Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Body of Woman Suspected Dead After Last Being Seen With Sex Offender Found

The body of Laura Garza, who disappeared in 2008 after going to a New York nightclub, has been found in Pennsylvania. She was last seen with registered sex offender Michael Mele who has not been charged with any crimes related to her disappearance. The official cause of death hasn't been listed, but I suspect the cause will be sexually motivated murder.

Michael Mele is in custody on other charges, but at his parole hearing in March he declared that his sexual violence is in his past. He also stated that he wants to move forward. Even if there isn't enough evidence to convict him of Garza's murder, his only future should be behind bars.

This case is just the latest reminder of why those who denounce the term survivor for those who have been raped are showing either ignorance or disregard for those who are victims of sexual violence. This case should also be a reminder for why we need primary prevention and why we need to take all non-fatal sexual violence seriously and never dismiss it as nothing more than the victim's regret or a harmless accident.

Too many people are appalled by sexual violence only when it horrifies them. Too many people only want accountability in the criminal justice system when a sex offender has committed the most extreme examples of sexual violence.

The dismissal of date rape is a prime example of deliberate callousness since that term only tells people a tiny amount of information about who those rapists target. People can be brutal to those they know and those who they meet in social settings. When this fact is ignored in sex crimes it indicates a tolerance for sexual violence which contributes to the violence which is widely tolerated.

Telling women to avoid nightclubs does nothing to prevent horrific crimes such as the murder of Laura Garza. The danger is in the people willing to be violent and in the people who are willing to do nothing more than lecture those they view as potential victims until a sex offender does something which makes those people crave life in prison without parole or the death penalty. Each time someone focuses their criticism on sexual violence victims they are helping the sexually violent whether they mean to or not.

If people are truly and effectively against crimes such as the murder of Laura Garza they must never use alcohol consumption as an excuse or a defense. The same goes with blaming women for men's actions. Sexual violence is no more natural than murder. If we don't tolerate murder because it is natural then we cannot honestly tolerate any sexual violence.

When people victim blame they are siding with perpetrators even if they specifically claim that they are not doing so.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:39 AM   0 comments links to this post

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