The following is a list of snippets and links from several letters for the #31forMarissa campaign in which brothas write letters to Marissa Alexander, a Florida woman who was sent to prison for firing a warning shot to protect herself from her abusive husband. The shot struck no one. Yet, she was sentenced to 20 years for “standing her ground.”
It has been an example of Florida’s racial hypocrisy concerning the Stand Your Ground laws, the same laws claimed by George Zimmerman who confronted shot an unarmed Trayvon Martin.
It is also an example of blatant systematic disrespect, mistreatment and abuse by local, state and federal courts against women, especially women of color, who are physically and emotionally abused by inter-gender violence. The “justice” system continues to espouse male privilege, usually allowing many of them to continue their abuse on more women while guilt tripping the victims or allowing them to be put in harm’s way.
The Tumblr site The SWAG Spot is the center of a movement to demand Marissa Alexander justice and for men of all backgrounds to write letters detailing their experience witnessing or participating in domestic violence, how it impacted them and showing support for Marissa.
I am encouraging all male readers and bloggers to participate in this campaign. Domestic violence is no joke. We must not only demand justice for Sista Marissa, but for all women who are struggling with this problem.
Here are a few previews:
Many nights passed as I day dreamed of a superhero, that would bust through the door and come to the aid of me and my mother. Often my daydreams would end up short-lived disturbed by the rage of one man, whose only outlet happened to be his oldest son and his wife.
We failed you, Marissa. We fail women like you every day. You wouldn’t have needed that gun if a man never put his hands on you, or the state believed your life was worth protecting, or the spectre of violence wasn’t our daily reality, or we were all just decent fucking human beings. We’re not, though, and we let violence and misogyny and racism frighten people every day. And then they fight back and we lock them up. I hate guns, but more than that, I hate the necessity of guns. You wanted to feel safe. You deserve that. In this world, that meant firing a gun. In another world, that wouldn’t be the case, but we deal with the world we have. You protected yourself and I can’t hate that.
When I was made aware of this campaign, my co-workers viewpoints immediately came to mind. Domestic violence is often viewed as an issue for women and thus, women tend to be the predominant voice on this plight. Domestic violence is not an issue solely for women however. These women whom we tend to make faceless when we disassociate ourselves are our sisters, mothers, daughters and friends. These women are the nurturers of our society and provide the support system necessary for us all to flourish. We would not be here if not for these women. And every individual we empower with our silence exacerbates this issue tenfold. So it would seem then that EVERY issue that threatens a woman, especially domestic violence, threatens us all.
Marissa, I am really sorry that you had to experience such terrorism and violence at the hands of a man who claimed to love you. I have many women in my life that I love dearly, including my four-year old daughter. Because of the work that I do, I know that she is likely to experience some act of sexism, or some form of physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime, based on her gender. There is a long way to go before we can end this reality for so many girls and women across the world, but if my daughter is ever in the horrible position that you are in, I pray that her community will rally around her, and support her until she is completely exonerated for defending her life and the lives of her children.
These are a few of several letters, and they’re continuing to keep flowing in. I also participated by writing my own letter as I’ve witnessed abuse during my youth, and I strongly urge all men who read this to write their own letters as well as I believe this is first step towards justice and healing. You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit the SWAG Spot on Tumblr.