The All-Too-Typical Domestic Violence Case of Laura Aceves

Illustration for article titled The All-Too-Typical Domestic Violence Case of Laura Aceves

Another day, another harrowing story about a woman killed by her male ex. And typically, this story involves public criminal justice officers passing the buck as to who's to blame.


The Huffington Post has a comprehensive feature on how Victor Acuna-Sanchez fatally shot his ex-girlfriend Laura Aceves in the head after a year of terrorizing her for leaving him. The story is all depressingly familiar—the victim was a mother to three children, she had a restraining order against Acuna-Sanchez, he was already facing charges for two other attacks on her, and the police and the neighbors all knew what was going on. And it all wasn't enough to save her life.

Recounting everything in the article won't do Laura's story justice. So I'll leave you with two infuriating passages that highlight the sheriff and Berryville, Arkansas community's ignorance and helplessness in the face of domestic violence.

From Sheriff Bob Grudek:

Grudek said he couldn't comment on Acuna-Sanchez's case specifically. But he shared his perspective on the problem of domestic violence, which he said he formulated by watching Dr. Phil.

"This is a very serious social problem," he said, speculating that the crime was related to the breakdown of the traditional family structure. "Maybe if our culture goes back to when we had different values ... I don't remember when I was a kid hearing about any domestic violence."

And an exchange between the owner of Laura's apartment (where she was shot) and Laura's mother:

Robert Hancock, a neighbor, spots Ponce through his window and comes outside to talk. He was home the night Laura died. His mother owns the 12-unit apartment complex, which is now for sale. They haven't been able to rent Laura's unit since her death. Everyone knows what happened there.

"You have to trust that God will take care of it, one way or another," he says. "Are you a Christian — do you believe in God?"

"I do," Ponce says, her voice strained. "But I don't believe in the justice of Berryville."


While domestic violence rates are down around the country, Arkansas still ranks as one of the 10 worst in the nation for this problem.

Image via Shutterstock.


Mork Encino's Thick Pelt

I read this yesterday and have been disturbed ever since. This part, I think, bothered me the most and made my blood boil. Basically, the sheriff blamed the victim:

When asked how Carroll County could improve its handling of domestic violence cases, Grudek said he was unconvinced that a more proactive response — like setting high bail for serial abusers, or requiring GPS tracking for offenders who violate restraining orders — would make a substantial difference.

"The question you're asking me is what's wrong with the courts," he said. "I'm asking you, what's wrong with the women?"

Grudek said domestic violence prevention should focus on why women return to their abusers, and that it wasn't "logical or responsible" to think the criminal justice system could solve the problem.