Murder reflects larger problem

By Kathryn Kelman/ ne news editor

NE offers a women’s self-defense workshop on campus every semester. The workshop focuses on the basics of self-defense such as situational awareness and physical skills.
Collegian file photo

Some TCC students were shocked to hear about the death of a NE student while others were saddened but not surprised by the news because they said violence against women is not a rare occurrence. 

Molly Matheson, 22, enrolled at TCC last summer and was taking classes on NE Campus this spring. She was found strangled in her home April 10.

NE student Johnathan McCrummen was amazed by the news.

“Around here, you don’t really see too many murders,” he said.

But NE student Caitlin Gonzales said she had seen stories like this happen far too often.

“It was unfortunate, but it’s not something that you don’t hear about,” she said.

Violence against women is something people see a lot of on social media and the news, NE student Katie Palin said.

“It’s sad, but like, it’s something that is a part of our world, and we’re becoming desensitized to it,” she said. “But it’s something that’s going on all around us even though we might not think about it.”

Violence against women has become an epidemic, NE student Rebecca Lee said.

“I’m not saying all men are violent, but women are perceived as easy targets for emotional abuse, physical abuse and a lot of violence from people,” she said.

Saying violence against women is an epidemic feels dramatic, but it’s an accurate description, Palin said.

“I feel like a lot of people shrug it off, but I think it’s a real thing,” she said.

Social media draws a lot of attention to the issue, but it also contributes to the epidemic, Lee said.

“Especially on Twitter, I see a lot of hate against women,” she said, “and guys just retaliating saying things like, ‘Feminism is a cancer,’ and I’m like, ‘We just want equality. It’s not like we’re trying to be better than you.’”

Women get a lot of hate for wanting to be equal human beings, and that’s ridiculous, Lee said.

While Matheson’s death didn’t happen on campus, students do think colleges and universities should address the epidemic.

“I think it’s really important that colleges communicate to students and staff that they’re aware of this issue and that it’s something that needs to be talked about and addressed,” Palin said.

Whether it’s women that need to make sure they’re taking care of themselves or men who need to think about the way they approach women, it’s a conversation that needs to be had on campuses, she said.

“They should definitely be talking about it,” NE student Jake Mathison said, adding that classes should be taught on the subject.

Sensitivity training is a common occurrence in the workforce today, Gonzales said.

“I don’t see why you wouldn’t just like implement it sooner instead of when you get a job,” she said.

Lee grew up with a bunch of guys and, while she feels really tough, certain situations put her on edge. Women shouldn’t have to be scared walking to their cars or going somewhere alone, Lee said.

“The fact that there is a fear and that there’s so many stories about women being hurt and abducted or murdered, just because, really is kind of scary,” she said. “It’s always in the back of your mind.”

McCrummen doesn’t feel that same fear because of his gender.

“I am scrawny, so I do fear sometimes just ’cause I’m smaller,” McCrummen said. “But I normally know that like if I’m out with a group of friends, I’m not worried about us getting into some trouble.”

Palin hopes to be a part of the change that combats the violence against women.

“Whatever it is that we need to do to keep people safe and hopefully to rehabilitate people, I think that that’s really the change we need to look for,” she said.

NE instructional associate Shane Whitehead conducts a women’s self-defense workshop on campus every semester. This spring, he’s also teaching a self-defense class for faculty and staff noon-1 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, but students are welcome to attend, he said.

Whitehead is a fourth-degree black belt in Gasan Ryu Kenpo and is also the head instructor at Chamberlain Studios’ North Richland Hills dojo.

“People are more than welcome to come and take a couple of weeks of classes with me,” he said. “Just say that it’s for women’s self-defense purposes, and all they have to do is sign a waiver. Just to make sure that we can help wherever we can in the community.”

For more information about the seminar, contact him at shane.whitehead@tccd.edu or 817-515-6910.

Any kind of self-defense class is important, he said.

“I want to be very clear that these are techniques that I would use in a stressful situation,” he said.