Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Here's to 'Rude American Women'.

Am I about to be culturally insensitive? Probably...given that I'm a rude American woman, I don't give a shit. Here's the story that started this particular outburst...

According to a story in the May 14 Grand Junction Sentinel, a prosecutor in Montrose successfully argued against a bond reduction for resident Timothy Ondari, who is being held in the county jail on a $75,000 cash-only bond. This isn't all of them, but a few of the crimes he's been charged with are third degree assault, sexual assault, harassment, and criminal mischief. The charges stem from an alleged attack on a woman who is a fellow immigrant from Kenya, who he allegedly punched and whipped with a belt before having unlawful sex with her. It was reported that he began punching the woman because "she wasn't being as submissive as a Kenyan woman should be, but was acting like a rude American woman."
Because maybe she said, 'No?' Hey, Ondari...You want to see some rude American women... I'll show you  rude American women, you little jiminy cricket candy ass. Would he ever pick on someone who would stand up to him? Like all abusers, its doubtful.
I don't know what is most upsetting- the fact that because of her religious beliefs the woman 'forgave' him and wanted the charges dropped, saying  in a letter,"Before God, I forgive him, hoping he will not repeat the same again." (Heads up...you can forgive him all you want, but it is your duty to press charges.If you don't, you are enabling this jerk to go out and do it again.) or that Ondari is studying nursing at Mesa State.(Unacceptable. Perpetrators of violence need to be exempt from serving as caregivers...what's the outcome when he decides a patient isn't being submissive enough?) Ondari's Public Defender argued that he had received a scholarship, and asked that he wanted bond to be set at $1500 so he could continue working to support his elderly parents. The PD's request was denied by Judge Jerry Montgomery, citing the severity of the charges.
OK, OK...I know allegations, not convictions...but I can't get past the idea that Mr. Ondari needs a little more exposure to a few more 'rude American women' to help him with an attitude adjustment, and a little education as to what is acceptable behavior.
This isn't about singling out immigrants, or perpetuating prejudices. This is about the belief system that enables the behavior, as well as all the bullshit fear lately about 'Sharia law'.
Mr. Ondari broke the law, and our system will deal with him. Hopefully, the woman who was victimized will seriously learn to 'act like a rude American woman' and press charges, because jackholes like this need to be held accountable.It makes no difference where they come from, where they worship, or what color they are. This situation is not a whole lot different than any drunk-assed Bubba who hits his wife because she didn't do what he wanted when he wanted.  Mr. Ondari would most likely be an abusive prick whether his ass was parked in Montrose or in Kenya, and like most abusive men, he picked a victim who wouldn't fight back. That's why I believe both Mr. Ondari and the woman he attacked would benefit from a little more exposure to different cultures and belief systems. A couple of grandmothers come to mind. One of my own, and my husband's. My own grandmother was a pretty traditional Iowa farm wife, who never wore a pair of pants in her life, and had a clear sense of what was and what was not 'ladylike'. When I knew her, she was built like a piece of farm equipment, and was just about as strong. She was kind, but underneath, tough as nails. She was the one who did the heavy lifting...not my grandfather. She figured out how to save the family farm during the depression, she was the one who got things done, and took care of business. It's hard to realize that she didn't have the right to an education, wasn't allowed to vote until she was in her thirties, and didn't learn how to drive a car until she was over fifty. I can speak with a certain amount of authority that no one ever raised a hand to her, nor did she ever raise a hand to anyone else, but when she spoke, people paid attention.
My husband's grandmother was physically the opposite, a tiny little Sicilian woman who wasn't quite five feet tall. A legendary beauty in her day, but also a force of nature, and one to be reckoned with. Taking on Nana would have been like trying to fight a tidal wave. She was in her eighties by the time I met her, sweet as can be, but even then I knew- no one messed with Nana. No one ever messed with Nana. Unlike my grandmother, who had the girth, something about Nana's energy made it apparent that if she was crossed, it wouldn't be good for the cross-ee.
So I'm left to ponder...What makes the difference? Before anyone goes all Muslim-y on me, and tries to make this about the fact that the bad guy in this particular story is a Kenyan immigrant, think about all the Christian fundies whose teachings demand the submission of women. What gives some people, both male and female the strength to stand up for themselves and others, even when the law, those around them, and their surroundings seek to keep them oppressed?  We only have to think back a few decades to recall how many heroes emerged from the civil rights movement. There are so many wingnuts around these days, sometimes I  forget about generations who demonstrated character when it wasn't easy. The ones who took the high road when it would have been simpler to stay in the muck. Maybe it just comes down to good guys and bad guys. 
Maybe it comes down to bullies and victims and the space in between. There's a twisted kind of synergy involved. You can't have bullies without victims and vice-versa. I'm beginning to think you can't have any of it without the dogma embraced by all of those who fly the fundamentalist flag. 

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