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12-year-old violently killed by her mother over virginity

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Submitted by Heather Corinna on Sun, 2005-01-16 17:00

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A woman angry with her 12-year-old daughter for having sex forced the girl to drink bleach and sat on her until the child died, a police detective said. The girl's 9-year-old brother was forced to watch the attack, Detective Warren Cotton testified Thursday in a preliminary hearing for Tunisia Archie, 31.

Cotton said Archie... told authorities she was disturbed because ``her daughter told her that she was no longer a virgin.''

She said she poured bleach into Jasmine's mouth and the child vomited, he said, then sat on her until she stopped breathing, Cotton testified.

Archie forced Jasmine's 9-year-old brother Jacorey to watch the attack and ``told him that if he shed a tear that she was going to kill him, too,'' Cotton testified.

It's incredibly hard to comment on a story like this succinctly: it's hard to comment on it at all, because it's just so terrible and tragic.

One of the toughest parts about this is that we know from users at Scarleteen that what Jasmine's mother thought virginity was and what Jasmine did may have been two completely different things. For all we know, Archie masturbated and decided that meant she wasn't a virgin anymore: for all we know, she was raped. Whether or not she actually had any sort of consensual partnered sex, we'll likely never know.

It's possible Jasmine's mother is not a sane person, and it's possible she was an abusive parent already. But it's also possible neither of these things is so, and while something like this isn't at all common, people getting or feeling or behaving very out of control about ideas of virginity and chastity, about teenage sexuality in general is not, sadly, uncommon. There is a long, long history of some heinous atrocities around notions of virginity, and a far longer list of less awful, but still violent and/or abusive aproaches to virginity, to teen sexuality and development, to women's sexuality. As we've said in other places before, in many ways, most ideas about virginity are rooted in gross sexual oppression, in viewing women and their bodies as property, in all kinds of things which are in no way lovely, spiritual nor empowering.

Again, this is obviously an incredibly sad and extreme case, but for the sake of young women like Jasmine, we'd be doing everyone a service by thinking long and hard about the sexual ideals and ideas we espouse and applaud, the many ways in which they have been applied and might be applied still, and how we might all be served by changing the way we look at things and what we subscribe to. It's the very least we can do.

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