the violence in all of us

Haven Daley of the Associated Press reports:

A woman was taunted for being a lesbian, repeatedly raped by four men and left naked outside an abandoned apartment building, authorities said.

Detectives say the 28-year-old victim was attacked Dec. 13 after she got out of her car in Richmond, in the San Francisco Bay area.

[…]

Avy Skolnik, a coordinator with the New York-based National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs […] said the group plans to analyze hate crime data to see whether fluctuations may be related to the gay marriage bans that appeared on ballots this year in California, Arizona and Florida.

“Anytime there is an anti-LGBT initiative, we tend to see spikes both in the numbers and the severity of attacks,” he said. “People feel this extra entitlement to act out their prejudice.”

Emphasis mine.  It’s real convenient for the average person.  Real convenient to think,

I didn’t have anything to do with that. I mean, sure, I’m against gay marriage, but I would never wish that violence on anyone.

It’s real convenient to justify a prejudicial position that lowers the social status of a different group of people while condemning the violence that results.  We can feel good without changing a damned thing about ourselves.  But the reality is we can’t really condemn the resulting violence because we already condoned it.  The violence won’t stop until the rest of us summon some courage and own up,

When I think those prejudice thoughts, when I let the sexism, the racism, the misogyny fly from my face with the force of my voice and privileged identity behind it, it will encourage and justify another’s acts of violence toward that group of people.

It’s a big step to take, and it’s also a liberating step to take, because at least the choices we can make and the lines we draw from that point are clear.

Some parting thoughts:

It wasn't always this way, and it won't always be this way

And last but not least:  Why Gay Marriage is the Wrong Issue

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One Response to the violence in all of us

  1. […] It’s creepy, alright.  But let’s clear the air about some stuff:  creepy isn’t grounds for calling for someone’s resignation from public office.  Nigel Jacquiss insists in his OPB interview that this story was never “about sex and sexuality,” but that he wasn’t “satisfied” that Sam was “being completely straight” with him, and he had a hunch that Sam wasn’t someone he could “get behind.” (yes, I’m quoting from Jacquiss’ interview on OPB) Hmm, sounds to me like the only person in the closet here is Nigel. It was about the fact that Sam Adams lied, Nigel insists. But why would Sam feel compelled to lie about something like this?  Could it have something to with the fact that we, uhh, still live in a homophobic society where it was inconceivable mere decades ago that an openly gay person could and should be elected to public office (Harvey Milk, anyone?), let alone the fact that being openly gay in the wrong place at the wrong time in front of the wrong people (which is nearly everywhere, everyone and any time) STILL means you’ll get your head bashed in?  Could it have been motivated by genuine fear of persecution?  HELL YES. […]

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