Brace yourself for something that will leave you sick to your stomach (an effect that, somewhat surprisingly, still happens to us despite working on the horribly depressing thing we call the Internet). An East St. Louis woman was found stabbed in her apartment this past weekend. And Michelle Rowling, 25, may have actually predicted her own death.
On November 25th, Rowling, a mother of 2, posted a chilling message to her Facebook page: “If anything happens to me tonight just let my kids know I loved them dearly and tell my momma I love her.” On Saturday, just 5 days after writing the status, Rowling was found by police in her home, bleeding from several stab wounds. Despite being rushed to the hospital, she was pronounced DOA.
Now, police are searching for Rowling’s ex-boyfriend Montrell Cooper, also 25. In 2012, Cooper went to jail after stabbing Rowling in the neck, but was only sentenced to a year after Rowling testified on his behalf. According to Rowling’s neighbors, there were “warning signs” prior to Rowling’s murder. Rowling’s relatives say Cooper allegedly murdered Rowling because she was trying to change her life and move on from their relationship.
It goes without saying that we have no idea what happened that night, but if Cooper did kill Rowling, that would be–for lack of a better term–typical. Not typical in the sense that (A) people kill their partners on a regular basis or (B) abuse is, by any means, normal or acceptable, but “typical” in the sense that escalation by abusers is incredibly common. Despite how television and films like Enough (2002) may present partner abuse–as something that occurs very quickly and is offensively simple for the characters to resolve–it is a deeply complex issue muddled by emotion, psychological traumas and, oftentimes, more consequences for the abuse victim upon ending the abuse than the abuser him- or herself. It’s fucked up. Unbelievably fucked up.
Cooper stabbed Rowling in the neck and was sentenced to a year. I repeat: He deliberately, violently stabbed his girlfriend in the fucking neck, then only received 1 year in jail. And he was arrested in August for assaulting Rowling once more–so how is it possible that he was allowed to go free yet again? We live in a country where 3 women every single day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. We know escalation occurs, but the law refuses to punish abusive partners with more than a slap on the wrist and a push out the door. I wish I could leave this post on some hopeful note about how domestic violence laws are changing for the better, but like I said, I feel sick to my stomach about this story and I’m guessing you would see through any attempt at positivity.
[h/t CBS News]