Mollie Tibbetts Is Dead Because Of Male Entitlement

Mollie Tibbetts Isn't Dead Because We Need 'Stricter Immigration,' She's Dead Because Of Male Entitlement

The issue isn't immigration — it's male entitlement.


I have been an avid runner since 2015. My home neighborhood in Denver provides an ideal location for scenic jogs. There's a trail nearby that runs along a creek, shielded by a canopy of aspens and evergreens. My university in Louisiana has a path around its lakes that is frequented by runners, bikers, and their dogs, and when the sun rises over the water it's absolutely divine to witness.

I tell my mother I am going for a run. She requests that I take someone with me. She begs me to get home before dark. She insists that I notify her when I've made it back safely. I reassure her that I'll be fine. Still, as I set out for my run, I can't shake the feeling that I'm leaving home with a target on my back.

By now, most have heard the tragic story of Mollie Tibbetts, a girl who was murdered while on a jog in rural Iowa. Unfortunately, Mollie was not the first woman to deny a man her attention and pay the price with her life. Tales such as these have garnered national attention since 1997 when 12-year-old Laura Smither was killed on a morning run in Texas by serial killer William Reece. Mollie's murder is just one among many examples of violence against women. The difference in Mollie's case, however, is that her killer happened to be an illegal immigrant.

Lots of people have been quick to point out the fact that Mollie Tibbett's killer was an undocumented immigrant, including this article, "Wake Up America! Mollie Tibbetts Would Still Be Alive Today If We Stricter Immigration Policies," which suggests that such an event never would have taken place had we implemented "stricter immigration policies." However, Mollie's murder was not an isolated incident. This isn't the first time a woman has been murdered by a friend, partner, or stranger, and the common denominator isn't illegal immigrants — it's men who can't take no for an answer.

Most women are all too familiar with being harassed, followed, or even threatened by men. For many of us, it's incorporated into our daily routines. A 2017 survey reports that 43% of women have experienced harassment while running (the number rises to 58% for women under the age of 30). 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of men. It's impossible to tell how many acts of violence against women are committed by people who are here illegally, but besides the fact that undocumented immigrants are less likely to be perpetrators of violent crime, scapegoating immigration is missing the point entirely.

Furthermore, it's fair to assume that Mollie would be appalled that people are using her death to justify anti-immigrant sentiments. Mollie's family members themselves have pushed back against such ideas on social media:

@samlucasss / Twitter

Mollie's father also voiced his thoughts as a guest columnist on the Des Moines Register, expressing his disdain that people would dare to use his daughter's death as a catalyst to a racist, xenophobic agenda. Blaming the incident on illegal immigration as a whole isn't just shifting the blame — it's disrespectful to Mollie's memory.

While examining what lead up to Mollie's murder and violence against countless women like her, the question remains: what can we do to fix it? The World Health Organization identifies risk factors associated with becoming a perpetrator of physical and sexual violence, including but not limited to poor education, exposure to violence in the home, social norms that recognize men as inherently superior to women, mental illness that goes untreated, and sexual entitlement. There's no clear answer to the question of how to end violence against women, but perhaps we can start with strengthening our education system, improving our healthcare, and socializing our children into environments that embrace gender equality early on. But one thing is for sure- vilifying immigrants and creating further division is not the solution.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.


It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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