Police in Sikeston, Missouri are investigating what appears to be a case of self-defense involving a local woman, her estranged ex-boyfriend, and a late night break-in.
Authorities were called out to the home just after midnight Friday morning, and when they arrived they found the body of a 36-year old man near the front door, which looked to have been forced open.
According to Sikeston DPS, the caller told a 911 dispatcher that her mother had shot a man after he forced his way inside the home.
… During the investigation, officers said they learned the man was an estranged boyfriend of the mother and had been reports of an ongoing history of domestic violence, including assault of the woman.
DPS said the woman told officers she was afraid for herself and her four children. She said she chose to use the gun for safety
Officially, the investigation into this case is still underway, but unless the evidence indicates that the man was shot in the back as he was running away, my guess is that this is going to go down as a justifiable homicide.
I’m glad that the woman and her kids were unharmed here. That wasn’t the case for another woman who says she was recently forced to protect herself and her family from an abusive ex, but not before he was able to sexually assault her.
During the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 26, a woman walked into the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) and stated that she shot her ex-boyfriend. She has an active restraining order against him for previous incidents of domestic violence, according to EPSO.
The woman reported that Joseph broke into her house by kicking in the front door, then went into her bedroom and tried to take her clothes off, without her permission, in an attempt to sexually assault her. The woman’s child entered the room after hearing commotion, and Joseph grabbed the child and put the child in another bedroom, according to EPSO.
At that point, Joseph again tried to assault the woman, police said. The woman grabbed a small-caliber handgun and shot Joseph in the leg, then he tried to unarm her. During the struggle, the woman fired another shot, which hit Joseph’s other leg, according to EPSO.
At the risk of sounding like I’m mansplaining self-defense to a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault, if you’re in fear for your life please don’t try to be a kind person and shoot your attacker in the leg instead of shooting to stop the threat. In this case her attacker was able to get the gun from her, though thankfully he allegedly took off and drove himself to the hospital rather than escalate his assault.
Nikki Goeser, the executive director of the Crime Prevention Research Center, recently co-wrote an article with stalking expert Debbie Riddle about their own experiences with stalkers and abusers, including the violent stalker who murdered Goeser’s husband in front of her, and both of them emphasize the importance of protecting yourself by any means available; from orders of protection to a pistol by your side.
An order of protection may be necessary, and victims should consider that if they feel it is right for them. Nikki and Debbie both believe it is also time for a convicted stalker registry all across the nation. However, we think that law enforcement needs additional training on the seriousness of stalking and the potential for extremely harmful and deadly outcomes if they do not act. This mindset of “call us when something bad happens” has got to go.
A victim’s safety plan may include moving, address confidentiality program, name change, career change, protection order, security cameras, extra door locks, taking different routes to your job, making sure everyone in your inner circle knows about the stalker, not being alone, self-defense training and situational awareness training.
Not every victim will choose the same safety plan. It is an individual decision, but it is essential to know all of your options to make the decision you feel is right for you.
Nikki now has a lifetime order of protection against her stalker. She also chooses to carry a legally concealed firearm to defend herself and loved ones, and has taken firearms training classes that include laws on justifiable use of force.
Laws against stalking have improved over the past several decades, but even with these improvements, the victim should understand that ultimately they are their own first responder.
As both Goeser and Riddle detail, abusers and stalkers have a way of slipping through the system with little or no consequences for terrorizing their victims. That doesn’t mean that orders of protection are worthless, but they’re not a suit of armor and they don’t convey the power to keep an abuser locked up forevermore. A gun isn’t a magical talisman that’s guaranteed to protect you from harm either, but it absolutely can be the difference between defending your life and losing it.