Enforcing heterosexuality – hate crimes against lesbians

This is an adjunct post to RubyFruit’s Radical Lesbian Feminism or Political Lesbian in 2012, in which RubyFruit outlines Adrienne Rich’s key points in compulsory heterosexuality.

Part of the first point is also the largely invisible cultural grooming, more pronounced now than when I was a girl, the Disney-style propaganda that brainwashes little girls into thinking their their primary mission in life is to ‘find their prince, get married, and live happily ever after’. It is when the brainwashing fails to ‘take’ or is resisted in any way, that the more overt methods are applied to force females back into heterosexuality – lesbian bashing and femicide of lesbians, particularly visible lesbians.

Within the last month there have been at least three major instances of attacks on lesbians, although I am sure there have been numerous other minor instances as well.

Mary Christine Chapa, 18 (left) and Mollie Judith Olgin, 19 (right)

The first attack involved a young lesbian couple in a park in a small town in Texas, sometime during the Friday night of 22 June. Both the young women had been shot, Mollie Olgin (19) fatally. Her partner of five months, Christine Chapa (18) was in a serious condition but recovered from her injuries. As an aside, Christine did not have health insurance, so if you if you are able to donate please do. They are the sweetest most non-threatening couple, and it defies belief how the male suspect could do such a thing.

Teen lesbian couple found shot in Texas park

Two teenage girls in a relationship were found with gunshot wounds to the head in a south Texas park, with one of them dying from her injuries, media reports say. Police were searching for their assailants.

Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, and Mary Christine Chapa, 18, were found in knee-deep grass in a nature area in Portland by a couple Saturday, said Portland Police Chief Randy Wright, who confirmed to msnbc.com details first reported by the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

Olgin, originally from Ingleside but recently living in Corpus Christi, died; Chapa, of Sinton, was rushed to a hospital where she had surgery and was in serious but stable condition on Sunday, local NBC affiliate kristv.com reported. Wright said Chapa was still in the hospital on Monday.

Friends told kristv.com that the girls had been together five months. Wright said he didn’t have any information about their relationship, noting that “we understood from their friends that they were (in a romantic relationship). I know from … Mollie’s parents that they were very close.”

When asked if police had been able to determine if the girls’ sexuality played any role in the shootings, Wright told msnbc.com: “That’s always something that we’re looking for, but as of this point, we have not been able to establish that that had anything to do with the attack.”

He said they had been in communication with Chapa. He noted all indications were that “third parties” were involved in the assault.

“If we had a name, you know, we’d be having a different conversation right now. But we have not been able to gather enough information to identify a suspect yet,” he said. “It appears as if … this was not just a random attack but that’s something that we really have to develop over time.”

Wright said police had recovered a bullet casing from a large-caliber gun at the scene, but they haven’t found the weapon. A resident living nearby reported hearing two loud bangs Friday before midnight but believed they were from firecrackers, the newspaper said.

The park, more of nature area with some parts overgrown and no lights, was generally frequented by visitors during the day. It is located along a bluff overlooking a bay, Wright said, with some homes situated nearby.

“We’re not really sure how they got to the point that they were found,” he said of the girls. “It is a scenic overlook with a wooden deck and there is a place at the edge of the deck where you can actually go down a very steep incline into a grassy area that leads down to the shoreline and that’s where they found.”

Friends of the girls gathered at a local high school on Sunday. Olgin’s roommate, Samantha Garrett, told kristv.com that the fun-loving couple hadn’t gotten any negative responses to their relationship and could not think of why anyone would want to harm them.

The crime rate is low in Portland, a bedroom community of Corpus Christi on the Gulf of Mexico, Wright said. The last homicide occurred two years ago.

Injuries sustained by 16yo lesbian in Louisville Kentucky

An unnamed 16yo lesbian was attacked in the street in Louisville, Kentucky. She was accompanied by two younger boys who were less seriously injured, but the teenaged girl had her jaw broken in several places and teeth knocked out as well as other injuries. The attacking group consisted of four males (three white, one black) and a female who did not participate in the beating. During the beating the group shouted anti-lesbian slurs and insults. (Video interviews with the news article.)

Family says beaten teen girl is a victim of a hate crime

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A teen girl is recovering at home after being injured in an attack by a group of adults. Her family said after talking with police, they believe she’s a victim of a hate crime.

It happened early Tuesday morning on Taylor Boulevard near Wyandotte Park.

The girl, who suffered several injuries including a broken jaw was with two younger boys when the attack happened. They said the adults yelled anti-gay slurs at the girl before she was beaten.

“Her jaw is broken in several places and she has to have a plate put in her jaw,” said family friend Brenda Hickerson. “She continued describing the 17-year old girl’s injuries, “She has teeth knocked out of her mouth and she has scrapes and bruises.”

They are injuries Hickerson said that came for no reason other than being gay.

Hickerson asked, “What did she do so wrong but, walk to the store and just be who she is? “

Andi Hornback got a call after 1:00 Tuesday morning. Her two boys ages 13 and 15 had slipped out of the house to get some chips and a coke at a store around the corner with the girl who’s a family friend.

Hornback said, “My son called me and said mom, can you come meet us because we feel uncomfortable,” he told her, “there are four grown-ups following us a little too close.”

The boys said, the men started yelling anti-gay slurs toward the teen girl before they could give their mom the exact location over the phone. Hornback remembered, hearing her son suddenly scream, “I can’t even describe it to you,” she said holding back tears, “I’m getting ready to cry, hearing my child scream and know that they were hurt and they were scared and I couldn’t get there fast enough.”

By the time Hornback arrived, EMS and police were there.

One of her two sons suffered a concussion after being knocked down trying to help the girl.

“She was on the ground with blood just pouring out of her face,” Hickerson said, “these grown men put her on the ground, kicked her in her stomach, kicked her in her face and punched her in the face and kept going until a bystander yelled stop and called 911.”

Hickerson added, “I think she was targeted for being a strong lesbian young girl.”

The violence happened in front of two churches. Jeff McCarty, the Pastor of St. James Church said hearing about the beating makes him sad, “How sorry I am that this happened anywhere but, especially in front of our church family,” he told WAVE 3 News.

“This was a hate crime,” Hickerson said, “There were hate slurs and this was not a robbery because they didn’t take anything from them.”

The boys say the woman in the group of adults didn’t attack anyone. They are hoping she or someone who knows what happened will go to police.

Hickerson wants to believe the woman’s conscience will guide her, “Otherwise, you are saying that this is right to hate,” she said, “and it’s just not right!”

Louisville Metro Police confirm they are investigating the assault.

The men are described as a light skinned black male around 5’10” in his early 20′s or late teens. He was last seen wearing a red shirt and blue jeans. Two white males in the same age range, one 5’10, with short hair, last seen with a light colored shirt and pants with an art design on them. The other white male is described as 5’8”, also with short hair wearing a light colored shirt and baggy shorts that went to his knees.

The female is described as light skinned around 5’6” wearing shorts, a gray tank top and white Air Jordans shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Police tip-line at (502) 574-LMPD.

“We found U Dyke” spraypainted in the victim’s basement

In the third major incident in the space of four weeks, a lesbian was attacked in a home invasion in Lincoln Nebraska. The unnamed woman was in her home when three masked males  forcibly entered her home, tied her wrists and ankles with zip-ties, and among other things, carved words such as ‘cunt’, ‘fag’ and ‘dyke’ into her face and naked body. They then poured fuel on the floor and lit a match, thankfully there was not major damage and the woman was able escape to a neighbour’s to get help. They also spraypainted hate messages on her basement wall.

More than 500 gather for vigil for lesbian brutalized in home invasion

LINCOLN, Neb. — Over 500 people gathered on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol Sunday night to hold a vigil for a lesbian woman brutalized early Sunday morning in what local LGBT activists are calling a hate crime.

According to Lincoln, Neb., Police Captain Joe Wright, patrol officers responded to an address two blocks south of Lincoln High School in the downtown area, for a reported assault and house fire.

The victim, whose name has not been released, told officers that she had been attacked earlier that morning by three masked men who barged into her house, bound her wrists and ankles with zip ties, cut her all over her body and carved homophobic slurs into her skin before dumping gasoline on her floor and lighting it with a match.

A friend described the cuts as “things carved on her body that can only be described as hate, that somebody can only be taught and we need to stop teaching it.”

A source to LGBTQ Nation said “the words ‘cunt,’ ‘fag’ and ‘dyke’ were carved onto her face and body, and that the assailants tried to set her house on fire.”

Lincoln fire department arson investigator Damon Robbins, told the local media that there was evidence that a match flame ignited vapors from a pool of gasoline on the woman’s floor, but the flash fire did not continue to burn and caused no noticeable damage to the house.

Friends said the men who assaulted her also spray painted anti-gay words in her basement, including “We found u dyke.” Friends called the attack a hate crime because the woman assaulted is a lesbian.

“When someone takes the time to handcuff someone with a zip tie and carve derogatory comments or words into somebody else’s body, that’s sheer hate and at this point, this is a hate crime,” the friend said.

“Our hearts go out to the victim, her family and close friends,” said Tyler Richard, president of Outlinc, a group that supports LGBT people in Lincoln. “Many in our community are understandably experiencing a great deal of sadness, anger and confusion. We look to our entire community to pull together in this difficult time, ” he said.

The assault has sparked outrage in Lincoln’s LGBT community, which is already galvanized by the ongoing debate over the city’s fairness amendment — a proposal to ban discrimination in housing and employment based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The measure is now on a ballot referendum for this November.

Karen Bratton-Cranford, president of the LGBT advocacy group Star City Pride, took the microphone at Sunday night’s vigil to urge those gathered to act with respect and to refrain from seeking revenge, reported the Lincoln Star-Journal.

“Don’t go out and act on your own,” she said. “Don’t give them the power to control your actions.”

Police have not yet ruled the attack a hate crime, and Lincoln’s Police Chief Jim Peschong, refused to comment, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.

Officials told LGBTQ Nation late Sunday evening that no arrests had been made. The victim has been treated for her wounds and is staying with friends.

All four women were clearly attacked for being lesbians, these are clear cut cases of hate crimes – but the authorities are very reluctant to name them hate crimes – this is totally outrageous. Is it because they are female, and ‘hate crime’ does not apply because misogyny is the normal state of the world? The authorities are much quicker to label violence against transwomen as a hate crime. The day-to-day violence that so many females suffer is regarded as unimportant, and in many cases unnewsworthy. Because even if females comply with heterosexuality, they still are not safe. It’s just not safe to be female.

My thoughts are to all the women attacked this month, particularly my love to Christine who lost her partner, Mollie. Her murder is sad beyond words.

– – – – –

ETA: Lincoln Police have now classified the case as a hate crime, and part of a much larger problem. Story copied below in my comment. Thanks to Cathy Brennan for the find.

17 thoughts on “Enforcing heterosexuality – hate crimes against lesbians

  1. As horrible as these incidents are, I’m heartened that the families of the victims are rallying and demanding justice.

    A lot of people are already thinking this, but I’ll say it anyway. This is tip-of-the-iceberg stuff. Many lesbians I’ve known who were targeted wouldn’t report homophobic violence to the police. In this case the injuries had to be reported because of the severity and the presence of witnesses. I think lesbians are often targeted for violence because they are lesbian, not “just” because they are women, but the police and the media normally don’t take violence against lesbians seriously because, like the writer here says, “misogyny is the normal state of the world.”

    Again this is so sad. I’m thinking about all the recently murdered lesbians in South Africa too.

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    • True, a lot of minor everyday stuff flies under the radar, both for lesbians and het women – I have been both, so have experienced both forms.

      The bottom line is, under patriachy, no female is really safe, no matter what life you choose.

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  2. Exactly Davina – fact is because one is born female not male this automatically means no female’s life is safe because male hatred/male contempt for women and girls is now the norm and it is constantly celebrated by Malestream Popular Culture.

    These young women were subjected to sadistic violence because they were seen as defying Male Supremacist norms which is that women’s and girls’ only reason for existing is to serve men 24/7 in whatever capacity men demand.

    Not forgetting many men enact their pseudo male right of domination over women within the so-called ‘sanctity of the man’s home!’ But as usual Male Supremacist law enforcement officers refuse to name the crime which is ‘hate crimes against women because they are females not males.’

    Only when males are subjected to violence does Male Supremacy even consider perhaps the male victim(s) was targetted because of his ethnicity/race/sexual orientation.

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  3. Breaking news – the Lincoln Police have finally classified the attack on the 33yo woman as a hate crime. Took them long enough. What, couldn’t they distinguish it from the regular misogyny?

    Updated: Police classify attack of woman as a hate crime

    Lincoln police have confirmed the weekend attack is a hate crime due to the victim’s sexual orientation.

    Police say early Sunday morning, three men wearing masks tied up and cut a Lincoln woman in her home and then set fire to her kitchen. Police say the victim did not know the suspects. Now, police are saying this is a much bigger issue.

    Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood says they’re continuing to investigate the assault and arson that happened near 22nd and E Streets.

    The police incident report says a 33-year-old woman was tied up by unknown parties. It says the suspects then carved words onto her body with a knife.

    “It has been classified as a hate crime, words were spray painted inside the home making a derogatory comment towards someone’s sexual orientation,” says Officer Flood.

    Lincoln police say the suspects also poured gasoline around the inside of the house which ignited and burned itself out. Lincoln police say they are not providing too many details regarding the incident as it could damage the investigation.

    Another candlelight vigil has been planned for this Thursday night in Omaha. It’s being organized by members of the Omaha LGBT. It’s scheduled to begin at 8:30 at Memorial Park located near UNO.

    http://www.klkntv.com/story/19089534/police-hate-crime-assault-sexual-orientation-suspects

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  4. These are all awful crimes. And it says so much that the police are reluctant to even call them hate crimes. There’s a couple of points about the last story that are striking – first of all the manner in which this woman was stripped and tied up suggests to me these men were living out some kind of pornographic fantasy. But the way pornography contributes to hatred and violence against women is not a discussion that is going to happen anywhere in any media reportage of this. It will be written off as a ‘random act of violence’ that is ‘incomprehensible’ when actually it is quite comprehensible, because men get the message all the time that it is okay to do this shit to women, because women are not human and exist only for men’s gratification, even when men want to torture and kill women.

    Second of all – these men tried to burn this lesbian to death. Apparently the no 1 preferred method for killing uppity women for going on a lot of centuries now. Who else is keen to use this method for getting rid of certain lesbians and feminists with whose politics they disagree???

    Sorry if this isn’t the place, but the similarities seem too obvious not to point out. The violence that a group of men did to a lesbian is exactly the same kind of violent threat that transactivists give out all the time to lesbians and feminists who disagree with them.

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    • You are exactly on point weirdward.
      The sexualised degradation does sound like a porny script of some sort – an example of porn affecting women not connected with making it.
      And burning women who resist patriarchy/marriage is the tried and method, heck, transjacktivists even wish it upon us now, it’s their most popular threat.

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  5. I think my comment has gone missing. It was not very interesting anyway, just empathising with the two young women. Plus saying I felt unable to contribute to her fund because it meant sending money to a strange man.

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  6. I wish I could say more, but I’m not going to insert a male voice here. I will say this, I am saddened and horrified, and I have realized over the last few months, this is nothing new, why I’m here! Everyone my age needs to open their eyes and realize the truth that Women face in this world, and especially Lesbians!

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