Part of Her Body #SayHerName


Arnesha Bowers

There is bad news everyday.

It is almost nonstop, really. Relentless. At some point, story after story after story about the Violence Men inflict on Women and Girls (and more often than not, erased by Passive “A Woman Was Killed” headlines), they all kind of blend together and become unseen.

I live in Baltimore. I have been here for 20 years. Baltimore has attracted national attention on the crime front over this time frame. The Wire. The “Riots” (says the White people, please never say the “Riots” to me). The bureaucratic incompetence that’s blamed for it. The local stories of violence blend together, too.

But then we have Arnesha Bowers.

Arnesha Bowers was a 16-year-old girl. She was a student at City College, a junior. She was much loved by her family and friends. What happened to Arnesha is what happens to beautiful, loved girls across the globe – Arnesha was raped by three people – two men and a teenage boy – who then killed her.

And then they set on fire a “part of her body to cover up evidence of sex assault.”

part of her body

This story, the story of the men and teenage boy who raped, killed and burned a part of Arnesha’s body, is unfolding. It’s happening now. The men and the boy are in police custody.

Arnesha is still murdered, though. Arnesha is still raped. Arnesha is still burned.

I asked Jayne Miller to specify, to be direct; what part of her body did they burn to cover up evidence of their rape?

I don’t really need a response to that question; I know the answer.

Rapists (and here I am talking about men, because rape invariably is done by men to women, despite all the obfuscations the Third Wave likes to throw out on this front) have burned the genitalia of their victims before. This happened to LaVena Johnson. This happened to the woman raped by Ronnell Leberry. And the woman Michael Nunley raped. And so on, and I can’t go on, because I don’t want to *think* about this anymore, because I am tired of reading about the specific harm done to women and girls and to “parts of our bodies.” Tired isn’t the right word; I cannot *do this* anymore because it is adversely impacting my mental health.

The reality of male violence, and of male violence perpetrated against women and girls *because of* our sex, the harm done to us because of our sex – we need to be able to talk about this. We need to be able to have the language to express the sheer horror of the things men do to us because of our sex.

We have gotten to the point now, in 2015, where women and girls are slotted as privileged because we are “cisgender.” That is, we are privileged because of parts of our body and the fact that we haven’t adopted a specific language for describing our dysphoria about our bodies.

The more “we” limit women’s language (and by “we,” I don’t include “me”), the more we make it impossible for us to describe the conditions of our confinement on this planet, across the globe. And limiting women’s language won’t end the unimaginable harm done to women and girls. It will only ensure that we will have nothing left to say.

And this is precisely what Third Wave feminism – Men’s Feminism – wants. We aren’t supposed to notice how “equality” is such a low bar. We aren’t supposed to point out that all things being equal, Women would be perpetrating violent acts at the same rate as Men (they’re not).

I keep hoping for that “a ha” moment, that moment when the Third Wave Feminist organizations realize how they have painted Women into a corner with all these bubble wraps and safeguards on our language.

How many women and girls have to die *like this* before you connect the dots about WHO does WHAT TO WHOM?

This is a serious question.





  1. This is what Nunley did.

    “On July 31, 2006, in an 18-count indictment, petitioner was charged with assault, kidnapping, attempted aggravated murder, and various sex crimes. Resp. Ex. 103. The charges stemmed from petitioner’s three-day confinement and physical and sexual torture of the victim, “C.D.”

    On December 28, 2006, petitioner informed his court appointed attorney, Downing Bethune, that he wanted a new attorney. Transcript of Proceedings (Tr.) p. 2. After a January 17, 2007 hearing, the trial court denied petitioner’s request for substitute counsel. Id. at 5. Petitioner made no other requests for new counsel or complaints of Mr. Bethune’s representation to the [*2] trial court.

    A four-day jury trial began on March 5, 2007. At trial, the evidence against petitioner was overwhelming and. largely undisputed. C.D. testified at length at trial and described the following events. On July 23, 2006, petitioner and his girlfriend, Dayna Nordin, attended an afternoon barbeque where C.D. was also a guest. Tr. 184-85. Petitioner and the victim were long-time friends, and after the barbeque, petitioner and C.D. went to petitioner’s house for drinks while Nordin went to work. Tr. 185-86, 221-23. When at the house, petitioner’s mood was friendly, but his demeanor changed suddenly. Tr. 224. Petitioner accused C.D. of taking his cellphone, which she admitted doing. Id. Petitioner became violent. Tr. 225-27. Petitioner’s girlfriend Nordin and friend Gregory Franklyn lived at petitioner’s house and periodically came and went from the house during C.D.’s confinement.

    Petitioner began by repeatedly hitting C.D. in the face, demanding the return of his cellphone, then he removed C.D.’s belt and wrapped it around C.D.’s neck, choking her. Tr. 227-28. Petitioner then dragged C.D. by the belt into the hallway and tore off her clothes. Tr. 228. Petitioner called C.D. a “dumb-ass [*3] bitch” and put his fist in her anus. Tr. 228. C.D. described the pain as excruciating, and she lost consciousness. Id. When C.D. regained consciousness, there was blood all over, and petitioner made her lick the blood. Tr. 228. Petitioner then dragged C.D. by the belt to the bathroom, put his penis in her mouth and made C.D. drink his urine. Tr. 229. Petitioner told C.D. that if she refused, he would beat her again. Id. Petitioner then dragged C.D. to the couch and instructed her to stay there. C.D. did not move because she was afraid petitioner would kill her. Tr. 230. When C.D. saw Franklyn that night, she told him to call the police. Tr. 275. The police were not called.

    In exchange for leniency, Nordin testified at trial. Nordin testified that about 12:40 a.m. Monday, July 24, she returned to the house and saw C.D. and petitioner sitting naked on the couch, and a belt around C.D.’s neck. Tr. 187. Nordin went to the bedroom and noticed blood all over. Tr. 188. Petitioner and C.D. then appeared in the bedroom doorway, with petitioner holding the belt around C.D.’s neck. Petitioner told C.D. to inform Nordin why she was there, and C.D. said “I took his phone.” Tr. 189. C.D. was on her [*4] knees and told Nordin that if “if you leave, he’ll kill me.” Tr. 190. A short time later, petitioner made C.D. lick Nordin’s anus or genitalia. Tr. 193, 232. Nordin testified that she was afraid petitioner would hurt C.D. further if she left. Tr. 193.

    The house was hot, and petitioner wanted to sleep in a tent outside. Tr. 193. Petitioner dragged C.D. outside to set up the tent, and petitioner, C.D. and Nordin slept in the tent. Tr. 232. In the morning, they went inside. At some point, petitioner’s cousin came over, and there was discussion about obtaining petitioner’s cellphone. Tr. 199. Nordin went to work in the afternoon.

    Petitioner later heated a Zippo lighter and inserted the hot lighter into C.D.’s vagina, burning her. Tr. 234-35. Petitioner also heated the Zippo lighter and held it to C.D.’s anus, burning her. Tr. 235-36. Petitioner made C.D. insert the sheath of a sword into her vagina, and then stuck his foot onto the sheath pressing it far inside C.D., causing great pain. Tr. 237.

    Nordin testified that she returned from work early Tuesday morning, July 25, 2006 to find C.D. still at the house. Nordin later left to try to find petitioner’s cellphone, but was unable to locate [*5] it. Tr. 200. When Nordin returned without the cellphone, C.D. was on the couch with the belt around her neck. Tr. 202. Petitioner took C.D. to the bedroom and cut C.D.’s hair. Tr. 202, 220. Petitioner instructed C.D. to lay on the bed and not move. Tr. 238. Petitioner then ignited a blow torch and burned her buttocks and arm. Tr. 238. Petitioner fell asleep sometime after burning C.D. with the blow torch.

    After petitioner fell asleep, C.D. attempted to get out the front door, but it was locked. At that time, Franklyn came through the back door leaving it open, and C.D. escaped out the back door. C.D. ran naked down the street to a park. When C.D. saw a man, she asked him to call the police because she had been raped. Tr. 244. The man gave C.D. his shirt and called 911. While waiting for the police to arrive, petitioner arrived at the park on his bicycle and spoke to C.D. Tr. 258. When petitioner realized the police had been called, petitioner fled, but was quickly apprehended and identified by C.D. Tr. 68.

    Allie Draper, the emergency room nurse who completed a sexual assault examination of C.D. on July 25, 2006, testified at trial. Draper testified that she recorded the events as described [*6] by C.D., collected physical evidence, and completed a report following C.D.’s arrival at the hospital. Tr. 88. Draper testified extensively about the abrasions, lacerations, and cuts she saw on C.D.’s body, which she had contemporaneously recorded on diagrams. Tr. 95-99.

    Daniel Petersen, a forensic scientist with the Oregon State Police DNA unit, testified that he examined the sexual assault forensic evidence kit obtained from C.D. and swabs obtained from petitioner’s penis, scrotum and pubic hair. Tr. 315, 319-20. Petersen also testified that he examined swabs collected from a lighter, a walking stick and the blade of a sword collected from petitioner’s house. Tr. 321. Petersen concluded that the DNA samples from the lighter, walking stick, and petitioner’s penis, scrotum and pubic hair matched the DNA profile of C.D. Tr. 323-25.”

  2. This is what Leberry did.

    “Demetris Grant and the victim in this case worked together at a computer parts store and often car-pooled to work. One Saturday, the victim was supposed to take Grant to work, but she did not do so. The next day, Grant and her boyfriend, petitioner Ronnell Leberry, confronted the victim at her apartment. Grant warned the victim that she was going to “kick [her] ass” for not taking her to work. Grant made good on this threat by hitting and kicking the victim and terrorizing her with a serrated knife. The situation quickly escalated. Either Grant or Leberry told the [**3] victim to undress and lie down on her back, and her attackers took turns heating a fork over the stove and burning the victim’s breasts and vagina. Then, either Leberry or Grant inserted a mop handle into the victim’s vagina. Grant and Leberry also forced the victim to write a note stating that she owed them two hundred and fifty dollars and that they could take her car as collateral until she repaid them.

    Against her will, Leberry then transported the victim to Grant’s apartment, announcing upon their arrival that anyone in the neighborhood who wanted oral sex should come there. Once inside, the victim was again forced to undress and have sex with multiple men. She testified that Grant and Leberry made her do “jumping jacks, sit-ups, and stand in the corner with one leg raised, all of which she did because her life was threatened.” The episode finally ended when Grant and Leberry gave the victim permission to leave.

    Grant and Leberry were indicted on multiple charges, but before trial, Grant agreed to testify against Leberry in exchange for a reduced sentence.

    At trial, Grant implicated Leberry in every part of the attack. She testified that it was Leberry who made the victim get undressed; [**4] Leberry who burned her breasts and vagina with a hot fork; Leberry who twice inserted the mop into the victim’s vagina; and Leberry who drove her to another location to have sex with other men. Grant admitted only to heating the fork the first time but denied burning the victim with it.

    Grant was not the only person to incriminate Leberry. One of the victim’s neighbors observed the victim and her attackers arguing and heard someone begging and “screaming bloody murder” while inside the apartment. Officers discovered a “knife matching the description provided [*499] by [the victim],” a burnt fork outside the victim’s apartment, and “pieces of a burnt mop strewed across the kitchen floor.” Medical experts explained that the victim sustained “excruciatingly painful” second-degree burns on her labia, bruises on her arms and knees, and burns on her breasts “in the perfect shape of a dinner fork,” and that she required multiple corrective surgeries. The victim’s roommate indicated that when she returned to the apartment after the incident, it smelled like “something freshly burned.”

    The victim also testified at trial. Though her memory of the incident was “not very good,” she told the jury, in no [**5] uncertain terms, that one of her attackers forced a mop in her vagina, that she was burned with a fork on her breasts and vagina, and that the entire experience caused her severe pain.”

  3. This is what Riginald Hardin did.

    “At trial, the People presented evidence that Hardin and Woods inflicted numerous severe injuries on Woods’s 21-month-old daughter, N.M. On January 21, 2008, when N.M. was taken to the hospital, she had second and third degree burns to her anus, vagina, and feet, and deep cuts on her calves. The burns to N.M.’s anus and vagina were contact burns that doctors believed had been inflicted within the previous two to three days. The burns to N.M.’s feet were scald burns caused by a hot liquid. The cuts on N.M.’s calves, and the pattern and severity of the burns on N.M.’s feet, suggested that someone had held N.M.’s feet under a running hot liquid. The burns to N.M.’s feet also appeared to have been inflicted within two or three days of January 21.

    Doctors discovered numerous other [*2] burns on N.M.’s body, including burns on her chin, arms, and chest. According to Dr. Amy Young-Snodgrass, one of the doctors who treated N.M., the burn on N.M.’s chin was likely “a little bit older” than a few days, one burn on her left arm was potentially several weeks old, and two other burns on her arm were weeks to months old. In addition to the burns, N.M. had suffered severe blunt force trauma throughout her abdomen. The abdominal injuries appeared to have been inflicted within a few days prior to January 21. N.M. also had a subconjunctival hemorrhage in her eye, which suggested that she had suffered blunt force trauma to her head. The blunt force trauma to the head was likely inflicted weeks prior to January 21. N.M. was also extremely underweight and was severely malnourished.

    In addition to evidence of the defendants’ commission of the offenses against N.M., the People presented evidence, pursuant to Evidence Code section 1109, that Hardin physically and sexually assaulted a former girlfriend.”

  4. “On November 19, 2000, College Station Police Department Detective Chad Harkrider was called to investigate the alcohol-related death of John Hickman at 3311 Bahia in College Station. When he arrived at the scene and discovered there were numerous people to interview, he contacted College Station Police Sergeant Chuck Fleeger for assistance. [Schultze] and Klock were two of the people interviewed in connection with Hickman’s death. During the course of the investigation, Detective Harkrider received an anonymous tip that there was a videotape of Hickman [**5] made on the night he died.

    On March 27, 2001, Jana French, a friend of Klock’s, provided the College Station Police Department with a videotape she had obtained from Klock. Fleeger watched the videotape and discovered that, in addition to depicting Hickman the night that he died, 18 minutes and 45 seconds of the tape showed three men sexually assaulting an unconscious female. Fleeger recognized [Schultze] and Klock as two of the three assailants because he had recently interviewed them in connection with Hickman’s death. He later determined the identities of the complainant 3 and the third assailant, Zunker.

    The sexual assault 4 began with Zunker and [Schultze] entering a room where Klock was having sexual intercourse with the complainant, who appeared to be unconscious and physically unable to resist. [Schultze], while manning the video camera said, “in her fucking cunt,” and Zunker attempted to insert a baseball in the complainant’s vagina. Zunker manned the video camera while [*446] [Schultze] inserted the handle of a toilet plunger into the complainant’s vagina. [Schultze] told Zunker, “Make sure you get this on tape.” When the plunger handle was inserted into the complainant’s vagina, [**6] she moaned and said, “Ow. Stop,” and continued to struggle. The three men laughed throughout the entire sexual assault. At one point, Zunker lit a cigarette and burned the complainant’s vagina with the lit cigarette. Zunker then, mockingly, said, “Ow. That’s got to hurt,” and he proceeded to flick ashes onto the complainant’s buttocks. Zunker and Klock also inserted a screwdriver and other objects into the complainant’s vagina. The men continued to laugh as they performed these various acts on the unconscious complainant, with [Schultze] declaring, “this is fucking hilarious” at one point during the assaults.

    Police officers arrested [Schultze], Klock, and Zunker the day after Sergeant Fleeger received the videotape. Also on that day, police officers searched the house at 3311 Bahia and found a video camera and a camera bag that contained another videotape. This second videotape showed [Schultze] urinating on an unconscious Hickman.

    During his investigation, Fleeger determined that the sexual assault occurred in July 2000, seven or eight months before the videotape was discovered.” Schultze v. Quarterman, 622 F. Supp. 2d 439

  5. “Wallace burglarized the home of 15-year-old Jenny, displayed a knife, and sprayed a substance into her face. The substance smelled like insecticide and burned Jenny’s eyes so that she could not open them. Wallace bound her arms behind her back with a flex-tie, gagged her, covered her head with a pillowcase, bound her feet with duct tape, carried her to a vehicle, and covered her with a quilt from her brother’s bed. He then drove her to another location, where he laid her on the quilt, removed her pants and underpants, cut her sweater up the front with a knife and removed her brassiere, orally copulated her, forced her to orally copulate him, raped her, and then sprayed her vagina and anus with the insecticide-like substance, using his fingers to put the substance inside her vagina.” People v. Wallace, 14 Cal. App. 4th 651

  6. I feel the same, despairing feeling of helplessness as females are systematically violent violated and murdered.
    This was a confronting piece but so sadly common now. Australia is no different. The domestic violence assaults alone are horrendous and we’re losing two women a week to murder from male hands.
    I don’t know what else to say. It’s so numbing I’ve been finding it hard to write, although I feel incensed on a daily basis.
    Lots of love to you, Cathy and thanks for writing such a hard piece. xx

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