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Mollie Tibbitts’ Murder Isn’t About Immigration, It’s About Misogyny

The disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts hit the news fairly quickly when she disappeared on July 18 for a jog in the town of Brooklyn, Iowa. Like all current events stories, with no leads, it died down. Until now, when her body was discovered under a few cornstalks in a town outside from Brooklyn.
It’s hard in this country to not take it politically. Because the accused murderer is a man named Cristhian Bahena Rivera, and he is an “illegal” immigrant. According to his lawyer and his former employer, they state that this man is residing and working in Iowa legally, yet Iowa officials claim otherwise. This argument has been central in the case, the legality of Mollie’s murderer and how we need stricter immigration laws to compensate for this horrible crime. The media is contemplating whether immigration control would help the country, and some are even defending the separation of families at the border by comparing Mollie’s murder to that. But that should not be the point of the case, and unfortunately it is. The point of the case should be that a woman was murdered because a man was angry she wasn’t okay with him harassing her. He saw her running alone, he ran beside her, behind her. She took out a cell phone, stated that she was going to call the police if he did not leave her alone. And then, Mr. Rivera says, he can’t remember anything else but seeing her dead body.
Women are harassed constantly and when you reject the person, chances are you’re going to go through a torrent of abuse. It could be texts, being grabbed, being threatened, being stalked, being called a liar for trying to report it. Even, as I have stated in an earlier article, being killed for it. This isn’t about a Hispanic man killing a girl. It’s about a man killing a girl. Just like many homegrown white men have done to women in this country. Mollie Tibbitts’ aunt, Billie Jo Calderwood, posted on Facebook recently an image of Mollie and a short statement. “Please remember, Evil comes in EVERY color. Our family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship and support throughout this entire ordeal by friends from all different nations and races. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”
A few family members and friends spoke up further about this, saying how they don’t want Mollie’s legacy to be about politics, immigration, and discrimination and they believe Mollie wouldn’t want that either. I didn’t know Mollie, but as a runner and a girl who also has been harassed on a run, I have a good idea what she may have wanted. What I’m sure Mollie wanted, as any women wants, is to have been able to complete her run and return home. This couldn’t happen because another man couldn’t stand being told no.
Photo by: Powesheik County Emergency Mgmt

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Mia Boccher
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