RIP Amy Leigh Barnes and Duanna Johnson

// 14 November 2008

Amy LeighThere have been two horrific murders in the past week. 19 year old Amy Leigh Barnes was found stabbed to death in the flat that was her first home away from her parents last Saturday morning. Her former boyfriend, a 21 year old aspiring footballer, has been charged with Amy’s murder and his mother, a policewoman, has been arrested on charges of assisting him.

DuannaThen, on Sunday night in Memphis, Duanna Johnson was shot dead in the street. Duanna was in the process of bringing charges agains the Memphis police for a brutal assault (she was beaten in the face by a police officer who had wrapped handcuffs around his fist, an attack that was caught on CCTV). Witnesses saw three men fleeing the scene of her murder, but there are some suspicious circumstances which, if true, may implicate the police. Helen has more over at BoP.

There is so little we can say when awful things like this happen, except that our thoughts are with the family and friends of these two women. And that it seems apposite to take a moment to mention two new initiatives related to preventing male violence against women. Please let’s all lend our support to the people who are working to prevent things like this from happening.

First, a new grassroots online project, Our Voices Matter (OVM):

OVM is a project of the Artemis Fund, Inc. which is a non-profit that works to promote the human rights of women and girls and to end violence against women in all its forms.

OVM is a collection of testimony by individuals who have been harmed by prostitution, pornography, and trafficking. OVM seeks to provide a safe space for survivors to give voice to how prostitution, pornography, and trafficking have impacted their lives.

MWRSecondly, Millon Women Rise are launching their 2009 campaign with an event in Bradford on the 25th November (the UN Day to End Violence Against Women). Speakers will address the systematic rape, torture and mutilation of women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has continued although much of the country is now at peace. For more information see MWR 2009’s Facebook page.

Image of Amy Leigh from Manchester Evening News. Image of Duanna via transgirlriot

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 14 November 2008 at 11:40 am

But these stories are not ‘newsworthy’ because they are common and only when a woman is reported as having committed violence will the media report this and simultaneously demonise the woman/women perpetrators. Given male violence is so common it is not newsworthy we must insist on using the correct terminology by putting the word ‘male’ in front of violence against women. Unless we do so, the public’s perception will remain that women are accountable and responsible for men’s calculated and deliberate acts of cruelty and violence against women and children. Remember women perpetrators are never allowed the luxury of having their gendered identity hidden. So, we must not hide male accountability.

If we hide male accountability, this will reinforce belief it is ‘natural’ for men to own women and children as their sexualised property.

Shea // Posted 14 November 2008 at 4:37 pm

They are both horrendous cases. Amy’s case reminds me of Sally Ann Bowman. What a tragic waste of life in both cases. I hope they put the man who did this and his mother as an accomplice, away for a very long time.

As for Duanna Johnson, I really hope if it turns out the police were involved then they are brought to account fast. That poor woman showed real courage trying to bring the b*stards to justice, it just goes to show how vulnerable trans women, especially of colour are. Its an especially poignant reminder in light of Obama’s victory that the USA (and UK) have a long, long way to go before we can call ourselves a tolerant or just society.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of both women.

Lynne Miles // Posted 15 November 2008 at 3:23 pm

Jennifer I think you’re right and I’m editing the article accordingly. Thanks for pointing it out.

Alyssa // Posted 19 November 2008 at 4:19 am


Thank you for raising Duanna’s plight to the national awareness in the UK. Bindel and co. must be having kittens to see her life as a woman being respected here.

That said, are you are exploitig a dead trans woman to highlight orgs that address violence against women, when in fact these orgs would likely not consider them women, or worthy of consideration? Inquiring minds want to know.

It is your duty to disclose the trans woman friendliness record of any organization you present like this. Anything less is simple appropriation.

And damn tasteless, too. Even for all you got right in this post.

Lynne Miles // Posted 19 November 2008 at 6:42 pm


You’re right, and I apologise. It was not my intention to exploit the terrible murder of Duanna to publicize these organizations which are not trans-friendly, rather it was my naivety and lack of awareness in not double checking – I just assumed they’d be open to all women. And after the past year or so on this site I really should know better than to assume. The reason I included them at all is that it seemed at least to be a way to offer a glimmer of hope after having written a post about two such horrifying murders.

To the best of my knowledge and memory of the march, Million Women Rise is trans-inclusive (definitely some googling to check this out has confirmed that at least some fundraisers for the event are explicitly trans friendly). As for Our Voices Matter – I couldn’t find any information to say one way or the other. I have emailed both organizations for clarification, and as soon as I have better information I will post it. If either of them turn out to be trans-exclusive I will remove the listing from this post as, as you point out, they would then be inappropriate.

Thanks for calling it out, and apologies once again to readers.


Alyssa // Posted 20 November 2008 at 4:26 am

Thank you very much.

Thank you very much.

Thank you very much.

keeley berry // Posted 16 March 2009 at 12:54 am

Amyleigh was my friend, shes missed so much, its un-bareable at times. everyone is going through a hard time right now with it, we all miss her terribly. rest in peace beautiful angel xxxxxxxxxx

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