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Mark Dorch is the suspect who has been charged with the death of Mary “Unique” Spears, the Detroit woman who was shot and killed after rejecting a man’s advances. Two men and three women who were outside at the American Legion Louis Post No. 375 were also wounded as Dorch allegedly sprayed the area in bullets. 38-year-old Dorch was first charged with first degree murder and assault with intent to murder, among other charges. His trial will begin on Febuary 9th.

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According to the police, Dorch attempted to speak with 27-year-old Spears at the memorial celebration after the funeral of one of Spears’ family members but was unsuccessful and security forced him to leave, bringing him around to the front of the building where the shooting took place. On Wednesday a police official said by email that, while a trial is pending, they won’t speak to Dorch’s motive or the details of his alleged conversation with Spears.

However, as they were celebrating the life of their fallen family member, many of Mary’s family witnessed the exchange and they claim that Dorch harassed her, asking for her name and number and she told him she didn’t wish to speak with him. So…he shot her. Spears had a fiance (who fought for her that evening), three sons, ages 8, 4 and 1.

Spears’ killing resurfaced an issue that women have never stopped dealing with: street harassment. And with the recent commentary around a street harassment social experiment turned viral video–The Hollaback video–the world is able to see what it’s like to be a woman.

Street harassment is a real issue that many women have to deal with everyday. I often have anxiety on the streets of New York City when I’m catcalled and try my best to ignore. After my refusal or attempt to ignoring them, I’ve heard racial slurs thrown at me, of course the word b*tch was spit at me and there’s the ever-popular and more descriptive, “fat b*tch.” It never gets easier to handle how men handle our rejection. This killing of Mary Spears is just one reported piece of proof that women have to be conditioned to be cautious:

Never leave your drink unattended at a club.

Never accept a drink from a stranger.

Don’t dress too revealing.

Don’t go anywhere alone.

These are things many of us young women have all been warned and taught about from our parents, you know, the same way that young Black men are now being cautioned to think twice before wearing hoodies in the night. It’s ridiculous.

When it comes to women and street harassment, these sad pieces of advice spoken for us to use to “protect ourselves” put the fault on women, instead of holding men accountable. How about when we raise men up, we tell them not to drug women or take advantage of their vulnerability? How about we teach young men to treasure us like we’re princesses and that way it’s a whole lot more organic for us to grow up as queens and in turn continue to be treated as such. That shouldn’t bee too much to ask. Should  it? At least justice is being served.

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