In case you missed it, here is what Mollie Tibbetts’ cousin posted on Facebook last Friday:
No, no and no.
Especially for those of you who did not know her in life, you do not get to usurp Mollie and her legacy for your racist, false narrative now that she is no longer with us. We hereby reclaim our Mollie.
Mollie was a young, intelligent, caring woman with a ready smile and a compassionate heart. So many across the state of Iowa and the entire country embraced her, and us, as we all searched and hoped for her safe return. It was not to be. Mollie was killed, and a man has been arrested and charged with her murder. Yes, that man is an immigrant to this country, with uncertainty as to his legal status. But it matters not. He could have been a citizen, born in this country; he could have been an older, white man from anywhere; he could have been a man from Mollie’s world. He is a man, whose path in life crossed that of Mollie’s life, with tragic results. He is a man who felt entitled to impose himself on Mollie’s life, without consequence. He is a man who, because of his sense of male entitlement, refused to allow Mollie the right to reject his advances – the right to her own autonomy. Mollie was murdered because a man denied her right to say no.
Our national discussion needs to be about the violence committed in our society, mostly by men, as seen by these grim statistics from the FBI:
• 89.5% of murders are committed by men.
• 98.9% of forcible rapes are committed by men.
• 80% of violence against families and children is committed by men.
• 85% of intimate partner violence is committed by men.
We must be willing to address the way we raise our boys and young men, so that violence is not a part of their response to this world. Like the recent murders of the Colorado family or the similarly tragic homicide of Kate Steinle, Mollie’s death is further example of the toxic masculinity that exists in our society.
Mollie’s murder is truly tragic and horrifically painful for all of us who knew and loved her, the extinguishing of a treasured spirit much too soon. It is not your right to exacerbate this grievous act by hijacking Mollie and all she believed with your racist fear-mongering. You do not get to use her murder to inaccurately promote your “permanently separated” hyperbole. You do not have permission to callously use this tragedy to demonize an entire population for the acts of one man.
No. We reclaim our Mollie.
Ever since news of Tibbetts’ death made national headlines because President Trump and his followers wanted to politicize the tragedy and turn it into an immigration issue (with complicity from the U.S. media, by the way), there have been examples from Tibbett’s own family to suggest that politicizing this senseless tragedy and criminalizing Iowa’s Latino community are wrong. Read what Rob Tibbetts, Mollie’s father, said at his daughter’s funeral over the weekend:
The Des Moines Register reports that Tibbetts said he encountered Hispanics at Mexican restaurants and elsewhere who were sensitive and kind during the weeks he spent in the central Iowa community of Brooklyn to help search for his daughter.
“The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food.”
There you go.