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Violence against Women Stems from Toxic Masculinity, Not Immigration

By Luz María Frías, YWCA Minneapolis President and CEO
August 30, 2018
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“We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this Earth, though it’s almost never treated as a civil rights or human rights issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern. Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender.” – Rebecca Solnit

Politicizing the Murder of Mollie Tibbetts

Last week, we learned that 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts was found about 12 miles from where she went missing. According to reports, Christian Bahena Rivera led police to where he had hidden Tibbetts’ body. Bahena Rivera, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, is facing murder charges.

Without a doubt, this is a tragic end to Tibbetts’ life. Mollie’s family, neighbors and our nation are mourning her death.

Unfortunately, her death has been usurped and politicized by numerous conservative leaders. Equally disappointing and culpable is the media for feeding the frenzy and narrative that Tibbetts’ murder would have been preventable had Democrats agreed to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Why are the media and elected leaders so eager to villainize some murder suspects, but not others?

The Heinous Case of Christopher Lee Watts

Recently, Christopher Lee Watts was charged with killing his pregnant wife, his 4-year-old daughter Bella and 3-year-old daughter Celeste. Their bodies were discovered late last week in a rural oil field in Colorado. Watts dropped the girls’ bodies into an oil tank and buried his wife in a grave near the tanks. Watts initially appeared on television begging for his family’s return but later confessed to killing his wife.

This is a heinous act that is hard to swallow. Yet, policy leaders are not calling for the widespread banning of white men in our country. Perhaps because that would be as ludicrous as it sounds.

Murder of Women and Girls Not an Immigration Issue

Why isn’t the media holding the policy leaders accountable for this dissonance? Why isn’t the media holding itself accountable for this dissonance and bias?

The murder of these women and girls is not an immigration issue or a race issue, it is a human rights issue that we will continue to face until toxic men no longer feel entitled to exert their force over women.

The Tibbetts family has issued an appeal to the public asking that her murder not become politicalized. Let’s work together to honor the family’s wishes by holding our elected leaders and the media accountable.