05 March 2010

Yes, The Woman Matters

A man beats up a woman. Another man, a man with considerable social and political power, persuades her to drop charges. The man goes free, free to beat up someone else, free to continue the pattern of violence with the next woman with whom he gets intimately involved.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, I wrote a series of articles about domestic violence for a small-town newspaper in Pennsylvania. Newspaper notions of "objectivity" being what they were (and are, I suppose), I had to quote the police officer who said women who get beaten are just asking for it. All I could do was do my best to make him look like an idiot in the way I introduced his ideas.

Laws have changed, public opinion has changed. But apparently if you have connections, you can still get away with nasty stuff.

Some people are saying the censure of the governor who abused his position in this case is based on race. And it hurts me to see a black man, and a blind man, brought down. But to say that is to say that the woman doesn't matter, that it's okay for a woman to be beaten and for men to lie about it, that it's more important to protect the political position of a person of color and a person with a disability.

Nope, can't go there. Can't sacrifice the woman. (Who, by the way, is also a person of color.)