“You don’t deserve anything in this damn world. Kill yourself.” From the roof of the top floor of the building in Boston in which he has lived for two years, Alexander reads one last time the message sent a few days ago by Inyoung, his girlfriend. He then puts his mobile phone in the back right pocket of his pants, walks slowly, as if weighted down, and throws himself into the void.

Graduation day from Boston College where he is a brilliant 22-year-old biology student, this May 19, 2019 should have been a party for Alexander Urtula. Two hours before the ceremony where his parents await him, he has nevertheless chosen to end his life. The young man was fragile and with a depressive tendency, will say his relatives. But in reality, their angry gazes are turned towards Inyoung You, the 22-year-old Korean girl, a student in the same specialty as him, with whom he has been infatuated for eighteen months. They suspect her, under her angelic face, of having regularly dug into his psychological weakness, and of having methodically pushed him towards this fatal gesture which has just won.

Inyoung You knew she was controlling Alexander, including the peaks of his depression

They have arguments, and will transmit them to the prosecutor Rollins, in charge of the file for the county of Suffolk whose seat is Boston. The investigation will reveal that during the two months preceding the suicide of the young man, “the couple exchanged more than 75,000 text messages, of which approximately 47,000 were sent by Mademoiselle You”. Many “clearly display the one-sided power dynamic embedded in their relationship.” There are “repeated, cruel attacks, aimed at the will, the conscience and the psyche of this man. Miss You knew that she was controlling Alexander, and in particular the peaks of his depression”.

“She deliberately exacerbated his suicidal thoughts with abuse, threats of mutilation if he did not comply with her wishes. She frequently encouraged him to kill himself. She wrote him regularly: ‘I don’t love you; nobody don’t love you; you’re fat; go kill yourself.'” By this means, she had total and complete control over him”, asserts the prosecutor in her report. type of abuser, she warns. An abuser is not limited by his gender or the gender of his partner. There are many forms of domestic violence, but it is always about power and control.”

The young woman was sentenced to two and a half years in prison suspended and ten years of probation

Indicted in 2019 for manslaughter, the tyrannical young woman first fled to Korea. For two years, she fought the charges against her in hopes of appealing to a higher court. Before coming to his senses, last year, in the format of “plead guilty”, as part of an agreement with the justice system allowing him to avoid jail time. “This agreement with the defense lawyer was concluded in close consultation with the victim’s family, in order to protect the memory of Alexandre, a son, a brother and a loving uncle”, recalls the prosecutor.

“Today marks the end of a two-year hell that turned Madame You’s life upside down,” also welcomed the latter’s lawyer, Me Steven Kim. On Thursday, December 23, 2021, the young woman was therefore sentenced to two and a half years in prison suspended and ten years of probation, as well as three hundred hours of community service and an obligation of care.

“Words matter. And sometimes they kill,” concluded the prosecutor

Echoing the case of Michelle Carter, who had been sentenced to fifteen months in prison in 2017 for the same facts, but who had, on her release from prison, run the TV sets and accepted the production of a film by HBO (American channel producer, among others, of Sex and the City and Game of Thrones), the agreement concluded with the magistrate stipulates this time that Inyoung You will not be able to participate in any media coverage and that he is prohibited from shooting profit from the case by telling his side of the story in documentaries, press conferences or other media events.

The lesson of this terrible story? It is still prosecutor Rollins (since appointed by Joe Biden to be one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest court in the country) who draws it with wisdom and precision: “The humiliating, dirty language others, verbal abuse in general, can have a profound impact on people. Words matter. And sometimes they kill.”

Inyoung You © Michael Dwyer/AP/SIPA

Lara T.
Lara T.

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