Let’s examine what happened to Karla Brada Mendez. What is really ironic and heartbreaking is that there is intense discrimination against and lack of empathy for women who are beaten and raped by their partners if those women also seek help for Substance Use or are known to be Substance Use Disordered. The Elements Behavioral Health website states that, “Recognizing that culturally-ascribed roles and gender expectations affect society’s attitudes toward women with substance abuse.” (SEE: Elements Behavioral Health: Attitudes About Women) Society’s attitude toward these women has to have a significant impact on the lives of women dealing with substance use challenges. It is as if women are expendable if they have a Substance Use Disorder…but few people in society will openly admit to having this bias. Some may not even be aware that they hold women with substance use issues in any lower regard than they hold other women. It is, however, quite apparent that this is the case.
The investigation of the brutal murder of Karla Brada Mendez was evidently delayed due to her being identified as a woman who struggled with Substance Use Disorder, as if that made Karla’s death less worthy of full and immediate investigation. Hometown Station reports, “What took the longest was the official autopsy report,” Hernandez said. “It was deferred for many, many months as they looked into the victim’s medical history and allegations of drug use because she had been in a rehab program.” (SEE: http://www.hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-news/saugus-man-ordered-to-stand-trial-for-girlfriends-death-35247 )
There is no valid reason for the investigation into Karla’s death to have taken any longer or have been any more or less complex than anyone else’s death. She was someone’s daughter; Jaroslava and Hector Mendez’s oldest child. She was a beloved sister and friend. Karla was a human being. Her life mattered. Regardless of her personal and/or public struggles, Karla had a heart of gold and enriched the lives of all who had the blessing to know her. Actually, she dealt with the same issues that many young Americans currently struggle with. According to the CDC, Substance Use Disorder has reached epidemic proportions in this country among young adults and teens. (SEE: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/)
Do we as American parents feel that our sons and daughters lives are worth less (or worthless) just because our children may have fallen into an unfortunate struggle with drinking or with drugs as so very many American teens and young adults have? (SEE: http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/fatal-prescription-americas-pain-pill-epidemic/) No one’s child is immune. The loss of their child is a parent’s worst nightmare regardless of the struggles the child may have. Her death deserved immediate investigation and the only consolation to the heinous delays in Karla’s case is the fact that AA member, Eric Earle has ultimately been sentenced to 26 years to life for killing her.
Domestic violence has also reached epidemic proportions in this society. The ludicrous irony here is that many, many women, who suffer domestic violence and sexual assault by partners and others, may use substances to medicate and to deal with their pain. Does this come as a shock to anyone? In fact, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that, women who have been abused are fifteen times more likely to abuse alcohol and nine times more likely to abuse drugs than women who have not been abused. (SEE: http://www.ncadv.org/files/SubstanceAbuse.pdf)
Still, when people hear that a brutalized or murdered woman may have had a Substance Use problem, they often lump her onto a “pay her no mind” pile. Minds close. Hearts are hardened against the brutalized woman who also struggles with drinking and/or drug use. Women like Karla often face horrendous odds when struggling to overcome substance use and abuse by a violent, often also Substance Use Disordered partner. The NCADV reports, “51% of domestic violence program directors agree that a woman’s use of alcohol can be a barrier to leaving a violent relationship. 87% of domestic violence program directors agree that the risk of intimate partner violence increases when both partners abuse alcohol or drugs.” Society ought to be ashamed rather than placing the blame on these victims. Perhaps the exposure of Karla’s case will cause people to pause and consider themselves, their daughters and loved ones. We are all vulnerable to being affected by the dual epidemics of Substance Use Disorder and Domestic Violence in this country.
Judgmental and misogynistic attitudes held by men and women against women, cause a great number of battered and murdered women who may also struggle with substances to be discounted. What’s worse is that some supposed women’s advocates who work in the fight to end domestic violence (female and male advocates, mind you) may also be guilty of harboring discriminatory, gender-based attitudes against women who are beaten and/or killed if those women also used any substances. Preposterously, many AA members themselves level judgments and cast aspersions onto Karla Brada, the murder victim instead of onto Eric Earle the AA member who is guilty of the crime of murder. Their most heinous condemnation is saved for Karla, the victim.
The most vociferous AA members blame Karla for her own murder by making obscenely obtuse and abusive statements such as, “She was not sober when she died!” This overtly victim-blaming statement is akin to those who question, “What was she wearing?” when they hear that a woman has been raped. To this day, women who are victims of sexual assault are still blamed for being raped—and now the further harm to female victims is often carried out online. The Think Progress web site highlights a recent example of the victim-blaming attitudes that survivors of sexual assault often encounter once they come forward about the crime that was perpetrated against them. (SEE: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/10/23/2826331/victim-blaming-rape-ohio-university/ )
It is extremely revealing to read the typical comments hurled about by AA members regarding the Karla Brada case. It is hardly surprising when one has taken the time to really review and consider the attitude toward women that is reflected in most Old Oxford Group Religion (a.k.a. Alcoholics Anonymous) literature. A recent article by Dr. Stanton Peele, recounts the experiences of Juliet Abram. Juliet explains that she was hurt by her experiences in AA. The article states, “Finally, AA’s misogynistic language and culture permit sexual misconduct and sexual crimes to occur. These nearly always go unreported, as though they are almost expected, which is why concern over 13th stepping is rising to the fore, pushed by my friend Monica Richardson. It has to be halted.” (SEE: AA’s Male Culture)
The following document provides examples of typical comments made by current AA members regarding the murder of their own AA newcomer, Karla Brada Mendez: https://illbefreeordie.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/parents-of-murdered-saugus-woman-sue-aa-comments-as-of-november-20-2014.pdf
So to AA’s members’ question: “Was she sober when she died?”
Are you “sober” or “sane” or “human” when you ask such a question?
Here is a more relevant question: “Did being a long time AA member and meeting-maker help Earle to stay sober or prevent him from going on to murder an AA newcomer in a drunken rage?”
What does that kind of question even mean to sane, reasonable people in the context of Karla being the victim of murder? It means nothing…if one is sane; if one is reasonable. Few of Karla’s bashers ever state the fact that long time AA member and now convicted murderer, Eric Earle was not “sober” when he brutally beat, cut, tortured and murdered AA newcomer Karla Brada. They simply do not question or condemn him at all. Earle’s “sobriety” doesn’t matter to sane and reasonable people…or the jury and judge that found him guilty of 1st degree murder. Still, since “state of sobriety” matters so much to these individuals, why do they fail to make any statements about the long time AA member and murderer’s lack of sobriety? Is this due to misogyny, AA member’s blind loyalty to AA or a combination of the two? No sane or reasonable person can make sense of this dichotomy, however. Only those incurably diseased, dedicated to ‘not-thinking’ and self-professed powerlessness, can make sense or reason of the blatant lack thereof. It is to be expected of them actually.
On Gabrielle Glaser’s website it states, “In fact, more women are turning to alcohol these days than ever before. In Her Best-Kept Secret, journalist Gabrielle Glaser uncovers this hidden-in-plain-sight drinking epidemic – but doesn’t cause you to recoil in alarm. She is the first to document that American women are drinking more often than ever and in ever larger quantities.” (SEE: http://gabrielleglaser.com/her-best-kept-secret/about-the-book/) Suffice it to say, not all, but many battered, sexually abused women turn to substance use in order to suffer through or in some way self-medicate themselves through the abuse. It is not a good solution, but many desperate, isolated and dis-empowered women sadly turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with the torture they endure. Subsequently, many of our friends, daughters, sisters, etc. may turn to or be sent to 12 step meetings for “help”…not knowing of the potential and greater danger that may lie in wait for them there. (SEE:
So, please let’s examine what happened to Karla Brada Mendez. It could quite easily be a situation faced by your own teen, young adult daughter, or vulnerable woman of any age. Remember, young females in our lives do not always disclose to their parents or close family and friends the struggles and private demons such as date rape, domestic violence, substance abuse, etc. that they may be dealing with. Jaraslava Mendez tells us that her Karla never told her of the horrible situation with alcohol, drugs or abuse that she was dealing with. Is your daughter suffering in silence? The chances that women dealing with such crises may also end up in 12 Step rooms mixed with mandated criminals and predators is much higher than most people realize. Laura Tompkins, Addictions Specialist highlights Eric Earle’s disturbing history, “In this case, this particular monster was mandated to AA 12 step meetings over and over and his rap sheet includes attempted murder of his ex-wife (smothering her with a pillow in front of their children) and a restraining order from his own father after he almost beat him to death. Earle spent over 20 years getting away with victimizing vulnerable women in AA financially, physically and emotionally.” (SEE: http://cougarblogger.com/2014/10/27/aa-harbors-murderers/)
48 Hours – The Sober Truth, reveals what happened to Karla Brada Mendez and her AA Member Murderer, Eric Earle: http://tinyurl.com/48HoursTheSoberTruth
Again, examine what happened to Karla Brada Mendez. It could quite easily be a situation faced by your own teen, young adult daughter, or vulnerable woman of any age. Rest assured, if Karla’s parents had known what lie in wait for their precious daughter when she went for help with Substance Use Disorder, they would have never left their daughter to enter those rooms…never. Karla’s life was as precious as any other’s! And so is your daughter’s life; let’s protect her. Let us protect them all. (SEE: http://the13thstepfilm.com/)
Do you know who your children are “meeting” with?
PLEASE SHARE WITH PARENTS EVERYWHERE!