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54 Responses

  1. Personal Failure
    Personal Failure February 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm |

    and sometimes, somebody does something so horrible, i find that i can still be shocked.

  2. lenée
    lenée February 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm |

    all i can do is pray — for justice, for the loving care of her children, and that if she passes on that she does so peacefully and with dignity.

  3. Jill
    Jill February 5, 2009 at 4:41 pm | *

    …oh my god.

    women who work in strip clubs are PEOPLE, not firewood.

    The fact that anyone would actually have to say that makes me want to quit life.

  4. Kristen (The J one)
    Kristen (The J one) February 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm |

    What Jill said.

  5. abby jean
    abby jean February 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm |

    The fact that anyone would actually have to say that makes me want to quit life.

    i totally agree – especially as we in LA JUST caught the guy who set fire to a homeless man who burned to death a few months ago. this trend of setting people on fire has got to fucking stop. now.

  6. Rachel
    Rachel February 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm |

    Ho.Ly. Shit.

  7. Holly
    Holly February 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm |

    I agree with everything that abbeyjean said here:

    women who work in strip clubs are PEOPLE, not firewood.
    people who live on the streets are PEOPLE, not firewood.
    any other person who engages in conduct that you don’t like is still a PERSON, not firewood.

    … but on the other hand, it looks like the man & woman who set this dancer on fire were regulars at the club where she worked. That doesn’t really sound like they disapproved of her dancing.

    The distinction is important because harassment and violence that disproportionately affects some groups of people (sex workers, poor folks, PoCs) doesn’t necessarily happen because one or two people don’t like those people, but very commonly because entire communities are marginalized and affected by all sorts of other contributing problems.

    Also, I can’t find where the cops suggested that the suspects will be charged with murder? Attempted murder is mentioned, which makes sense even if she lives — it’s still attempted murder. Hopefully, and hopefully for her family and children, she will live.

    The unemployed barber who set the homeless guy on fire, on the other hand, may have done so because he hated homeless people. Bastard.

  8. kb
    kb February 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm |

    It’s true that I don’t see any quotes about being charged with murder. but, if death results from this, why is it insensitive to call it murder? that’s exactly what they tried to do. I feel that lighting someone who works in a strip club on fire is just as much of a crime as lighting someone else on fire. so I’m a little confused there. This all has to be hypothetical until they know how the woman will or won’t be able to recover, but still.

  9. the national gadfly
    the national gadfly February 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |

    When I read this, my immediate impulse is to find these monsters put them in a cell with a 300 lb. serial rapist for life.

    Then, I think about that dancer and the absolutely undeserved horror of her life from that moment until even now. No one deserves that.

    I ask myself, who can I be in my life that will make this happen less? What shall I do to help fashion a society that does not vilify or mutilate women, gays, children and anyone physically smaller or in some way weaker than grown men filled with rage, alcohol and ignorance?

    I look at my daughter and ask myself what lessons can I teach her about life and love that include awareness of this horror, without making seem like there is only horror?

    I don’t have the answers, only the questions.


  10. Kristin
    Kristin February 5, 2009 at 6:15 pm |

    Oh my fucking god. This is awful. Thanks, Holly, for providing clarification. And, this, what Jill said:

    “The fact that anyone would actually have to say that makes me want to quit life.”

    Me too.

  11. BruceJ
    BruceJ February 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm |

    No, you didn’t lose something, The original link went to a news report where a police spokesman in Tarzana said that her condition was grave and that the two suspects “…may ultimately face murder charges.”

    Since the original link is now gone and ^@%@$ NetNewsWire doesn’t have a history for me to look at the article, I suspect that if it’s not in that link now, the original source has retconned it out of existence, the bane of the web

    Here is a link to a news article with the statement.

    I don’t think that it was that insensitive, more inarticulate.

  12. goddessjaz
    goddessjaz February 5, 2009 at 6:38 pm |

    horrible. i can’t understand the level of hatred that would make someone want to burn another alive. i feel truly sad that these women often have to face significant danger every day and every night to make a living. i’m just saying…we’d have a pretty pent up, and even more violent, country without sex workers, yet people continue to disrespect and degrade them as less than human.

    prayers and peace for this sister and her family.

  13. Screw you, Miley Cyrus. « Dahee’s Plastic Castle

    […] Believe it or not, that’s not even the last of the sickening news I have to share for today. Take a look at what Amy Sedaris has been up to. Or the news that, apparently, a couple of guys thought it would be fun to set a woman on fire. […]

  14. Rosanna
    Rosanna February 5, 2009 at 7:09 pm |

    That’s horrible. My heart goes out to that woman and I wish her a good recovery. And also what Jill said.

  15. denelian
    denelian February 5, 2009 at 8:07 pm |


    seriously. what the hell was the POINT?

    (also. i used to be a Domme, in a BDSM show, and i lit people on fire. ina very small and controlled way, and i had it done to me before i did it to ANY one else, and it was not hot because of what we used and it never hurt anyone, it was actually very relaxing and nice. to i am EXTRA pissed off at this crime.
    not only is it BEYOND senseless and fucking despicable. not only is it totally inhumane and cruel beyond words. not only was it arrogant and destructive, and this poor woman has lost AT A MINIMUM her livelihood and is going to hav horrible horrible pain that i can empathize with. but on top of the horrible fucked-uped-ness, i have to worry – did my show contribute to this? i hope that this question is understood here. i guess that it does seem a little selfish, but it was my third or fourth thought – after i could get around the rage, that id – and it went like this: *incoherent rage*; that poor woman, if she doesn’t die she is going to suffer for the rest of her life and i know chronic pain and *incoherent rage*; what kind of fucked up person DOES something like this? why would they do this? its fucking PSYCHO *incoherent rage*; omfg. did these fuckers see my show and think that what they were doing was THE SAME? is this, even partially, my fault? did i encourage this, ignorantly, with my fire show? HOW THE FUCK COULD THOSE BASTARDS THINK THIS WAS OK TO DO!?!?)

  16. NancyP
    NancyP February 6, 2009 at 12:15 am |

    Half to three-quarters of those with 60% third degree burns will die of the burns.

  17. RyanRutley
    RyanRutley February 6, 2009 at 5:48 am |

    The entirety of my comments are quoted as follows:

    “Fucking why?”

    That said, regardless of the circumstances, this:

    When I read this, my immediate impulse is to find these monsters put them in a cell with a 300 lb. serial rapist for life.

    still isn’t cool.

  18. Natalia
    Natalia February 6, 2009 at 5:48 am |

    Monsters. And check this out, ya’ll – one of the attackers is a woman.

  19. Natalia
    Natalia February 6, 2009 at 5:51 am |

    (I originally heard it was two men)

  20. Endor
    Endor February 6, 2009 at 8:46 am |

    W.T.F. Shocked and horrified are too small to describe what I feel. People are #&%^@)O# sick.

  21. Evie
    Evie February 6, 2009 at 11:22 am |

    “And check this out, ya’ll – one of the attackers is a woman.”

    Why should it be surprising that one of the attackers happens to be female?

    Misogyny is internalised to a greater or lesser extent by all women, which leads to women being victimised not just by men but by women as well. In just the same way as racism is internalised e.g. the prejudice against darker-skinned people amongst some African-Americans.

    Obviously, setting someone on fire is an extreme example, but the involvement of a woman shouldn’t surprise us any more than the involvement of a man. The female perpetrator does not have more responsibility for this crime than the male perpetrator simply because she shares the victim’s gender.

  22. shah8
    shah8 February 6, 2009 at 3:28 pm |

    Was my comment too sad? I was thinking about Sati.

  23. Amber Rhea
    Amber Rhea February 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm |

    …oh my god.

    women who work in strip clubs are PEOPLE, not firewood.

    The fact that anyone would actually have to say that makes me want to quit life.

    I second that.

  24. shah8
    shah8 February 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm |

    Ok, your board, your rules.
    /me shrugs

    I disagree with your description of what I said. I was, however, trying to be concise, so…

    Tho’ saying that I was flippant raises my eyebrows. As I said before, I wrote that in a spirit of resigned sadness about the nature of human beings.

    Do you seriously think that this stripper was the *only* stripper or woman burned to death because she’s a sexually available/tarnished woman? Just in the US and not worldwide? The notoriety was in the openness and aggravated nature of the act, not the act of burning women itself. Do you seriously think that, given the way I spoke in Jill‘s thread about justice in Iran, that I would be flippant about burning women? I’d like just a bit more credit for my sensibilities than that.

    As (probably)you know and I know, many people have killed women for the sexual being of women. It’s just so damned deeply ingrained. I spoke about fire being a bonus in the sense that fire so rapidly speak to our destructive natures. It’s not just in Hindi culture with Sati. This lust is even in Leviticus, specifically Leviticus 21:9. It goes back way before ancient jews, and it will be a struggle to stop it from continuing way into our future.

    quickie link:

  25. Horrific « Questioning Transphobia
    Horrific « Questioning Transphobia February 7, 2009 at 12:30 am |

    […] leave a comment » via Feministe […]

  26. jessilikewhoa
    jessilikewhoa February 7, 2009 at 2:36 am |

    looks like its a bad week to be living while female (link may trigger! warning!)

  27. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton February 7, 2009 at 6:31 am |

    women who work in strip clubs are PEOPLE, not firewood.

    While this is true, I think you’re making an unwarrented assumption. There’s no evidence that this attack had anything at all to do with her stripping, per se. It seems to have been the result of a personal vandetta, that could just as easily have happened if she had worked at McDonalds or Walmart.

  28. Valerie
    Valerie February 7, 2009 at 9:53 am |

    I agree with the above poster who mentioned that the odds are low that this happened because the people in question hated her for being a stripper. A lot of the violence strippers have to deal with isn’t the type where somebody hurts them for just being strippers- a huge amount of it is due to the fact that strippers are extremely low in socioeconomic status, often doing things which are technically illegal to make mountains of money for other people. Through no fault of their own, this makes many of them poorer, more likely to do drugs, more open to abuse by cops and their rich bosses, more likely to have mental problems, and more likely to interact with explosively violent people who also have mental problems.

    (Note: I’m trying to critique the effect of poor work and societal conditions on the well-being of most strippers, not critique their character.)

    What I’m trying to say is that this almost certainly happened due to our society’s low valuation of strippers, but to say that it happened because the individuals who set her on fire objected to her job choice is almost certainly wrong, in a pretty obvious way. These people were regulars who knew her personally. People who set their acquaintances on fire almost always have primary motivations other than that acquaintance’s job, even people who set their stripper acquaintances on fire.

  29. In a rational world « The United States of Jamerica

    […] a comment » Cara wouldn’t have to remind anyone that “women who work in strip clubs are people, not […]

  30. In a rational world « The United States of Jamerica

    […] a comment » Cara wouldn’t have to remind anyone that “women who work in strip clubs are people, not […]

  31. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe February 8, 2009 at 10:34 pm |

    A long time ago, I read a feature in (I think) the Wall St. Journal that described a limo service that specialized in driving strippers home. Apparently it was the only way for them not to get attacked in the parking lot.


  32. RenegadeEvolution
    RenegadeEvolution February 9, 2009 at 2:23 am |

  33. This is what I get for trying to go to bed early « Words At Arm’s Length

    […] woman was set on fire outside a stripclub in Tarzana. Setting aside any potential feminist issues here, that is just an […]

  34. Natalia
    Natalia February 9, 2009 at 6:24 am |

    Evie, I don’t think she deserves more scorn or hate or anything of the sort – and equal amount of scorn and hate, please – but it IS interesting that in the e-mails I received about this originally stated that the attack was carried out by two men.

  35. Natalia
    Natalia February 9, 2009 at 6:25 am |

    Oopsies. It should be an “an” not an “and” up there.

  36. Interrobang
    Interrobang February 9, 2009 at 10:52 am |

    I have some second-hand experience with bad burns — a friend of mine was in a terrible fire and suffered structural second-degree burns (the worst second-degree burns you can have without actually having third-degree burns) over 60% of his body. If this woman survives, she’s looking at easily three to four months in hospital at minimum, a high probability of several iatrogenic infections (my friend got C. difficile in his intestines), long-term blood pressure, vision, and mobility impairments, and likely a period of several years of life-threatening health episodes every four to six months or so.

    My friend wound up with about $750 000 in hospital bills. If there is any way of locating the woman and taking up a collection for her, now is the time.

  37. Suki T
    Suki T February 9, 2009 at 11:13 am |

    My friend formerly was employed at the establisment mentioned. This is not the first fire issue they have faced. When she worked there someone set fire to the whole place. She knew both women involved well. The victim was a single mom of two boys.

    I think that to some extent the fact that she was a stripper had alot to do with the kind of attack she was victim to. Strippers are seen as disposable in our society, and even though the perps were regulars at the strip club, that doesn’t mean they fully accept the women there as full human beings. If she was a checker at Walmart, she might have been more likely to be beaten up. But because she was “beautiful” and made money off of that, she was disfigured by fire. If she survives, she will never be able to seek employment in her chosen field, and most people will never find her sexually attractive again.

  38. stripper bitch
    stripper bitch February 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm |

    Dear Holly,

    When I stripped I can’t count how many men and women came into the club- REGULARLY- who hated strippers, thought we were subhuman and treated us horridly.

    I’m sorry to tell you, the fact that they went to the cub often doesn’t make thme sex worker advocates.

  39. Anthony Kennerson
    Anthony Kennerson February 9, 2009 at 12:45 pm |


    I am simply…..speechless. In rage, horror, and anger.

    This is exactly why I am a sexual rights activist, a socialist, and a pro-sex progressive.

    Because this world is sick enough, repressive enough, and sex-negative enough that a stripper can be burned nearly to death for no other reason than her occupation. Or…for simply being her own sexual self.

    (Yes, there may be other ulterior motives for this act of murder, I know….but how many Walmart stockers or people greeters or cashiers are targeted with disfiguring??)

    Until this Goddess damn society gets over the notion that strippers, sex workers, and sexual women are anything less than full HUMAN frakin’ BEINGS worthy of respect, dignity, and autonomy, we’ll continue to have incidents like this.

    But pontification is not the main need here…support, comfort, and thoughts and prayers for the victim and her family is right now.


  40. ripley
    ripley February 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm |

    Just because people patronise strip clubs doesn’t mean they don’t hate strippers or think they are less than human. Some might suggest that attending strip clubs is a sign of the same – (paying for a sexual experience with a woman doesn’t signal to me that someone has respect for women as humans– otherwise why not go through regular human interactions until you get to the point you can have a sexualized experience with a women because she actually wants to without being paid?).

    This is what patriarchy is all about – it is entirely possible for lust, desire, and paid-for-sexual-experiences to coincide with and even reinforce hatred and dehumanization.

    and yes, where can we help with her medical bills?

  41. Feministe » Updates on Burn Victim Roberta Busby

    […] Comments Cara on Target Women: ChocolateAnna on Target Women: Chocolateripley on Woman Set on Fire Outside Strip ClubAshley on File Under “Feminism is Good for Families”Anthony Kennerson on Woman Set on […]

  42. A Call Out In Support Of Roberta Busby, Victim of Brutal Sex-Hate Crime | The SmackDog Chronicles (Ver. 2.6)

    […] over at Feministe has the story of a especially henious and horrific attempt at murder that took place in Los Angeles at a strip club/sports bar called Babes & Beer. From the  […]

  43. Updates on Burn Victim Roberta Busby : The Curvature

    […] a few days ago, I put up a post about a woman who was doused with a flammable liquid outside of a strip club, her place of employment, and….  There are two suspects in this horrific attack, named Nathaniel Petrillo and Rianne […]

  44. Sex for Dummies: Deflating Myths About Female Desire « Women’s Glib

    […] of women take on more subservient sexual characters: we are at risk for ridicule, rape, and murder when we do […]

  45. dave
    dave March 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm |

    it is very hartbreaking to read this sort of thing! i truely hope the assholes who done this gets whats comeing to them! i am a praying person and her recovery will be in my prayers! it is a very sick world and full of hate! but i know i do not need to mention that!

  46. ellen99
    ellen99 April 13, 2009 at 7:25 pm |

    Thank you Ryan and Cara.

  47. ellen99
    ellen99 April 13, 2009 at 7:27 pm |

    “When I read this, my immediate impulse is to find these monsters put them in a cell with a 300 lb. serial rapist for life.” Yes, because more violence is always the answer.

  48. peaches
    peaches August 5, 2009 at 4:33 am |

    It really bothers me when people think of strippers as people with mental problems, violent, druggies etc. As someone mentioned above. I’ve been stripping for 5yrs now and yes there’s plenty of girls that do drink and do drugs but there’s also plenty who have never even smoked weed b4 believe it or not! Half of them have regular jobs n go to school. Some are even finished with school but still choose to strip cause the money is good.we make more in one night than most average peeps make in a week. And whoever mentioned that they r more likley to be poor…I’m laughing, I know a shit load of strippers and they’re smart with their money, own homes some even own stocks. Also I’d like to mention is that for as long as I’ve been dancing I’ve never once done anything more than dance such as sex or any other sexual activities in all my 5yrs of dancing. Shit I know lots of girls who are not strippers that are ten times worse!!!

  49. london
    london August 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm |

    it is sad but one must understand that it happens all to offten, I have worked with in the clubs for 21 years and have wached as the woman i worked with have lost there lifes, and untill some one stands up it will keep happening, we will keep our sister in our payers. I for one have have desided to stand and be heard a voice of all who can not speak out, in my book stiletto diears. please remember toghther we can put a stop to all the volince. by trying to get some of the laws changed. peac be with her family

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