General Question

cazzie's avatar

How does one make sense of something so horrible?

Asked by cazzie (24516points) September 30th, 2015

I worked with a nice lady on Monday. That night, her husband killed her. Her two kids (the youngest is 2) have no mother now. The man sits in jail. They were both from Afghanistan. She immigrated here many years ago and was a resident, with a job (part time job at a day care center). He came over more recently and had only temporary residency. They were having trouble and she reported his threats of violence to the police. That very day, she was killed. She wanted a divorce. That could have put his residency application in the government’s garbage bin. This man, it seems, would rather kill the mother of his child and spend the rest of his life in a Norwegian prison than risk going back to Afghanistan? I’m trying to wrap my head around it, but I just can’t. She was JUST THERE, working with us on Monday, in her new job… and now she’s gone. I’m angry and sad. Can anyone help me with this?

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49 Answers

janbb's avatar

All I can say is that my son’s SO went through something similar recently and it is horrible. There aren’t words to understand such things. My thoughts are with you.

ragingloli's avatar

I do not think it had anything to do with him not wanting to go back to Afghanistan.
I think it is more likely that with the common ultraconservative outlook in the middle east, that it was an honour killing, because how dare she resist her owner and master, her husband.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh @cazzie. How shocking. How shook up you must be. (((hugs))).

There is nothing to make sense of, and @ragingloli is most likely right. I saw a crime story report where a mother and father, both of whom grew up in the middle east but lived in the states, killed their own adult daughter for getting a job at McDonalds without their permission, and for dating a black man. They felt perfectly justified in doing it. American law said otherwise, though.

Coloma's avatar

There is no making “sense” of the senseless. All you can do is accept that this sort of thing happens, like all murder and other heinous acts of violence and cruelty. Trying to figure out crazy will only make you crazy. I’m sorry for this shocking development in your life.

cazzie's avatar

Everyone was so professional and amazing today. I was in awe of everyone’s strength. Several personnel got phone calls Tuesday night and they said they didn’t sleep. One said she dropped the phone the ran to the toilet and threw up and she spent the night pacing with her husband getting up to try to calm her and bring her glasses of water. We all showed up and worked. We sang and smiled for the kids and gave them cuddles while on the brink of tears, but held them back and found our smiles again. It was a pretty harrowing day.

josie's avatar

It’s sad indeed.
But, if that troubles you, be thankful you never see the shit that happens in Afghanistan. The absolute worst place (maybe the second worse place come to think of it) on Earth. No surprise about what you reported.

cazzie's avatar

@josie I don’t live or work in Afghanistan. Your comment is really quite insensitive.

Cupcake's avatar

Oh @cazzie, I’m so sorry for all of you.

My neighbor was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend many years ago. We were both young, single moms… working, going to school and trying to give our boys good lives. She had a feeling or he had been threatening, so she sent the son to grandparents for the night. And he killed her. In the driveway. A few feet from my front door. People came and put stuffed animals and candles around the tree in my front yard in honor of her.

I slept through it.

I could cry right now, all these years later, remembering. Being so grateful that I was alive. So grateful that we were safe… that my son hadn’t woken up or looked out of his window to witness such a horrific scene. Wondering about her little boy. Wondering what was inside of people who thought they had the right to hurt another… to take their life… the mother of his child.

So heartbreaking. I’m so, so sorry.

josie's avatar

I did live and work in Afghanistan. That kind of stuff happens everyday. It’s a way of life.
Sorry. Insensitive but true.

longgone's avatar

I’m so sorry.

A classmate of my sister murdered a second classmate a few years ago, and I can remember the feeling of shock at the violence displayed. The human brain can’t seem to fully understand death, no matter how many times it is witness to that kind of thing. It gets even more difficult when there is violence involved.

Making sense of it all…well, if you truly could make sense of something like this, I’d worry about you. The shock is proof of your healthy mind.

To come to terms with it, maybe it will be helpful to remember that – like all of us – this man is just a combination of genetic predisposition and experience. Knowing that makes thinking about horrific actions easier for me, because it gets rid of the helpless anger.

Allow for enough time to grieve, please. Concentrate on being patient with yourself during the time to come. Hugs.

cazzie's avatar

@josie I’m sure that is true, but this isn’t Afghanistan. She reported the threats to the police the very day she was killed. She worked with us that day. This isn’t a fucking war zone. This isn’t a fucking Islamic state ruled by some ignorant, misogynist group of men at a mosque. I feel like going to all my co workers tomorrow and telling them they can show up at my door step any time of day or night, no questions ask and I’ll keep them safe. I’ve been bruised and strangled on the floor by someone who was meant to love me over anyone else. I understand how complicated things can get, but I reached out for help and got it so I just don’t think this should have ever happened. (also, you edited your response after I wrote mine….)

josie's avatar

You are certainly correct that it never should have happened.
A threat of violence, especially from members of a culture that is prone to lethal violence towards women, should be taken very seriously. Arrest first, ask questions later.

Coloma's avatar

@cazzie Therein lies the human condition of thinking something “should” or should not happen. There’s a saying, ” don’t should on yourself or others.” Of course we would all prefer that things like this did not happen but when you attach the word ” should” it causes more suffering because there simply is no such thing as “should.” Babies shouldn’t die, people shouldn’t be ruthlessly murdered, 30 year olds shouldn’t get cancer or die in car accidents but these things happen, every minute of every day, they simply are, and these is nothing that can be done to change the nature of this beast called life.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You can’t arrest a person unless someone else witnesses the threat, @josie.

josie's avatar


I know. Too bad that for the Afghani woman.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

In the USA I think, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, can send the person back (deportation to home country) after jail time. He would get to go back to Afghanistan after years in prison.

cazzie's avatar

@josie She wasn’t Afghani. She was Norwegian, ffs. Stop with your flippant bullshit comments.

cazzie's avatar

Yes, @Tropical_Willie . that is what will probably happen. Personally, I’d like him to be deported back now, with a star of David tattoo’d on his chest with an Israeli passport and loads of Zionist propaganda in his baggage, along with loads of rumours of him being a Zionist Terrorist…. and Gay… and Trans-gendered.

canidmajor's avatar

@cazzie, this kind of thing is always so horrible, there’s no making sense of it. It is senseless. If there is anything you can think of to do for those children (I honestly have no idea what) it might help you not feel so very helpless.
My thoughts are with you, I am so sorry this has happened.

jca's avatar

In New York City the other day, a newborn baby was thrown out the window by her (or his) mother. Equally senseless. Just as horrible. Things like this happen all over the world, in all cultures. Horrible but that’s life.

josie's avatar


One more argument to support Planned Parenthood

josie's avatar


Not sure what you mean. But, oh well.
Too bad about the Norwegian woman with the Afghani husband.
Does that fit the paradigm?
I really do not care, but it never hurts to be accommodating.

canidmajor's avatar

@josie it’s a shame that you missed the real point of the question, which seems to be to help @cazzie process a horrible thing that happened so close to home, not to invite a treatise on cultural differences.

josie's avatar


How do you separate them?
Everything has a context.

msh's avatar

cazzie- oh my! How heartbreaking. I’m so sorry. Her poor babies also. This is one of the things that sticks in your mind. As Cupcake said, it will be with you. I’m sorry it brought up one of your own ghosts. When something shakes us like this, it makes me feel upset and angry at the betrayal, the senselessness of cruelty and ego. The unanswerable questions – WHY being formost. It makes us feel vulnerable. How you offered to have people come to your place to sleep and be safe- that was someone who is kind, caring, smart and sympathetic to the others so deeply connected and stunned. It makes life appear so fragile in this life-moment.
Talk to each of those people so effected at work. Talking helps take some sharpness off of the jagged edges still so close. Check on her babies. Send them “lovies” big enough to give hugs back. Oh, Sweetie, this makes me get teary for you all. It hurts physically. I’m so sorry for all so hurt. Bless you all. Take care of you. Take good care of them. Hugs.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

In Australia, there is a campaign called Destroy the Joint It documents the number of women killed by violence this year. The count stands at 66.

The case you cite is awful. Of course it is. There’s no way to make sense of it because it makes no sense. However, I don’t think it particularly has anything to do with Afghanistan or the man’s desire not to return there. It has to do with some men, and I think it’s a minority but a minority that includes too many men, who view their partners and children as possessions. The men who have killed the 66 women in Australia come from a range of backgrounds, both cultural and socio-economic. This idea that women are possessions crosses cultural and socio-economic boundaries. I wish we would put as much effort into stopping domestic violence as we do into the many activities our governments promote to deter terrorism.

gorillapaws's avatar

Killings like this aren’t rational acts (part of the reason why the death penalty isn’t a deterrent). The killer isn’t thinking about the consequences for himself, or his children, only rage at feeling dishonored. He’ll have the rest of his life to reconcile that.

JLeslie's avatar

OMG! Of course it is bewildering and horrifying to be with someone one day and they are murdered the next. Perfectly understandable that you are having trouble wrapping your mind around what happened.

It probably does partly have to do with his cultural upbringing. You probably have read my story of my exboyfriend’s cousin being shot and killed by her exboyfriend after she broke up with him. He shot the new man she was dating also; he luckily survived. He was from Kuwait. Not that the Middle East has the only corner on men killing their wife or gf when she decides to leave, but I think it’s probably more likely from macho cultures. I think the men feel desperate and in pain, and if the culture sees women as inferior it just adds to the whole thing. I can understand how people can feel it would be less painful if the person died rather than left, but to act on that feeling is beyond my comprehension.

johnpowell's avatar

Well, my dad was the son of a hero that fought in WW2 and Korea. Grandpa had three sons with a Mormon wife. All three sons became engineers in different branches and made lots of money.

But I used to hear my dad tell my mom all the time during fights that if she ever left him he would kill her and me and my sister. Crazy all over the place.

Oh, and this is the kicker. We were living in Sacramento and my dad was on a violent drunken outrage for the thousandth time. One night I wake up to a loud pop and my dad had put a chisel through the tv in the bedroom. My sister calls the cops. The cops come and the only thing they did was chastise my mom and tell her that maybe he wouldn’t be so angry if she kept the house cleaner. sigh

JLeslie's avatar

@johnpowell I don’t know how old you are, but I’m hoping you’re at least 50 years old.

cazzie's avatar

I would say men suck, but I’ve gotten to know a few who don’t. My previous boyfriend being one of the greatest people I’ve ever known. Sad he and I can’t be together. It may have worked. I miss him.

Strauss's avatar

@cazzie I lost someone like that when I was younger. She was more than a co-worker, she was a true friend, and among a group of friends that was sincerely trying to make a difference. My heart goes out to you, and many many deeply heartfelt hugs.

The worst part about a situation like that is the “here today, gone tomorrow” aspect. You interact with a living, breathing human being, and then, suddenly, you realize you will never see that person again. It is a shock to the psyche, and one that will eventually heal. Find someone to talk with about it, someone to reach out to whenever you’re feeling sad or angry about it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@cazzie Please don’t lump us together as in all men suck. Yes there are some idiots out there that when they can’t use their minds they use their fists. It makes me sad.

cazzie's avatar

Thank you everyone. I just really needed to rant and be mad about this. Your words and sharing mean a lot. Hugs all around.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Rant away. It’s like WTF were you thinking idiot. But that’s part of it, they’re not thinking.

cazzie's avatar

If I saw a man hurting a woman or child I would have to jump in. I’m stronger than I look. My ex learned that lesson when he woke up with a sore jaw. He couldn’t remember why because he was so drunk. I learned how to fight back. Did it without even thinking. That scared me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Any man who could threaten or intimidate, much less hit, a woman or a child is no kind of man. They’re a whimpering pussy. My ex would yell and scream and intimidate me, but when confronted by another man, backed off faster than the speed of light.

@johnpowell Jesus. The dark ages. So many things have changed for women. That’s one of the things I think about when people post those retarded memes on fb that say, “I want my old America back.”

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Dutchess_III, have they changed for women? I don’t think they have. I think there are many women and children who are still experiencing what @johnpowell and his family did. Cazzie’s question shows violence against women is still happening. My earlier post shows it’s horribly common in my country. There’s a big push over here at the moment to bring the problem out into the open and to tackle it. In the last month, there have been some horrific murders of women by their partners here. I find it hard to believe the same is not still true in the US. It will only stop when it’s brought out into the open and those who behave this way are challenged, as your former partner was. And the penalties for violence against women and children should be extremely harsh and no excuses should be accepted.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The violence hasn’t changed. But what the law does about it has. As @johnpowell noted above, the cops blamed his mom, told her she needed to keep a cleaner house.

Up until, maybe 50 years? ago, a man’s house was his castle. He was free to do what ever he saw fit in the “disciplining” of his wife and children. They were his property. There was virtually no action taken, unless someone died. The wife would be scolded for doing the thing that made her husband angry.

cazzie's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit it was an Australian man who bruised me and held me to the floor, choking me and left bruises. I hid them with a turtle neck, but it was summer, so it was rather obvious. The black eye he gave me couldn’t be hidden, so that was a bit more awkward at work, where I was a receptionist.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

The atrocities of war know no bounds. It plagues mankind. It turns children into scavengers, fighters, and emotional stones. A place as distraught and war-torn as Afghanistan is a pulsing, mecca of evil amongst which innocence struggles to survive. It is just such a place that both the innocent and the guilty struggle to escape.. many times failing.

“Sometimes the surest sign that intelligent life exists is that none of it has tried to contact us” – Calvin & Hobbes

Dutchess_III's avatar

This didn’t happen in Afghanistan, @Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

@Dutchess_III I disagree. The effects are widespread. Even if the actual “event” occurred on US soil.

cazzie's avatar

@Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One I do think you have a bit of a point. I think this man was so afraid of being deported that he took drastic action. The ‘event’ happened on Norwegian soil, but I see what you are saying. The plight of the refugee and asylum seeker affects us in the country that accepts them. A better job needs to be done.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

Too late to edit occurred on US soil occurred on Norwegian soil. Dang. Now I feel like a feeb. Either way, there is more to this story than “man kills woman”. There is a history that leads to this brutality. It wasn’t random. That was my point, yes.

Strauss's avatar

Post traumatic stress and other labels can indeed explain why someone does something horrendous, but it makes it no less horrendous, and it certainly does not make the perpetrator less guilty. It certainly does not make the loss of a friend any easier.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to sound callous, but this is just the planet we live on, and I’m sorry your friend was taken from you.

Compared to other species, we’re basically in the kindergarten stage of humanity.

Other species have flourished here for millions of years.

We’ve been here for 200 thousand. Our ignorance is displayed every single day. We’re not advanced at all.

The only thing we can do is try to spread knowledge, sanitary conditions and clean water.

I mean someone correct me if I’m wrong but the world is messed up and that’s how it is.

msh's avatar

I think everyone is a part of that new hope and lessons.
But every once in awhile, life’s worst moments of pain and hurt creep up on us.
It is so hurtful it makes one double over in shock and pain. Gut reactions, if you will.
It makes you stop and feel pain, and helplessness, and incredible anger…just for a few heartbeats.
We earn the right to stop now and again to feel….life.
People get back up, in their own clock’s time, and continue onward.
Changed some, but continuing onward. It’s what we do.
A few will make changes, or random fixes, new awareness surrounding many- like us- here and now. Helping those who may need it. Remembering those now missing.
But we all go on, and carry the memories of those who cannot.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

As unfavorable as all this is, to the kids, the man, the woman, and all those who are family or close enough to be affected, there is a way to make sense of it, and understand why such things occur, no matter which nation it happens in, but it would not be received or able to be grasped by many, so I will just leave it as another tragedy, bygones.

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