I See You, Chahnaz Kebaier

Last month, Chapel Hill's collective heart broke as another woman was killed in a completely avoidable case of "domestic" violence in front of Scroggs Elementary School. You can read Katelyn Ferral's coverage in the Chapel Hill News for more background about the man who repeatedly threatended to kill his wife, Chahnaz Kebaier, who was a postdoctoral researcher at UNC, should she take their two children away from him. As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear why she would have wanted to do just that.

Her abuser violated another toothless court order when he showed up at Scroggs and shot her while she was trying to pick her kids up from school. In spite of witnesses calling 911 about his erratic and threatening behavior and a June 2011 protective order, Judge Lunsford Long gave the father joint custody in November. If anyone can explain this to me, please do. Otherwise I am getting more and more reinforcement for the rumors I have heard about Orange County being a bad place for women to get divorced. (One friend of mine actually moved to Durham for the preferable courts until her divorce was finalized.)

Fortunately, Beth Posner, legal aid attorney and UNC law professor, has a positive message about how we can help prevent the next tragedy: Speak out. Here's an excerpt of her recent commentary on WCHL:

The CDC tell us that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.  Based on these numbers, we can assume that there are mothers who drop their children off at our schools each day who are living with partners who abuse them.

Abuse may be verbal or physical, it may be control of finances, threats regarding immigration status, isolation from family and friends, or sexual coercion or assault.

Saying this can or can't happen here doesn't acknowledge its pervasive nature and doesn't bring women experiencing it into our conversation.

Instead, we must say--"we know you're here." "You are not invisible to us." and "We stand with you." 

This is a direct appeal to you who are experiencing violence or abuse at the hands of a partner.  You live here in Chapel Hill and you are entitled to feel safe.  Your voice is the most important one in our response to domestic violence. 

- Chapelboro.com: You Are Not Invisible, Beth Posner 6/6/12 

I am here to say, I see you, sisters and brothers. Do not be ashamed. You deserve to feel safe and happy. Please call the Family Violence Prevention Center (soon to be the Compass Center) at 919-929-7122, or call the police and get help. 


We always fret about what should have been done after an abuse victim is murdered by their spouse or partner. What can be done before the murder?Not much, it seems. Before the murder are clouds of he-said, she-said, legal filings and perhaps an order forbidding a party to own or possess a gun. Big harry deal, the spouse shows up at some site and shoots the victim....and perhaps later, themselves.And what we find out later is that the victim has (1) told friends and family that they were going to be killed by their abuser, (2) talked often with social workers and violence prevention agencies, (3) obtained several protective orders. Bang. Run away and hide, I guess, because the law is impotent against the abuser.Good old NRA and their outlets at Dicks and Wal Mart.I'd be interested in just what the Family Violence Prevention Center says to a person who's spouse said he/she is going to kill them.

It seems that Chahnaz kebaier did everything she should have done to protect herself, and yet the system failed her. I have two questions:1. Why was this man given ANY custody of the children, based on his documented record of abuse? Chances are, if a man abuses his partner, he will eventually abuse his kids. 2. Why was Cherfaoui able to buy a gun? Was the judge's order not to own a firearm, just a "pretty please," or did it trigger some red flag to come up when the guy tried to purchase a gun?  Knowing that this man could have easily walked right into the school with a gun (he was a parent, he would have been allowed to sign in)  makes me very, very angry. What does the NRA have to say about the second amendment rights of a documented abuser?

Thank you for posting about this murder, Ruby. Domestic violence is all too common. DV crosses all boundaries of class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and obviously Chapel Hill is not immune to it.I was a volunteer with the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County for several years. One frustration we all shared was the lack of a DV shelter in our county. The fact that victims are forced to go to an entierly different community, disrupting children's schooling and familiar surroundings. is shameful. It is also a deterrent to victims actually leaving their abusers--the knowledge that they will have to go to Alamance, Durham, Wake, or even further afield in order to protect themselves and their children makes it even more difficult to take action. A county with as many resources as ours should provide shelter HERE for women, children and men who need it. Elizabeth Waugh-Stewart

I can answer the question about what the NRA would have to say about 2nd amendment rights when these tragedies occur. They say "It is the price we must pay for our freedom and our rights." To read what their board members think about domestic violence and other issues you can go to http://www.meetthenra.org/ You will be reading some disturbing quotes.

I also have a request for anyone who may care about having loaded concealed weapons allowed in our bars and restaurants. I hear the collective gasp!

It will happen unless we all take action.

If you are eating out this weekend ask the restaurant/bar owner/manager to to contact the two Senators
below to let them know they Do not want Concealed Weapons in their place of business. It is a liability to them and a danger to their staff and patrons.

Sen. Berger      Phil.Berger@ncleg.net    919/733-5708

Sen. Apodaca   Tom.Apodaca@ncleg.net   919/733-5745

It is time for everyone to care enough to do something to stop this insanity.

Thank you,

Gail Neely, Executive Director

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence

Today I was verbally harrassed and called a "b*tch" by an acquaintance who lives in my neighborhood, who continued to harangue me even after I got off the bus and walked away from him. I am still processing the indicent and how I need to respond to the person (who later semi-apologized by e-mail) but I just want to say what a wake-up call this was for me. I considered gender-based harassment something that hapenned to "other people," not strong women like myself. But now I feel uncomfortable about just walking down my own street, wondering if I will have to see this person. It's really shocking that anyone (not to mention someone who seems to consider himself progressive) feels it is OK to harrass and call us names because we are women of some category or another.As I said, I am still thinking about how handle this, but I couldn't avoid seeing the association between these issues.

the Yates incident. Good luck, Ruby.


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