Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lots of time to think, still not too clear

This is moldy by now, but I'm still thinking about it, so figured I should at least try to write it out:

Here resides the tale of residents of Gladwyne all getting flyers last month saying they should try to keep Aaron McKie from moving in because he was arrested for trying to purchase guns while under a restraining order (for allegedly breaking his former girlfriend's jaw). It contains lots of quotes from folks who say that it was probably just a misunderstanding, he's a nice guy, etc. And this:

Michele Seidman, who was filling up at the station, said she had known McKie when she worked in public relations at what is now the Wachovia Center. "He's the nicest guy," she said.

As for the allegations, she said, "It's not like he's a sex offender."

It made me turn purple, but I'm not even 100% why. So we're saying what exactly? That women who get beaten deserve it, therefore good women in the neighborhood who mind their own business have nothing to fear? In the bigger picture, that "nice" guys are incapable of violence against women? I'm all for innocent until proven guilty, but this attitude scares me. Am I totally off base?

The whole thing is offensive (see Cynthia Figueroa's letter), but that line in particular burns, because it obviously points to the habit of blaming victims of physical abuse, but also shows a profound misunderstanding both of what sexual assault is and what it means. Violence is violence, no matter what form it takes. And sex offenders are, wait for it, real people who might, just might, live next door without you even knowing it. But anyway, would it somehow matter if the dude was a sex offender in a way that is fundamentally different from knowing he broke a woman's jaw, then went and bought a gun?

The bite in the ass is the whole papering the neighborhood to keep the riff raff out is way out of line, and smacks not a little of racism. It is tempting to slide the other way, and say the whole exercise was out of line and leave it at that; besides, the impetus was not to protect the womenfolk, but to make sure news helicopters didn't disturb the air in this quaint suburbia-- even the anonymous letter writer could give a shit if a guy with a PO against him gets a gun. But the impulse some people have to level abuse against women against, say, the ability of one to pay one's taxes, say hello when checking out at the grocery store, and to be nice to puppies is still gross. Sisterhood, where are you?

No comments: