The question as to whether you should step in to help a woman during a domestic violence assault is a controversial one right now, following the pictures that a photographer published of a woman being beaten by her boyfriend in front of her child. Instead of stepping in to stop the assault, the photographer continued snapping away. Many criticized this, but the photographer says that police had told her that stepping in usually escalates things -- and puts her in harm's way too. That appears to be true -- at least in the case of preschool teacher Victoriano "Mo" Moises Byrne-Gonzales, who ran to help a woman getting punched around by her boyfriend. The boyfriend allegedly then stabbed him to death.
Byrne-Gonzales, an art teacher and expectant father, was reportedly working on his car when he heard shouts from elsewhere in the mobile home park where he lived in New Mexico. He and his brother-in-law, Santiago Cordova, said they saw a "male pounding a female up against the wall" and her crying, "You're hurting me!" so they ran to the woman's aid. Minutes later, Byrne-Gonzales was stabbed in the neck. He died. Cordova was stabbed in the back, but survived.
And apparently the woman, Natasha Romero, remains with her abuser -- because she's visiting him in jail. Recorded jailhouse phone conversations picked up the usual abuser modus operandi: Blaming the victim. "I made the ultimate sacrifice for you," Adrian Gonzales, who was arrested on first degree murder charges, told his girlfriend. (Yes, there's two Gonzaleses in this story.) He also said: "You better love me for 30 f***ing years of my life," while Romero cried and apologized. That's right, SHE apologized.
The boyfriend's attorney claims that the two men were "bullies" and it was all self-defense. Boy, nothing this guy does is his fault.
At any rate, it's a terrible lesson learned -- stepping in to help out a woman in a domestic violence situation could get you killed. And, at the end of the day, many of them just return to their abuser anyway. Tragic and sad.
Would you have stepped in?
Image via KROE