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Pre-2008 Posts

UDATE: In Support of a Haitian Woman and Her 12 Year Old Son, Terrorized June 18, 2007 in Dunbar Village

terrorized.jpg 

What About Our Daughters has posted an update on their and others’ work to obtain justice for this woman and her son.  Thanks to Tami for the heads up.

_______________

Originally  posted November 12, 2007.

On June 18, 2007, the woman had returned from her job delivering phone books.  She lived with her 12-year-old son in Dunbar Village, a public housing project in Florida.  An immigrant from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she was hard-working and conscientious.  She had been a nurse until she injured her back and had to seek other work.  It didn’t come easily, she struggled to make it, and finally moved to the housing project.  She knew it was a dangerous place to live, but her options were few.  She stayed inside, she said, kept to herself.   She worked hard to keep her son out of harm’s way.

On this day she was inside fixing dinner.  Someone knocked on the door and she answered and was told the tires on her car were flat.  She went out to  investigate and found that her tires were fine.  Returning to her home she was met by masked men carrying guns.  They forced her and her son inside and demanded money.  She said she had very little.  Over the next three hours she was raped and sodomized by at least six men.  Some of them raped her more than once.  After they had all raped her, they forced her to perform sex acts on her son, whom they had beaten.  They poured chemicals in the son’s eyes and doused both mother and son with cleaning agents in an attempt to remove traces of DNA.   They took photos of the attacks with their cell phone cameras.  They intended to set the two on fire, but could find no lighter.  They left with the little the small family had — telephone, cell phone, fax machine, Nintendo Playstation 2.  When they’d been gone half an hour, one returned and raped the woman one more time.  He then wrote his name and cell phone number on a slip of paper and told the mother where he hung out.

There was talk that the attacks were payback for the mother having reported some of the attackers throwing trash in her yard, and because she would not allow her son to hang out in a certain building in the complex.

Devastated, the woman and the boy cried.  After an hour or so they walked two miles to the nearest hospital. 

Over the following weeks the rapists were apprehended.  The oldest was 18, the youngest 14.  They are sons of brokenness.  Their parents are devastated, disbelieving, raging.  They were tried as adults and may spend the rest of their lives in jail, some of them.  Because they were tried as adults, their names and pictures were in the newspapers and other media. 

The woman and  her son moved away.  She is a Christian and her church, a Roman Catholic church, set up a fund for her at Wachovia Bank.  The boy’s father lives in Haiti.  The boy, the woman says, is angry with her for moving to Dunbar Village.   She prays and asks God to help her.  Local pastors gathered to  perform a ceremony of healing and to offer their support, but really, she has received comparatively little support. 

Nicole, with whom I’ve worked to support the New Jersey 4, e-mailed me to let me know about an action planned in Washington D.C. this coming Friday.   Blacksapience writes:

In an effort to bring more light to this story and to confront black “leaders” about their peculiar silence regarding this case, particularly Al Sharpton, it became clear to me that we can organize a counter protest to the Hate Crimes March in DC on November 16, 2007 from 12 noon – 2:00pm at the Department of Justice. If Sharpton, King III, and to others can take to the streets to chide the Federal Government for inaction on investigating and actively prosecuting hate crimes, surely we can criticize the good Reverend and his colleagues, for the very same thing. As Gina would put it, “Let’s call people out for the Immoral Indifference”.

Let me be clear, this is NOT an attempt to get Mr. Sharpton (OR HIS ILK) to advocate for Dunbar Village and others; clearly we have taken on the onus of advocating for them. I merely want ACKNOWLEDGEMENT from Mr. Shaprton (whose presence alone commands national media attention… good or bad) that this kind of sadistic, calculated, weaponized, form of rape and torture will not be tolerated! To quote the esteemed writer/scholar/activist/feminist Audre Lorde, “[our] silence will not protect [us].” I am tired, angry, and ready to accept this moral call-to-arms, if you will, to place the same premium on black womanhood as society places on white womanhood. Will you join me and others as we organize ourselves to challenge the collective conscience of the black community and America as a whole? Put your outrage, disgust, and disappointment to action! If you can be there,

WHAT: SILENCE is NOT GOLDEN

WHERE: United States Department of Justice
950 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW
WASHINGTON, D.C.

WHEN: Friday, November 16, 2007 from 12:00 noon – 2:00p.m

WHO: ANYONE WHO CARES ABOUT BLACK WOMEN!

CONTACT: Shane (Sayeed aka BLKSeaGoat) at 404.246.2677 or sbjatlanta@yahoo.com, 24 hrs/7 days a week.

The women of color bloggers have been on it, as have many men of color.  There has been ongoing coverage by What About Our Daughters blog, brownfemipower, and Contented Black Woman.

Here is a comments thread with many links, and here are photos which, to me, are heartbreaking. 

Heart

Discussion

37 thoughts on “UDATE: In Support of a Haitian Woman and Her 12 Year Old Son, Terrorized June 18, 2007 in Dunbar Village

  1. This is stunning and heartbreaking. Another act of terrorism.

    Is there anything any of us can do for this dear woman?

    I send circles of love around her.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | November 12, 2007, 1:13 pm
  2. This is so tragic. It seems that too many young men have infected with porn, and lack of hope in their lives, and treat women as meat. I really hope with all my heart that we have not lost this generation of men.
    Too many men cannot feel empathy. By filming their horrific crimes, they can be detach, and heartless.
    I feel this women and her son’s pain. It hurt all over.
    It is so hard living in this world, where women can never truly safe.

    Posted by Rebecca | November 12, 2007, 3:36 pm
  3. That would be Haiti, not Jamica. Just saying, because I believe that in itself, the way the Haitans are treated has racist elements in it.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | November 12, 2007, 3:58 pm
  4. Thanks, Kitty. I kept thinking “Jamaica” but knew it was Haiti. I even told myself last night, remember, Haiti. Then I typed in “Jamaica.”

    Mary, I hope a lot of women will show up in Washington, D.C. on Friday in solidarity. I’ll try to keep everybody posted as to what else we might be able to do.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | November 12, 2007, 5:18 pm
  5. The rapists were again 14-18. They deserve life behind bars. I don’t care how young they are.

    The poor woman, I hope she manages to recover from such an ordeal. That is really sick, making her perform sexual acts on her son.

    There really aren’t any adequate words to express the outrage, or the sympathy for the woman.

    Posted by stormy | November 12, 2007, 6:53 pm
  6. “They deserve life behind bars”

    Sure they do.

    But before all is said and done, they’ll be re-drawn as the victims, and won’t spend a day in jail.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | November 12, 2007, 8:00 pm
  7. “I believe that in itself, the way the Haitans are treated has racist elements in it.”

    Yes, and most definitely in this situation; I know these particular projects well.

    Posted by funnie | November 12, 2007, 8:06 pm
  8. This, by the way, is what a “halfway decent” working-class community looks like in urban west palm:

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/news/interactives/dunbar_village/index.html

    Posted by funnie | November 12, 2007, 8:24 pm
  9. Isn’t it interesting that this story is not the outrage with Sharpton and company. I think he only deals with white on black crimes — Don Imus and Rutger’s basketball team etc.

    The issue of woman hatred is a non-issue to Sharpton and Jackson for this reason– Jackson’s personal behavior again a window to what “liberal men” do in their “private” i.e. unpoliced lives.

    I’m glad funds are being put together to help the Haitian woman and her son. And I’ll do what I can once I track down the proper channels.

    This could be any one of us at any time of day or night! And those boys could be any boys out in the world.

    Posted by Satsuma | November 12, 2007, 10:08 pm
  10. As Contented Black woman blog site said this was a gender hate crime. Yet another instance of male hatred and contempt being expressed against women simply because she is female. Yes, racism plays a part just as it does in say the Congo or Darfur, but it is predominantly women who are the ones men rape, sexually torture and all too often murder. These boys made a choice and their choice was to commit group rape against this woman and her son. This yet another example of the never-ending war on women by men. Poverty does not cause hatred of women because white ‘respectable’ men rape women. But race and poverty plays a part when males rape a woman who happens not to be part of the white race and she also happens to be poor. Because then the woman because of her not being white and also poor supposedly ’caused’ these boys to commit such atrocities against her and her son.

    Often racial hatred and gender hatred cannot be separated out but globally women are still seen as sub-human beings compared to men.

    Why did these boys film their atrocities? I know why but I also know many do not want to know because the truth is often too painful to accept.

    Posted by jennifer drew | November 12, 2007, 10:39 pm
  11. For atrocities against a woman and child so heinous, and adult male apathy so predictable (in every color around the world), I reach for every spiritual method ever practiced for bringing about a greater good of true liberation.

    To stay strong and caring despite the porno-planet’s escalating assaults on Womankind (including Her Children), I must connect to Joy or be depleted by grief.

    The misogynists want to break us. I refuse. Join me, please, in the intention to overcome.

    Tough Love,
    JB

    Posted by JBSproull | November 12, 2007, 11:27 pm
  12. If there ever were a hate crime case to try the validity of the notion of crimes against women, this would be it. Were these young men prosecuted with that additional stipulation — that these crimes were aggravated by the hatred expressed to the woman, as a female person? Does hate crime legislation as it currently stands recognize women as a target of hate crimes? I must confess my ignorance on all of this.

    Posted by twitch | November 13, 2007, 12:06 am
  13. I think white feminists can best support this woman and her son by taking a stand against the factors that led to their violation.

    Posted by funnie | November 13, 2007, 12:16 am
  14. It is the story of the crimes men commit worldwide. I’m talking about really awful crimes, the same people that make the streets of so many major cities unsafe at night.

    We all hear about crime, but who commits the crimes? Who does the most shooting? Who rapes, who films the rapes?

    Crime is largely what men do worldwide. They believe they can get away with it, because people won’t look at men as the ultimate sex criminals. We need to always point the spotlight on who commits these crimes vis-a-vis men and women worldwide. Who starts wars? Who thinks war is a great deal? Who suffers the most in every war on every continent?

    There is the war men wage in the world, the war against women, the war against children, and the war against each other. No matter how you look at it, there are those who make the world very unsafe, and there are those who don’t terrorize the world with their behavior.

    It’s a very simple answer, and I am amazed at how even the most obvious truth about who commits the crimes still is left out of mainstream –male-stream equations.

    Special thanks to JB Sproull for putting in the goddess energy here that we all need to end this worldwide male crime and hatred wave against women every where!

    Posted by Satsuma | November 13, 2007, 1:54 am
  15. It is telling how the media framed this case. When I found it in July, the headline was “Police: Boy forced into sex with mom.” As if that was the main point of the story! It was probably that headline that made this story the fourth most viewed on my blog. Now I am learning some interesting details. I did not even know the woman was black; the police had not identified her or her son at the time, only two of the suspects.

    My link to that Yahoo News story is already expired. It bugs me that we are supposed to be so respectful of copyrights, not to copy too much of a story, when the original expires so fast. How are we supposed to preserve the history? In this instance, it hardly matters because others have kept the story alive, but still.

    Posted by Aletha | November 13, 2007, 6:07 am
  16. Aletha, I used to disregard the copyright for news stories. I think it far more important to copy it in full, but also to give the full credit to the source including URL.

    Too many of these news stories disappear. It is important to catalogue them — point out the common thread — male sexual violence against females of all ages (and particularly the lack of justice seen in almost all cases).

    Posted by stormy | November 14, 2007, 8:44 am
  17. For the past 5 months, I have been follwoing this story. I am really praying for the mother and her son, and praying for all the suspects to be arrested and punish. It really pisses me off when I have not heard Sharpton, Jackson, Barma, or any other black leaders speak out against this crime. I am also appaled at Chief Bush of the WPB police for not actively trying to bring all the suspect to justice. I was reading an article in Washington Post about a black female dectective who helped to bring two black rape susepcts to justice who had raped a 26 year black woman(11/8/2007). I asked myself, if she can do this, why can’t Cheif Bush do the same, especially when one of the suspects in custody have revealed the names of the remaining six suspects? I wish I could be there in DC. protesting along with the sistas. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, but yet this story has hit my heart like no other and I want justice to be done very soon.

    Posted by CAM | November 15, 2007, 6:08 am
  18. Stormy, I agree with you, but I am torn because of the legal aspects. I asked my attorney friend Mona about it. She told me that the press can go after people who copy too much of a story, but are unlikely to do that, unless the writer is seen as a serious rival copying stories without permission. Google was threatened awhile back, but seems to have ignored the threat. At this point we probably have nothing to worry about, but if Heart starts to get a great deal of media attention, who knows. I always give full credit, but I have been scared to copy a story in full unless it is really short. It is a problem, but I do not want to drift this thread any more.

    Posted by Aletha | November 16, 2007, 5:42 am
  19. Please let me know what I can do to help this woman and her son. I am a mother, wife, and Florida resident who is outraged by this.

    Posted by Sharon Austin | December 12, 2007, 6:24 pm
  20. Hi, Sharon, this is how you (and everyone) can help:

    The victims’ church (St. Ann’s Catholic Church) has set up an account at Wachovia Bank to collect money that will go directly to the victim.

    The woman’s name is not on the account to protect her privacy. The church cannot withdraw money, but it can make deposits. When the woman wants to get the cash, the bank will write her a check, Davidson said.

    Checks can be made payable to the Dunbar Village Victim Assistance Fund-St. Ann. They can be dropped off at any Wachovia branch or mailed to: St. Ann Catholic Church, 310 N. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401. The church’s phone number is (561) 832-3757.

    Since a little time has passed, it might be good to call the church and see if there are any updates to this information.

    Posted by womensspace | December 12, 2007, 8:53 pm
  21. Copyright is basic to a literate society. It doesn’t take much time to give credit, but it should be given.

    Facts can be reported. I’m not sure what the rules are considering links to existing sites, however.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 14, 2007, 11:01 pm
  22. Because this is amongst the people of African Descent, I believe the Haitain and African American communities should come together and give these boys a beat down – so they would be scared to do it ever again. We should also be so united that these boys would feel every kind of ostracization from us. This sounds like something caucasians would do. But some of us took on the characters of our slave masters.

    Posted by Loveja | February 12, 2008, 1:31 am
  23. taking a stand against the factors that led to their violation.

    The factors were males who decided to rape a woman and child and attempt to blind the child. These are the same factors in any rape, race aside, deliberate decisons made by men to rape women.

    Posted by Miranda | March 12, 2008, 11:26 pm
  24. There are no “men” involved in this incident. There is one 18-year-old. Man, singular.

    You’re free to hold teenagers accountable as you would hold “men” accountable; lots of social conservatives favor this approach.

    However, I disagree with it, and don’t consider it a feminist action to speak as though “men” and “males” are the reason the woman and her son were brutalized. The woman and her son were brutalized by teenagers who most certainly should be held responsible. The teenagers did what they did because of a violent male rape culture. Yes.

    But no, the teenagers themselves are not the sole “factors” that led to this incident. And frankly, in the case of Dunbar Village and this particular victim and these particular perpetrators, I don’t think it’s very helpful for white feminists to speak on the subject as though their duties can possibly be discharged by “holding males accountable.”

    For instance, you could drop in on Gold Coast Alternative Middle School, where 14-year-old 7th grader Avion Lawson attended, and see what life is like there for boys *and* especially for girls (largely because of boys)…the rape culture will stare you in the face – maybe slap you across the face – and you may still be forced to discuss what happened in a way that acknowledges the kind of “factors” that are at work -and there are plenty- beyond the “males” themselves.

    Or you could pay a visit to the school of another Dunbar Village perp, 16-year-old Nathan Walker, to check up on conditions. Except that he does not have a school. So you can visit his mom’s apartment over on Brandywine. It’s not a good place for women or for women to raise their children, including teenagers. It’s just a few blocks west of Bensel street, home to repeat domestic abuser Alburn Blake, who recently went on a shooting rampage followed by a suicide in a Wendy’s, also within walking distance:

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2008/03/05/m1a_blake_0305.html

    I don’t think it helps Wendy’s shooter Blake’s abused ex-girlfriend, or her neighbor Nathan Walker’s mom to talk about how men are the problem in their lives or in their neighborhood. No doubt that’s true. But there is much, much, much more at work, and there’s no meaningful way to protect them, female students at Gold Coast Alternative Middle, the girls being raised on Brandywine, the girls being raised within earshot of the repeat Bensel Street domestic abuse calls, or the girls being raised in Dunbar Village without acknowledging, addressing, and fixing these issues.

    Calling their teenaged brothers “factors” is not enough. Even calling their teenaged *abusers* “factors” is not enough.

    And while it makes sense for African-American women to focus on holding perpetrators accountable and ensuring that the rape of black women and children is taken seriously, and I support that very much, I still do, think that turns into something different when white women take that idea and run with it.

    Many, many white women and men in Palm Beach County favor trying these perpetrators as adults. I guarantee you.

    Just like Nathaniel Brazill, the 13 year old who shot *his* 7th-grade teacher (at another district middle school – Lake Worth – 5 miles to the south) was tried as an adult, to national media attention. And yet, such excessive punishment of a 13-year-old from a very similar neighborhood did not spare the woman and child in Dunbar Village from attack, nor did the national spotlight change the dynamics of the neighborhoods in question. Women like Brazill’s mom are still lucky to earn $22k a year (in a very high-cost area) and are stuck in the same old dangerous places.

    Just as there was with Brazill, there will be plenty of call from white folks for these teenagers to be a)portrayed as violent monsters, and b)to be treated as adults. In this way, white people don’t have to DO anything about what’s going on; it is not the work of a system, it is the work of fully cognizant, mature individual menaces to society.

    I understand wanting to stand up for this woman! I understand blaming the male dominance system fully accountable!

    I just think that means something different than ensuring her attacks are blamed only on the teenagers present that day, and making sure they’re locked up for life. Because that doesn’t protect the next brutalization of women. It doesn’t stop what’s going on. It doesn’t acknowledge what’s really happening to women – and, notably, to children, who become “13-year-old adults” very very quickly.

    Posted by funnie | March 13, 2008, 9:56 am
  25. I agree with funnie that bracketing these teenagers’ lives off from all of the influences that brought them to the moment in time where they did this hideous thing and calls for holding them accountable and throwing them in prison miss the mark. I don’t favor trying teenagers as adults, and I am completely opposed to the criminal justice system as it now exists.

    Whether white women can speak to the issue of black male violence is something else again. As a victim of that violence, I’m speaking to it, guaranteed. At the same time, I don’t want racist white women speaking to it or about it at all, ever.

    I don’t think anything at all that is easy or simple or uncomplicated is useful to say here.

    Posted by womensspace | March 13, 2008, 4:45 pm
  26. Oh, my god – I just visited the Post’s main page.

    One of the top stories today – about Boca (20 miles south) offering some housing vouchers:

    “Hundreds of people, mostly mothers who had spent more than eight hours in line, were forced to leave the property at 2333 W. Glades Road by 30 Boca Raton officers, including SWAT team members, who held up shields as they advanced toward the crowd.”

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/south/epaper/2008/03/13/m1a_vouchers_main_0313.html

    The photos attached to the story are just so unbelievably heartbeaking. And enraging.

    Posted by funnie | March 13, 2008, 4:49 pm
  27. Whether white women can speak to the issue of black male violence is something else again.

    (you didn’t say that it was – just to clarify) I hope you don’t think that’s my position. I think all women should talk about what’s been done to them, where and however they want, first and foremost. Beyond that it gets trickier, certainly, but I’m not saying it can’t be done.

    Posted by funnie | March 13, 2008, 5:19 pm
  28. Another thought. If we’re going to say we should avoid holding men and boys accountable because of their lives, what they’ve had to deal with, that is going to have to apply to white men and boys, as well. I was thinking about this because someone posted this comment last night that I didn’t approve, because I don’t feel like having that particular thread resurrected right now:

    Hi, I’m just writing on behalf of all decent men that what rapists do is sick and wrong, and any one who acts in this way should be behind bars. No person should be subjected to rape, and I apologize to all women who have been hurt by rape.
    I think our culture has both empowered women, but also continues to let things slip that really should be done away with. Derogatory phrases and words become so common place that even women start using them. I hate the word “slut” it doesn’t sound right at all, although I’ve heard women describe other women in this fashion.
    Strip Clubs and pornography could be used in a way that objectifies women, but women choose to engage in this business, so all the blame can’t be put on men, although many problems and issues faced by women are caused by men. But you have to remember that most of the problems that men face were caused by other men as well.
    This is a struggle for what is right, and men and women need to live, love, and work together in a way to remove hatred, and ignorance from the world. -that’s just my two cents.

    You know, it really is true that Patriarchy Hurts Men Too. It really is true that men learn to be patriarchs and terrorizers from other men, and sometimes because they were victimized by other men. Which means we cannot focus on punishment of individual men without also talking about changing structures, institutions and so on. At the same time, individual men hurt individual women, they individually make the decision to do that, and indirectly all men benefit from what they do. And we also have to talk about that, and insist that these men be held accountable, and insist that our lives matter every bit as much as the lives of those who have raped or battered us. I don’t think that every time we talk about being battered or raped or abused in some way, we have to simultaneously make statements about what led our batterers to do what they did, in other words. The fact that all women — all, without respect to race — are vulnerable as women in a way all men never are is central. It is hugely important. And it isn’t talked about nearly enough. Also not talked about enough is the way that all men benefit, compared with all women (without respect to race of either) by the subordination which is the result of men terrorizing women. I’m not saying you were suggesting anything different, funnie, though you may have been. I’m saying this because I think it’s important and doesn’t get said often enough.

    Posted by womensspace | March 13, 2008, 5:44 pm
  29. Oh no. 😦

    Well, before I go read, a few more thoughts. While it’s true that what those boys did has to placed in a certain context, it’s also true that many other boys and men of color live within that context and haven’t and would not do what these boys did.

    Also, I said I didn’t want to hear racist white women holding these boys accountable, I wanted to say I don’t think anybody in this thread fits that description, first of all. And also, I should broaden that to include non-black women of color holding these boys accountable, because there are plenty of women of color, who are not black, who are racist against black boys and men. My sons have certainly experienced this, and because I am their mother, I have witnessed it and had to deal with it firsthand. Which leads to my additional point that there is no monolithic “white women” that we can really say much at all about. What we can say for sure is that white women have race privilege compared with persons of color. And we can say that men have sex privilege compared with all women, including white women. This means white women can talk about all the ways they experience subordination at the hands of men, and it can be understood to include men of color. Men who prostitute women or use pornography, for example, without respect to race, participate in the subjugation of all women, including white women.

    Posted by womensspace | March 13, 2008, 5:44 pm
  30. And the Duke LaCrosse team grew up with status and plenty, and Genarlow Wilson was the darling of his high school, and Bobby Cutts Jr. is a cop, and Joe Francis is a wealthy filmographer, and William Constable is a 54-year-old self-employed contractor who lived in Nantucket and had enough money to travel to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam to have sex with girls under 12, and former governor Spitzer paid 80,000 dollars to have unprotected sex.

    And so on and so forth, and all of these (male) perpetrators undoubtedly had factors in their lives that contributed to their actions, and I DON’T CARE. They decided to do it. They’re humans. They have brains, and those brains, no matter what their environment is made the decision.

    Patriarchy only hurts (the majority of) men who can’t manage to use its rules to climb to the top by its rules. Patriarchy is a sweet deal for most of them.

    And if that makes me a social conservative, that’s ok with me.

    Posted by Miranda | March 13, 2008, 8:45 pm
  31. When child soldiers are removed from the war they have been forced to participate in, they are supposed to be treated differently than adults. Even though they killed people and did brutal things like rape women and girls. Even though they are likely hardened beyond their years. Even though many of them may be in their late teens. Even given all of that, it is recognized that it is a human rights violation to force them to participate in a war as children. And that’s the starting point to any discussion of what do we do with/for/to them.

    Maybe that’s an approach to be considered here. We often say that the “inner cities” are “war zones”. What does that mean? And what does it mean for the children growing up there? Maybe that’s a better, more nuanced, more aware place to start this discussion.

    Posted by Emma | March 15, 2008, 2:18 am
  32. My point is that the common denominator in the rape and brutalization of women is not economic, religious, or racial in nature. The common denominator is maleness and the sacred nature in which maleness is regarded by the majority of society.

    The ‘boys will be boys and they just can’t help it’ mentality transcends race and class and is used to excuse the most heinous acts committed by males of ANY age against women.

    True, members of one class, frequently won’t allow that excuse for members of a different class. Then, the crime is othered, and everyone of the blaming class is ‘safe’ in their own mind.

    If the crime against women crosses class lines, there may be an outcry from the males of the class of the victim, but only if the victim is a ‘good’ victim of that class. Solidarity on gender lines may cross class lines particularly if the female is suspect in some way. Women, if at all possible, will be held at fault.

    Crimes between members of the same class are generally only of interest and outrage to members of that class unless there’s an issue that can cross class lines, such as feminism to feel solidarity with the victim or the need to protect and excuse males.

    Posted by Miranda | March 16, 2008, 1:14 pm
  33. A reminder that this thread is to be in support of the Haitian woman and her son. I wanted and still want them, their situation, to be the focus here, even though issues around the charges against the teenagers involved, the context of poverty and brutalities of many kinds in which they have been raised are (obviously) important. If you go to the links at What About Our Daughter, you see that various leaders, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, straight up say, basically, they aren’t going to address this situation. They have their reasons, and I don’t want to get into the reasons in this thread, other than to say, I think that this woman needs support, and in this thread, there are addresses/ways noted by way of which material support can be given. To me that’s most important here right now.

    Posted by womensspace | March 16, 2008, 3:31 pm
  34. that’s most important here right now.

    Absolutely right. My apologies for derailing.

    Posted by Emma | March 17, 2008, 7:14 pm
  35. You know, I don’t know how to feel about all of this. I live in a neighborhood that is something like the one this Haitian woman lives in. We’re sandwiched between the Ohio State University campus and the Short North (an arts district), but just on my segment of my street, on my side of it, between the nearest corner and here, I’m the fifth building from the corner and three houses between there and here are vacant. Five units, actually, because two of them are duplexes. Boarded-up windows. Random scary people peeing in the front yards. Dog poop everywhere. Feral children running loose during the summer months. Goddess only knows what my neighbor is doing downstairs–rumors abound that he deals, that he prostitutes his girlfriend, and I’ve run into him and he gives off surly vibes. (I’ve met her too, and she always acts… off. I’ve also heard them fighting and I’m betting that at least abuse goes on. I’ve called the cops once about it and they don’t show up.)

    It didn’t used to be *horrible* here, this is my fourth year here, but last summer the kids got really bad. They will surround your car in the alley and kick it and throw things at it and yell threats at you and your (then-)two-year-old daughter. And there’s like a dozen of them and three of you. And it’s scary. And they congregate in your backyard at other times even though they don’t live in your building. The cops show up for that, but only because the entire neighborhood is calling them about the kids and they’re tired of hearing the phone ring. We had three broken windows in the space of six months and now there’s a fourth that my landlords aren’t even bothering with.

    And I look at how those kids behave, at how positively unruly they are, and I know they’re angry, and I know their lives stink. I know that. I grok “angry kid.” I watched my brother behave just the same way when we were growing up–my dad was deployed on a Navy ship, my stepmom was crazy and gone a lot, and we had to fend for ourselves a lot and God help us if we got it wrong. So I get it. But I’m still afraid. There are at least a dozen of them and one of me. Two, if you count my now-three-year-old daughter.

    All I can think is that I can’t help but see them as having made certain choices. I was angry too, at that age, but I didn’t go around terrorizing thirtysomething-year-old single mamas and their little girls. I generally respected my elders and minded my own business and I didn’t go around loafing in other people’s backyards throwing rocks at the stray cats. That kind of behavior IS a choice. I am tired of hearing the excuses, “oh, well, you don’t know what it’s like,” you’re right, I *don’t* know what it’s like to be a sociopath, all I know is I’m in danger from these people AND their parents, some of them, the ones who beat up my neighbor next door last summer. And I didn’t do a damn thing to any of them. I mind my business and I expect them to mind theirs.

    If any of them busted in here and raped me and my daughter I wouldn’t care if they were under 18, I’d want them dead. Not just in jail, not just in jail for a long time, but *dead*. And I don’t care if it prevents some other random jerk raping some other woman. It would prevent THESE people from doing it to ME and my DAUGHTER again. I hate the death penalty, I don’t think the state is capable of dealing it out fairly, but hey, put a Glock in *my* hand and let me at the little bastards and there wouldn’t be any more talk of trying a juvenile as an adult. They already tried *themselves* and have been found extremely wanting.

    I can’t love someone like that. I can’t particularly care whether they live or die. I care that I can’t feel safe in my own home. Racism is terrible, we need to eradicate it, and we need to alleviate poverty, but we also need to eradicate sociopathic behavior, and that’s what rape is. And unwarranted assault and battery. And bullying. And being possessive of a certain level of melanin in your skin does not give you the right to engage in those behaviors, nor does it earn you a pass to have your life circumstances considered like they will give you extra credit or something.

    I know that this has been gone over elsewhere in Heart’s blog with the Al Sharpton and NAACP nonsense, and I know most of the folks here are savvy, and you probably understand what I mean, but for many of you it is an intellectual exercise–but for me it’s very real. It is so bad here that the locals shoot at the cops, not the other way around. The kids are choosing to be lost. It is very, very ugly and I intend to get out of here this year if it is at all possible. (Probably not via Section 8–those vouchers are scarce in Ohio too.) As for what will happen to the feral kids, I can’t care anymore.

    Posted by Dana | March 27, 2008, 9:23 am
  36. Sorry to read about this sister and her sons ordeal,just one of many thousands that occur daily within this world that we live.
    May they rise up as a victors and not victims!

    I may even try to make contact with her via the church.

    Nice to talk to you on this matter,keep up the good work,and keep me posted.I am at present making plans to do some work in Jamaica,with regards to sexual assault against women and children,pushing for changes in the law, concerning the same.

    “The Pen is Mightier than the sword!”

    With regards…Rea

    Posted by Jamaican sister love | July 13, 2008, 4:12 pm

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