Letter: Minority women and domestic abuse

Phyllis Coleman holds an undated photo of her

Phyllis Coleman holds an undated photo of her daughter Santia Williams on July 16, 2012, in her lawyer's office in Hempstead. (Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

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Thank you for the eye-opening and heartbreaking story on the life and brutal death of Santia Williams ["Unprotected: The Death of Santia Williams," News, Aug. 10]. The article painted a vivid picture of a young woman whose life was cut tragically short at the hands of her physically and emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend, Jason Jenkins.

Santia was a human being who was brimming with dreams for her future, as a student and as a young mother. But it is also painfully clear that she still might be alive today had her calls for help been properly handled by Suffolk County police, or had her order of protection against Jenkins even been worth the paper it was written on.

Most important, your story draws attention to the untold plight of many women like Williams. I refer to the silenced stories of working-class, black or brown battered wives and girlfriends whose lives and deaths do not receive nearly the same level of local or national outcry, outrage nor activism.

A little more than a decade ago, Laci Peterson, eight months pregnant, became a household name when she was killed by her own husband, Scott. I believe that Peterson's death is viewed differently and more sympathetically than Williams's murder. Laci and Scott were a young, attractive, middle-class and college-educated couple. After the murder, came the onslaught of public awareness, and Peterson's most lasting legacy is the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

Williams's legacy ought to have the same permanence. Minority women cannot be reduced to statistics or news blurbs to be briefly skimmed through and then forgotten.

Marta A. Holliday, Hempstead

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