The story of Romona Moore’s murder is horrific, not only because of the terrifying brutality involved, but because of the terrifying apathy that allowed it to occur. Moore is dead because she and those who tried to help her were ignored. It’s a really shitty consolation, but the very least we can do, to pay attention now. If you think your mental health can handle it, I urge you to please read the full story.

You know, I’m one of those feminists who thinks that racism is indeed a feminist issue, just like poverty, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and much more are feminist issues, simply because these are factors that oppress women on a daily basis and prevent them from living lives freely, safely and to their full potential. I’m sad that so many seem to disagree — but even if you do disagree on the basis outlined above, I don’t know how anyone could read Romona Moore’s story and not see how racism is a feminist issue, when racism is allowing and assisting the unspeakably violent rape, torture and murder of black women. As for the lawsuit, I hope like hell that her mother wins it.

The failure of authorities to care about the unexplained disappearance of a black woman is not an isolated incident. Not by a long shot. And neither is average people failing to do the right thing when given the chance.

All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

There are many reasons that people do nothing, and sometimes they are justified. It may be believed (often very rightly) that doing the “right thing” will result in more violence or more severe consequences than turning a blind eye. Sometimes one’s own life is on the line. But I don’t see that this was the case here, either for the police officers that refused to even open an investigation, or for the man — probably numerous men — who saw Moore after she had been tortured raped and was probably about half-dead, and did nothing. Not even an anonymous phone call . . . that is, not before it was too late.

I read stories like these, and I find myself wondering where the hell the good people who do something are. And sometimes I wonder how “good” we can really call the people to do nothing. SAFER has an excellent post about bystander training and learning to be the person who does something. Despite our hunches and hopes for ourselves, I don’t think that any of us truly know if we are that person until put in the position. But at the very least, I want to believe that we can learn from the fatal mistakes of others.

Story via What About Our Daughters?

cross-posted from Feministe


1 juju May 9, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Reading that article made me physically ill and my heart hurts.

Thank you for posting this here. The issue of disparate investigation practices when the missing isn’t white needs all the attention it can get. And yes, this sure as hell is a feminist issue.

2 Izzy May 9, 2008 at 5:14 pm

I can’t understand how anyone could think that racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and all the other privilege systems currently in play are not feminist issues. How can we say that male privilege is a social disease but white, straight, cisgender and so on privilege is not?

This story is horrifying, but I’m glad it’s getting the attention it is. We can’t let people continue to ignore injustice of this magnitude.

3 kelly g. May 11, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Romona Moore’s best chance of being saved left town the next day when Jack, after attending the baby shower, drove back home to Maryland without telling the police what he saw. His excuse? “I was scared.”

You know, I’ve called the cops on former neighbors when I suspected that they were neglecting their dogs. Not actively abusing, mind you, but neglecting. I cannot for the life of me fathom finding out that two acquaintances are holding another human being captive, raping and torturing her…and not go to the cops. It’s just beyond comprehension.

And I don’t buy the witness’s excuse, either. His “friends” bragged about the crime to him; they knew he knew. If Jack was ever in danger, it was while he was still in the home, or while they were still free. The next morning Hendrix and Pearson could have thought better about telling Jack and came after him. He’s a fucking witness, ferchrissakes, whether he wants to be or not. He’d have been far safer with the two in police custody.

“I don’t see any other reason but race and class,” Carmichael says of the lack of initial response by the NYPD to the case of her missing daughter. “If this was a white kid, they would never had done this. I had to say to the detectives one day: ‘You know, I feel the same emotions and pain as a white person.’ “

That just breaks me heart.

4 Sara May 15, 2008 at 10:13 am

Notice how that fucking coward who was complicit in the murders and left her there to die is trying to cover his face in the photo so he cant be recognized.

I’d hire some thugs to go to this guys address and beat the fuck out of him. Let him know what it feels like to be a victim when nobody will come forward to help you.

Fucking asshole prick motherfucker. I want that fucker in jail too along with the pricks who killed her.

5 Rat-race May 27, 2008 at 10:06 pm

This is just horrible in so many ways; and in the end, the dickhead cop gets promoted?!
Just horrible. Waht happened to the witness? Isn’t there a smaraitan law or something that could be used to punish him for his complicity in this poor girl’s death?

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