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15 November 2008 @ 03:38 pm
A cautionary tale  
Today, on Lynette Long's blog, she posted a terrible story about violence against women. I am utterly aghast. And I am also totally certain that this is the upshot of allowing the widespread voicing of misogyny, of violent imagery being used against women, and of sexism and bullying being used to bludgeon one's way into the White House. THIS is what Obama has wrought. I hope someone is keeping an eye on the domestic violence, rape, and assaults against women stats. I'd bet anything they're on their way up.


by Lynette Long

Last night I met three friends for dinner at a popular local restaurant. When I arrived my friends were already there. One was sitting at the corner of a packed bar while the other two were standing behind her. Beside them three guys would not release two seats they were saving "for friends" for at lease 30 minutes. When I arrived, one of my friends eager to find me a seat, tried to take one of the seats held by the guys, saying she would be happy to return the seat once his friends arrive. He pulled the seat back and yelled, "You are just a bunch of C****." What??? Haven't we seen that word emerge during the very recent Presidential Campaign? I was flabbergasted. I have never in my life heard a woman called the C word. Ouch.

The women asked the bartender to take charge and ask the guys to give up one of the seats he as saving. The bartender would not intervene. His response was a cold, "His friend is parking the car."

The second of the four of us was infuriated and went and had a long talk with the manager. I could not hear what she said, but the manager sheepishly asked one of the guys for a stool. No, again. Frustrated the women who had spoken to the manager, poured a glass of water on the head of the most aggressive of the guys. He turned around, grabbed her my the hair with his left had, pulled her down, and dragged her across the restaurant floor while punching her in the face with his right hand. Three patrons pulled him off.

As I watched, it all seemed so surreal. I had enough of my wits about me call the police as soon as the fight started. As we waited for the police to arrive, the three guys took off angry and triumphant. I followed them for a couple of blocks hoping they would slip in to one of the many restaurants around the corner, which they did not.

When the police came we stepped outside to explain what happened. When the woman who was assaulted told the police they called us a C****, he said, "That's a part of a horse." When she showed him her broken glasses and bruised face, he said, "You started the fight." Something is not right here, a woman's been pummeled in the face and you tell me it's her fault. Disgusted, we left, found another restaurant and had dinner.

This morning I called a lawyer who is an expert in these matters. After reviewing the facts her response was calling a woman a C**** is not a hate crime, throwing water on someone is considered an assault, and you're lucky the guys left or your friend who was pummeled would have been arrested.

What's my take the morning after? I have never witnessed such hostility from relatively sober men in an upscale restaurant. I understand my friend's frustration at not being able to get the manager, the bartender, or anyone to defend her after we were called C****. We are a group of women, too old to trade on our sexuality, and too young to garner the deference given a senior citizen. We also didn't understand our place. We had the audacity to repeatedly ask for a chair hogged by men. Did my friend cross the line by pouring a drink on someone's head? Of course. Did she deserve to be dragged by the hair and pummeled in the face? Of course not. The intensity of his response was unconscionable.

I think we cannot dismiss the election's place in all this. The world watched as Hillary Clinton and Sara Palin were eviscerated by the main stream media. Calling women C**** was tolerated. Demeaning and disrespecting women was deemed OK. A young potent male was victorious over an older women. It was a symbolic victory on many deep psychological levels. I am afraid last night was just the beginning and that there will be more crimes against women. Times have changed and not for the better. I can smell it in the air."
Kgirl_fromjersey on November 16th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC)
That story is terrible. But I do think you have a point. The media's reaction to the high-profile and highly controversial candidacies of Hillary and Sarah Palin showed people all over the world that it's all right to treat women inappropriately; to call them names, to degrade them and their families, and to bring up issues that have nothing to do with their stances on policy or their qualifications for the respective offices they're running for.

One of the reasons why I admire Hillary so is because she weathered all of that BS--she's been doing it for years--and she achieved what she did despite all of the people who tried to bring her down. But Hillary's a special person, with special qualification and special connections. How many other former first ladies run for office themselves and have a background of public service like hers? How many other women in government have access to a fundraising apparatus as formidable as hers was? How many women have the name recognition she does? None. None. None. How many women would even want to run for President after seeing what she went through? Those are just some of the reasons why I felt like she was our best and maybe our only hope of seeing a woman in the White House any time soon.

We've come so far, yet we still have so far still to go.

Sorry this turned out to be so long. I just needed to get that off my chest.
Katielieueitak on November 16th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
I agree with you completely on this.

I really can't believe that that man wasn't arrested. Even if you could argue that she technically assaulted him first, his response is completely unreasonable. He should have been arrested. >:-(
K: Change I Can Believe Ingirl_fromjersey on November 16th, 2008 12:23 am (UTC)
PS: Thanks for posting. This comm hasn't gotten much love lately and that's partly my fault for being a lazy, uninspired mod. But maybe we can get it back on track with reasonable, substantive discussion about this year's election and the fallout resulting from it.
.: Hillary Rodham Clinton <3loseway on November 16th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
I can't wrap my head around why ethically, this man would not be arrested for physical violence, and why it's not legally deemed a "hate crime" (someone yelling "nigger" at an African-American man and proceeding to beat him would be... and being denied help from staff/maybe even other patrons would widely be perceived as racial discrimination) -- it is absolutely disgusting, and I just don't understand it. Can this woman make a case out of this with another lawyer?

Agree with everyone about there maybe being a link between the treatment of Clinton+Palin and violence/discrimination against women. Scary.
.loseway on November 16th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
*increased violence, ops.