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News from the front, or: Andrea Dworkin Was Right #4

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 18 years ago, in 2005, on the World Wide Web.

(Link via Amazonfemme 2005-01-06.)

FORT WORTH, Texas – A man sentenced to just four months in prison for killing his wife, after a jury concluded he acted in a blind fury, drew a 15-year term for wounding her boyfriend.

The jury at his 1999 trial found Watkins guilty of murdering his wife but decided he acted with “sudden passion” when he discovered her with Fontenot.

In a decision that provoked an outcry, the jury recommended 10 years’ probation. Because of the jury’s recommendation, the most the judge could have given Watkins was six months behind bars. He sentenced Watkins to four months.

Watkins had admitted the attack but claimed temporary insanity. Texas defines “sudden passion” as being so overcome by rage, resentment or fear that the defendant is “incapable of cool reflection.” Jurors said they recommended probation because they didn’t think Watkins could be rehabilitated in prison.

— The Miami Herald (2005-01-06): Man Sentenced in Attack on Wife’s Lover

(Links and commentary from Pinko Feminist Hellcat 2005-04-21: As long as we’ve got our priorities straight, Mr. Altman, Pinko Feminist Hellcat 2005-04-21: You broads have no sense of humor, feministing 2005-04-21, Pseudo-Adrienne at Alas, A Blog 2005-04-21, and Hopelessly Midwestern 2005-04-22, inter alia. I read most of these through Feminist Blogs, of course.)

(Columbia) April 20, 2005 – The State House took up two pieces of legislation this week aimed at protecting two different groups. Up for debate was cracking down on gamecock fighting and protecting victims of domestic violence.

A bill protecting cocks passed through the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. John Graham Altman (R-Dist. 119-Charleston) was in favor of the gamecock bill, “I was all for that. Cockfighting reminds me of the Roman circus, coliseum.”

A bill advocates say would protect victims against batterers was tabled, killing it for the year. Rep. Altman is on the committee that looked at the domestic violence bill, “I think this bill is probably drafted out of an abundance of ignorance.”

Both cockfighting and domestic violence are currently misdemeanor crimes, punishable by 30 days in jail. If the bill passes, cockfighting will become a felony, punishable by five years in jail. Domestic violence crimes will remain a misdemeanor.

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Dist. 66-Orangeburg) says of the two bills, “What we have said by the actions of the Judiciary Committee is we aren’t going to create a felony if you beat your wife, partner. But now, if you’ve got some cockfighting going on, whoa! Wait a minute.”

Rep. Altman responds to the comparison, “People who compare the two > are not very smart and if you don’t understand the difference, Ms. Gormley, between trying to ban the savage practice of watching chickens trying to kill each other and protecting people rights in > CDV statutes, I’ll never be able to explain it to you in a 100 years ma’am.”

Rep. Cobb-Hunter says, “The reality is the law says domestic violence regardless, first, second or third offense is a misdemeanor, and what they passed yesterday says cockfighting is a felony.”

Rep. Altman spoke about domestic violence, “There ought not to be a second offense. The woman ought to not be around the man. I mean you women want it one way and not another. Women want to punish the men, and I do not understand why women continue to go back around men who abuse them. And I’ve asked women that and they all tell me the same answer, John Graham you don’t understand. And I say you’re right, I don’t understand.”

Gormley, “So it’s their fault for going back?”

Altman, “Now there you go, trying to twist that too. And I don’t mind you trying. It’s not the woman’s fault, it’s not blaming the victim, but tell me what self respecting person is going back around someone who beats them?”

— WISTV 10, Columbia, SC (2005-04-20): Judiciary Committee passes cockfighting bill, tables domestic violence bill

(More from Trish Wilson 2005-04-21)

The bill’s name is “Protect Our Women in Every Relationship (POWER)”. Mr. Altman had wondered why only women were mentioned, and not men. This isn’t about abused men. It about abused women because the vast majority of domestic violence victims are female.

One of the jokes committee members made had to do with the title of the bill. Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Harrison wanted to change it from “Protect Our Women in Every Relationship (POWER)” to “Protecting Our People in Every Relationship” Act, or “POPER.” A voice on the tape can be heard pronouncing it “Pop her.” Another voice then says, “Pop her again,” followed by laughter. Harrison said the advocates for abused women were “overreacting” and the comments weren’t intended to diminish the gravity of domestic violence. “If you take it that way, you’re overly sensitive,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the writings of insane radical feminists who nobody listens to or has even heard of and are clearly hysterical and completely out of touch with reality and who don’t ever write about politics anyway:

The state is male in the feminist sense: the law sees and treats women the way men see and treat women.

–Catharine MacKinnon (1989), Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, Chapter 8 ¶ 11


There is not a feminist alive who could possibly look to the male legal system for real protection from the systemized sadism of men. Women fight to reform male law, in the areas of rape and battery for instance, because something is better than nothing. In general, we fight to force the law to recognize us as the victims of the crimes committed against us, but the results so far have been paltry and pathetic.

–Andrea Dworkin (1979), For Men, Freedom of Speech; For Women, Silence Please, in Letters from a War Zone

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