Jewish World Review Dec. 2, 2004 / 19 Kislev 5765

Felice Cohen

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Consumer Reports

Targeting women | So there was no murder weapon, no eyewitnesses and no real known cause of death, but as prosecutor Rick Distaso said the Laci Peterson trial was "a common sense case."

Regardless of the fact that Scott Peterson cheated on his wife, he was lying when he said that Laci knew about and had "come to peace" with his affair. Yeah right. Pregnant women are walking emotions. McDonald's commercials bring them to tears, let alone finding out their husband is having an affair days before giving birth. Who is he kidding? But that's what happens when you tell a lie. It grows and grows.

If Scott were really "stone cold innocent" as his lawyer insisted, he should have been more interested in helping find his wife's killer rather than bleaching his hair and running off with $15,000. Does this remind you of another high profile domestic abuse case? How about the ex-football player who no sooner claimed he was "innocent," then he was spotted crouched in the backseat of a white Ford Bronco heading to his mommy's house. Millions watched O.J. Simpson run away.

In America thousands of people go missing every year. So why did the Peterson case make headlines? Was it Laci's bright smile? The fact that she was eight months pregnant? Or because she disappeared on Christmas Eve? Not entirely. It was also probably thanks to an organization called the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation, created in 1999 after the murders of Carole Sund, Julianna Sund, and Silvina Pelosso.

The foundation assists families in finding missing loved ones. In some cases they help families by offering rewards. In Laci's case, the foundation brought in the media for what turned out to be a 23-month TV series. At the foundation's Web site, when you scroll through photos of missing women and children, you can't help but think "why?" Why all this violence?

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Many movies feature men killing women. What message does this send? Why do movies sensationalize women as victims? Just to name a few: "Double Jeopardy," "Kiss the Girls," "The Cell," and "Silence of the Lambs." Life imitating art? Or is art accurately depicting out society, where women are hunter by men with disturbing regularity?

Take that horror movie where the killer is a motel handyman who preys on innocent women. Oh wait, that wasn't a movie. That was exactly what happened to the Sund family. And in that case, the motel handyman not only admitted to their murders, but also to the fact that he had dreamed for 30 years about killing women.

But those are the rare cases. Women are usually killed at home. According to (Be Ready Against Violence Everywhere), four women die every day in the United States as a result of domestic violence. Tracy Chapman said it best in her song "Why?" when she asks, "Why is a woman still not safe when she's in her home?"

Many women never press charges but opt for restraining orders, which are about as effective as doormats that say, "Go away." In Laci's case, as far as she was concerned, her marriage was perfect. She never saw it coming. But Scott saw things differently. And unless he gets the death penalty, Scott will have a lot coming to him — for a long time.

Comment on JWR contributor Felice Cohen's column by clicking here.


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04/21/04: The latest job fad: China dolls for hire may be
04/16/04: Stories to be told
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03/16/04: Taking a bad shot

© 2004, Felice Cohen