This should remind us that violence is first of all authoritarian. It begins with this premise: I have the right to control you.
Links are included at the site. They are too numerous to reproduce here. A well substantiated article.
The Republican “war on women” helped define 2012. Its main offensives are well known, including the assertion that you can’t get pregnant from rape; the obstruction of the Violence Against Women Act because it would have given Native American courts more jurisdiction over domestic violence; the demonizing of a woman who dared to assert that all women, rich and poor, deserve access to contraception; and the 43 new state laws passed last year restricting access to abortion.
And in case you thought it ended with election 2012, in just the past few weeks yet more absurdly egregious, albeit less publicized, assaults on women have been piling up.
Toward the end of December, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a dentist who fired his assistant for being too attractive had acted legally. The dentist’s attorney hailed the decision, the first of its kind, as a victory for family values because the woman was axed in order to save his marriage, not because she was a woman. This is short-skirt-rape apologist territory. God forbid that the dentist bear responsibility for his inability to control himself.
As the new year broke, the House GOP took another stealthy swipe at women. The House and the Senate had come to an agreement on a bipartisan, Republican-sponsored bill that would have helped reduce the massive national backlog of “rape kits,” which contain forensic evidence collected after sexual assaults that can help identify perpetrators. On the very last day of the last Congress, however, House Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith, who had been trotting out various excuses to stall the bill for weeks, forced in amendments to kill it.
And early in January (yes, 2013!), a California court ruled that a woman who was raped was not in fact raped — because she was unmarried. A young woman went to sleep with her boyfriend and woke up being raped by someone else who, she initially thought, was her partner. The judges strictly interpreted California’s nineteenth century rape laws (based on 13th-century Saxon law), which say that it’s only a crime to trick someone into having sex if she believes it’s with her husband, not her boyfriend.
It’s this seemingly antiquated but all-too-twenty-first-century world into which TomDispatch regular Rebecca Solnit plunges today, that extreme, remarkably fundamentalist land of Manistan whose violence, once put in one place, boggles the mind. Erika Eichelberger
A Rape a Minute, a Thousand Corpses a Year
Hate Crimes in America (and Elsewhere)
By Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit has written a version of this essay three times so far, once in the 1980s for the punk magazine Maximum Rock’n’Roll, once as the chapter on women and walking in her 2000 book Wanderlust: A History of Walking, and here. She would love the topic to become out of date and irrelevant and never to have write it again.