A Victim of Everyday Violence
street harassment is a crime poster

Image by arimoore via flickr/creative commons


The Thanksgiving holiday weekend ended in a tragedy that’s shocked many Louisville residents, again. Cheryl Williamson, 24, was shot in the chest at a party early Sunday morning, allegedly after exchanging words with two men who haven’t been arrested as of this post.

In addition to SMH disbelief, I’ve also seen a lot of outrage and disgust expressed about this murder. But when I think about how much disrespect and violence against women is embedded and accepted in our culture—street harassment/stalking (you know what I mean; don’t mistake this for flattery, people), routinely calling women out of their names, proposed legislation to change the definition of rape, the terminology used to describe sex (hit that, beat that pu$$y up), the certainty that a woman deserves it/provoked it when intimate partner abuse escalates to noticeable levels (think how much support Chris Brown got for beating Rihanna)—this senseless loss of life isn’t that big a leap.

None of the violence I described reflects respect for women, their humanity, or their lives, so when this male—because as many have already expressed, the suspect doesn’t deserve to be called a man—shot this woman, it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

I don’t mean to diminish the senselessness of Cheryl Williamson’s death, but I wish I saw the level of outrage and disgust being expressed about her homicide when a woman is murdered after intimate partner abuse; when she’s barked at, followed, or groped when she’s just trying to walk down the street; when she’s called derogatory names; or when she’s afraid to walk down the street alone because of the accepted threat of violence. All of that is senseless, too.

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2 thoughts on “A Victim of Everyday Violence

  1. I have been trying to find out more information about this young lady and the tragedy that took her precious life. This is all that I can find. It is a real shame because there SHOULD be more outrage about what happened to a young woman at the hands of a selfish, violent, hateful male. From what I can uncover, all she did was deny the advances of a male she had no interest in and for that she lost her life. His pride was so wounded that the ONLY recourse was to strike out in violence.

    This male placed so little value on human life that he could pull a trigger so quickly without a care in the world. I do not know what was said between the two but nothing warrants a gunshot and a fatal one at that.

    I can’t help but to think about the countless times in my life that men have approached me on the street and I have turned them down for various reasons. I remember one time when I lived in MD a African berated me and lectured me on why American women think they are too good to date an African just because I turned him down. I didn’t turn him down because he was African I turned him down because he was short. Plain and simple, I don’t date short men. As I sat there and listened to this man have what I call a, “Moment” I thought to myself “Is this really necessary?” Then I thought let him have his moment because he must need it. I stayed and listened because I was at a bus stop and I wasn’t missing my bus home for anyone.

    I never stopped to think at one time I could have been hurt because I denied the advances of a man. I am no beauty queen by any means but I know what I like and what I want to surround myself with. I thank the Lord everyday for the spirit of discernment. Dis.cern.ment (noun) 1. the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure. 2. an act of perceiving or discerning something.
    With this I have been able to keep bad apples away from my orchard. But what happens when you are just walking down the street minding your own business, trying to get home? What happens when someone accosts you and you don’t want to be bothered and you tell them just that? Do they have the right to strike out in violence? When did that become o.k.? I want this man caught and severely punished. He took the life of a bright, beautiful woman who had a future. I know we all get a certain amount of time here and that was all the time she had but to go out like that? From what I can tell from one of my friends on Facebook she led a remarkable life so let’s make certain her death is not in vain. It is time that violence against women whether it be at the hands of a man or at the hand of another woman be dealt with seriously and severely.

    RIP Cheryl. Know that you will always be remembered.

    1. Stephanie,

      Thanks for commenting. You know, I left a response to this last night via the WordPress app on my phone and it didn’t work! And it was so well thought out. Anyway …

      “I never stopped to think at one time I could have been hurt because I denied the advances of a man.” You should never have to think that asserting your right to not be bothered could endanger your life! Men would never be afraid of this.

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