RIP Jana Mackey

// 8 July 2008

Jana Mackey Feministing and many other blogs carry the incredibly sad story of Jana Mackey, a feminist activist who worked to stop violence against women, volunteered on a rape crisis helpline, and who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend last weekend. Jana lived in Kansas, where she was a law student. She was 25 years old.

Her mother said of her:

“She was all about public advocacy, particularly women’s rights. She volunteered for anything that would impact the world in a more positive way”

The man accused of killing Jana, a 46 year old artist, went on to kill himself in prison last weekend. He had served prison time in 2004 for assaulting a former girlfriend.

As Veronica at Viva La Feminista put it:

“We, the world, the feminist movement, the anti-violence movement, has lost a shining star”

RIP Jana.

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 8 July 2008 at 6:50 pm

It is saddening to learn that yet another man has deliberately and cold-bloodedly murdered a woman just because she was female. Make no mistake male violence against women and girls is endemic and ‘normal.’ The only difference in this case is the fact the late Ms. J. Mackey was an activist who strongly challenged male violence against women.

Men who commit violence against women are never, ever deviant beings instead they take the notion of male privilege to its extremity wherein they believe it is their right to ‘punish’ women and girls if they deviate from male-defined misogynies.

lozzy // Posted 9 July 2008 at 10:53 am

God that’s horrible. RIP Jana.

Saranga // Posted 9 July 2008 at 2:17 pm

God, that’s awful. I hate this world sometimes.

tamara // Posted 9 July 2008 at 2:47 pm

Jana was a beautiful, talented inspiring woman and a wonderful friend to me.She made a mark on this country.Lawerence is a sad place today as she’s laid to rest.

Dawn // Posted 9 July 2008 at 7:47 pm

It is a terrible thing that happend to Jana. She was a very smart woman. And, when I went to high school with her she always tried to see the best in people which is why everyone loved her. Jana we will all miss you. RIP

Anne Onne // Posted 9 July 2008 at 9:48 pm

It’s really sad, really needless. Our sphere is left the poorer for her murder, which by its very definition is a reinforcement of why we need to keep fighting.

Thank you, Jana, for doing so much. May the rest of us work hard to continue her legacy.

monty // Posted 10 July 2008 at 1:39 am

A tragic waste, seemingly a victim of a an mentally ill individual, with a history of domestic violence, alcoholism and depression. Jennifer, you say a victim just because she was female? Please elaborate if you could. It seems to me jana was most at risk because she had been close to him, not just because she was a woman.

As for ‘never, ever deviant’ , this man painted visceral works, such as a saw blade going through an angel’s heart, “Something with sharp teeth, just sort of a figure spewing blood,” or a “Another figure with nails protruding through the head,”. Alarm bells ring. Jana was the object of his obssession, his muse, and the tragic victim and this man’s psychotic tendencies

Grace // Posted 10 July 2008 at 9:32 am

I am so saddened to read this and so sorry for the loss that Jana’s family and friends have suffered.

I’d like to echo Jennifer Drew is saying that this is another example of gender based hate crime, as yet not recognised in general terms of criminal justice and academia. I think everyone here will recognise it, though what little comfort it brings.

Headey // Posted 10 July 2008 at 1:07 pm


“Men who commit violence against women are never, ever deviant.” ??

They certainly are in my book. I hope the world never allows such behaviour to be considered as normal. True, there are parts of the world, and parts of our own history, where that appears to hold true, but I’d like to be optimistic and believe that most men do not hold that view.

However, my brow did furrow when I read that the ex-boyfriend had been convicted of attacking another woman. Did she know this? If not, it’s frightening to think how charming this man must have been to hoodwink such an intelligent woman. I hope it wasn’t a case of knowing but thinking she could “change him”.

Grace // Posted 11 July 2008 at 5:30 pm

Hey Headey, I think what Jennifer was meaning to say was that men who do this aren’t just the one in a million ‘deviant’ whom we can shrug of as being ‘abnormal’ in a society of people who would never dream of doing such a thing, thereby restoring our faith that there is not actually an epidemic of global violence against women, and it’s really just a load of whacked out feminazi nonsense…

Wow that was a long sense! What I mean to say is that, and I think Jenn meant this too, men who commit these crimes appear to be ‘normal every day guys’, who can not be spotted at 20 paces like the rape-is-a-rarity media would have us believe.

Dwys // Posted 12 July 2008 at 7:54 pm

Gosh how sad to read this, i have worked with women and children affected by domestic abuse for six years now and it’s so frustrating to keep reading these stories week after week. Two women continue to be killed each week in the UK through domestic violence.. and they are only the reported ones. Thought are with the family on this one but more women and men need to get together and face the real issues of domestic abuse. The statistics have not changed… so what needs to?

D x

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