America’s Institutional Misogyny Problem
A few days ago Democracy Now featured Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist critic of the gaming community where sexism and misogyny runs rampant. From the link:
Anita Sarkeesian, a prominent feminist critic of video games, was forced to cancel a speech at Utah State University last week after the school received an email threatening to carry out “the deadliest shooting in American history” at the event. The email sender wrote: “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge.” The sender used the moniker Marc Lepine, the name of a man who killed 14 women, most of them female engineering students, in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989. Sarkeesian canceled the talk after being told that under Utah law, campus police could not prevent people from bringing guns.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like our institutions are increasingly failing to keep women safe. Mother Jones has a piece about the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stance toward issues relating to abortion rights and other issues facing women. Bush appointees on this court, like Priscilla Own, are especially awful. From the link:
In 2010, Owen was part of a three-judge panel that threw out a lawsuit filed by a high school cheerleader who had been kicked off the squad for refusing to cheer for a basketball player she said had raped her. (The athlete ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge.) These judges ordered the cheerleader’s family to pay the school district $45,000 for filing a frivolous lawsuit.
A frivolous lawsuit? Really? For standing up and refusing to cheer on the athlete rapist who sexually assaulted her?
A Missoulian article posted less than an hour ago highlights how even extreme violence against women can result in just a 3 year probationary slap on the hand. I should warn readers that aspects of this story are quite graphic:
According to prosecutors, in late July, Gallegos and his girlfriend began arguing at a University of Montana-owned apartment over a Facebook post Gallegos’ ex-wife had written.
When the girlfriend said she was leaving him, Gallegos apparently told her that he would “have snipers kill her.” He also told her she had to cut a tattoo of his name off her chest.
Gallegos allegedly handed the woman a box cutter, pushed her into the bathroom and told her to “get all the ink off” or he would “get it off with a bullet.” The woman tried to cut the tattoo, but had to stop because of the pain.
When she stopped, Gallegos allegedly beat her on the head until she fell down and blacked out, but he continued to beat her on the ground. Gallegos also allegedly threw the woman into a closet, where she woke up and called 9-1-1, telling dispatchers “if you don’t get here soon I’m going to be dead.”
The dispatcher heard yelling and screaming and the victim say, “Don’t Rene, don’t hit me” before the call disconnected.
Gallegos allegedly told the victim he was going to kill her that night. When police arrived, Gallegos told the woman if she talked to the officers and he went to jail he would send somebody to kill her and her son.
Gallegos answered the door and lied to officers and told them it was only him and his friend inside. The officers weren’t convinced and found the victim in the bathroom.
At first, she denied calling 9-1-1 but once outside she began crying and stated that she was extremely afraid of what Gallegos would do to her if she spoke with police. The friend who was in the house later admitted to seeing Gallegos assault the woman.
Gallegos has two previous domestic violence convictions from Texas and California.
“Mr. Gallegos, you have lived an interesting but mostly charmed life,” Deschamps said before handing down the sentence. “I suspect that a lot of this is because you’re a scary guy and you’ve been able to intimidate your way out of a lot of these events. It looks like there’s hardly been a year in your adult life where you haven’t done some crime or another. I don’t expect that you’ll make it on probation.
“And if you don’t, and come back, with the pattern that you’ve established so far, I’m going to send you away for a very long time. I have agreed to follow this plea agreement and I’ll do it, but prison is just full of guys that started out where you’re at right now. It won’t take very much at all for you to do some serious time, so straighten up your act, OK?”
This piece of shit should be headed to prison, but instead will only have 3 years of probation. I’m not an advocate for guns solving all problems, but if I was this particular woman, I would seriously consider getting a gun and being prepared to shoot this POS dead.
My faith in our legal system decreases the more I learn about it, especially when it comes to the prosecutorial discretion of our County Attorney’s office. Some of the stuff I have learned in just the past few months shows how discretion within our institutions of accountability undermine the quaint notions of justice many Americans without direct experience have.
Can these institutions be reformed? I don’t know. But we have to try.