Raleigh, North Carolina (TFC) – When I arrived home from work April 5th at 4pm everything seemed normal. It was sunny out, I sat on my back porch smoking a cigarette and editing an article about women’s right to safety. I had to go pick up my mother from work at 5:30pm. We got back around 6pm. When we got back there were two cruisers in our parking lot.
The officers were talking to a distraught woman, the victim’s sister, and a man who was holding her up. The only thing I heard her say in passing was that she ‘knew she was dead and just wanted to see her.’ We went into the house and watched from the kitchen window. It was hard not to look on, we were afraid and curious. Ambulances arrived and a man was taken out on a stretcher, who I now know as Elhadji Diop, who is in the hospital and will be charged with two counts of first degree murder upon his release. He wasn’t moving.
The distraught woman wanted to go into the house but the officers wouldn’t let her. The news crews started to show up. My mother went out and asked the family if they wanted to come into our living room, the sun was going down, and it was getting cold. The officers spoke to the families inside our townhouse. This is probably why there wasn’t much information within the first 24 hours. There wasn’t anything for the news to see or overhear.
I kept checking news online April 6th for more information. WRAL (now updated) kept abstractly referring to it as a ‘death investigation’. Then my mother sent me the news that Aminada Drame and her daughter, Fatim Diop, a two year old baby, were murdered. I felt sick to my stomach. I still feel sick about it, everyone around here is talking about it. From where I’m sitting I can see the fence to their patio. A neighbor told my mother he heard them arguing around 3:30. Was I here when it happened? I didn’t hear anything. Their family had just moved in on the 1st of April. We’d only seen them once or twice.
They were looking for Diop because of something he posted on Facebook indicating that he was suicidal. Ed Crump said on ABC11, “he allegedly said he wanted to end his own life, and now it looks like he may be the only one who survives.”
Everyone says their shocked about it, and in a way, it’s shocking to me, too. Just the act of it. That’s how it has been reported on the news, where I was featured walking away from the camera in my Harry Potter backpack. I was a bit shocked viscerally, but I also wasn’t surprised. I study and write about violence against women. This is not a new narrative or a shocking anomaly, and it’s not breaking news. How can it be breaking news when it happens all the time?
You know what would be breaking news? If someone announced they were looking for the solution to end male violence, because stories like these are not isolated tragedies. Men don’t up and become killers one day. Male violence is normalized and ubiquitous in our culture, it’s saturated in our media, men continue to kill their wives, daughters, strangers, elementary school kids and we continue to be “shocked” by the “breaking news”.
What does a serious conversation even look like anymore?