Another burn victim

Fredia Edwards, 39, filed for a protective order against her boyfriend on June 6. In the court documents she alleged that her boyfriend Anthony M. Willoughby, 40, had choked her and hit her in the back of the head. On June 30 th, the order was cancelled at Edwards request as the couple was attempting to get back together.

On Saturday, about 3 am, allegedly the couple began to argue, with Willoughby questioning Edwards about other men. Reportedly the argument was so loud the neighbors heard it. Willoughby then left the room.

Allegedly Willoughby then returned to the home with a cup of gasoline, alleged to have been taken from the fuel tank of a gas powered weed trimmer. Allegedly Willoughby then threw the gasoline on Edwards’ upper body and set her on fire. 

Willoughby then fled the home. Edwards ran to her home a few blocks away, where family members called 911.  

Frieda Edwards remains in the hospital. Some articles say she is in critical condition, some say stable condition. She recieved 2 nd and 3 rd degree burns to her face, chest and arms. Edwards is a mother of three children, two teen boys and a 7 year old girl.

Willoughby was arrested on charges of attempted first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree assault. He appeared at his first court hearing, via closed circuit TV, and requested a public defender. He is being held without bail. Willoughby does have a criminal history, with previous convictions for larceny, drug charges and assault.

Besides her work as a mother, Edwards worked two jobs, attended church, and sang in a gospel group as well as the church choir.,1,1523380.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed

The attack where Fredia Edwards was burned, happened just about a month and a half after she filed for a protective order, and less than a month after she petitioned the court to drop the restraining order. There is no indication in the articles if there were any criminal charges filed with the first complaint.

I feel pretty certain that when she petitioned the court to drop the order, she felt it was safe to reconcile with Willoughby. She likely felt that whatever had happened before was past, and that she was ready to forgive him. But studies do show that if there is one incident of violence, there will be others. And there is a high risk that the violence will escalate. Maybe it will be a short time as in this case- or maybe it will be months or years later. But there is a high risk that it will happen again, and that it may be worse. Forgiveness for past abuse is fine. But with reconciliation, there is an increased risk of more and greater violence.

Yesterday I wrote about Yvette Cade, who was from the same area. Many parallels are being seen, in the two attacks, which seem so similiar.

Three kids, with their mother in the hospital. Likely they aren’t thinking about the way this will change their future. But besides their mother’s pain, the worry about her, there will be major hospital bills, she will be unable to work and support them as she had. She may have physical limitations on her movements, and for a time at least they may have to become her caregivers or helpers.

Fredia Edwards will be suffering acute pain. With burns there is surgery, skin grafts, possibilities of infection, and a long recuperation. Possibility of a changed appearance, which can be a blow to the self esteem. Possible limitations on movements, the list of problems goes on and on. Her future is not destroyed, but it is seriously challenged.

There will also be a strong impact on the community, as they try to understand what happened to one of their own.

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