Friday Feminist Fuck You: Philip Garrido

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.

Join the Conversation

  • hellotwin

    Thank you for writing! I read an article about this story in the news paper and was disgusted by it.

  • ArtByMoretti

    Woooo you go girl!!!

  • DeafBrownTrash

    That man is one sick bastard who needs to be punished severely. I heard the news yesterday and couldn’t believe it. He was pretty religious, too. GO FIGURE.
    There was this crazy, right wing religious Christian extremist who came to my college campus EVERY DAY (during my 4 years of studying there, in fact) to preach the Bible and he would scream “whore! sinner!” at many females who walked by, just because they wore sleeveless tanks or shorts. He was a hateful, pathetic man who wouldn’t listen to anyone else’s opinions about religion and God.
    I believe that people need to shut up about religion and keep it to themselves. Religion is a personal thing and should only be practiced in private. I don’t care, I don’t give a shit what your god or my god have to say about my body and what I can do, can’t do, and what I can/can’t eat.

  • alixana

    These men who kidnap young girls and hold them for years like this freaks me out in ways that the general misogynist doesn’t…the intense duration, the extreme isolation these women must feel, I can’t even imagine it. My ex who raped me definitely messed things up for me that I had to sort through and heal from, but he didn’t take away whole years of my life. Luckily, it’s not like this happens every day, but it happens, and it just astounds me thinking about what that girl (and now woman) has been through and lost.

  • seabird

    Don’t forget that boys are
    abducted, too, and live in
    isolation and fear for years
    with their abductors.

  • radishette

    Thank you for this articulate, intelligent contribution to FFFU. You brought refreshing insight and perspective to this awful news story, and took it away from gawk-fodder toward the implications things like this have on everyone’s mental and physical safety.

  • noonebutme

    Wooo there you girl !

  • Newbomb Turk

    Too bad kidnapping and rape are no longer punishable by death. This couple needs to have their necks stretched.

  • DeafBrownTrash

    I agree. I also think there should be a death penalty for child rapists and child molesters. I believe in NO mercy for these sick bastards.

  • Comrade Kevin

    Indeed, and unfortunately people that sick are always going to be around somewhere.
    I’ll be honest. This story affects me personally because I was molested as a child by an older man. The details are not all that important (nor do I really want to talk about them) but the fact is that ever since, I’ve never been comfortable around most men. As I am a man, I have deliberately chosen to keep predominately female company and I’m totally okay with that. Maybe I’d be able to actually trust men long enough to get to know them and befriend them had this not happened, but it did and those are the consequences I have to live with.
    So I think I can understand partially where you are coming from—in our desire to accommodate and give people the benefit of the doubt, we make concessions against our initial impulses that might end up with tragic consequences. The other side of that, of course, is a very moral and understandably civilized reaction that recognizes how much we hate being summarily dismissed and pigeonholed based on pure stereotype alone and doesn’t wish to perpetuate it with other people. But this provides us a very tenuous balancing act with no easy answers. One wishes it were that easy, but unless we manage to read minds, it comes down to pure guesswork. I wish it were not so.

  • Jennifer

    Ah yes, the “don’t complain about girls being victimized because boys are sometimes victimized too” routine. Ugh.

  • Lisa

    I’m sure a lot of people will disagree but I think being killed by an abductor would be better than this sort of situation. The media may cover a case like this with “Yay, she’s free, life can begin again.” But let’s be realistic… This woman has been cut off from normal human interactions, her education was stopped, and she missed the many life events that happen between the ages of 11 and 29. It’s almost as if she’s existed in another world for 18 years only to be brought back now. There is no doubt she’s adopted some of his mentality because he’s been the only one socializing her since the age of 11. While the kidnapping and rape is horrifying, the true horror is a life of isolation. You can’t just reintegrate into the normal world easily after that.
    When I heard there were children, I was hopeful that they would still be very young. But at 11 and 15, their fates are probably even darker than their mother. I’m generally against the death penalty but I think it’s appropriate in this sort of case.

  • Jennifer

    There’s a religious guy on the University of Delaware campus we call Jesus Man who once told me and my boyfriend as we were sitting outside together that we couldn’t kiss until he put a ring on my finger. Lol wut?

  • argolis

    What the fuck. This is the most rambling fuck-you I’ve ever seen.

  • Stephen A

    I get where you are coming from… BUT, how many boys are sexually abused every year and are chastised or never heard of, largely due to the fact that our society doesn’t let boys be vulnerable. Again, I understand where you are coming from, since this is a thread dedicated to a girl who was abducted and victimized, so we should be talking about misogyny. Still though, I find your comment insensitive.

  • argolis

    “Religion is a personal thing and should only be practiced in private.”
    Eh, I don’t mind if people are public about religion. Many religious traditions just can’t be compartmentalized into the public and private. Take Muslim women who wear hijab. It’s silly to insist that they only wear hijab when they’re alone at home or something. Or Evangelical Christians who believe that every soul they fail to convert is doomed to hell. By not allowing them to practice their religion publicly, we’re not allowing them to practice their religion period. And obviously that’s fucked up in a million different ways.
    Whatever. If someone wants to save my soul, even by calling names at me while I walk through campus, I’m just going to say thanks but no thanks and keep walking.

  • vwom

    I feel the same way.

  • vwom

    Really, it is “children” — girls and boys.

  • Patchouli

    Honestly? Euthanize an entire family because they were abnormally socialized? Write off decades of life for the two girls because the first didn’t go so well? Should we sterilize the mentally handicapped, mentally unstable and racially impure? And Dugard, she started out okay but her sexual experiences have been damaging, maybe let’s mercifully guide the sexually assaulted to more permanent peace. Dare I ask about DNA engineered embryos? Yikes.

  • Pantheon

    I don’t think Lisa was suggesting that we kill the victims– I think she meant the death penalty is appropriate for the kidnapper. If she meant “euthanizing” the victims, it wouldn’t even make sense to call it the death *penalty*.

  • Claudia

    I must say, I am semi-shocked that the focus of this Friday Feminist Fuck You seemed to focus more on campus safety than on the woman and children brutalized by this sick bastard. I completely understand that one’s sense of safety on campus would be severely questioned, if not shattered, after realizing a “character” is actually a monster. But the Fuck You was really not about the atrocities he committed, and instead about the fact that someone who committed these atrocities was on UC Berkeley’s campus lawn.
    This makes me sad.

  • Ariel

    It’s a given that what Garrido did to Dugard was horrific, antifeminist, abusive, sexualized violence, etc. Focusing on the grisliness of the story is even more exploitative of Dugard and her daughters-it turns women into victims instead of men into perpetrators. I’m trying to get at the larger picture– every time a man rapes, attacks, or assaults, he is undoing decades of work to make every womyn feel safe wherever she is.

  • baddesignhurts

    Yes, because there’s nothing as effective as killing people to convince people that killing and hurting people is wrong.
    Let’s not forget that, by having the death penalty be legal, you’re endowing the government with the power to kill you. Because, as we all know, the government does a bang-up job at these things. Ever been to the DMV?

  • insomniac

    I don’t think you’re giving enough credit to the kidnapped woman here. I don’t think *we* can judge how strong or capable she is. While you can say that you think YOU would prefer death over such a situation, saying that death is preferable is very general. Making assumptions about the effect of isolation on her character is also a bit presumptuous.

  • insomniac

    Alixana is talking specifically about girls being kidnapped, held captive for years, raped repeatedly, made to bear the children of the rapist and rear those children who are probably being or going to be subjected to the same fate as them, all of which are done without any medical attention.
    She is not talking about abuse in general and in fact insists on how for her it is different from this kind of a situation. So bringing in the “But the boys get abused too” argument seems like a derail to me here.

  • Newbomb Turk

    Executing the most vicious and repulsive criminals isn’t about teaching society a lesson. It’s about getting rid of people who have already proved that they are too dangerous to be left alive.
    Someone who is willing to kidnap and rape a child repeatedly falls into that category, as do murderers.

  • jellyleelips

    It is a derail. And it always disheartens me that some commenters cannot respect the topic at hand. Real classy, Steven and seabird. I hope you two recognize that this form of abuse (incarceration, rape and forced pregnancy for many years) is incredibly unique to women. Though, did you two stop to think about the fact that maybe feminists are well aware that boys are abducted and raped all the time? That perhaps this post just has to do with GIRLS who are abducted and raped? That feminist work all over the world helps little boys as well as little girls? Jesus Christ on a bike. Go derail and troll somewhere else.

  • jellyleelips

    Insomniac, just wanted to make clear that that rant was not directed at you :)

  • sara e

    I just began attending UC Berkeley this year, and when my suitemates and I found out about this, we were horrified. It’s not enough that transitioning to college is a difficult and somewhat frightening prospect – let’s add a kidnapper/rapist to the mix.

  • ThursdaysChild

    OMG! I know who you are exactly talking about. He used to tell me I was going to hell on a fairly regular basis. That’s ok with me though, because if that guy is right about the people who are gonna be in Hell, and the people who are gonna be in Heaven, well I’d much rather be in Hell for the company.
    It kills me the amount of time my Uncle had to spend incarcerated for minor (well I thought they were minor) drug violations, and this asshole was paroled despite being convicted of similar violent crimes.
    WTF. WTC.
    The mind. It boggles.

  • baddesignhurts

    too dangerous to be left alive? um, have you looked at how many escapes from prison occur in a given period of time? extraordinarily few. not to mention, child rapists are among the most likely to be assaulted or killed in prison. this has nothing to do with public safety, and everything to do with wanting vengeance, which is a repulsive way to run law enforcement and a penal system.
    not to mention, i’m always shocked when people who don’t want the government to tell them what to do with their bodies then turn around and want to endow the government with the legal right to kill its own citizens. especially when innocent people have been proven to be executed. it is hypocrisy of the most shameful sort.

  • Stephen A

    I’m not a troll. I’m a male anti-sexual violence educator who educates men and boys and works to deconstruct hegemonic masculinity. I started Men Against Sexual Violence, a pro-feminist group dedicated to educating men on the topic of interpersonal violence. I work at a women’s center, too, and have had 56-hour medical advocate training through a local rape crisis center, and plan on making ending men’s violence against women my life’s work.
    Now then…
    I didn’t mean to come across as an MRA, I just didn’t think the reply to seabird’s comment was warranted. I know this type of abuse happens to women much more than it does to men, and I am well aware that feminism seeks to eradicate gender inequity and works to end violence towards all humans, irrespective of gender. I was just trying to comment that the wording of Jennifer’s comment was insensitive to me. That’s all. I apologize if I offended you or any other Feministing readers.
    I also know many readers feel they need to put trolls in their place. But how about before writing something as harsh as you did, maybe try clicking my fucking name and finding something out about me? Tool.

  • Stephen A

    This does happen every day. It happens with women who are trafficked and sold and forced into prostitution. We just don’t hear about it.

  • DanielJ

    I have to say I’m pretty disturbed that this “Fuck You” is going out to someone who seems to be severely mentally ill. There are so many people you could righteously direct a “fuck you” to in this case – the CoCo County Sheriff’s Department, for having missed a chance to stop Garrido three years ago, Ronald Reagan, for having dumped the mentally ill on the streets decades ago, or the (anti-tax) voters of California, for slowly strangling services for the mentally ill so they could imprison more and more nonviolent drug offenders in a phony “get tough on crime” stance.
    But have a look at Garrido’s blog.
    I’m no doctor, but I don’t think it’s hard to see that he is very disturbed. This is not to excuse in any way the things he’s allegedly done – they are horrible, sick acts, and I pray that his victims will be able to find peace eventually. No doubt a twisted form of misogyny played a part in what took place here. But to me, there’s something kind of ugly about directing this kind of anger at someone who had clearly had a severe break from reality a long time ago, someone who, with proper treatment, might have had a chance at a normal life. I don’t see evil in Garrido’s case; I see sadness all around.

  • Ariel

    Mmm good point. Obviously, railing on someone who has a mental illness would be cruel. But I don’t believe Garrido can be absolved from his actions based on his mental state, largely because his mental state was led by his religious extremism. Much as I would like to diagnose religious extremism as a mental disability, I think he was just a highly functioning religious extremist. You know why he got caught? Because he had the forethought to make an appointment with the police officer who was able to grant him a permit for a religious demonstration (who then ran a background check). I agree with you in blaming ALL of those California parties who made mental illness a more severe reality in my state…
    This makes me think back to my piece on Otty Sanchez and realizing the circumstances she was in demonstrating her mental collapse and killing of her children. But I don’t think that anyone who preys on women is NOT disturbed. And I think that rehabilitation, mental counseling, hearing survivors’ stories, etc would help all men who assault women.