Posts from September 2001

Terrorism against women in Colorado

(stories reported in the Feminist Blog)

This is the worst assault I’ve ever seen where the person ended up living, according to Denver police Lt. Gary Lauricella. He is talking about the savage beating of a pregnant 18 year old woman by her former boyfriend, 21-year-old Reed Gulley, on 20 September 2001. Gulley was arrested for assaulting her on 17 September 2001, but the judge proved his sensitivity to violence against women by giving Gulley only 220 days in jail, then suspended 219 days and crediting him the last day with time served. The very night that Gulley was released, he went to his former partner’s apartment and beat the shit out of her. She was found lying in a bathtub full of water (attempted drowning?), with broken bones in her face and all of her teeth knocked out. She was battered so savagely that it caused a miscarriage of her pregnancy and she had to be put into a coma temporarily to relieve swelling on her brain [Denver Post]. On the same day, the Denver Post also reported that a doctor was arrested the day before for serial sexual assault of at least three pregnant women under the guise of an obstetrical check-up (and they wonder why women are preferring to go to female ob-gyns?).

All this is so outrageous that there are words I can put to how mad it makes me. Here’s a free clue for the Denver criminal justice system: partner battery and sexual assault are not minor crimes. Men who commit them cannot be trusted to walk the streets after three days time served. For the safety of the community, Gulley needs to be in jail for the rest of his life, and I wish that the fucking judge who let him free would be arrested for criminal neglect. Sexual assault and partner violence are forms of torture. They are crimes against humanity. They are terrorism against women. And they need to be treated as such. This kind of shit is exactly why we need an organized, radicalized, agitating feminist movement which will hold men accountable for the violence they commit, and the violence they allow by not taking these kind of acts seriously.

For further reading:

  • GT 5/17/2001 Seattle SuperSonics forward receives only 15 days in jail for attempted rape

  • GT 8/1/2001 Rape and battery still rampant in teenage dating

  • GT 4/19/2001 Male doctors at East Alabama Medical Center refuse to give emergency contraception to rape survivors

  • GT 9/24/2001 The Rape Blog documents pervasive sexual terrorism against women

  • GT 3/11/2001 and GT 3/12/2001 Faux Leftists make excuses for Lionel Tate’s savage murder of a six-year-old girl

  • A letter on why We Need Campus Activism

Take action! Read about What You Can Do to Support Women’s Rights. Participate in campaigns through the Stop Family Violence online action network. Visit NOW’s Violence Against Women campaigns page.

The Rape Blog documents pervasive terrorism against women

Sometimes there are projects that are very depressing but very necessary. One example is the Rape Blog, a weblog devoted to doing what is basically atrocity work: documenting the daily violence and terror inflicted by men who rape by tracking and analyzing stories about sexual violence in the media. The Rape Blog is not daily reading by any means. It’s far too much, and I can’t deal and I don’t think much of any human being can without being absolutely numb to human compassion and feeling. But it’s important to know that this is going on and it’s important that The Rape Blog is there to document it. I’ve tried to do something similar on this web page by documenting anti-LGBT terrorism (see reports on terrorism against gay men in Hawaii, a savage attempted murder of a gay man in Pennsylvania, anti-gay hatred in schools, and the Religious Right’s assaults on student safety). These are issues that get swept under the rug, see life in local media but don’t get spread nation-wide. Weblogs such as the Rape Blog do crucial work by bringing together all these stories and treating them as the connected, brutalizing system they are, rather than just passing "incidents" in an otherwise humane society.

Remember, It Will Be We Who Fight The War

I submitted a letter to the editor of the Plainsman, entitled Are you ready?, asking students to think critically about what will happen if we go to war. By the time it is published, we may already be at war. And if it does happen, it will not be George W. Bush or Colin Powell or Donald Rumsfeld who will have to fight and die in a far-away land, it will be us. It will be 18-24 year olds, like me and my friends and my classmates, just like every other war. And people need to seriously think about what we are getting ourselves into every time we clench our jaws and call for war.

Are You Ready?

Fellow Auburn students,

Next time you tie a yellow ribbon, think about two questions. Next time you hear President Bush calling for war, think about two questions. Next time your jaw clenches and your heart hardens and you cry out for blood, think about two questions.

The first question is: Are you ready to kill for vengeance? Don’t just ask yourself if you want the criminals who did this dead. Don’t just ask yourself if you think they should be executed or assassinated. Ask yourself: Am I ready to be the one who looks at another human being down the scope of a gun? Am I ready to be the one who aims and pulls down on the trigger? Am I ready to watch them die and move on to the next target?

The second question is: Are you ready to die for vengeance? Are you ready for bullets to cut into your body? Are you ready to choke to death on poison gas? Are you ready to be torn apart by shrapnel?

You’d better think about these questions next time you call for vengeance. By the time you read this letter, we may already be at war. And this war will not be fought by George W. Bush or Tom Daschle. Colin Powell will not pick up a rifle. Donald Rumsfeld will not drop the bombs. We will be the ones who fight and die. You and I, our friends, our classmates, our brothers and sisters. In this war as in every other war, it will be 18-24 year olds who have to pull the triggers and drop the bombs. It will be our blood that pours out onto the desert sands.

There are no words for the grief, the pain, the horror, and yes, the rage of 9/11. On that terrible day, we witnessed a crime against humanity, unfolding before us on live television, the Internet, the radio, the choking words between friends and strangers. But when you feel that rage rising up from your gut, through your burning heart, and out of your mouth; when that cry of pain becomes a scream for war and vengeance; ask yourself two questions.

Are you ready to kill?

Are you ready to die?

In mourning,
Charles W. Johnson

I wrote this and submitted it to our student newspaper, The Plainsman, on the day of Bush’s address to the nation. Bush gave demands to the Taliban regime, announced the beginnings of a permanent war on terrorism and the creation of a new cabinet-level position for Security of the Homeland. The LTE went unpublished; I never inquired about it further, so I don’t know whether it was just decided not to publish it because of the high volume of mail that week, or if the letter was lost.

Take Action! Healing the World After Sep. 11

I ended on a very exhausted and somewhat depressing note yesterday. Nevertheless, here are some actions that you can take in order to work for making a difference in these troubled times.