George and Shellie Zimmerman, appearing in court. Photo via.
In case you haven't heard, George Zimmerman went berserk Monday, punching his father-in-law in the face and pulling a gun on his estranged wife. Shellie Zimmerman, who is filing for divorce, called 911 screaming, "I'm really, really scared."
Zimmerman is the man acquitted of shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. When Shellie Zimmerman first began talking to the press about the divorce, she said the highly publicized trial ruined her life. But she also cited Zimmerman's verbal abuse and self-centeredness as reasons she wants to leave the marriage. "I have a selfish husband….George is all about George," she told the press. With this episode of domestic violence, she told authorities, "I don't know what he's capable of."
But we do know what he's capable of. He's capable of killing an unarmed kid and thinking the action is justified.
If you only know of Charles Saatchi as the guy who recently choked his famous wife in public, you may be wondering: "Should we have seen this coming? Has Charles Saatchi always been a complete asshat?" The answer is: Kind of! And if you tend to feel that douchiness generally correlates with the practice of unfettered, world-beating capitalism, than definitely.
• This quote says it all: "If we as a society have any interest in preventing mass shootings -- crimes that seem so senseless, so unpredictable -- we have got to look at domestic violence." [The Stranger]
Supporting survivors of domestic violence should be an easy political issue. And yet! For months, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has been derailed by Republican opposition to the bill's plans to expand protections for Native American, LGBT, and immigrant communities.
In our most recent print issue, writer Maya Dusenbery spells out why violence against women is such a crucial issue for the government to address—but why focusing efforts primarily on putting abusers in jail is problematic:
While ostensibly committed to building a "coordinated community response" to violence against women, the law privileges a pro-criminalization strategy. The original legislation was wrapped in the largest crime bill in U.S. history, and more than half of the initial funding was allocated to law-enforcement efforts. This focus means, for example, that U visas are only available to undocumented survivors who are willing to cooperate with a criminal investigation. Critics of the legislation have argued that relying on the state to protect women from violence can be counterproductive, particularly for poor communities of color. As Angela Davis asked in 2000, "Can a state that is thoroughly infused with racism, male dominance, class-bias, and homophobia, and that constructs itself in and through violence act to minimize violence in the lives of women?"
Welcome to the latest installment of Ms. Opinionated, in which readers have questions about the pesky day-to-day choices we all face, and I give advice about how to make ones that (hopefully) best reflect our shared commitment to feminist values—as well as advice on what to do when they don't.
Dear Ms. Opinionated,I've been going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for some time now but recently something happened at one that I'd never encountered before: a man admitted to hitting his partner earlier that day.
In both a national and global context where the rates of domestic violence against women are consistently soaring (according to the United Nations Population Fund Report, more 55 percent of women living in India face violence within the home), awareness campaigns and messages which seek to address this particular manifestation of gender-based violence are incredibly pertinent. Calling on women to recognise that they are not alone in what they experience, and highlighting the ways in which this violence manifests itself and affects other facets of a woman's life are key components of such outreach.
"Suffocation is the worst kind of abuse"
"It always starts with the little nicks and cuts"
"Respect the space you really deserve"
"How much longer will you adjust?"
These taglines, part of a far-reaching poster campaign, seem to fit the bill. Or they would, if violence against women were their subject. In fact, they're being used to sell bras.
The pairing of women's suffrage and Prohibition always seemed to me like another quirky historical coupling, an example of the same group of people simultaneously favoring a critical common-sense idea (universal suffrage) and an unbelievably naïve, moralistic solution to society's problems (Prohibition).