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Pre-2008 Posts

Today’s Male Terrorism: Man Kills “Girlfriend,” Dismembers Her and Cooks Her Body Parts

Courtesy of Salty:

 A suicide note in the pocket of a man who jumped off the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel late Tuesday led police to the grisly scene of his girlfriend’s murder, where they found her charred head in a pot on the stove, her legs and feet baked in the oven and the rest of her dismembered body in trash bag in the refrigerator, according to police and the couple’s landlord.

The man, Zackery Bowen, a tall man in his mid 20s with long blond hair, claimed in the note to have killed his girlfriend, Adrian “Addie” Hall, on Oct. 5, according to police. Hall was also in her mid 20s.

…Police found the victim’s head burned beyond recognition in a pot on top of the stove, and her legs and feet in the same condition in pans inside the oven, police said.

According to the rest of the article, the guy did this because she was kicking him out of the apartment for cheating on her. 

Link

Discussion

28 thoughts on “Today’s Male Terrorism: Man Kills “Girlfriend,” Dismembers Her and Cooks Her Body Parts

  1. Heart,

    I’ve been thinking long and hard about these posts you’ve been doing about how men terrorize women. I was active in the human rights movement long before I even considered how feminism was relevant to my work as an h.r. activist (let alone how it was relevant to me as a woman) and I recall a quite profound “A-HA!” moment when I started reading the literature on how many women’s rights activists are pushing for domestic violence to be treated as a torture crime (this was actually my introduction to the brilliance of Catharine MacKinnon) that falls under international h.r. law. It was the first time I really considered that women experience violence as women and a blanket approach to ending human rights abuses is meaningless if it does not consider how different classes of people experience violence.

    So, anyhow, my point is, these posts are so very important. And I think Luckynkl nailed it on the head in a prior post about male terrorism when she said that so much of these abuses are chalked up to “psychotic” behavior of individuals and few people stop to consider just how systematic and widespread these terrorist acts are.

    So, how do we start getting people to make those connections? How do we show that a guy who violently dismembers a woman out of spite or vengeance is a part of the terrorization of all women?

    When even those who are active in the women’s rights movement are mired in old paradigms about “choice” and “anti-victim agency,” how can we best make the connetions between one man’s torture of this woman in New Orleans and the sociallyy-sanctioned torture of women who are prostituted in Iran? How do we start showing that a man’s decision to torture and execute school girls in Colorado is not so different from the state-sanctioned torture and execution of women in Bosnia? These posts are a tremendous start, but I still anticipate many who will fail to make the connections.

    Am I asking the right questions?

    Posted by Sassafras | October 18, 2006, 7:19 pm
  2. Hey, Sass, I think those are the right questions, and I agree that many will fail to make the connections, but I think that is willful. They don’t make the connections because they don’t want to.

    What you say about calling these acts of terrorism “human rights” abuses instead of male terrorism of women is so true. Male terrorism flies under the radar not only because it is classified as a “human rights” abuse, not only because ALL of the individual acts of terrorism are characterized as the work of psychotic individuals, but also because these acts aren’t centrally recorded and reported. Because they are classified as “domestic violence” or “spousal violence” or something like that (as you’ve also said in different words.) Sometimes they are barely reported at all, as with the lesbian in the UK who got her head sawed off while she was still alive. Male terrorism is erased, made invisible (also aided and abetted) by those who are quick to say that “women do it too,” “women are violent too,” “women batter, too.” And then DV statistics get dragged out which purport to show that as many women “batter” as men, or that lesbians also batter, when in fact, most women who are alleged to have “battered” men were in fact, defending themselves and got arrested, as was likely the case with the woman with the horrific black eye I blogged about yesterday who was arrested.  

    What does not get talked about by the WDIT (women-do-it-too)-ers is that women do not engage in the kind of terrorism I have been describing in this blog. They do not drag their “boyfriends”, living, behind trucks. They do not saw up their boyfriends and boil their body parts. They do not line up schoolboys, sexually assault them, then shoot them all. Even in the infinitesimal number of instances which might be construed as somewhat similar to these, as with Aileen Wuornos, the meaning is completely different. Wuornos was a prostituted woman. Her actions did not inspire terror in all men– only in men who prostitute women. And because of the terror her acts inspired in men who prostitute women and their defenders, she was made to be a “monster”. When all of the above and all the men I’ve been posting about, and millions of others walk among us every day and are never called monsters. Even when they behave as monsters. When women commit these acts, it is usually in self-defense or after a lifetime of being hideously terrorized *by men*, such that their response is not terrorism but is a response to terrorism.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 18, 2006, 8:15 pm
  3. I wanted to say, too, that the reason people differentiate between state sanctioned terrorism and individual acts of terrorism is, I think:

    (1) Because so many acts of state-sanctioned terrorism are not understood as such, i.e., the chaining of woman inmates for childbirth, the treatment of birthing women in hospitals, the oppression of poor mothers by social service agencies, and so on;

    (2) Because women are not viewed as a people but as appendages to men, subsumed within the category “man”. For example, car bombings are recognized universally as “terrorism,” but the way both the bombers and the men who died in the bombings may have terrorized the women in their daily lives goes unremarked and unnoticed.

    For two.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 18, 2006, 8:23 pm
  4. Heart, I have always had enormous suspicion regarding the ‘generally’ accepted figures (here in the UK) of men who are/have been victims of DV. Highly inflated springs to mind. They quote here, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 4 women. Balony (to the 1 in 6 of course).
    And as you say, when, in the scarce-as-hen’s-teeth times they are the victims of DV, it is not in the same ballpark. (eg outside the home they still don’t have the institutionalised sexism, fear of rape, etc, to compound it).

    Sorry to go OT, but I’ve heard that here, in the interests of being non-gender specific, that male rape victims are asking for a 50-50 split on the monies/resources. The fact that they are only a tiny percentage of rape victims, doesn’t seem to factor.

    Perhaps I have reconnected to topic – both are ways to undermine the plight that women face?

    Posted by stormcloud | October 18, 2006, 8:39 pm
  5. This is powerful, heavy stuff. But important.

    I clicked through and couldn’t help but notice that the boyfriend in this tragic act was a soldier who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I remember reading somewhere (and haven’t been able to track it down) that discharged soldiers have a significantly higher likelihood of violent crime, especially against women in their lives.

    So as well as seeing the horror of this individual act, I can also see the particular war-machine dynamic to the overall male-violence picture.

    Posted by feminish | October 18, 2006, 9:08 pm
  6. Heart, thank you for bringing up Aileen Wuornos. I refused to see that movie and also think it’s sigificant that they labeled her a “monster”, like she ranks with Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Daumer, bullshit!

    I still believe it’s possible she was acting in self-defense. The man she was convicted of killing had actually done time for forcible rape. How often does a rapist even get convicted on rape and not some lesser charge? But that was not admitted in court as prejudicial. She always mainained she was defending herself from rape, and it’s highly likely that a prostitute would be repeatedly targetted for rape. She fired Phillis Chesler who was trying to get her off on some mental syndrome of being a battered prostitute or some psycho babble. Wuornos said she never regretted what she did, it was not a deluded thing and women were safer because she got rid of rapists, I for one believe her.

    Posted by saltyC | October 18, 2006, 9:59 pm
  7. Feminish, I believe the following stat is a US one, that wives/girlfriends of police officers and the military, suffer DV at TWICE the rate of the general population (recently blogged it on Stormyblog, “Fox guarding the henhouse”).

    Aileen Wuornos sounds like a sensible woman to me. Killing rapists is surely not any great loss to society..

    Posted by stormcloud | October 18, 2006, 10:44 pm
  8. look here’s pictures of Addie Hall and her murderer from last year:

    Stormcloud, don’t tell me you don’t know what happened to Aileen Wuornos?

    Posted by saltyC | October 18, 2006, 11:38 pm
  9. Salty, ‘fraid not, but I’m in the UK. There’s enough crap here to keep me distracted from US events.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 19, 2006, 8:32 am
  10. Stormcloud, Aileen Wuornos was executed for killing those rapists.

    Posted by Branjor | October 19, 2006, 3:45 pm
  11. Branjor, I wiki’d her.
    It is normal for any woman who kills men/man to be treated in the harshest manner, even when justified like killing an abuser.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 19, 2006, 5:05 pm
  12. One is tempted to label men like this dude “sick,” but we know sickness has nothing to do with it. Again: misogyny, misogyny, misogyny.

    When will our damn society catch up to what feminists have known for forty years?

    Posted by Y. Carrington | October 19, 2006, 6:53 pm
  13. These are excerpts from writings police discovered while investigating the suicide of Zachery Bowen and the murder and dismemberment of his girlfriend,
    Addie Hall.

    From the suicide note found on Bowen’s body….

    “This is not accidental. I had to take my own life to pay for the one I took. If you send a patrol to 826 N. Rampart, you will find the dismembered corpse of my girlfriend Addie in the oven, on the stove, and in the fridge along with full documentation on the both of us and a full signed confession from myself…. Zack Bowen.”

    From a five-page letter left by Bowen in the couple’s residence on Rampart Street…

    “I scared myself not by the action of calmly strangling the woman I’ve loved for one and a half years, and then (decimating) her body but by my entire lack of remorse. I’ve known for ever how horrible of a person I am — ask anyone — and decided to quit my jobs and spend the 1,500 dollars cash I had being happy until I killed myself. So, that’s what I did: good food, good drugs, good strippers, good friends and any loose ends I may have had. I didn’t contact any of my family. So that’ll explain the shock. And had a fantastic time living out my days…It’s just about time now.”

    http://updates.blogs.nola.com/default.asp?item=238200

    Posted by saltyC | October 19, 2006, 6:54 pm
  14. And Wuernos was labeled a serial killer even tho there is no evidence to suggest she derived any sadistic sexual pleasure from the killings.

    Well you know, prostitutes = sexual pleasure. For men anyways. Men just assume it’s pleasurable for the prostitutes too. By injection or osmosis or something. I’ve never spoken to a prostitute who viewed it as such tho. It’s a job, I’m told. It’s business. Do you get orgasmic over your job?

    The phone sex operators I’ve talked to haven’t been able to last long at their job. They’ve told me these men are some of the sickest fucks you can imagine. And you can’t listen to their sick shit and verbal violence day in and day out without it affecting you.

    I did some research on prostitution during the time the Wuernos case came up. It’s been awhile, but as I recall, something like 80% of prostitutes report being subjected to violence, abuse and rape. Which is in part why I can’t imagine why any idiot would want to legalize this shit. Oh, let’s legalize men’s sexual violence toward women! As long as the sex workers get paid well, it’s a-ok! What’s a little abuse? A little violence? A little rape? Money is everything, baby! Are they on crack or something?!

    Of course if they paid secretaries, daycare workers and 7-11 clerks $50 to $100 an hour, and prostitutes $5 a trick, I think sex work would go the way of the dinosaur. Which would be the whole point of not paying women for respectable work and paying them well for sex work. Duh.

    It’s not about choices. It’s about lack of choices. Put it in terms of dollars and cents and people start to get it. Sad, but true. Money is much more valued than human life and dignity. He who has the most baseball cards, wins! Or something like that. It’s of course, upside down and half assed backwards. But what else is new in boy world?

    As for the Wuornos case, the first few killings looked to be self defense. But the later killings seemed to be more about robbing the johns. She probably killed them because dead men tell no tales. It’s really not all that unusual for perps to kill the clerks during hold-ups and robberies. People who kill for money certainly aren’t labeled serial killers. Could you imagine if they were? We’d have all sorts of serial killers on the loose instead of the normal 300 or so that are running around at any given time. Jesse James would be a serial killer. George Bush would be a serial killer. All sorts of “heroes” would earn the label “serial killer.” Including all our soldiers!

    So why the double standard for Wuornos? I mean, the boys really had to go out on a limb and grasp at straws to label Wuornos a serial killer. No doubt so that they can say, “See! Women do it too!”

    I think men need to be given a time out and put down for a nap. Because their minds have really gone around a bend.

    Posted by Luckynkl | October 19, 2006, 7:40 pm
  15. This one has really hit home for me, and I need to talk to my friends down home to see if I actually know these people (almost everyone in the Quarter culture goes by a “street name”).

    Posted by Amananta | October 19, 2006, 9:04 pm
  16. Heart: thanks for making the point that women don’t drag men behind cars, or cook their BFs and all that. As a man who tries to talk to other men about male privilege, i tend to shy away from the big horror stories because i want to talk to men about something they can relate to, and none of the “liberal” men i talk to are going to accept that they’re in the same position as a guy who cooks his dead girlfriend’s body….but i think it’s important to talk to men about these things that really do happen and to tell them how that fits into the big picture of patriarchy. The horror stories, despite their gruesomeness, are the acts of men, not just strange foreign psychotic monsters that are outside of society. So, your comment has given me some extra fuel to draw on when I need it.

    That said, my strategy in talking to men still focuses on getting men to realize that it is arrogant to believe that they are beyond sexism (which most of them do seem to think). To quote Tim Wise, “The most dangerous person is the one who refuses to admit that he does in fact contribute to injustice at least as often, if not more so than he truly rebels against it. Such a person is capable of learning nothing because he honestly perceives himself to be in such control of his shit that there is nothing anyone else can teach him, and that there is nothing on which he needs to work, no point at which he too is part of the problem”.

    I usually think that perhaps if i can nail the “liberal” men on this point, then maybe i can better expose them to the gruesome stories more effectively, without inciting a dismissive attitude. Any thoughts?

    Posted by doviende | October 20, 2006, 12:32 am
  17. Yeah I found out she was friends with someone I knew.

    Of course the news coverage is disgusting, saying they had a “rocky” relationship. I even read about how she was no angel, getting arrested for marijuana, pulling a gun on someone. Bullshit. When I lived in New Orleans, even I had a gun, and I hate guns. Maybe she needed to pull out a gun at that point, of course I don’t know. And I’m very anti-violence, but the coverage is so disrespectful to her. I hate the way they keep saying it’s a murder-suicide. Well for two weeks it was just a murder, with him living with and raping her corpse. Killing himself did not “pay” for anything, as he says in one of his many suicide notes.

    Amananta, You are from the Big Easy?

    Posted by saltyC | October 20, 2006, 2:03 am
  18. Here’s another one. She didn’t murder anyone. She was just an aboriginal girl, a prostitute addicted to survive, who did some violent things yes, and then…threatened her lawyer. Look at her record, what they were going to throw her into prison for the rest of her life for.

    http://www.walnet.org/csis/news/edmonton_99/natpost-990630-2.html

    Lisa Neve and Lessons Learned

    In Canada and the United States, we are also facing another backlash. Every time women take one step forward, efforts to shove us backwards abound. With respect to women’s involvement in the youth justice and adult corrections system, an excellent, albeit odious, example of this trend is the treatment received by a young First Nations woman, diagnosed as suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. In November 1994, Lisa Neve became the second woman in Canada to be labelled a dangerous offender and sentenced to an indeterminate sentence.

    Although the designation was ultimately overturned on appeal, as a result of that designation, Lisa Neve was classified as a maximum security prisoner and spent six years in prison, most of it in segregated, maximum security units in two different men’s prisons.

    I first met Lisa when she was twelve years old. She had been dragged into secure “treatment,” followed fairly quickly by secure custody. The system was not impressed by her assertive and confident manner. Unlike so many other young women her age, she was clearly a respected and undisputed leader. These qualities are not ones that are generally accepted, much less encouraged or nurtured, in our social control systems-be they child welfare or criminal justice in orientation. They are seen as particularly unacceptable when embodied by a young woman. Sexism, racism, heterosexism, and class biases intersect to provide an incredibly discriminatory lens through which women like Lisa are viewed and judged.

    As a result, it did not take long for the adults in authority to label Lisa as a “problem” in need of “correction.” Once the labels were applied, they not only stuck, but they also attracted other labels that built upon and expanded those prior. Consequently, although Lisa had started out as “mischievous,” or “a brat,” she was later labelled an instigator, negative, and eventually, aggressive, sociopathic and finally, a dangerous offender. Largely based upon accounts of her institutional behaviour in young offender centres, as well as her “unfeminine” renegade behaviour while working the street, Lisa was characterized as the most dangerous woman in Canada by Justice Murray in 1994 and then as a maximum security prisoner by the Correctional Service of Canada for more than four years.

    Including her pre-trial detention, Lisa spent approximately six years in jail for an offence which the Court of Appeal eventually determined warranted a three-year sentence, as opposed to the indeterminate one that had been imposed. To make matters worse, she spent most of her time living in some of the most severe and limiting prison conditions in Canada. Nobody should ever have to face the tortuous ordeal that Lisa was forced to endure.

    Our hope was that the Court of Appeal’s decision would result in broader systemic changes to the administration of justice for women across Canada. Unfortunately, although the court challenged such sexist interpretations of the law as acceptance in the lower courts of a psychological assessment of Lisa that “effectively implies … that a woman’s thoughts about murder can somehow be equated with a man’s commission of a murder,” it stopped short of calling for the much needed broader systemic reforms that Lisa’s case exemplified.

    The court did note, however, the typical nature of this young woman’s “violent” offences, in that “every offence which Neve committed was entangled in some way with her life as a prostitute.” They also pointed out that while it was not to be condoned, Lisa’s violent offences were generally characterized as attempts to avenge wrongs done to others. Furthermore, they characterized Lisa as “a young woman with a relatively short criminal record for violence, [who was] disposed to telling shocking stories of violence.”

    Posted by Pony | October 20, 2006, 2:56 am
  19. Pony this story is infuriating. The author seems pretty cool though, who wrote it, it’s not on the link.

    Posted by saltyC | October 20, 2006, 4:21 pm
  20. Now the news is saying he was an “iraq war hero” and it was a “crime of passion”. What an outrage. I’m speechless.

    Posted by Txfeminist | October 20, 2006, 6:10 pm
  21. “iraq war hero”…“crime of passion”

    FFS. All part of the spin to remove blame from the guy (as the last attempt, to make him invisible and assigning co-blame by “rocky relationship” wasn’t cutting it).

    Do you really think that the Humane Society would take ‘crime of passion’ as a justification if one cut up their own pets? Just proves that women have less protection under the law than the average cat or dog.

    I’m not speechless. I’m screaming.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 21, 2006, 8:11 am
  22. I don’t know if you have Elizabeth Fry society in the States. It is a non-profit which advocates for women who are in the justice system. The majority of women in the justice system in Canada are aboriginal. It will have been written by someone from the society. The head of the society and Neve have a chapter in a book about women in the justice system. Trying to get it.
    http://www.elizabethfry.ca/

    I’m also trying to get this:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/c2281th67724146k/

    Posted by Pony | October 21, 2006, 4:21 pm
  23. SaltyC the article about Lisa Neve it is part of this document. If you scroll to the bottom you’ll see the Elizabeth Fry Society home page link on the left.

    http://www.elizabethfry.ca/vilifica/Contents.htm

    Posted by Pony | October 21, 2006, 4:42 pm
  24. I was once the victim of black terrorism–i.e., jumped by two black men and beaten up all the while cheered on by a black female. They didn’t even know me. So I fully endorse your careful application of the term terrorism in this case. Puts things into perspective.

    Posted by S.A. Smith | November 19, 2006, 6:34 pm
  25. S.A. Smith, I don’t think it can be said that because a white person is mugged by black persons, that this is terrorism. I think there is a difference between being mugged, whether for money or for the heck of it, and terrorism, which has more broad, political implications. There was no threat in your being mugged that, for example, this was how black people were keeping you, as a white person, in line. There was no threat of conquest either. In the same way, if women mugged a man as you described, it wouldn’t be terrorism; it might be vindictive, vengeful, they might enjoy it if they’d had bad experiences with men or whatever. But there would be no message along the lines of, “Don’t get out of line or we men are going to kill you and cook you for dinner, and we have the power to do it, too,” as in this thread.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 20, 2006, 7:50 pm
  26. I am sorry heart, I am so not with you in this response to S.A. Smith. How I read what he/she said is not intellectual. It is the very being that is asaulted by violence , no matter who did it. It is life and death. It is pivotal to healing. It is so easy to blame all one race because one was hurt in the psyche, physical and emotional and mentally by members of that race. A.C. Smith did not say he/she was female, or white or black or Native American, or Asian. The assumption is that he/she is white and should get over it because she is should understand the dynamic of the dominant society. Sorry, some people should read Alice Miller or Derrick Jensen and really get an overview. My inpression of Smith’s comment was that he/she was trying to come to grips with this assault on his or her being. Coming to your blog indicated to me that he/she was not going the route of hating blacks for the
    this assault. However, I would feel totally dismissed in your response. Terrorism is not some abstract, intellectual process that happens to others. It happens to all of us who live in this world whether it be by parents. teachers, politicians or whoever. Dissmissing someone’s experience is an act of terrorism too. It denies what that person felt and thought. Smith was terrorized. The adrenalin rushes when death could be the outcome. How one deals with that in surviving that moment of potential death becomes the moment of transformation or of slipping into hatred and psychosis. I know it is very hard to be there when that happens, but whether or not smith was playing a game or was real in his or her assessment, you did not help. I hope he or she finds an ally that can hear

    Posted by rhondda | November 20, 2006, 10:31 pm
  27. Rhondda, I didn’t intend to dismiss S.A. Smith’s experience in any way — and I apologize, S.A. Smith, if I seemed to, it wasn’t intentional at all — and I certainly haven’t suggested that terrorism is abstract or intellectual or that it happens to others. Where did I say or infer that? What I was saying was, and what I would still say is, issues of societal and cultural power have to be factored in in any discussion of terrorism. What makes abuses by teachers, politicians and parents acts of terrorism is the legal and societal power they have over their students, the people who elected them, and their children. What makes abuses by men acts of terrorism against women is the societal power men have compared with women. Unless S.A. Smith is, himself or herself, black, then those who participated in mugging him or her did not enjoy societal or cultural power over him or her and hence the attacks, while violent, would not and do not, in my mind, constitute terrorism. (I also think if S.A. Smith were black, he or she would not have mentioned that his or her attackers were black.)The only power black people *as* black people (eliminating considerations of sex now) have over non-black people in a situation like the one S.A. Smith describes is the power to inflict pain and to produce fear; while this is horrible, inexcusable, and wrong, it isn’t terrorism. If we say that it is, then we will have to say that what Mary Winkler did was “female terrorism” because she killed her pastor husband– and we know that isn’t true. What she did was a *response* to her male husband’s terrorism of her and of her family, which is not the same as terrorism. What she did was still horrible, fearful, and inexcusable– she murdered her husband, she took his life– but it doesn’t have the political and social implications it would have if the situation were reversed. I think the same is true of what happened to S.A. Smith. I am not suggesting that S.A. Smith is a racist– it does sound like she or he is trying to make sense of the horrible thing that happened. I just don’t think what happened can be called terrorism. At the same time, I do not mean to be dismissive in any way. Being the victim of violence is always horrible, no matter how, when or why it happens. When my first husband, who was black, attacked me with a metal pipe and fractured my eye sockets and skull, for another example, I do not consider that an act of terrorism on the basis of race, because he was black and I am white. I do consider what he did to be an act of male terrorism; he could terrorize me as a man because I am a woman. He could not terrorize me on the basis of race, because I was white and had the upper hand there. I had the power and privilege, as a white woman, to invoke the power of a racist society against him as a black man. He could terrorize me on the basis of my sex, though; he had the power men always have as men: the power to batter, rape, assault women in order to keep us subordinate to men. If S.A. Smith is any race other than black, he or she could as a non-black person, invoke the power of a racist society against his or her black attackers once they were apprehended. Significantly, in the attack itself, they *all knew that*, just as in my ex’s attack against me, we both knew that. We both knew that I could call the cops on him and have them on him like white on rice because I am white and he was black. We both knew that he could beat me, rape me, violate me, and keep me subordinate to him as his wife, with the backing of men everywhere *as* men, because I am a woman and because I was his wife.
    If we think of terrorism like that of 9/11, although the terrorists do not and would not enjoy power in the U.S. by virtue of their societal standing here, as individuals, their violence still rises to the level of terrorism because it invokes the spectre of international war, and a willingness to make war on U.S. soil; in other words, the terrorists are not simply random individuals; they are individuals with a specific political backing and with specific political goals. When the U.S. subsequently harrassed and targeted Muslims in this country after 9/11, that, too was terrorism, this time on our part, because of the tremendous power of the U.S. as compared with individual citizens. When I write about terrorism and acts of terrorism, I am asking that the reader consider, always, issues of societal power, political power, and how these acts advance specific political goals and agendas.
    Again, S.A. Smith, I did not mean to dismiss at all the horror of your having been attacked, and if that’s how I came across, I apologize.
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 20, 2006, 10:56 pm
  28. Another way to think of this is in terms of what acts of violence accomplish in the world. On the one hand, someone who is murdered is no less murdered, with all the implications, no matter who murdered the person. The fear, the pain, all of the horror of violence remain the same regardless, whether someone is male, female, young, old, black, white, brown, rich, poor, disabled, etc. But certain kinds of murders produce certain results and it’s in the analysis of those results that we recognize which acts of violence are also acts of terrorism and which aren’t. When my ex-husband tried to kill me, my pain, the blood that was shed, the skull fractures, were the same for me as they would have been for everybody. But in the context of racism, the fact that my ex husband was black served to more deeply entrench the racism of racists and could be used by racists to justify their racism; i.e., “See, the fact that he tried to kill Heart is evidence that black men are violent or have criminal tendencies.” At the same time, the fact that I was his wife worked in his favor as a man; the sentiment would be either that I deserved what I got for marrying him in the first place or that I had probably done something to deserve it; so the fact of my being attacked would serve to deepen sexism (“Well, she was stupid to marry him in the first place/women are stupid like that/what did she expect/lay down with dogs, get up with fleas.”) In fact, when the police caught my ex as he was fleeing, the first words out of his mouth were, “That’s my old lady, man,” in other words, “I have a right to beat her up; she is my property.”

    If a white man had killed my ex, again, the sentiment of a racist society would have been that the white man probably had a good reason, because my ex, being black, was probably predisposed to being violent and criminal in a way white men aren’t. So both my ex’s violence and the a white man’s violence against my ex serve to shore up white supremacy and to deepen racism against black people. That’s why a white man murdering a black man is terrorism in a way a black man murdering a white man isn’t (in American society/culture.) If a man murders his wife, many will think she probably deserved it or he wouldn’t have murdered her. If a woman murders her husband, the outrage will mount to the highest level of heaven; most people in a sexist society will assume that she is deranged and dangerous and that her husband did not deserve to be murdered. In both instances, the wife murdering, or the wife being murdered, male supremacy is shored up and sexism towards women is more deeply entrenched. We recognize terrorism in acts which serve to increase the power of the terrorists while diminishing the power of the terrorized. S.A. Smith’s attackers, like my ex, would experience a dimunition of their own societal and cultural power in that their acts would serve to deepen racist attitudes towards black people. This again, doesn’t change the terror or pain I or S.A. Smith experienced. It just changes what those specific acts of violence accomplish, or don’t accomplish, in the world.
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 21, 2006, 12:11 am

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