Jealousy didn’t kill Maria Jose Alvarado – Her Boyfriend’s Abuse Did

The head lines are flooding the internet; a young woman, who happened to be a beauty pageant winner, in Honduras has been killed out of rage and jealousy.

The problem?

Jealousy isn’t what killed her. Her boyfriend (who has confessed) killed her, as in his entitled beliefs and controlling behaviors killed her. Jealousy is a warning sign of an abusive relationship. Jealousy is just one of the common strategies abusers utilize to control their partners and get their way.

Rage didn’t kill her either. Domestic violence is not about a lack of anger management skills, though it may appear that way. But not all abusive behavior comes off as angry. Abuse does however always have at least traces of control. Because that’s what abuse is. Abuse/intimate partner abuse/domestic violence are relationships categorized by coercive control in which one partner engages in at least one form of abuse to establish and maintain control over the other.

Ms. Alvarado was very, very young. Not even 20 years old. She was a teenager, an adolescent. And she was murdered. That is what this story is about; the loss of a young life. It is a terrible, unnecessary fate and intimate partner homicides happen in all parts of the world, across all spectrums of society. To describe Ms. Alvarado’s death as anything other than intimate partner abuse is not only an injustice to her but is also potentially withholding life-saving information from so many people, including many young people.

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