A 32-year-old man in Seymour, Indiana, has been accused of 38 felony counts of battery, strangulation, criminal confinement and rape after his wife of barely over a year alerted police to her extensive abuse. Everything is awful.
Kenneth Eugene Harden met his wife through Craigslist—the two were married in July of 2013. At first he had described himself as a Christian. Six months after the two were married, he told her he was a sadist (not that he can't be both) and that he wanted to be her master. He is currently being held on $100,000 bond. Via Raw Story:
According to a police affadavit (PDF), police learned about the conditions Harden imposed on his wife after she called them to their residence on Aug. 30. The woman said Harden choked her with a collar she was required to wear as part of the "contract." However, she said, Harden continually broke rules in the agreement barring abuse of her.
Harden required his wife to wear the collar at all times except for when attending church or when visiting with her mother. Harden also locked a box on her head, and on other occasions made her stand in front of the window shirtless as a form of humiliation. Police recovered their "slave contract" which apparently delineated various rules of their master/slave relationship. As WBIW reports:
During a search of the couple's bedroom, police found a binder with the words "Slave Manual 2014" on it. It contained an 11-page manual with headlines such as "House Rules," "Punishments" and "The Slave's Role." It was signed by both Harden and his wife and dated June 4.
Apparently, Harden pestered his wife into signing the contract and threatened to leave her if she didn't. When police asked her why she didn't leave him earlier, she stated that 1) she loved him and that 2) he took care of her—Harden controlled her diabetes medication and never taught her how to use her insulin pump. But she had had enough.
"This is what I'm supposed to live by, and I'm tired of the abuse," the woman was quoted as saying. "I'm tired of getting hit every day. Please, I'm scared."
Aside from the fact that Harden allegedly abused both the woman and her dog while his two kids were around (one of whom is 16), neighbors did hear yelling and screaming, but only reported it to building management and not the police.
"We could hear them fighting sometimes and we heard a lot of loud noises upstairs," downstairs neighbor Tyler Davers was quoted as saying. "But I never thought anything of it."
It's that type of lack of agency or not wanting to get involved that makes me want to bake cookies for all of my neighbors, so as to develop enough of a rapport to warrant general concern. Harden is clearly a monster. And it took an incredible amount of strength for that woman to stand up for herself, even though none of what happened to her was her fault. While justice can only go so far for the trauma she has been through, hopefully Harden gets what he deserves, and hopefully she can begin to truly heal.
Image via Shutterstock.