It is well known among social workers and police that a woman’s risk of violence from a partner, including death, increases at the time she breaks up with him. (I am using “him” here, but this applies to both sexes.)
A heart breaking case of such violence is Lauren Ashley, a bubbly 18 year old who had broken up with her boyfriend of three years.
The 18-year-old went to Nathanial Fujita’s home at the request of his mother, her friends believe, because she was worried about her son’s behavior since the breakup and had not been able to get through to him.’Well, he had gone from a kid who was always on the move, always working out … to a kid who was basically at home, lying on the couch, looking miserable,’ said Nathaniel’s uncle, George Mattingly.Nathaniel had stopped hanging out with friends. He was drinking a lot and smoking pot daily.After taking him to see a psychiatrist, his mom thought maybe Lauren could talk some sense into him. And the teen obliged because she, too, had been worried about him.Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477763/Murdered-teen-Lauren-Astley-went-ex-boyfriend-night-killed-mom-asked-reach-him.html#ixzz2ixDAZWgh
Out of such a horrible act, though, some good may be done following Lauren’s death, as her state has instituted classes in high schools informing students about what an abusive relationship is, and many (a high percentage) of the youngsters admit to having been involved in such a relationship at least once.
The students are also educated on setting boundaries and about never being alone with anyone with whom they have broken up with. Lauren’s motives for going to see Nate were kindness and compassion, and Nate’s mother never dreamed she was sending this girl to her death by asking her to talk to Nate…but that’s exactly what happened.
Not all “break ups” are traumatic or violent, but everyone in my estimation needs to be cautious when a break up is acrimonious or the relationship has been abusive, even if in a non-physically violent way. Apparently the red flags of abuse were in the relationship of Lauren and Nate, he was possessive, and controlling. She had broken up with him many times before, but like many women and girls in abusive relationships she was manipulated by Nate to take him back.
In a 48 Hours program I viewed on this case last night, Lauren’s mother admitted the red flags had been seen in the relationship, but no one knew just how serious they were. Nate’s defense at trial was “mental illness” (depression) that made him not aware of what he was doing. The jury didn’t buy it, as he killed her, cleaned up the scene, loaded her body into a car, drove her to a swamp to dispose of her body, and then hid her car.
I don’t doubt that he was depressed when she broke up with him as his control over her had finally ended and he suffered depression as a “narcissistic injury” and it enraged him to finally and completely loose control over her. If he couldn’t have her, no one could, and he tried to hide his guilt, but failed miserably to do so. I’m glad the jury didn’t buy his and his family’s defense of “mental illness” as why he did the crime. He did the crime because he was angry because he had lost control of his victim. Even severely depressed people do not usually become violent to this extent. I believe he was personality disordered, but even though some red flags were waving, no one saw the meaning in these flags until it was too late for Lauren. God rest her soul and comfort both families who lost a child that bloody night.
I sincerely hope that the “break up violence” and abuse classes being taught now as a result of Lauren’s death will prevent some other young girl or young man from suffering through abusive relationships, or from break up violence.