Joan Vennochi’s column “Ana Walshe story — another missing white woman dominates the news” (Opinion, Jan. 12) highlights how unconscious racial and socioeconomic biases cause uneven reporting of homicides and missing persons cases.
There can never be enough reporting on violent acts against women. The extensive coverage of Ana Walshe’s story advanced the investigation into her disappearance. The horror of her situation is on everyone’s mind.
That is not the case for Amber Buckner, who was murdered in Stoughton last month. Coverage described her apparent substance use disorder, residence in a halfway house, children in the care of others, and that she was “getting her life back.” This focus inadvertently fuels victim-blaming. Including these details diminishes her humanity and our horror.
At our organization, which works with victims and survivors of domestic violence, we know that this feeling of horror can lead to positive change. Most people want to help their neighbors. They need to know there is a problem and what to do. But too many women are too ashamed to come forward.
Greater awareness of unspeakable crimes leads to positive change. We must feel equal horror, regardless of the victim’s circumstance, and work as a community to prevent violence from happening in the first place.
Julia E. Kehoe
President and CEO