Ingrid Lyne’s Murder Is Every Woman’s Worst Fear

 

Photo of Ingrid Lyne and her children (children's faces are blurred for privacy)

Image shows Ingrid Lyne with her arms her three children (whose faces are blurred for privacy), all sporting Seahawks gear and smiling into the camera. (Image courtesy of the GoFundMe campaign to benefit Lyne’s children.)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the murder of single mom, Ingrid Lyne. As a single mom myself who lives not too far from where Ingrid was raising her kids (and was then later found in a recycling bin), the whole thing gives me the chills.

Frankly, women everywhere are getting the chills. Unlike most of the men I talk to, they don’t see it as a freak occurrence, but as the realization of their worst fear and the ultimate failure of their ongoing efforts to avoid their own rape or murder.

Every woman I’ve talked to knows it could have been her. People of all genders are remarking on how Lyne “took every reasonable precaution” and yet it still happened. Do you know what that means to women? It means that you can do everything right–check off all the items on your personal safety list–and you can still be killed by a man. It means that the idea that you can prevent your own rape or murder is bullshit, an illusion of rape culture that promotes victim blaming and misogyny. It means the perpetual precautions you take every moment of your waking life are quite probably a colossal waste of time.

Perhaps more than anyone, women have internalized victim blaming. Without thinking too much about it, we spend our days avoiding rape and murder. It begins when we wake up with the clothes we put on. It continues as we walk out the door and worry about the consequences of wearing a hood even though it’s raining, as we weigh the risks of looking at a screen while we walk, have 911 on speed dial, square our shoulders and walk with the “right” posture, avoid certain routes, shield ourselves from strangers on public transport, screen potential dates, not reject street harassment too rudely, and so much more.

We do these things without thinking and we do them in perpetuity. I’ll say it again: We spend nearly 100% of our time doing things that we believe will help us avoid being raped or murdered. We have been doing it our whole lives, which is a long time. It almost doesn’t seem like it’s costing us any effort at all because it’s second nature, dialed up on auto-pilot. “Natural.” But it’s not natural and it’s still energy spent. It takes away from other ways we could be using our brains/time and it means that it’s dangerous to be in our bodies.

So when the news broke that Ingrid Lyne went on a date with John Charlton and got murdered for it, women everywhere unconsciously evaluated her behavior and interrogated the situation, walking ourselves through Lyne’s paces. Sure, she met him online, but Charlton wasn’t a stranger to Lyne; they’d been dating for 6-8 weeks (check). Their date was in a public place (the Mariners game–check) and she told folks where she was going (check).

So we wonder if Lyne missed warning signs. We start asking about Charlton’s criminal background and we discover his history of drugs, theft, assault and battery, the creepy threat he made to his mother in 2006 when, after some macho chest-bumping and a few hours of verbal assault, he presented her with the movie Hannibal and told her to “beware.” Maybe we need to add “get an assault-and-battery background check” to our list of murder-avoidance rituals before we go on dates–even if it’s someone we’ve been dating a little while.

It would make us feel safer if we could find some hole in Lyne’s actions leading up to her murder because it would mean that maybe–just maybe–we have some control.

Think about it: Before we could even talk about the crime, we had to make sure Lyne wasn’t culpable somehow. That’s victim blaming, one of the most deeply ingrained forms of internalized misogyny I know. Looking it in the eye and explicitly rejecting it means letting go of the notion that we are in any way agents of our own safety where men are concerned. The reality is, there are no sufficiently “reasonable precautions” we can take or “right” ways to behave that will ensure we won’t be raped or murdered by a man.

The unfortunate alternative to victim blaming is that it doesn’t fucking matter what you do: You can “take every reasonable precaution” and still end up in pieces in a stranger’s recycling bin.

So now what?

Ingrid Lyne’s murder did not happen in a vacuum. I didn’t know her, but I’m also a single mom with two kids and, like most women, have spent my entire life practicing ongoing rape-and-murder avoidance rituals (at times with better results than others). It’s not a theoretical, hypothetical conversation for me and I know from talking to other women that they feel similarly.

Ingrid Lyne’s murder does two contradictory things: It confirms the need for women to continue our vigilance (because look what happened!) and it also points out the uselessness of that vigilance (because look what happened!).

So when you hear people talking about the very “reasonable” precautions Lyne took to avoid being murdered, point out the absurdity of it. Interrogate the master narrative. Get curious. Point out the inherent toxic masculinity and victim blaming of it, since those things are perpetuated by our silence and passive acceptance. You have a particular duty to call it out if you’re a beneficiary of rape culture.

Men, if your women friends talk about it with you, listen. Don’t ask them to be reasonable. Don’t tell them to calm down (tone policing). Don’t tell them they’re imagining the gendered nature of the crime (gaslighting). Just because you haven’t experienced living in constant fear of rape and murder doesn’t mean it’s not real 24/7 for over half of the population.

People of color, transfolk, and the queer community are at even greater risk for this type of violence , though it certainly doesn’t get the same–or often any–attention in the media. We have a particular responsibility to call that out, too.

This much is clear: Although it might be more comforting to do so, dismissing the murder of Ingrid Lyne as a freak occurrence isn’t doing anyone any favors.

 

P.S. You can donate money to support Ingrid Lyne’s three children here.

 

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96 thoughts on “Ingrid Lyne’s Murder Is Every Woman’s Worst Fear

  1. Finally. An intelligent and thoughtful perspective, uncorrupted by greedy sensationalism, more concerned with the true essence of what this horrible, historical tragedy really reflects. Great writing, thank you. And to you, dear Ingrid, for your unwitting and unjust sacrifice. It will not be in vain.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Nothing can make up for someone’s life, but at least some redemption, some silver-lining can be found if just one woman takes this as an indication of the need to speak out for her rights or learn to defend herself. The ripple from this incident will hopefully positively effect a lot of women who are otherwise strangers to Ingrid Lynes.

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      • I hope folks will do whatever feels empowering and comfortable for them; I am just wary of recommending that everybody get self-defense training because it feels like that still keeps the responsibility on women for avoiding their own rapes and murders (and what happens if you don’t have the resources or access to that kind of thing, as many vulnerable populations don’t?). I definitely don’t think that’s what you were saying, but this does feel like it walks a thin line.

        Of course, no one SHOULD have to be responsible for preventing their own rape or murder, but at the same time, we want to survive. Survival means a lot of different strategies to different people, and the fact of the matter is that victim blaming is the default.

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      • You’re absolutely right that it shouldn’t be a woman’s responsibility to protect herself from these kinds of horrific incidents. The way our country minimizes sentencing and gives short sentences that are essentially slaps on the wrist to repeat offenders, and the serious lack of resources for people who need mental help or rehabilitation is another huge factor.

        Not to mention the way that those who speak out about assault and rape are often dismissed or not investigated thoroughly enough. Your article touched on this, as well.

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    • Tasha, my thanks for a great piece. My thanks and empathy for your own past suffering, being shared, and doing good with it. Phoenix rising! There are a vast majority of men that are disgusted and moved by this the same way we believe women are moved ( and frightened, and careful). What arises from inside a good many of us is that the talk, and much of the preparation and carefulness is futile. It’s great, and soulful, and healing, and motivational, but ultimately futile. It’s especially futile when all the deviant predators know the moves. This guy can play right into them.

      This is unpopular, but true, so it has to be said. Equally unpopular is the other truth. You have to be prepared to defend. Preparation to prevent, is, sadly what we are being honest about here.

      Judo, karate, mace, stun guns: all good, empowering, and likely lifesavers, to many women. But the one great equalizer is aireation- lead injections- death or brute force to stop an attack by a small personal protector known as a handgun. It’s the only one of this listing that doesn’t just piss off a predator- it makes him piss himself. It’s the only one that, if used right, will surely stop the attack, regardless of his size or strength. It’s the only truth. We men know it.

      What saddens me most is the politics of division in our country is not for anyone’s good, other than the politicians’. Women’s rights and “gun rights”, self defense rights, protection of home and families’ rights, the right to kill an ex or current boyfriend that is murderous, maniacal, abusive, or predatory – are on opposite sides? Forgive me, but WTF? When are women going to stop kow-towing to political parcellingbout their rights? When are we all going to fight together for all your rights. Women are being played. Most of us men don’t want predators, and abusers, and child molesters around. If we were alongside, or nearby WE WOULD KILL the sons of bitches for you. But otherwise you have to do it.

      It’s the truth. No one, not even us, can tell who among us is like this. When you see it, you know it, and you need to eradicate it.

      It’s not blaming, by the way. It’s hard, it’s contrary, and it’s easier to talk about the problem, than this one solution. It’s the only true hope for saving lives. It’s also the outcome of years and years of misguided political and social misogynistic and cruel treatment of the gun topic using women’s rights as a tool for misguided disarmament of women. So sad. Time to light up the night- at least for the sickos preying on women and/or heir kids. Time for the relief of putting down, or stopping in their own tracks, rabid predators.

      If gun violence, gun crimes, and gun control were honest it’d be simarlarly honest to call out penis violence, penis crimes, and penis control. That’s bullshit. It’s violence, it’s crime, and it’s stopping, by the most effective means possible – a.K.a. control the violence and the crime(criminals) preying on women. The penises will go along without any mention. The gun isn’t the problem, it’s the denial of a truth, and a solution, that is.

      P.s. it’s not a perfect solution. It’s a better solution than rape, than murder, than molestation, and repeats of these things. It’s the one that is decisive. It’s a truth.

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  2. Oh, gut punch. This is so, so on the money. Thank you for articulating this so well, and being totally unafraid to drop some terms that make people nervous and defensive. This was exactly my experience, when I heard about Ingrid. How deeply sad I am for her and her family. Thank you also for sharing the fund raising page.

    While having a discussion with a group of about 15 people (about half of which were men and slightly more were women), I asked the seemly humorous question, “how many of you have considered the safety of your own genitalia when walking through a parking garage?” Answer? None of the men had. All of the women had. This bit of trivia surprised the men of the group, but none of the women were surprised in the least. This is what rape culture does. And it is virtually invisible to those who do are not affected by it, but it permeates the lives of women to the point that it changes how we move in the world, and has a great affect on our ability to advance, express ourselves and live in relative safety.

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    • YES! You are right that privilege is invisible, and you accurately described how male privilege and rape culture work together. I think the key is making it visible, and it would be really cool if men could do us a solid and spread the word so we don’t have to. Since, ya know, we’re busy trying to stay alive in parking lots (and on buses, in our own homes, in our cars, on the street, and pretty much everywhere).

      Liked by 1 person

    • If I can just slide in here…just…just for a second and say that I’m pretty sure that men, as a group, are universally concerned with their genitalia. If they weren’t they wouldn’t constantly try to avoid being kicked in/sitting on/catching in zippers/etc…

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      • Interesting… Unless that concern for safety means that you guard yourself from groin kicks from possible assailants every time you walk through a parking garage, I think that it’s possible that we are talking about two distinctly different types of concern. But thanks for sharing.

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    • If the men answer “never”, they are morons. Everyone is at risk. I’m 6 ft and 225 lbs and know aikido and I still am nervous walking in a parking lot in the suburbs. You just never know what might happen.

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      • Plenty of men do answer “never” to the question as it was asked, not because they don’t consider their own safety in general, but because they honestly are not afraid of sexual assault every time they walk through a parking garage. They don’t wonder if wearing a sundress is “unsafe” because of easy access to genitalia. They don’t do that thing where you put your keys between each knuckle as if preparing to poke out a potential assailant’s eyes or puncture their throat. Yes, everyone has concerns for safety. Not everyone has the same specific concerns.

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  3. Hey genius, we don’t really know if she took every reasonable precaution. I revel in the man bashing perspective of your article – that we, as a group are a bunch of ignorant maladroit’s without a care in the world blithely skimming through life while females actually have to work at it. Male privilege, white privilege…cry me a river, no one in life give you opportunities you have to fight for every scrap. Finally what is the difference in saying between ‘People of Color’ and ‘Colored People’ ? THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. One is PC the other is not. Stop treating a typical straight white male as an automatic perpetrator.

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    • Hey, fellow genius! I think you might want to check your reading comprehension skills, since nowhere did I call men “a bunch of ignorant maladroit’s [sic] without a care in the world.” It is telling, however, that that is what you took away.

      In fact, I am not criticizing you personally or even all individual men; I am criticizing toxic masculinity and rape culture, and asking other women to inspect their own unwitting, internalized misogyny. You do not need to take what I wrote personally.

      You also do not get to tell an oppressed group that they are not oppressed. That is your power and privilege talking–things you don’t see because they are invisible to you, just like my white privilege was to me until a few years ago. I said this in the piece, but just because you don’t experience the constant threat of rape and murder doesn’t mean it isn’t real for over half the population.

      Recognizing that you don’t have that experience might provoke you to finally see your own privilege, which was previously invisible to you (that is the nature of privilege, you see). This is not a vague, ephemeral thing, but a statistically representable fact: Women–particularly women of color, transfolk, and queer women–have had fewer opportunities, and the ones we have had? We had to work harder for them and we get paid less when we accomplish them. Now on top of that, we live every day constantly monitoring for the possibility that we will be raped or murdered by a man.

      It is uncomfortable to be confronted by your privilege–something that seemed “normal” and “natural” in the past, but it is OK: You can survive discomfort and maybe even grow and change as a result!

      This article keeps getting a lot of shares, mostly by women who are trying to get men to FINALLY acknowledge one absurd, suffocating, terrible aspect of existing as women in the world. You can look at it and tell all those thousands of women that they are wrong, that what they are imagining isn’t real, but that would be gaslighting, mansplaining, doesn’t make any sense, and is kind of (OK, totally) a dick move. Better yet, why not listen to women when we tell you something hurts us? Why not trust us that we really are having this particular experience? Believe us. What threatens you so much about that?

      As for “people of color” and “colored people”–what makes you think there’s no difference? People of color have said en masse that “colored people” is a pair of words with historical connotations that are traumatic and hurtful to hear; if someone says something hurts them, what are you losing by listening and using some other word instead?

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      • I took your post as calling men out for being insensitive and unaware and casting them as de facto villains. So Miguel isn’t alone in that feeling.

        Your post ignores all the many men who are raped and murdered every day, sometimes by women. I am sick to death of people deciding that women are always the victims of assault/murder and men are always the aggressors. By insisting on putting a gendered slant on rape and murder, we make it much harder for non-cis-female victims to come forward and seek justice and treatment (that includes all the cis men who are victims.) We need to discuss violence in our society, including rape, as something that affects everybody, regardless of gender. Because it does affect everybody, regardless of gender. And it particular affects men when they are cast as villains until proven non-villains.

        To me, the shocking and remarkable thing about Ingrid Lyne’s very sad story isn’t merely the fact that a woman was killed (we don’t know whether she was raped, so why was that even brought up here?)–though her death is tragic enough on its own. The really startling thing here is how clearly John Charlton’s behavior fits the pattern of a classic serial killer. I have a feeling several more missing persons cases will be solved once he goes to trial.

        By the way, I’m a woman who was nearly raped in 2001; I was lucky enough to fight off my attacker. I know many women can’t do that. I was almost raped, and even I don’t live my life in constant fear of being attacked again. So no, women don’t live in nonstop fear of assault, though the media has certainly done its best lately to tell us that we should. If you truly feel this unending, daily anxiety that somebody might attack you, it’s something you need to seek professional help for. I’m not sure a fearmongering article about how WE’RE ALL GOING TO GET RAPED!!!!!1!1!11 is going to help you or anybody else.

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      • Certainly rape affects everybody, and men can also be raped. They even face special challenges when it comes to seeking support afterwards and often stay silent because of those obstacles–obstacles, by the way, that were created by our ideas about masculinity (“Real men can’t be raped!” “Men always want sex!” etc.). In no way am I trying to elide that, as there are many men in my life who are recovering from the trauma of sexual abuse and assault.

        That said, rape does not happen to men and women equally, so it is not everybody’s problem the same way. Statistically, women are much more likely to be raped than men. It is OK to talk about just women for 800 words or fewer on a feminist blog.

        I take to heart your comments that having what seems like a binary view of sexual assault I might be making it harder for non-cis-female victims to come forward and I want to think about and explore that more. My point in the article was to explore the groups who are *most* at risk, which includes women, transfolk, people of color, and the queer community, which I acknowledged. I think addressing the issue of sexual assault among men would be its own piece, quite separate from what I wrote here.

        I am so sorry to hear about your near assault! There is no right response to experiencing something like that. It is wonderful that you don’t live your life in constant fear of being attacked again, and that’s what I want for all of us. I also want to suggest that you exercise caution in making sweeping statements about how since you don’t do that, others should feel no need. This post has gotten thousands of shares and many women have expressed an acknowledgement of their constant vigilance–it is so automatic that most of us don’t even notice we’re doing it, so on the surface it might not seem like a big deal. But the constant vigilance–even though it is not your experience–still remains a true experience for many women. No one of us has the right to speak for all of us.

        As I said to Miguel, the point of what I wrote was not to castigate or characterize ALL men as villains. I’d encourage you to read up on the whole #notallmen trope if you’re interested in reading more. What I was writing about is the pattern I was observing in people–mostly other women–as they react to the tragic murder and how that fit into an overall picture of oppression and rape culture.

        I don’t disagree that there are many disturbing patterns emerging here about John Charlton. It’s all chilling.

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      • can anyone take a person serious that talks about toxic masculinity, mansplaining, privilege checking, etc? there is such a thing as female privilege. women are absolutely not oppressed. you sound very sexist. everyone is responsible when it comes to not getting raped or murdered even women. surprise surprise even from women. Women like you should just leave all the strong independent women stuff to the real strong and independent women. you just simply dont belong outside the home. You should be thanking MEN for braving the dangers of the wilds to create civilization.

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    • P.S. You said, “we don’t really know if she took every reasonable precaution.” I want to point out that it seems like you’re saying there’s a chance she didn’t, which also SEEMS like you’re saying maybe if she had done something different or took MORE precautions, she wouldn’t have ended up in pieces in a recycling bin. But I’m sure that’s not what you were saying because that would be victim blaming.

      The point is, no one should have to take “reasonable precautions” to avoid being murdered and dismembered.

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      • I have such difficulty understanding what you mean by “no one should have to take reasonable precautions to avoid being murdered”. First of all, since when? And, yes, in a perfect world we wouldn’t need to. But as you very well know, we don’t live in a perfect world. The point of taking reasonable precautions is to be smart so as to increase your chances of avoiding extremely unlikely events.

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  4. Not in Ingrid Lyne’s case, at all, but don’t you think there are reasonable times where we can point to a victim of a crime doing something incredibly stupid?

    Please explain the definition of Rape Culture?

    White privilege, don’t insult me. I was not born with a college degree and 3 bedroom house. I worked, earned scholarships and saved my money to EARN these things and they certainly were not handed to me because I am white….Its absurd, not to mention racist to say I am in a better position today because of my skin color. I guess when the shoe is on the other foot it doesn’t count?

    Apologies if I am hurting your feelings if I disagree with many of your statements and obvious ire towards males overall like we are blind dunces to the struggles of women (which I agree is harder to feel secure at night, alone, or in general than to being a man) but in no way does that engender me to some more privileged set of rules or opportunities, and I resent the implication that it does.

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    • Miguel, you do not understand privilege. It is not having life easy, it’s not not having to work hard. There are many, many excellent resources online and in real life to help you understand. But you will have to drop the defensiveness and approach the material with some openness if you hope to understand. And I hope you will try.

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    • “Please explain the definition of Rape Culture?”

      Miguel, you earned your many many scholarships to attend university and earn your degree(s?). All on your own! We are so proud of you. Can you maybe draw from your education and experience and perhaps Google it? Is that something you are able to do? Let us know if you find anything illuminating.

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    • Miguel, not only you aren’t making much sense, you are making yourself look like a fool. Privilege is not about your house or your college degree in this case. Privilege here means that you and I, as males, do not have to worry constantly about who is going to sexually abused us or kill us… It’s simple really. All you need to do is listen instead of getting all worked up because “not all men”. That doesn’t help.

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      • Well, this is the part where facts beat perceptions in the nutsack. Men are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims of a violent crime, so I have no idea where these idea that “men don’t have to worry who’s gonna kill us” come from. I’ll concede that of the universe of victims of SEXUAL violence women are more likely to join that group, but not when it comes to homicide or violence in general.

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    • You really really don’t understand privilege. I’m a man; I also earned all of the things you have. No one has ever given me anything in life.

      On the other hand, I bet no one has yelled “nigger” at you while you were walking down the street. This wasn’t in Alabama, this was 1st avenue in Seattle in 2015 (by the way, I’m not black but I am darker skinned). I bet you’ve never had a cop point a gun at you during a routine traffic stop. I have. I’m very lucky to have survived that incident. Do you live in constant fear that a cop is going to kill you because they can with impunity? I do, and I always will, because it almost happened to me.

      These women are trying to tell you that even though there are things you can’t possibly relate to, they are very real. Show some empathy, try to stand up for equality, and realize you are sitting in a position of privilege talking down to people who have fears that you will literally never have. Sadly, a lot of people won’t “get it” unless they lose that privilege.

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    • Miguel,

      I used to resent the phrase ‘white privilege’ because I felt like it was dismissive of the experience of being a poor white person. Then I learned that white privilege for poor white people means being first in line when help arrives. Instead of getting defensive when someone calls the privileges you enjoy into question, how about getting quiet for a bit and reflecting on your advantages? Choice is an illusion. People are more likely to like, tolerate, listen to, and defend you when you’re a white man. That’s the source of your earnings.

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    • Hi, Frederick! Thanks for reading.

      I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable writing about someone else’s experience that way, since I am not a man. But if I had to take a guess, I would say that there are a lot of ways that patriarchy and toxic masculinity impact men in a negative way and keep them living in fear. This article discusses it in some detail: http://www.salon.com/2015/06/12/toxic_masculinity_is_killing_men_the_roots_of_male_trauma_partner/

      That said, I don’t think it should be necessary to somehow always pair an article about how women are afraid of being raped and murdered by men with an article about what men are afraid of. Feminism is valuable on its own, without having to justify it by listing the way it can help men; nevertheless, it aims to heal and liberate a lot of folks, when done correctly.

      I’d be curious to hear what kinds of things you would include if you were to write an article about “every man’s worst fear.”

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      • LOL, sorry, I just now realized this is a blog with a feminist agenda. I stumbled here by accident, following the many links about Ingrid Lyne. Still fascinated by this woman dating for 6 – 8 weeks, a “homeless” man, with no car, “day laborer”, a criminal record in six states, crack addict, mean drunk, spent the night at her house, who stored his stuff and an ex-girlfriends house. Not one, not two, not three, nor four, but a whole basket full of red flags. This said, everyone has the right to date whomever they wish without being murdered.

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  5. No dear – many of us don’t point our fingers at victims and say they did something stupid. That is rather stupid behavior in and of itself. It’s not your place to say what risks people should or should not take. And don’t take this article so personally. This is not about you.

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  6. I love this blog. This conversation is so important to have, it has everything to do with the embedded sexism of our culture. I’m the exec. editor of parentmap.com — I’d love to republish/repost this piece there as a blog. Please let me know if that’s a possibility (natalie AT parentmap DOT com).

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  7. That some men cannot comprehend women’s fears without ultimately defending rape unculture is troubling. The following is also troubling:

    “Along with first-degree murder, Charlton was charged with the theft of Lyne’s car and faces anywhere from 21 to 28 years in prison if convicted.”

    Rape and/or murder of women continue to be minimized. That this kind of grizzly crime can occur with the killer depositing her head, arm and leg in a recycling bin and only face 2 or 3 decades in prison is truly disheartening. The scope of what is wrong with this situation also includes scary commentary from men bothered by the fact that women MIGHT just want men to be more supportive of their need for safety and more willing to publicly challenge and halt warape unculture in the first place.

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  8. This is the best thing I have read! I am also a divorced mom of 3 boys that has been on the same dating site. It scares me to the core that like you said she did all the things to stay safe and it did nothing. Those are the same things I do.

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    • Would you date for 6 – 8 weeks a “homeless” man? How about a man with no car? Or an unemployed “day laborer”? A drug / crack user? A mean and violent drunk? How soon do you let him spend the night in your and children’s home? Date someone with a criminal record in six states? Who has a probation officer? Sure a few red flags could slip by or be explained. Either this guy is Oscar worthy or, well you choose. Please say “no” Deborah.

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      • Frederick, what I was saying in the article is that it should not be necessary (and I think you noted this in one of your other comments) to do an extensive background check on someone we date in order to avoid being raped or murdered. I am positive Charlton’s online dating profile didn’t include any of these details and he was probably pretty good at manipulating and deceiving people about a lot of it. We have no way of knowing what he told Ingrid Lyne or how he portrayed himself to her. Something tells me, though, that it is possible he lied a lot since he was capable of so much worse.

        It’s pretty easy to find out all the dirty details about him now and see a pattern in retrospect, but it would be irresponsible to blaming Ingrid for not being able to do the same in the face of all Charlton probably did to hide/distort his past/present issues. No single mother I know goes into the dating scene without taking what she feels are exceedingly reasonable precautions.

        It’s nice to think we could always spot a violent person, but it’s not true. They blend in with the rest of us.

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      • Frederick,
        You are making an assumption that Ingrid knew most of those things about this man; I’m inclined to believe she did not – which I acknowledge, is also an assumption. Here’s why: his FB page has several normal looking pictures with his sister and a large home (presumably his parent’s) where they are also pictured together. I don’t think “homeless” “unemployed day laborer” or “crack user” immediately comes to mind. He has local family in the area. The picture the media has mostly circulated is creepy, yes, but it’s also his Montana Corrections photo and probably not one he uploaded to his dating profiles. The pic of him with the glasses is goofy but I don’t see a killer when I look at it. Do you honestly think he was forthcoming about his true situation, mental or otherwise? Of course he wasn’t. Just like Ted Bundy did not tell the victims that went with him willingly (and there were a few) that he was a necrophiliac serial killer. As to “how soon she let him spend the night in her home”, shame on you. She was a beloved nurse, daughter, friend and a single mother of 3 daughters. I doubt she had much time for a social life. Dating someone 6-8 weeks is enough time to gain someone’s trust and I don’t think there is anyone who could have imagined such a heinous outcome. But we can, now, and as Bret put it so well “Nothing can make up for someone’s life, but at least some redemption, some silver-lining can be found if just one woman takes this as an indication of the need to speak out for her rights or learn to defend herself. The ripple from this incident will hopefully positively effect a lot of women who are otherwise strangers to Ingrid Lynes.”
        If you don’t support the premise of this article then at least please take your ignorant, victim-blaming judgments elsewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I do think that this type of crime is perpetuated on males also, of note is the number of college kids who have gone missing and found suspiciously missing and drowned, and boys and men are victims of rape And I certainly do not think about how to avoid this 100% of the time. I think that’s an extreme statement. I do think that there are clues about a person but most people do not have that level of understanding of personality. Meeting someone who is part of a group that knows their history could be a safer way to meet people It’s not to blame the victim but are considerations.

    Like

    • Meri, thanks for your comment.

      Definitely this type of crime is perpetrated on people of all genders, as I mentioned (though I admittedly did not mention cisgender men and probably should have; I was focusing instead on the most vulnerable groups, like women, people of color, transfolk, and the queer community).

      It is wonderful that you don’t think about how to avoid this 100% of the time! I want that for all of us. I know that, for me, it’s mostly so automatic that I don’t even recognize I’m doing it. That said, the constant vigilance has been a theme among folks talking about the article here and on Facebook, so it’s definitely part of many women’s lived experience. But you know what? Even if we have to do it 25% of the time, it’s too much.

      You are talking here about taking additional precautions (finding someone who is part of a group that can vouch for that person), but I would suggest that there is just really no perfect foolproof way to go about being safe. If that makes you feel safer, then it’s a great thing to do. But it’s also possible to know someone for a long time and still be surprised by a violent act (like with the recent viral FB video of the single mom who marred a single dad that she had known for 20 years and he then violently raped her daughter).

      It’s all so difficult to navigate.

      Like

  10. An excellent, well-reasoned article. Sadly, I have to agree with your conclusion: “Ingrid Lyne’s murder does two contradictory things: It confirms the need for women to continue our vigilance (because look what happened!) and it also points out the uselessness of that vigilance (because look what happened!).”

    In trying to come up with something that might help the situation, my thoughts turned to men and their responsibility. Besides being vigilant, we can make an effort to teach our sons and try to influence our husbands and male friends. I isuspect the problem will never be solved, but at least we can refrain from blaming the victims.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment and for reading! Your search for a solution is one I share. I think it would be ideal if men could take this up with each other, but I try to do what I can, too.

      Like

    • I think this is a really good point. Part of the temptation to characterize what happened as an isolated crime perpetrated by a pathological person is to make ourselves feel safe–like, we want to think that we’d be able to recognize someone like John Charlton for what he is.

      But the truth is, as you point out, that’s often not the case.

      Like

  11. Thank you. I also live close to where this happened, and have been online dating for about 2 1/2 years. Yes, getting murdered is not the norm, and yes, we have no control.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you so much for writing this. It so precisely outlines why I found this story so troubling. And, it makes me re-examine how I’m so quick to distance myself from stories of teens or prostitutes going missing. For this story, I can’t just say, ‘this is tragic, but prostitution is dangerous work,’ ‘it’s risky to get drunk,’ or ‘teens are careless sometimes,’ and feel somehow that what happened to them can’t happen to me. There’s nothing I can find in Ingrid Lyne’s story that looks like some glaring lapse in judgment.

    Whether a teen, prostitute, or nurse, all women have the right to live in safety. We’re too quick to blame the victim, instead of feeling compassion and solidarity. This piece really helped me, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Tasha,

    I so appreciate you writing this, and then all of your great and clearly well thought out responses to comments. Thank you for putting this into the stream on consciousness. It’s important and significant.

    Also this was super well written. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow. I had no idea other women felt like this. I am astounded and find it beyond comprehension. I’m feeling a bit like an alien.

    I rarely think about rape or murder and even *less* about the possibility of it happening to me. I don’t take “precautions” to avoid either. And even more weird, I have lived in some of the *worst* areas of the city in 3 different cities at different points in my life.

    Yet again, for the thousandth time in my life, I feel like I’m not “really” a female… Also pondering if there might be something wrong with me… Completely baffling…

    Like

  15. Well written article and responses to the comments. I’m not entirely clear what the ultimate message is though. You mention that we should point out the absurdity of taking reasonable precautions among other things. Is that a signal that one shouldn’t bother because it’s out of their control? I got a bit lost in the narrative.

    As a man, I completely acknowledge the privilege that comes with never leaving the house concerned about getting raped or sexually assaulted. I have many important women in my life, and have read much about rape culture, and while I agree with much of what’s said about changing the narrative, I would still encourage them to practice some sort of vigilance. Is this victim blaming? I don’t think so. It’s being realistic because this will always be a problem. Why? Because there will always be shitty, cruel, evil, sadistic, and deplorable men/people in this world.

    The closest analogy I can think of for men perhaps is something like muggings or violent crime. I have traveled extensively and have been in some really dangerous places in South Africa, Brazil, and elsewhere. In all these places I had to be extra vigilant – not have my watch conspicuously exposed, not dress too nicely, check behind me to see if I’m being followed, cross to the other side of the street if I see a group of men on my side, etc. etc. Can we call this “crime culture”? Why aren’t we teaching these criminals that stealing is wrong, that beating people up is wrong, etc., instead of changing the way I behave to decrease the chances of being a victim? Because I can’t control what other people do, how they learn, how they grew up, etc., I can only control my actions and my preparedness for those situations. Is it shitty? Yes, but that’s the real world, and no amount of education or awareness campaigning is going to change it significantly. So, in my opinion, it’s not one or the other. Increasing awareness, teaching about consent, increasing penalties goes hand in hand with practicing vigilance. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for Ms. Lyne, but there are plenty of people who have been able to prevent an attack by being prepared.

    Like

  16. Thank you for writing this –
    I too have looked over this story , as many Seattle women and men have. However I haven’t blamed the victim nor did I try and find reason to . Unfortunately our culture isn’t very knowledgeable regarding alcoholism/addiction and mental illness . When I read about it what did stand out to me , in fact it was blaring and this is where I disagree with you , but in good spirits –

    I do find it blaring that alcohol and in fact intoxication played a huge role in this . If women , and men alike choose to drink and choose to do so to the point of intoxication then that is something we “can” control . Take alcohol out of the picture and things might look different , unfortunately I believe they would .

    Like

    • Alcohol may have played a part but also think it’s significance is being exploited somewhat here. Excessive drinking can lead to violence and murder; rarely does it lead to dismemberment. As for drugs and mental illness, perhaps they were predominant factors, too. However Charlton recalled enough about the night to remember thinking she was acting “weird” before the purported “black out” occurred. I think he tipped his hand right there.

      Like

  17. Your post has stayed with me most of today since I read it. Until recently, it never, ever occurred to me that men never had to think about things like this. I mean I guess some part of me realized it but it never occurred to me what a privilege it was for them to not think about where they park, what they wear, how late they stay out, etc. I feel so sad for Ingrid Lyne and what happened to her. I feel angry thinking that some people are somehow blaming her for what happened. She did everything “right” and still ended up murdered.

    Thank you for your post. I shared it on Facebook and already some of my friends have shared it and started a discussion about it. This topic really it something that we need to talk about.

    Like

  18. I found this article a bit randomly and I realize that my perpective (as a man) will probably be dismissed or discredited on this site as the purpose of it seems to be a helpful and much needed (no sarcasm) support group for like-minded and sympathetic (in the sense that they have a deep empathy for the topics of these articles). [Actually it will be much easier to write what I have to say if you will take it at face value. There will be no sarcasm or two-faced speech in this]

    Having said that I think this article doesn’t really dig deeply enough into the real issues here. I don’t mean the issue of women feeling like they need to be vigilant, which I agree is true for at least some women. I mean the issue of people. I think one of the most horrifying crimes I ever heard of was the murder of James Bulger. A crime perpetrated by two 10 year old boys against a 2 year old that they abducted from a mall. This crime and many others show that violent crime is really about control. A person who is violent in this nature will use any advantages they can to ensure a successful crime and avoid being caught. This means stacking the deck which leads naturally to many men, who are typically larger and stronger than most women, being aggressors against women.

    My wife is a small woman, only 5 foot 2 and about 128 lbs. Pretty much any full grown man could toss her around pretty easily. It’s simple physics. I live in fear of what the world could do to her or to my three amazing daughters. I do think, however, that the vast majority of ALL people are doing it right. Everyone has violent moods from time to time and a normally adjusted person will cope. I Googled a statistic for worldwide homicide rates and it told me it is about 6.2 people out of every 100,000 people. This very clearly tells me that nearly every person on the planet is not murdering people, and nearly every person is not being murdered. In fact, you have an excellent chance of living your whole life and not being murdered.

    The fact is that people are smart, and once a person makes up their mind to do something violent there is usually little that ANY person could do to stop them, because that person will usually be prepared. It is a very sad thing, and it is horrible that many women feel helpless to prevent this type of situation. I just mean that the real problem is any person who cannot or will not calm their aggressive natures, regardless of their age, race, gender, or any other situation or stipulation. The only fair, objective and truly helpful discussion will be one pointed at fixing that problem. This article is helpful in limited ways because it treats a symptom of the real problem.

    I am sorry if I have offended anyone, it is not my intention. I consider myself to be a man of priveledge. I am white, and big enough that I do not usually fear for my safety. On the other hand I have taken self defense courses and am especially attentive of my surroubdings when it is dark or I am in unfamiliar places. I agree with the notion that nobody should need to take steps to avoid their own rape and/or murder, but I also think that being as prepared as you can be is a good idea. In the same way I think that you shouldn’t have to worry about being run off the road by a person who is driving aggressively or under the influence, but I feel that being constantly vigilant when I drive is a good way to help keep myself and my family safe.

    My heart goes out to this poor woman, her beautiful children, and to her family and friends. Similarly I feel sorry for other victims of these types of crimes. It is my wish that people would be more kind and decent to each other at all times.

    Like

  19. Thank you for writing this. As a single woman, I have feared this my whole life and up until Ingrid, I had victim blamed in most cases. They MUST have missed something. Then Ingrid’s story changed my life. I live in the area. We were on the same dating app. We matched the same man. She went on a date with him. I did not. My life is forever altered because of how close I came.
    Men seem to think it’s an exaggeration of fear but it’s real life and now, I find myself giving up on love because I’m not dying just to find it.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Don’t be naive. Cocaine is a hell of a drug and anyone you do it with could end up violent. Don’t think you’re the one who can “handle it” because you can’t. Just stay away, not even once.

    Like

  21. I find it worrisome that so many people are coming into the comments to go “what about the [cis] men?”

    This would be like me writing an article about hurricanes and their destructive force, and someone coming in to go, “Well, earthquakes do a lot of damage, too! Why aren’t you talking about earthquakes?”

    This article is not about cis men. This article is not about the murder or assault of men/a man. Yes, this happens to men, too, but this article’s focus is on misogyny, victim blaming, and the assault and murder of women. If you can’t stop yourself from commenting, “What about the men?”, I urge you to ask yourself why. Why ask the article writer why they aren’t addressing earthquakes when they are clearly writing about one specific topic: hurricanes?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It has been quite a thing to watch even women do this in the comments. It is another way we internalize misogyny, I suppose.

      Perhaps this needs to be said again: It is not necessary to validate feminism by explaining it helps men too, even though it absolutely does. Feminism doesn’t need to have value for men for it to have value.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. I’m a woman who thinks this is an absurd article. We take precautions because they reduce risk, not because they’re guarantees, and we assess what victims did to learn how better to amend our own precautions in the future, if possible (and it isn’t always), not to blame them.

    This is true whether we’re talking about stranger-murder, theft of valuables from a vehicle, kidnapping of our children, boating accidents, etc. When I read an article about how an Appalachian Trail hiker disappeared and was found dead months later, I read it to see if there’s anything I, as an avid hiker, can learn to improve for the future, not to blame the victim. (Many times my conclusion is, no, the person did everything reasonable; this was an unavoidable tragedy. Other times it’s, well, he could have done X, but OF COURSE the entire BLAME is 100% on the perpetrator, if any.) And I take those precautions for the future, knowing that I still may die on the trail, but that those risks don’t outweigh the benefits of the activity for me.

    For some reason, this kind of logic seems to fly out the window when we discuss the rape or murder of women. It’s mind-boggling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AMEN. I couldn’t have summarized better what’s wrong with this disgusting read. I would only add how the statistically minor, but tremendously unfortunate reality of psycopathy was completely left out of consideration, while it’s probably ALL it matters in this story.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Reblogged this on Shadow in the Mirror and commented:

    “People of all genders are remarking on how Lyne “took every reasonable precaution” and yet it still happened. Do you know what that means to women? It means that you can do everything right–check off all the items on your personal safety list–and you can still be killed by a man. It means that the idea that you can prevent your own rape or murder is bullshit, an illusion of rape culture that promotes victim blaming and misogyny. It means the perpetual precautions you take every moment of your waking life are quite probably a colossal waste of time.”

    Like

  24. In gender studies I learned some stats about how repeating this narrative keeps women afraid and feeling like they need ( a man) for protection. It’s just another way to help us feel powerless. Here are the 2010 stats from the FBI: 77.4 % of murder victims are male. Think about that. You are much more likely to be murdered if you are male. 53% of victims were killed by someone they know. For women victims where the perpetrator was known, 37.5% were husbands and boyfriends. Mull these stats over. It is unlikely, statistically, for a woman to be murdered by a stranger. And 90% of perpetrators are male so the logical conclusion is that it’s slightly risky to accept men in our lives, but some things are worth the risk. Also, Since there is less than 1% chance in the US of death by murder (and almost 80% will be men) I think us women should walk tall and proud without worrying too much. Given that heart disease death is at around 24% it’s way scarier to see those Golden Arches. You just might mistake them for the pearly gates. So please people, protect yourself from the Big Mac !!!!! He’s the real killer.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Tasha, before I jump into an argument rather than an adult conversation, I would like to ask a few questions. First can you define in your own words toxic masculinity (no reason other than I simply want to know.)? Second in the article above you state ” It means the perpetual precautions you take every moment of your waking life are quite probably a colossal waste of time.” a bold statement (to be quite literal) and quite the eye catcher, but what about all those who don’t take the time to take these precautions? Should someone read this and, God forbid say “well since it is just a colossal waste of my time why bother”. What good would come of that? Is it not better to take precautions with a better to have and not need mentality? The reason I ask these questions is because I am a martial arts instructor and live to help men and women empower and should they need it save their lives. I wish for no argument to be had but only widen my perspective on this matter for further ways to help. Thank you for your time.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. To all the people insisting this isn’t a real problem and attacking the author of this story, you truly need a reality check. Women (and children) are murdered EVERY SINGLE DAY for refusing the advances of men, hurting men’s feelings, breaking up with men, saying they are not interested in men, or simply being alive and not wanting to be followed or harassed or asked questions or listen to a man talk to them.
    EVERY SINGLE DAY. http://whenwomenrefuse.tumblr.com/

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Excellent article. Simple. Direct. Powerful.

    All of us – neighbors, mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, family, and friends – must keep highlighting the predatory world that women have to keep in the back of their minds. The devaluation of female life and autonomy impacts all women.

    There is no absolute safety in wealth, marriage, orientation, or neighborhood – although these can be factors that contribute to risk. Attacks on women are especially terrifying in that they can happen to any woman.

    There is no recipe for behavior, or dress, or talk, that will guarantee a woman’s safety. Acknowledging a stalker is risky. Not acknowledging them is risky. There is no correct response to a cat-call. There is no manner of dress so conservative that it will protect a woman.

    Fellow men, you need to stop pretending that you know what it’s like. You have to stop pretending that you can coach women out of being attacked. You need to stop acting like you would be too clever to be attacked if you were a woman.

    Nobody should have to live with fear like this, yet more than half our society does. Nobody should have to sit a think “What do I need to do to not be attacked today?”

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Is this parody? Or satire? This article cannot be serious. Wonen soend 100% of their time avoiding rape? As they scramble eggs for an omlette in the morning are they avoiding rape? This piece is all fluff and posturing. Nothing of value for any woman to use in her daily life.

    Like

  29. I love that you articulated this. I don’t “love” what you said because I am not happy that it’s so disturbingly true, but I do love it another sense, if you catch my drift.

    This has been in the back of my mind since reading this last week, and then today my son and I watch Tarzan, the animated movie for kids (rated PG). And in this movie, Jane (an older teen I’m guessing) gets tied up to a post with her hands behind her back. And this older guy comes up and starts touching her face and flicking her necklace around. She turns her head and is obviously uncomfortable. And I thought, THIS IS IT! This is where rape culture gets perpetuated, in these movies made for kids. How necessary was that scene, or even just that man’s behavior? Not at all necessary. But it’s so ingrained in everything that we consume that we grow up thinking it’s normal and hardly ever noticing or objecting. I’ll never watch that movie again, and I’ll find a way to talk to my child about that kind of behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Hello, great article. I just wanted to point out that the children’s faces aren’t blurred out on the thumbnail (I found this article from a friend’s post on Facebook and their faces are visable. I’d be happy to screenshot to show you). Just thought you’d want to change that! Anyway, incredibly poignant and well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Is it blaming the victim to ask, “What precautions did she take?” I live in a decent, quasi-suburban neighborhood and I never leave anything of value in my car because car prowls are so common. I set the alarm when I leave my house because burglaries are always happening. I have packages delivered to my office or an Amazon locker rather than my house because I and so many neighbors have been victimized by package thieves who follow the UPS truck around! It would be more convenient NOT to have to protect my PROPERTY in this way but I choose to because (1) crime is a reality; and (2) these actions increase the likelihood that I won’t be the victim of a crime. But fir the record, I don’t believe anyone who chooses NOT to take these precautions somehow deserves to be burgled or robbed.

    I am far more of a safety freak when it comes to my person. I recognize the “precaution” this victim took by not bringing this monster into contact with her children, but I don’t know that you’re really in a position to say she took “every reasonable precaution.” I for one would not be comfortable dating a homeless alcoholic with a criminal record. Perhaps that makes me a snob, but there is a lot of violence and unpredictability that comes with that set of circumstances. A “reasonable precaution” to take if you’re concerned about personal safety — and who isn’t, in the online dating world — would be to look into the guy’s background, even a little bit! I don’t “blame” her at all. I am simply incredulous that she let this monster into her life.

    Like

    • Yosemite Sami, why are you not incredulous, then, that this man’s parents dropped their restraining order against him and never pursued any further actions to protect themselves or others, since they apparently knew he was dangerous? How about the women he dated previously, some of whom have given interviews to media stating that “in retrospect”, they can totally see how he would have done this? How about some incredulity for the six different police organizations that had captured him for previous crimes but kept letting him go? Why does your incredulity only apply to this one woman? Why are you not applying critical thought and considering that maybe, like most successful sociopaths, he was charming and he lied his ass off to this woman about his circumstances?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not sure where you’re getting your assumption that I am incredulous only at this victim’s behavior. Indeed, I do find it hard to understand how and why the other instances you mention were allowed to occur, e.g. his parents not pursuing the restraining order, his ex letting him stay with her, the criminal justice system letting him slip through their fingers, etc. My point was that nobody is in a position to say this victim took “every reasonable precaution” and use that unfounded statement as a springboard to the argument that women are victimized no matter what they do. I disagree. I am not blaming anyone but the murderer for this horrible crime. But in truth, we don’t know anything about what “precautions” she took.

        Like

  32. Watching the news is nerve racking enough, then to learn about such a horrible thing happening to a woman trying to live a well rounded life. It makes me sick. I was glad to see the faces of her children blurred out on your site. I can’t image how horrible this has been for them, and again to think it’s all over the news. I was stunned to see their faces are NOT blurred out on the site raising money for them! Why!?!?! I am conflicted to donate when those responsible for the collection of funds to support the girls are not fully protecting the girls privacy and safety. I would strong urge that the images of the girls be srubbed. My heart is sick for those girls, no more pain should be inflicted on them!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Pingback: Friday Links (farewell, o’ purple majesty) | Font Folly

  34. This comment won’t be nearly as well written, insightful, pointed, or beautiful as your post. It’s just… I really have to say, thank you for writing this. Truly.

    Like

  35. Thank you for writing this, we have to keep this conversation going and going. I should never read comments. You are doing an excellent job responding to comments that are just killing me. Even more reason to keep writing. Thank you Thank you.

    Like

  36. Pingback: The Time I Didn’t Get Murdered IRL after Inviting 7 Grown Men into my Home to Play D&D | HELLISH REBUKE

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