George Zimmerman is a couple of weeks late for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (it was October) but it's close enough.
Zimmerman was arrested (again) today for domestic violence. The July 2013 article in The Nation by Salamishah Tillet is one of the best reads on understanding Zimmerman's pattern of violence in the context of racism and sexism and I highly encourage you to read it. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman was arrested for these violent actions:
"George Zimmerman was arrested Monday after he cocked and pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend, shattered a glass-top table, then pushed her out of the house and barricaded himself inside after she ordered him to move out, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office."
As details unfold, many pieces of the story reveal a fairly typical pattern of escalating domestic violence: he's been arrested before, he escalated when she asked him to leave (breaking up is often the most dangerous time in a domestically violent relationship) he denied he broke anything, he threatened her with a firearm, and so on. Zimmerman also called 911 after the police responded to "tell his side of the story". In an unimaginative and predictable fashion, Zimmerman opens his argument with this:
"I have a girlfriend, who for lack of a better word, has gone crazy on me." George Zimmerman
I've never met a domestic violence survivor whose partner has not called her crazy and/or told others that she's crazy when confronted with his own violent actions.
While the circumstances of the 911 call are horrific and tragic, rarely does the public get an inside view of a problem that mostly takes place in private. The audio recording of the 911 conversation is certainly an opportunity for some domestic violence education. I encourage you to listen to the recording and see if you can identify the common characteristics of abusive men, as described by expert Lundy Bancroft in his book Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men:
I'll simply conclude with a plea to keep the conversation focused on Zimmerman's actions as this event continues to be reported. I fear the conversation will immediately digress into victim blaming statements about why anyone would date Zimmerman given his violent past. Please refrain from this misplaced questioning of blame and responsibility and remind yourself (and others) that her actions should not be on trial. Zimmerman made choices (and continues to make choices) to be violent and abusive and should be held accountable for them.