Jarso Yohannes Adem's acid attack was part of a trend

Jarso Yohannes Adem has admitted he threw battery acid on his former girlfriend in St. Louis Park because he couldn't handle her rejection.

It's the kind of growing violence we usually read about coming out of places like Afghanistan, South Asia or Africa, where the perpetrators are often men trying to exercise violent control over women.

Shannon Drury, spokeswoman for the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Women, said Adem's is the first acid attack she's heard of in the Twin Cities. And while the attack was heinous, and understandably drew the attention of local news media, it's part of a much larger problem: In 2008, women were the victims in an estimated 4.8 million intimate partner related assaults and rapes, and most of those never make headlines.

"If this man had punched his girlfriend in the face for ignoring him, no one would have noticed," Drury said.

Here are some of the attacks that made headlines this year:

Nola Armstrong, 11, and Adrian Bennett, 10, had acid tipped on their heads from two floors up in an Chicago apartment building in August. Armstrong's mother says the teenager was mad at her daughter because she rejected his advances.

Fredrick Rogers was arrested in Palm Bay, Fla., after he allegedly threw acid on an unidentified woman and a 14-year-old boy while they were in a car.

Derri Dias Velarde was attacked in suburban Phoenix.
Derri Dias Velarde was attacked in suburban Phoenix.

Derri Dias Velarde, a 41-year-old divorced mother of five, was burned Sept. 2 in suburban Phoenix after an unknown woman threw acid in her face for no apparent reason.

Ruben Olivares is being sought by New York City police after he threw acid on a man he caught having a sexual tryst with his teenage transgendered girlfriend in August.

Lorena De La Cruz, a 41-year-old elementary school teacher in South Texas, was attacked by two men throwing acid while she drove home one day from school with her 8-year-old child in April.

Charlis Harris was charged in March with aggravated assault, heinous battery and unlawful use of a weapon after she threw acid on another woman during an argument, and also fired a gun at her.

Carrie Taylor was attacked when she was seven months pregnant.
Carrie Taylor was attacked when she was seven months pregnant.

Carrie Taylor's boyfriend, Mario Mendez, was charged in January after a December attack in which the seven-months-pregnant woman was burned with caustic drain cleaner in Mobile, Ala.

In one sensational story out of Vancouver, Wash., Bethany Storro recently revealed she'd lied about a black woman tossing acid on her face, and instead said she'd done the damage to herself -- apparently in a ploy to win sympathy and donations so she could go on a massive shopping spree.

Bethany Storro's acid attack was a hoax.
Bethany Storro's acid attack was a hoax.
Image via YouTube

Drury said Storro's hoax represents a huge setback for women who are the real victims of assault, whether from an acid attack, a beating or shooting. It feeds into lingering suspicion that all domestic violence claims are without merit.

"Many feel that victims manipulate their stories for attention, sympathy, or advantage in legal proceedings," she said. "Perpetrators believe that their behavior is 'normal,' and we all just go on our merry way."

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >