Sex & Gender

Toxic masculinity is deadly: Brooklyn teen was killed for rejecting man’s advance

December 13, 2017
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#MasculinitySoFragile. And predatory. And deadly.

This was proven yet again when a Brooklyn teenager was murdered after spurning the advances of a grown man. 25-year-old Taariq Stephens was in court this week after fatally shooting 16-year-old Shemel Mercurius 3 times inside her Brooklyn apartment last year, authorities said. Mercurius used her dying breaths to tell cops Stephens’ name, and that he killed her for turning him down, while struggling through a 20-minute wait for an ambulance, according to the New York Daily News.

Shemel, who was a junior at Edward R. Murrow High School, was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin when Stephens, whom she had met only a week prior at a daycare center, allegedly showed up at the Brooklyn Ave. apartment on May 26, 2016 and shot her with a submachine gun.

“There was a 3-year-old male child … covered in blood crying next to the victim,” said Sgt. Ryan Habermehl, the responding officer.

Drifting in and out of consciousness, Shemel told another detective that Stephens wanted her to be his girlfriend, but she wasn’t interested.

This isn’t the first time a Black woman or girl has been killed for turning down a man’s advances, and, unfortunately, it won’t be the last. Until we start teaching men that no one’s body belongs to them except their own, especially not the bodies of children, and allow them to deal with rejection and negative feelings with emotions other than rage, none of our children are safe.

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