Sunday, June 7, 2009

Because Victims Need to Be Taught a Lesson..

Yes, that's right. Victims need to learn how to not make themselves victims and take full responsibility for being victims of a crime...

I am referring to the recent tragic murder of Irma Rodriguez that I recently heard about via Feministing. The author of the post said that woman was from Chicago. It was only after I clicked on the Sun Times article she was critiquing did I realize the woman was from Oak Forest, my hometown.

And what an article it was. Slain mother's fate could teach victims a lesson. An entire article dedicated to the faults of the victim and basically blaming her for allowing herself to be killed.

Seems like domestic violence has been in the news a lot lately. There has also been a lot of commentary that basically boils down to "well why doesn't she just leave." No one is arguing that women in abusive relationships shouldn't leave the relationship. But I fail to see why, when women are victims are crimes like rape and domestic violence, the burden falls on the woman to not get raped or hit.

The Sun Times author, Mary Mitchell, briefly talks about the alleged murderer, Norberto Rodriguez. She explains that he went to court once and got off.. for attempted murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, armed violence and aggravated battery. And then instead of asking why was he found not guilty, blames Irma for not leaving "when she had the chance."

Seems to me that Irma Rodriguez should have packed up the kids and got away from this man long before the case went to trial. But domestic violence counselors will tell you that it doesn't do any good to tell a woman to leave an abuser. She has to figure that out for herself.

Like too many other abused women, Irma apparently figured it out too late.

Hey Mary, if he was found not guilty by the court, he still has legal rights to see his kids. If she had taken the kids, he probably would've pursued her. He probably would've gotten violent with her then too. Because, apparently, he is a violent person. But why talk about the person who commits the crime when you can talk about the person who "allows" herself to be the victim of a crime!

This article is just shameful in my opinion. Not only does the author imply that it was the victim's responsibility to not be a victim but also implies that she was bad mother for... being a victim, as she states multiple times that "the children will be left orphans."

As is the case with other domestic violence tragedies, the children will be left orphans. These children will need years of counseling to overcome the burden their parents' relationship has put on them.

As if the parents share equal responsibility for the abusive relationship. The children will be left orphans because they had a fucking horrible father who beat his wife and (probably) killed her. Not because Irma Rodriguez was a bad mother.

Enough with the judging and shaming women who are in abusive relationships and who for whatever reason feel trapped in them. Yes, the abuser does hold power over them and yes it is extremely hard to get out. Because a lot of times women DO try to get out. But guess what that does... it makes their abuser EVEN ANGRIER. It INCREASES THE LIKELIHOOD OF AN ATTACK. You know why, because abusers don't want their victims to have confidence or power. And when they sense that she is leaning that direction, they get even more violent. I've never been in an abusive relationship but I've learned that from volunteering at a women's center dedicated to helping women leave abusive relationships for good. So just to recap, maybe one of the reasons women find it so hard to leave is because THEY FEAR FOR THEIR SAFETY. And rightfully so.

So let's talk about domestic violence. Let's encourage women to get out of bad relationships and provide resources for them to do so. But PLEASE let's change the national discourse regarding domestic violence and rape from "this is how women can and should avoid being beaten and raped" to "men should not beat and rape women, and when they commit crimes the blame falls on the individual who committed the crime and him alone. He will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." Instead of "victims, here's a lesson you can learn from Irma," how about, "abusers, here's a lesson YOU can learn. Being abusive is WRONG and will not be tolerated under ANY circumstance."

Absolutely outraged is the only way I can describe my feelings right now.


  1. Hey. I like your blog. A lady I run with knew of Irma. It is kinda of creepy when it "hits so close to home." I completely agree that the attention is always misplaced in such cases.

  2. hey, it's me...Colleen. I don't why I"m posting anonymous. I think it's because I've never been on this thing and don't know how to work it. lol

  3. I think if you have gmail you can make a user name and "follow" me. :)