Words that kill

There is a Spanish politician who said “Las leyes, como las mujeres, son para violarlas”. This roughly translates to “Laws, like women, are made to violate/rape”.

I can’t tell you how sick that statement makes me. But, what is worse, is the fact that we live in a world where something like this can be said in public and the person wasn’t immediately chastised for the behavior. He should be run out of office. His friends and family should be ashamed to be seen in public with him. He should be blamed for inciting violence.  He should be fined for hate speech. And yet, while the Spanish media is covering it and is, generally, condemning the statement (and sometimes him). Yes, he should be condemned for this abomination of what I can only assume he meant as a joke (rape, for your information, should NEVER be a joke). I am shocked at the lack of reporting in English media.

I was discussing this and my interlocutor suggested that the man who said the statement should be killed. He didn’t say this in a this-makes-me-so-angry-I-want-to-kill-him-way.  But, rather in a matter of fact, the only way we can stop misogynists like this is to have them executed.

I disagreed.  I don’t think we should kill the man. Yes, his statements are totally out of line. Yes, he is a misogynist pig. Yes, he should lose his job and possibly his family over this. Yes, society should be outraged. But, no, I draw the line at execution.

My companion says this makes me a bad feminist.

My argument and discomfort with the idea is twofold.  First of all, who decides what crosses a line?  Historically, women have been killed for all kinds of things that were deemed to “cross a line”.  For example: sex. Or sex before marriage. Or showing too much skin. Or looking the wrong way. Or looking at the wrong person.  Or doing something “dishonorable” (and who defines honor?).  Historically women can and have been killed for being out of line.

This violent reaction to a persons action, seems to me, to still be imbedded in a patriarchal view of the world where he (or she– but almost never she) with the power is all mighty.  It is an oppressive way to solve problems.  It is a slippery slope that accepts condemnation and murder as, well, acceptable.

I want to build a world where we can condemn this man and condemn the system of violence upheld by both history and patriarchy.  Do I know where to start? No. Do I know that was was said was wrong? Yes. Do I believe killing him is the answer? No.

So… does this make me a bad feminist?



  1. No. You are not a bad feminist. It makes you not a sociopath! People who say things like that annoy the crap out of me, but I would rarely resort to violence to deal with them. It’s not worth the effort.

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