Trigger Warning: This article discusses relationship abuse and a multi-person homicide.
I’m not quite sure where to begin today.
Most of the time, I try to keep these little conversations lighthearted, right? Maybe I get sassy, or occasionally drop-dead serious - but generally, we’re covering topics that are sensitive in a compassionate way. And most topics I choose to cover aren’t super sensitive to begin with. But today? Today I really need to discuss something with you guys that is beyond upsetting.
Shanann Watts, a Colorado woman, was murdered - along with her two children (Bella, 4 and Celeste, 3. Shanann was pregnant with a baby boy. Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Baby Boy were killed by Chris Watts, Shanann’s husband.
Her closest friend suspected something was amiss when Shanann stopped responding to texts or calls. She stopped by the house and no one answered the door - which is when the friend reached out to Chris to find out if he knew where Shanann was. Chris claimed he didn’t know - and the police came to investigate the missing person’s report.
Maybe I’m delving into timeline and facts here because I want to distract myself from this terror. Women in abusive relationships are one bad moment away from their demise at the hands of their lover. It’s horrifying. I feel awful for these women and am beyond grateful that I escaped any relationships that remotely resembled abusive. Escaping isn’t always so easy.
I wonder if the friend knew that Shanann was planning to leave Chris, and suspected what happened since Shanann went missing?
Or maybe I’m obsessing over these details because I can’t shake how cold and unfeeling Chris was in his interview on his front porch. When someone pointed out the mark on his neck that looked like a thumbprint, I shuddered.
Pregnancy can complicate relationships. It’s actually one of the more practical reasons why my parents encouraged abstinence until marriage. If any relationship is going to survive pregnancy and the resultant baby, it’s going to have to be on solid ground. Chris admitted in his chilling interview that he and Shanann had an “emotional discussion” the last time they spoke to one another, but claimed it “wasn’t an argument”.
Was this the case for Shanann? Was it her pregnancy that made her a target for his violence? It doesn’t surprise me that an abuser would harm a pregnant mother (let alone children), but it does turn my stomach.
I’m sorry, I’m a little stuck on the dark parts of the whole thing right now. Still processing. Still aching for the family. Still horrified at the world I’ve just birthed a tiny baby girl into.
How do we help? How can we band together and get these women out of dangerous situations? I personally know more than one woman who escaped controlling, manipulative, abusive relationships; and they all did it with the help of other women. As moms, I’m sure none of us want to see kids in these situations, or as victims of a murderer. So let’s make sure no more moms have to go home to an abusive mate for the last time without successfully leaving on the other side, safe and sound. Know the warning signs of abuse. Understand how a person can get caught up in a relationship without seeing the red flags. Keep an eye out for your friends and their relationships. Offer your home, Paypal for bus fare; whatever might help another mom escape a horrible situation and whatever you can offer. And share your story.
Share how you know it was abuse even if he didn’t hit you on Twitter - @pi3sugarpi3 #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou