When the body of Iowa teen Mollie Tibbetts was found last week, the 24-hour news networks gleefully frenzied over the detail that her alleged killer was an illegal immigrant.
Certain pundits felt that the revelation was yet another piece of hard evidence proving that President Donald Trump’s promise to “build a wall” along America’s southern borders is just what we need to keep us safe.
Of course, that “illegal immigrant” detail is most definitely an important one—however, an even more crucial point overrides the killer’s nationality or even his citizenship status. For this killer shares one trait in particular with the vast majority of people who commit crimes of this nature against women—and that trait is his gender. According to the most recent FBI crime statistics, close to 90 percent of the people who committed murder in 2015 were male. Meanwhile, nine out of 10 women murdered in 2015 were killed by a man.
This is not meant to be a missive dismantling men and declaring that all of them are murderers or would-be murderers. But the murder of Mollie Tibbetts follows a pattern that most women can identify with. According to authorities, Tibbetts was jogging when the suspect began running beside her and harassing her. After she rebuffed his advances, he became violent. It’s a tale as old as time.
For those people saying that this incident is precisely why we need a wall or, to go a step further, that this is why Mexicans should be kicked out of the country, I can only assume that in reviewing the aforementioned murder statistics, that you also believe that all men should be shipped away. Or perhaps that in the wake of the revelations that Pennsylvania clergy molested thousands of young victims, that all priests should be banished from the land so that we might finally achieve peace in America.
By focusing on the murderer’s immigration status, you are giving toxic masculinity a pass. And with boys just being boys, that is downright deadly.
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