Steve Stephens posted a video to Facebook on Easter Sunday. He had, he said, already killed several people that day before he got out of his car and shot and killed a 74-year-old stranger. He was really a “good guy,” he insisted. Before he murdered his victim, reports Melody Capp, Stephens asked the man to say “Joy Lane,” the name of Stephens’ ex-girlfriend. “She’s the reason this is happening to you,” he told him.
In response to the horror, Lane released a statement in which she apologized to the victims’ families and referred to Stephens a “really nice guy” who was good to her and her children.
“If you’ve never experienced domestic violence, her response sounds strange; not only did she willingly accept fault in the murder Stephens committed, she even went so far as to clean up his image, to support Stephens’ image of himself as a good man driven to crime,” Capp points out.
But in our own ignorance of the breadth and depth of domestic violence, “we take on so many narratives about abuse that simply aren’t true,” argues Capp. “Our limited knowledge of abuse leads us over and over to the same unfortunate conclusion: He must really be a good guy who snapped.”
“He loved me most when I was helpless. He loved me like his favorite little rag doll,” says Capp.
Nothing could be further from the truth. As Capp knows only too well, “an abuser isn’t an abuser because they hit, but instead they hit because they are abusive.” Lane, too, knew her abuser was still at large, and she knew he might come for her and kill her just as easily.