Wednesday, August 31, 2011

South Carolina Professor Jennifer Lee Wilson: "Teaching an Important Lesson"

Professor Jennifer Lee Wilson is a tragic lesson of how a death could have been prevented. Within the facts of her death, at her home, at the hands of a man with whom she ended a relationship, and how she died, is an important lesson.

The lesson began when Jennifer received an email from a former girlfriend cautioning her to be careful of the man with whom she was trying to end a relationship. He was stalking her relentlessly, calling and sending texts. There was enough harassing behavior by the man to warrant a police report and then obtain an order of protection from the court. But, Jennifer likely believed she could handle what was happening and thought, as many victims do, he would eventually grow tired and move on.

That did not happen. In fact, co-workers, other educators at the University of South Carolina, were aware of what Jennifer was experiencing at the hands of this man. On one of the news sites a co-worker and friend comments:

"I don't really know if there is an lesson in her death because this honestly could happen to anyone. It's entirely scary because the only lesson I can gather from this is if a person is crazy and determined to get you there is little you can do."
The person who made the comment is wrong. There were things that could have been accomplished to assist Jennifer and therein lies the real lesson.

The professor's death could have been prevented. Everyone knew what was happening at the university but no one knew what direction was required for her to be safe and stay alive. He had a plan to stalk, harass and threaten. She needed a plan to be 10 steps ahead of his tactics to stay alive. With over 20 years of working on complex, dangerous, high risk cases of intimate partner violence, so far, not one victim has died on my watch. So, I disagree with the co-worker and educator's comment "if a person is crazy, there is little you can do."

Since the University of South Carolina does not currently offer training in the area of intimate partner violence, I suggest they consider scheduling a series of educational workshops on intimate partner violence and prevention to not only bring awareness to those on campus, and keep students and facility safe, the workshop campus training should include an invitation for the local law enforcement community.

When a call was placed by a neighbor at approximately 2:00 a.m., saying they heard screaming coming from inside the home, the officers should have done more than get out of the squad car for a moment, and  because all seemed quiet, turn around get back in the squad car and leave. The officers did not do a wellness check. They did not take the time to knock on the door of the professor's home, and they did not follow-up with the person who placed the 911 call to investigate further. If they had, it may possibly have saved her life.

The next morning, the same neighbor called again and police are now at the scene of a homicide. They arrested the "oh so nice and well mannered man" (a phrase I saw used several times to describe the cold blooded killer.)

At the conclusion of the news article Gloria Boutte, Chair of USC Department of Instruction and Teacher Education, said, "Wilson's death leaves a void on many levels. You could always count on her to make people feel better."

With the death of Professor Jennifer Wilson, the University of South Carolina has an opportunity to fill the void of her death by teaching others just like Jennifer the lessons of leaving an abusive relationship and learning how to stay alive!

If you are in a relationship that has a history of violence, simply mustering up the courage to confront the person and say it is over, without the proper tools, can cost you, your life!The book "Time's Up A Guide on How To Survive and Abusive and Stalking Relationship" is the prescription that every person must obtain before they announce they are leaving. Below is an example from Chapter 4, one of many unique tools provided in the book. It is available, or you can purchase via e-book or on a CD. If you have questions, the email address is:

This book doesn't merely discuss when you should leave or why you should leave, it tells you HOW you should leave. The book has step-by-step instructions how to covertly make a plan, set-up a safe escape, deal with financial issues, and the paperwork. Susan even takes you line-by-line through the process, the forms, the legal issues...she takes you by the hand, and, believe me, when you are being terrorized and you are an basket case, you don't need vague ideas, you need specific instructions. TIME'S UP can save your life and your sanity. If you need to get out, get this book before you make a mistake that could be fatal. It is money well spent.

Susan Murphy Milano is a staff member of the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education. She is a specialist with intimate partner violence prevention strategies and high risk cases and available for personal consultations through the Institute. She is also part of the team at Management Resources Limited of New York.

Susan is the author of "Time's Up: A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships,"Moving out, Moving on, and Defending Out Lives. Susan is the host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show, "Time'sUp!" . She is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated "The Roth Show" with Dr Laurie Roth and a co-host on Crime Wire.

If you would like to schedule Susan Murphy Milano for interviews, please contact: ImaginePublicity PO BOX 14946 Surfside Beach, SC 29587 Phone: 843.808.0859 email-


Donna R. Gore said...

This is outrageous... particularly the conduct of the police...and the University staff "turning a blind eye." When will friends and colleagues chose to get involved to save a life? Aren't we tired of the after the murder involvement??
The Intimate Partner Prevention Program can't come soon enough!

nthwdds said...

The signs were there. We depend on law enforcement for safety and end up dead.. Sadly it's not just law enforcement, so many people including law enforcement are unaware of how to assist or recognize and they can cause more harm than good. people need education.

Anonymous said...

you make a valid point, until you bring up that she could have prevented this from happening, Fact is no she couldn't! Jennifer was well educated and very intelligent all around, she took steps to protect herself but, he would have accomplished what he wanted no matter what steps it took. I do not appreciate the way that you down grade her and make it appear as though she didnt attempt to protect herself. Also, no class or book can prevent these things from happening!

Delilah said...

@Anonymous, you're right on some of the points you make, like he would have found a way to get to her if he was hell bent on doing it, obviously he was. However, there are further steps that Jennifer could have taken, had she known about them.

No way is her intelligence in question, she, like many other well educated and intelligent women, meet the same fate simply because they don't know about certain safety planning measures. We are seeing more and more women in upper social status being killed, mainly because society doesn't think it can happen to those behind gated communities or with higher education.

Please read more about Susan and her work of over 20 years in the field of intimate partner violence prevention. Her methods and practices have given her the right to present these cases as a learning tool for others, she has not lost a single woman who consulted with her in all that time. Pretty good track record.

I would hope that in the aftermath of this tragedy that her friends and family would want to help educate other women (and men) in the same situation that Jennifer found herself as a legacy. Our sincere condolences go out to any who knew Jennifer, as well as all the women and men who have lost their lives to intimate partner violence.

Anonymous said...

She did bring the email to the police. They said there was nothing they could do, but she could take out a restraining order on him, but would that have stopped him from a midnight visit? Laws need changing.

Anonymous said...

I loved Jennifer as one of the dearest human beings I have ever known. I, we, the world, has truly lost a special person. It is an immeasurable loss. I am a survivor of domestic abuse (& only by luck)and I know what Jen was experiencing. I wish I had known where to turn & that there were actual 'steps' I could have taken to protect myself & had Jen known, I believe she also would have taken them. She wasn't taking her situation with this "man" lightly- it's just like most of us, we don't know how to handle it & how to get law enforcement to take us seriously if we feel threatened. A restraining order was all I knew of & that alone does not protect ones self from harm. This program needs to be brought to everyone's attention including law enforcement, who must shoulder alot of blame in this terrible tragedy. They could & should have done so much more- both when Jen went to them & also when they were called to her house initially! I was one of the 'lucky' ones, only by chance, but I read everyday of the women who aren't & how the 'system' has failed them. Now my friend, my beautiful, sweet friend is gone & I see a great, no, urgent need for some 'real' help to stop this loss of precious life. I hope that this program is brought to the attention of everyone & anyone who might be in a position to help,advise or need protection. I am carrying around a huge weight on my chest from the loss of Jennifer...this program is needed as a matter of life & death. If it can save even 1 more life- it's worth educating everyone. And as others have stated "Laws have got to be changed" AND the 'attitudes' of those in law enforcement who are there to 'protect' us.This program is one more tool I am glad to know about. I don't know that anything could have saved Jennifer from this vicious man but I wish she had been given all the help & 'tools' that were available so that she had a chance. In particular, Shame shame shame on the law enforcement of Columbia,SC.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...