Rape Always A Hate Crime, Four Arrests in Rape of California Lesbian

This morning brings the news that all four of the suspects wanted in the gang-rape of a 28-year-old Richmond woman have been arrested. (Story here.)

Following this story in the news has been painful and I made a conscious decision not to write about it until now.

I’m still not able to say why that is.

“Lesbian raped.” The phrase, and the stories, have been loaded with implication.

News reports have said that she was raped because of a rainbow sticker on her car, that her attackers made reference to her sexual orientation during the attack.

Police are calling it a hate crime.

And yet isn’t all rape a hate crime?

I understand that hate crimes have special implications in the eyes of the law. But let’s be clear about this: Rape is a crime about power, disrespect, and humiliation. It’s been used to debase women – and their entire families – in times of war. Babies and grandmothers have been raped. Disabled women and girls have been raped. Lesbians have certainly been raped.

It’s not about sex and it never was.

Rape is always a hate crime.

That said, my heart goes out to this young woman.

A trust fund has been established for her by Community Violence Solutions (formerly Rape Crisis).

Find it in your heart to contribute to this fund.

Make checks payable to “Community Violence Solutions.”

In the memo portion of the check, please write “Richmond Jane Doe.”
Checks can be sent to this address:
Attention: Ms. Jo Ann Douglas
Community Violence Solutions
2101 Van Ness Avenue
San Pablo, CA 94806

So, as 2009 begins, the question is hanging in the air: Are hate crimes on the rise?

With increased visibility and political presence, are the haters hating us more? Is it open season on the LGBT community?

From a more positive perspective, is any increase because we’ve become less ashamed reporters and better advocates for ourselves? Is law enforcement more aware and responsive, quicker to understand the implications of hate crimes?

It’s hard to know.

But I know that from my point of view, it doesn’t feel like a safe world right now. It doesn’t feel as safe as it did last year.

While the 2008 presidential elections brought us so much hope, they also brought lots of hatred and fear-mongering aimed at the LGBT community.

I have to wonder if all of the discussion and news coverage about California’s Proposition 8, and other similar ballot initiatives, helped contribute to the year’s spate of hate crimes.

More importantly, in their quest to preserve marriage as “an institution reserved for one man and one woman,” did any of these groups – the Mormon Church, the Catholic organizations – even stop to consider the violence is the inevitable by-product of publicly organized discrimination and hate?


2 responses to “Rape Always A Hate Crime, Four Arrests in Rape of California Lesbian

  1. with hate crimes indeed increasing, the catholic church and the government should be more careful about how they position themselves and what they say next – hasn’t it been the practice of the church to admonish things that promote hate? in this case, they are fuelling the hate crimes themselves

  2. There was another gang rape in Southern California as well.

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