VERY STRONG TRIGGER WARNING
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.
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