Concerning this news story.
Transcript after the jump.
Phillip Garrido, 58, kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard when she was just 11, and fathered two children while he was raping her and keeping her in his backyard, the first of whom was born when she was 14.
He was discovered when he led the two children onto my campus, the UC Berkeley campus, Tuesday, hoping to hand out religious literature and proselytize.
At UC Berkeley, or Berzerkeley, or The People’s Republic of Berkeley, we pride ourselves on inclusiveness. We have familiar characters on campus, including “The Yoshua Man,” who will yell in Hebrew about God, and “The Bicycle Man,” who will engage in conversation with students but mainly just dress up in costumes and tinfoil and pretend to ride a bicycle on his back in the middle of campus. With the exception of the LaRouche cultists, all of these campus characters are scruffy-looking, middle-aged or elderly, white men.
In my last two years as a student here, I have tried to put aside my discomfort with religious proselytizers and people who make me feel unsafe on my campus. Some among the progressive community fight to extend an assumption of good intention and respect for the homeless, non-students, and community members around the campus. This is largely in response to the problematic stereotypes surrounding the city areas around Berkeley. Within the student government as well as the University administration, there is a lot of hostility towards city residents (primarily people of color) and heavy characterization of Oakland, CA as “ghetto.”
Safety means different things for different people. For trans-identified or gender-queer students, it can include having gender neutral restrooms. For undocumented Berkeley students, it means hoping ICE won’t be on campus to pull them out of class that day. For some students of color, it means safety from feeling targeted by the UC Police Department. For me, it means avoiding heart-pounding encounters when I walk home alone at night.
I’ve taken self defense courses, kickboxing, womyn’s empowerment classes, and I stand up to strangers who harass. My first step to confidence was turning my internalized fear of strangers I encounter on the street into anger against any who dare to harass me. But as a feminist, I rue the fact that I have this fear at all– some of my friends walk alone with no fear, even listening to mp3 players and never glancing over their shoulders at night. In discussions with other feminists, a pattern emerged: some women evaluating men on the street by how he could cause her bodily harm. Fear is not a feminist principle. But it is often a womyn’s experience.
This is why I am so furious that this sick lifetime rapist came onto my campus to proselytize to students. He could be that scruffy-looking, middle aged white religious nut I ignore every day on my way to class. I believe that feeling safe wherever I am is a feminist principle. And creating the feeling of safety is something that underrepresented groups, minority groups, womyn, feminists, care so much about and work so hard. So this man comes along and gives me one more reason to be scared, not only when I’m walking alone at night, but when I’m walking through MY campus in the middle of the day. And in this sense, everything this sub-human creep did, from the rape and kidnapping, to forcing womyn in my community to further internalize our fear of strange men, is antifeminist. Philip Garrido– Fuck you.