Simone de Beauvoir

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What Would You Ask Jodi Arias?

Jodi Arias is on trial for killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander years ago (2008, I believe).

I watch the trial live thanks to HLN (Head Line News) and InSession. Truly it can be a day of television between morning reviews of the previous day's testimony, actual court coverage, and then a re-cap. Panels consists of attorneys and Nancy Grace, Ryan Smith, Vinnie Politan, and Mike Brooks. Jane Velez-Mitchell also comments.

Sometimes I feel like a voyeur. Sitting comfortably at home (eating lunch, doing laundry, chatting with other Arias trial watchers) and I learn things about our judicial system (who knew lawyers have strategies?). An interesting side note is that jurors serving on a trial in Arizona (where Arias is on trial) have the chance to ask questions of witnesses). The jurors have 100 questions for her and lawyers will review them and state their objections prior to Arias responding.

I've learned, too, that the family of Travis Alexander is sitting in the courtroom. His siblings sit and listen to testimony that describes--in graphic detail--his sex life. Days upon days of various kinds of sex. They also see crime scene photos including his decomposing body. The body that was stabbed almost thirty times, shot, and had its throat slashed from ear to ear, almost to the spine.

Arias has admitted to killing Alexander claiming self-defense. She claims she was defending herself.

Like many others, I have concerns, questions, and doubts.

My concern is for the Alexander and Arias families. They don't want to hear detailed descriptions of sexual acts performed by two consenting adults, one in her twenties and one in his thirties. Frankly, I grew bored after the first thirty minutes. I, for one, cannot imagine my parents listening to stories of my sex life. I don't want to hear stories about what my siblings are doing between the sheets, on the kitchen table, or wherever they find themselves engaged in sex.

I feel a lot of sympathy for the relatives and friends of Travis Alexander who listen to Jodi Arias trash the reputation of their loved one as she attempts to portray him as a sexual deviant. Travis seems to have been an intelligent, fun-loving man who loved women and appreciated his healthy sexual habits.

The questions I have are these: if the defense wanted to make a case that Travis Alexander was a sexual deviant, was it necessary to take weeks to do so? Even if his sexual practices were considered by some to be outside the norm, how does that justify taking his life?

My doubts are simple: I think she committed pre-meditated murder. She planned it. She had motive and opportunity. It couldn't be self-defense. There is no evidence (except the word of a person who has changed her story three--maybe four--times) to support her claim of domestic violence.

I fully doubt that she lived in fear of this man. Instead, she chose to participate in an on-again-off-again relationship with Travis Alexander. It could be described as 'friends with benefits'; that is if you think friends can murder one another. Afraid? Hardly. When she was arrested, she smirked for her mug shot, explaining 'that's what Travis would have done'.

What I truly take issue with is the portrayal of domestic violence that the Arias defense team is arguing. I find it offensive. There are thousands of true victims of intimate partner violence--both male and female--that suffer physical and emotional abuse at the hands of controlling, manipulative individuals. Jodi Arias is making a mockery of those individuals. People have died at the hands of their abusers. Children are living without parents because of domestic violence related incarceration and death of the other parent.

Victims often struggle with coming forth about their abuse. They are frightened of the judicial system as well as facing their abusers in court. These people are to be encouraged to come forward so that abusers can bear the consequences for their actions: arrest, hearings, incarceration, perhaps therapy. When they do press charges, they slowly regain their self-esteem and power over their own lives. Their abuser slowly loses control and the power to dominate. 

So my questions for Arias are these:

how do you justify tearing down the courage of genuine victims by professing to be one of them?
do you realize that if convicted, you could face the same fate as abusers of these victims?
what is it like knowing that come October, when the nation recognizes the victims of Domestic Violence you will not be thought of?

May justice prevail.

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