PoliticsSex & Gender

mollie tibbetts’ death is not about “illegal immigration”, it’s about sexist violence

August 23, 2018
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Apparently, for Republicans and their ilk, the tragic death of a young woman is a poor political opportunity to waste. The young woman in question is Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared while jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18th, and was found dead a month later. A body matching Tibbetts’ description was found on August 21st – it was later confirmed to be Mollie. Tibbett’s suspected murderer is undocumented Mexican immigrant Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a worker at an Iowa dairy farm.

Rivera’s immigration status provided Republicans an opportunity to pivot the Iowa University student’s death away from her in order to start up a debate about the “evils of immigration”. Trump (obviously) mentioned the tragedy in order to attack immigration laws. According to CNN, Trump said at a rally in Charleston that Libbetts’ death “should have never happened. Illegally in our country”. “We’ve had a huge impact, but the laws are so bad, the immigration laws are such a disgrace. We’re getting it changed but we have to get more Republicans.” Republicans are shameless when pursuing their own political interests, especially when it comes to immigration but they’re hypocrisy always comes to light as the farm where Rivera was employed The farm where he was employed is owned in part by Craig Lang, a prominent Iowa Republican who ran for state secretary of agriculture this summer,” reported CNN. Whose jobs were immigrants stealing again? The ones being handed to undocumented workers by farms partly owned by Republicans? Huh.

Even then, where Rivera worked is not the point. Rivera told police that he followed the student in a car and pursued her when she ran. Why aren’t we talking about how often women are murdered just trying to avoid men? When will this become an issue about gender-based violence because these kinds of things happen all the time with card-carrying Americans? Even some of Libbett’s family denounces the politicization of her death. Libbett’s aunt Billie Jo Calderwood told CNN “I don’t want Mollie’s memory to get lost amongst politics,” emphasizing her personal view on the matter.”It’s not about race, it’s about people joining together to do good.”

Using Mollie Tibbett’s death to push an anti-immigration agenda purposefully ignores the deeply ingrained and violent culture of toxic masculinity that thrives in entitled men all over the world. A man killed Mollie because he felt entitled to her body and eventually, her life. That isn’t an issue that will be fixed with stricter immigration.