Remembering Maren Sanchez and Recognizing Our Gender Violence Culture

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This article was written by Jaci Kline and myself and was first published on Her Campus Bryant (http://www.hercampus.com/school/bryant/remembering-maren-sanchez)

 

Maren Sanchez, a 16-year old from Milford, Connecticut, woke up Friday morning excited for her first prom taking place that night. Just like any other teenage girl, she looked forward to the pampering of the hair and the makeup and the nails-topping it all off with a gorgeous dress and heels. She arrived at school that morning excited to mingle and talk about the night’s festivities. But what she was confronted with was like no other morning. Chris Plaskon, a boy in her class, stabbed Maren to death. Though teachers and nurses ran to help her there was nothing that could have been done. Social media was buzzing and word was spreading. Later that evening, Maren’s mother asked for all of her friends to put on their dresses, do their hair and makeup, and meet at Milford’s most beautiful beach. A ceremony was held in Maren’s honor and her friends posed with the dress that Maren had planned to wear that night. 

Maren was not your average 16-year-old. She was a beautiful musician, a friend to all, class president, and the manager of athletic teams. She had awesome grades and was loved by everyone. This story touches hearts all over the country. Our best friends have been by our sides since we were little girls. Losing them would be a day that we cannot fathom. We fill with tears thinking of Maren’s family and friends that are grieving the loss of someone so very important and special to them. Our town, Milford, is small and everyone knows each other. When our mom called us from one-hundred miles away, we could not help but want to run home and hug her. We rushed to our phones, calling friends, telling them how thankful we are to have them.

 

The loss of Maren is an eye opener to all. Violence solves nothing. Saying I love you means everything. We, being at school in Rhode Island, are feeling very distant from our home.

 

This act of violence is nothing short of the culture of violence against women.  According to PBS, biologists cite the male hormone testosterone as a kick-starter for aggressive behavior in men. While the hormone affects male attitudes and the propensity toward violence, they stress that as humans, we make individual choices whether to be aggressive or not.  This culture of violence against women did not evolve overnight, it has been occuring for centuries and is even still highly accepted and even expected in various cultures.  Today it is clear our culture is completely driven by the media.  From music videos, to viral “jokes”, to movies, and even the graphic designs on clothing, violence against women is portrayed “positively” and encouraged.  Don’t believe us? One Dolce & Gabanna ad, since pulled, showed a shirtless man pushing a woman to the ground while four other men watch, and wait for . . . what? Their turn?

 

What Plaskon did was his choice.  He chose to act violently against Maren during a situation where he was not getting what he wanted.  He stepped up in a culture that provokes violence-but instead of advocating for a better culture, he aided in evolving it.

 

Parents and guardians should not have to kiss and hug their kids goodbye in the morning as they get on the school bus and question if that is the last time they are going to see them.  No girl, or boy, should have to wonder if they say “no” to a request that it will result in their death.  No girl, or boy, should have to walk to their car at night, heart racing, and eyes scrambling the parking lot ensuring nobody is waiting to attack.  No culture of violence should be evident.  Yes, we are realistic, and we understand violence is just a part of every day life…but why? Why aren’t we asking ourselves “why?”.  Why are we allowing these types of things to occur and then not putting in corrective measures? Why are we allowing for so many errors but no trials before hand to try and fix it? Why?

 

Rest in peace Maren, a new beautiful angel. You were truly an amazing individual and have instilled a lot of empowerment in girls like us to destroy this culture of violence and create a positive one.  We’re mad.  We’re angry.  We’re sad. This culture isn’t going down without a fight.

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