Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Public Statement From the Parents of Yeardley Love.

The family of Yeardley Love released the following statement after the jury recommended George Huguely receive a total of 26 years in prison for second degree murder and grand larceny conviction. 

"We dread looking back on the events of May 3, 2010 and pray for the strength to get through each day.

Time has not made us miss Yeardley any less, in fact quite the opposite.

It is truly devastating to wake up each day and realize that she is no longer here. Yeardley's contagious smile, kind spirit and gentle touch have left this world but we know that heaven has an angel like no other.

We will continue to keep her spirit alive by performing works of kindness in her name.

We would like to thank the Commonwealth and particularly Dave Chapman for his tireless efforts on our behalf.

Our hearts burst with pride when we think of Yeardley's accomplishments but our hearts melt when we remember her kindness and grace.

We have received letters from so many people telling us stories of her many acts of kindness. Intelligence and athletic ability are God given talents.

Kindness and compassion are choices...choices that Yeardley made every day without a second thought. We'd like to thank everyone for their kindness and respect of our privacy during such a difficult time."

Sharon & Lexie Love

11 comments:

  1. I have a hard heart sometimes,
    but on occasions like these,
    I remember that there are parents out there,
    who send their children into
    the university's care.

    And whether we accept that role or not,
    it is one we all play
    in our own manner.

    Rest in peace (finally), Ms. Love.

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  2. I suspect this isn't going to be a popular point of view, but I've been finding the idealization of Love by her parents and (some) others a bit disturbing. I'm *not* blaming the victim -- I'm fully aware that she could have kindly but firmly called off the relationship with Huguely at the first sign(s) of danger, and still ended up dead at his hands -- but I'm also keenly aware that she made some bad choices, including continuing, off and on, a relationship in which there were many signs of danger, and which she played a role in making, and keeping, volatile, and drinking more than was wise, especially given the fact that she was involved in a dangerous situation, and needed her wits about her. She was a young woman who may have been a role model in some ways, but clearly was not in others. At the very least, she wasn't as kind as she might have been to herself. That didn't kill her; Huguely did, and he's rightly paying a price for it (the verdict seems fair to me, convicting him of everything that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but no more). But being dead tragically and prematurely and unjustly doesn't make her a saint either, just a young woman with her own strengths and weaknesses, caught up in a bad situation at least partly of her own making/perpetuating. Huguely is responsible for her death, but she was responsible for her life, and the choices she made during it, and not all of those choices were wise.

    Honestly, I don't expect her parents to be saying that (though I know some people who, in the same situation, would, or at least would refrain from any public comment, and I have more respect for them than for the Loves, which doesn't mean I don't have sympathy for the Loves; I just respect objectivity, even, perhaps especially, in difficult circumstances). But I hope that the public conversation can somehow include "Yeardley made some unhealthy choices" as well as "Yeardley did some wonderful things." I'm not sure that such a conversation can help protect other young women from a similar fate, but it seems to have a better chance of doing so than one that idealizes Love.

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    1. I agree that if I were reading a news story, or commentary/analysis on the whole case from an uninvolved third party, I'd expect and want objectivity and some indication that perhaps young women make choices that put them in situations they can't always control. I had the same response you did in reading this. I said to myself, "There's no way she was a perfect angel," and, just like when I read other eulogy-type material, I wished for some indication of a balanced perspective... because that is my gut response to most of the things I read and critique on a daily basis. And then I considered the source and the genre. This isn't an academic endeavor. Objectivity is not needed. From her family, that's the last thing I would expect. To them, whatever faults or poor choices she made are irrelevant at this point, and if they are not ready to use her death as a 'lesson' to other young women, that's their grief to bear, and I am thankful that I am not in a position to have to write such a letter.

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    2. I don't expect a eulogy to do anything but remember the best in someone. That's what they do, and that's what this does. Since, as you point out, CC, whatever suboptimal choices Love made do not affect her fate - he could have killed her no matter what she did, I can't think of any reason to expect her parents, or anyone, to say "well, also, she handed essays in late, and sometimes she had a couple extra beers at parties, and she was a lousy housekeeper." Or even "she had lousy taste in boyfriends."

      She was at precisely the age when we all make suboptimal choices. Those choices don't usually get us killed. And when the death is murder at the hands of an abusive, controlling ex, it wasn't our choice that killed us at all.

      So I don't see what you could possibly expect the parents, or anyone, to say, that would be a useful lesson to other girls. Beyond, I suppose, "know the signs of an abusive relationship and get the hell out BEFORE he gets fixated on you." If you can.

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    3. This woman was murdered. She murdered by an abusive man. When you suggest that she was somehow responsible for his abuse, you are doing a disservice to all abused women and men. It is not so easy to leave, or to know the signs of domestic violence. Indeed, it is when you do leave that the violence esclates. This is what happened here. Often it begins with criticism, and yelling or signs of extreme jealousy or it can be subtle like gaslighting ( if you know the film, then you know what I mean).By the time it becomes phsyical, the abuser has worn his victim down, isloated her/him, and the energy to leave is hard to find. One no longers knows that they can be free.

      This attitude of blaming the vicitm is what keeps people in abusive relationships.


      This attitude is akin to blaming the rape victim because of clothing choices.

      No, the person who made the wrong choices was the murderer. Plain and simple. It is the abuser who has the problem with making good choices.

      Please do some research into the dynamics of domestic violence.

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    4. @Merely: actually, I'm pretty used to hearing some acknowledgment of the deceased's shall we say more "human" characteristics in eulogies (or, more precisely, funeral/memorial sermons and reminiscences by family and friends). Maybe that's because most of the funerals/memorials I attend are at a church in a Calvinist tradition, which both refers to all deceased members of the community as "saints," and acknowledges that those saints can be deeply flawed. I suspect the pastors are also careful to include such acknowledgments because they realize that attendees at funerals/memorials are often experiencing complex mixes of emotions, including, quite often, anger at themselves and/or the deceased (realistic or not) for not somehow preventing the death.

      But I think it was the insertion of a paean to the deceased's virtues into a statement that didn't technically have to be made in the first place, and if it was made, probably needed to include no more than thanks to the prosecutors, police, and jury, that bothered me.

      @kunstrick: I've done some reading on the subject,and yes, there are definitely abusive relationships where only one person is creating the danger and/or conflict, and from which the other partner may have tremendous difficulty extricating herself (or himself) alive, no matter what (s)he does, for both physical and psychological reasons. There are also "high-conflict" relationships where both partners (of whatever gender) are equally responsible for creating and perpetuating conflict, and often physical violence (though, unless a weapon is involved, the physically weaker/smaller partner is the one most likely to be badly injured). And there are a lot of relationships that fall somewhere in between. Until one partner chooses to disengage, there's no way to tell whether that *might* be enough to end the violence. Since Love never made the choice to disengage (in fact, there was evidence at the trial that she re-engaged/initiated conflict, both verbal and physical, on occasion), we don't know if that might have saved her. But it is a tactic that will save *some* people in violent or potentially violent relationships, and we do them no favors if we pretend that disengaging is not an option that *may* do some good.

      Or, to put it another way, in the months before her death, Yeardley Love at one point found herself storming into a room and hitting her Huguely with her purse. At another point, Huguely found himself choking Love. While Love was definitely in greater physical danger, and both may have been drunk at the time, *both* had the responsibility to back off, consider his/her own part in creating and escalating the violence in the relationship, and do everything (s)he could to reduce it (which probably meant ending the relationship and keeping as much distance as possible from the other). If we expect that of Huguely, we also should expect it of Love. Telling stories about domestic violence that paint men as unalloyed villains and women as helpless victims is not actually going to reduce violence. Being realistic about the complexities involved offers some hope (though not a panacea).

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    5. CC: Several months before Huguely beat her to death, Love hit Huguely with her purse. That's true. I guess you're right: she's absolutely responsible for her own death. She was every bit as violent as he was and to say anything else is to paint all men everywhere as violent thugs and all women everywhere as innocent fragile flowers ....

      Oh, wait. Love hit Huguely with her purse once. Huguely choked Love. Huguely kicked his way into Love's apartment and BEAT HER TO DEATH. It doesn't sound to me as if she consented. She didn't even open the door to him.

      These acts are not equivalent. Trying to pretend that they are, in any way, equivalent is the misrepresentation. Saying plainly that Hugely beat Love to death, which he did, and has been convicted of, is not painting all males as violent thugs. It is saying that THIS male is a violent thug.

      I know what you're saying: that women and men should stay the hell out of abusive relationships and that, if they're in one, they should step back and leave it. That is of course true in general. But this particular murder is not a case in point, and if I'm trying to distinguish between the bully and the victim, I think I'll pick the one who was beaten to death by someone twice her size who broke into her apartment as the victim.

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  3. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

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  4. This story has been utterly tragic, and it was clearly marked by tragic decisions long before it reached the peak of of its horror. I live in between the two metro areas where this couple went to high school. If you think the national coverage has been over the top...you can't begin to imagine what it's been like locally.

    As for locally: there were over 200 homicides in Baltimore the year this murder took place. Although many involved the drug trade, this still leaves plenty that involves the same basis elements: jealousy, rage, anger, judgement impaired by substance abuse. Yet I can count on one hand --and possibly one finger-- the number of times I remember our local "news" stations broke into prime time programming to breathlessly announce the results of the process in these other cases. Apparently newsworthiness increases when educated white folk kill each other.

    I wonder how long until Law and Order rips this from the headlines...because it's right in their wheelhouse.

    RIP to everybody gone to soon.

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    1. "Apparently newsworthiness increases when educated white folk kill each other. . . .RIP to everybody gone to soon."

      Amen

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