Usually, I try to stray away from hot topics on my blog, but this one in particular gets my blood boiling. This one makes me want to scream from the rooftops and call people to action. This one makes me sick. What am I talking about? Mollie Tibbetts. While the crime itself is sickening and infuriates me, the responses are what really gets me worked up. Before I dive into that, I want to pose the questions “Would this be getting the attention it is if she weren’t a white woman?” While her race does not take away from the fact that a young girl was brutalized and murdered, however I can’t help but wonder would her case be plastered everywhere if she were a woman of color. Here’s the thing; thousands of women murdered and never receive any media attention, so what sets this one apart? Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s because a white woman was murdered by a man of color, and the media loves to use these examples to nudge us towards a racist agenda. But here’s the secret they don’t want you to know; being a man of color did not make him a murderer. Being an “illegal” citizen did not make him a murderer. If he had been a white man, people would be saying he’s “mentally ill” or preaching about how “one bad person doesn’t mean all white men are bad.” And those of you who are using the death of an innocent woman as fuel for your racist agenda are disgusting. A young girl died for no reason. The race or status of the man who did it does not change that fact. A woman was murdered, but for some reason I don’t understand, the focus has shifted to race. This is despite the fact that our current white president has been accused of sexual assault and was recorded saying he can do whatever he wants to women, even if he has to force it, but that’s an entirely separate issue. The problem is not immigrants or people of color; the problem is the world we live in.
How many people, for one second, doubted the fact that when Mollie disappeared, a man was behind it. How many of us even toyed with the idea that a woman had kidnapped her. What does that tell you about our society? Mollie was murdered because she said “no” to a man- plain and simple. This same scenario plays out over and over again, but yet nothing ever changes. Women are killed for saying no and rejecting men so often, and yet this message is not plastered over social media. My Facebook feed isn’t littered with messages saying to put a stop to this violence. Instead, it’s full of things about building a wall and blaming immigrants for everything wrong with this country. To say that this would never had happened if this man hadn’t been in our country is saying that it would have been okay if it had happened to someone else in Mexico had he stayed there, because I can guarantee that’s what would have happened. Being an immigrant doesn’t make a murderer- if it did there wouldn’t be the vast number of American killers there are today. But there are. Instead of using this horrible situation to justify a racist agenda, maybe it should be used to show that male violence against women is a very real problem that needs to be taken more seriously by the government, by society, and by individuals.
If a white man had murdered Mollie, a situation would have played out that women know all too well. What likely would have happened would be that police, judges, defense attorneys, news reporters, and people everywhere would be asking “What was she wearing?” “What did she do to lead him on?” “What did she do to aggravate him?” “What did she expect to happen, going out jogging by herself dressed like that?” And on and on the cycle goes. But because this man is not white, the victim blaming goes away and the racism comes out. When people say “This wouldn’t have happened if we had better immigration policies” what are you telling victims and families of those who are attacked and murdered by legal citizens? That their cases matter less? That their cases are unpreventable? Because even if we took all the immigrants out of the country, women still wouldn’t be safe. They’d still be murdered for no reason. We are all so scared of pointing our fingers at ourselves, that we blame race, immigration policies, and victims. But reality is that we are responsible. We are responsible for fueling a society that is okay with violence against women. We fuel a society that blames the victim for her own murder. We fuel a society that looks to place the blame anywhere we can. Mollie was a young girl who had a long life ahead of her; a life that was stolen from her for no reason at all. Stop using your racist beliefs to take away from that, because when you do that, you disgrace her memory.