flippen joke mr. casgrain now that he is out from a sentence of 4 years for common assult that si discraceful not only to the deseced womens memorie but to the hole priester family . it was murder there isn o way to say it other than that . he should of done life .the lady laura above karen made a sujestion about having you talk to a survior. well i karen am the ultimate survior of domestic and child abuse i have a voice to speak up about shit like this some thing or some one has got to change the laws about abuse on women but in order to do that then it must be a fair change i can explain email me i left my email on this sight

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When Love Hurts