It’s a familiar story

A girl meets a guy and a relationship developed in the winter of 2000. They lived together off and on during that period. Most likely there was the usual give and take, but by the summer of 2004 the relationship was ending.

Instead of moving out and moving on, the two continued to live together. By 2005, there was the first known violent episode- shoving and closing a door on an ankle.

Over the course of the relationship, as usual the couple learn more about each other. She learned that he was living in the US illegally, and that he may have fled the United Kingdom to evade some type of trouble there. She learned that he could be charming, but wasn’t always truthful. And that he did have some involvement with drugs, a problem with alcohol and possibly theft. And she learned that he also used the names “Robert Richardson” and “Nathan Rowan” sometimes. And most likely she learned that some people liked him, but that some people didn’t like or trust him. Things that if learned at the beginning, may have stopped any relationship. But learned one tidbit at a time after the relationship had already begun- that lessens the impact.

The two continue to share a residence off and on, the next known incident was in Jan. 2007. According to the girl she comes home one day and he is drunk. An argument allegedly developed and items were thrown at her, she was tackled to the ground and punched.  She did not call police.

She did move out of the residence and she allegedly did try to tell him the relationship was over and she did not want to see him again.

Then the phone calls began. The guy leaves messages about how he cannot live without her and threatening to harm himself. But she didn’t call him back.

Then the calls turn more sinister, with the threats aimed  toward the girl and toward her sister and her sister’s pets. At that point two sisters take it court. They asked for and were granted temporary protection orders on March 6.

At first she did not want to file charges against him, but she soon changed her mind and decided to pursue criminal charges. By this time her sister was also receiving phone calls, threats and the phone calls and threats to the girl continue.

However nothing could be done on the protection order, because police had been unable to locate the guy to serve the protection order on him.

The girl took what actions she could to protect herself. She moved out.  She worked at home part of the time. She emailed her coworkers and advised them of the situation and asked them to keep an eye out for the boyfriend, stressing that he was not a danger to them- but he was a danger to her. She even made copies of the protection order and asked her coworkers to serve him with the order if he showed up at work.

Her name was Rebecca Griego. She was 26 years old.  And eventually she did have to return to work. And she was at work on April 2, 2007 when her ex-boyfriend Jonathan Rowan showed up.

First he shot her, then he shot himself.

Timeline of victim and attacker                                  
British loner kills ex-girlfriend at US university            UW victim did want to press charges against ex-boyfriend                                                                         
UW killer was a man of many tales, friends say          Man who killed UW woman had aliases, passports
Killer eluded police with fake names 

Of course there is much more to the story than what I have written here. Information about Rebecca Griego, the kind of person she was and her accomplishments. And there is more information on  the man who was known as Jonathan Rown, what was known about him and what wasn’t known. But reduced to the domestic violence issues, it is a familiar story. A reality that many people still live in.                        

Many think that domestic violence is a daily pattern of behavior. It can be, but doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it happens, then days weeks months or even years go by. Then it happens again. Often it seems minor- throwing something, a push and shove, a slap- no permanent damage, it may take time but will often be dismissed. There is usually a reason- they were upset about something else, they were tired, they were under the influence….. they were angry.  That explains it, right???

An apology and some charm, time goes by and nothing more happens- you guess it wasn’t so bad. Then it happens again. Soon it happens more frequently and the episodes get worse. But by then you are in the ‘habit’. You love, you excuse, you even lie about it. It is just something peculiar to them. They are nice people. It’s not so bad……really. Most of the time they are good to you. But it keeps getting worse.        

The farther you go- the harder it will be to get away. The farther you go, the more they learn about how to reel you back in. And it reinforces the fact that if they try hard enough, they can most likely get you back. And the more frustrated they are if it doesn’t work.

I was going to write about workplace safety and domestic violence, but this time- Seattle gets it. There are more articles out there on this case than I have ever seen about domestic violence. They are good articles, with a lot of info and tips on domestic violence, stalking, and workplace safety. So instead of writing it up, I am going to give the articles and just say that if you see anything in this situation that reminds you of your own situation or of the situation of someone you know, that I do recommend that you check them out.          

A piece of paper alone can’t stop abuse
How Do You Stop a Stalker From Killing You?
           Check background of potential partner                        Many get away from abusive partners, say experts     Protection order can’t stop person hellbent on doing harm                                                                                  No guarantee of safety from stalker                            Advocates for domestic violence victims: Stand up to battery          

I believe there are things a person can do to increase their own safety in stalking and/domestic violence situations. First- recognition of the stalking behavior. Second- honestly acknowledging the risk and dangers it poses. Third- becoming proactive in your own safety- reach out for help- with law enforcement, domestic violence agencies, family and friends. Fourth- recognize that at times you will have to become your own advocate…. press charges, attend court hearings, obtain evidence wherever possible, relate what you know in a calm and accurate manner.  And there may be times when you will have to insist on recognition of the danger you are facing. Last and probably most important- you have to remember that although the actions you are taking may get the perpetrator in ‘trouble’, it is actually their own actions that are causing their problems. You are only responding to their actions.  When your life is at risk, you can no longer provide them with excuses.                                                                            

And then these articles are more to do with how we as a society can work to promote safety. For instance, do you know what your company’s policy is on domestic violence and the relationship to work? Does it promote the victims safety as well as the other employees? How do you handle it when you learn that someone you know has been accused of domestic violence? Or has been a victim of domestic violence?

CNN shooting highlights safety in public workplaces   Domestic violence can be reduced                             Advocates for domestic violence victims: Stand up to battery          

This one was sent to me by an anonymous person and I want to thank them for thinking of how it relates this blog and for the kind words they had to say. Not only the domestic violence case, but the articles that have followed it provide valuable information about the issues. I apologize for the delay in posting it due to my physical limitations, but I also want them to know that without their assistance I probably would have missed it.



  1. April 11, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    […] a confrontation with her ex-boyfriend.  But eventually she had to return to work.  Check out HSH’s post to find out what happened […]

  2. becky J said,

    April 18, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Hi home, i helped “restart” the domestic violence awareness committee at my work, im a RN at a local hospital, they have had this committee for several years but had not met in over 5, i started seeing problems due to my own violent marriage, but mostly because of a co worker who was leaving her own violent marriage in 2006, and the affect it had on all of us working with her, so our committee focused on how to assist your coworkers that are in violent situations, we gave 14 meetings for our entire staff regardless of there department because it wasnt teaching us how to deal with patients in the situation it was teaching how to deal with each other and all the dynamics involved, we included in the teaching committee, myself a survivor as well as a staff nurse, a social worker, a security guard, a unit manager who has dealt with a few of her staff going thru this situation, and the community educator from our domestic sexual assult outreach center, people werent happy to be attending “another” mandatory meeting but by the end of our hour half of them were crying and the other half were so shocked by the details there mouths were hanging to the floor, and our evaluations proved that it was a success because all of them requested that it be made a mandatory yearly meeting and to “please make it longer than an hour, too much important info for only 1 hour” we had over 20 people come forward as victims who seeked help, and 3 people ask how to get help for themselves because after our meeting they realized they were abusers, and we had countless staff asking for more information on how to help someone they know…..after our education we counted and we educated over 700 people. We video taped the meeting for the few that were unable to attend i have yet to watch it but if its any good id like to try and get it transfered to DVD and maybe email it to you if you are interested??? you can email me at and let me know or just let me know on here….

  3. May 18, 2007 at 12:40 am

    […] 18th, 2007 at 12:40 am (Domestic Violence) Back in April I wrote about Rebecca Griego and her efforts to leave her boyfriend. About how she did everything she was supposed to do, and […]

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