6 Examples of Undercover Cops Having Sex and Fathering Children w/ Activists They Are Investigating

(via Green is the New Red)

Policing Through Sexual Infiltration

“It must be a horrifying experience to discover that your partner is not the person they say they are; that they may have been relaying information provided in confidence ‘on the pillow’, to the state; and that the fundamentals of the relationship were lies. Many have described the sense of violation they feel.” – Tamsin Allen

The exploitation of human sexuality is a well-known pressure point in the repression of social movements. Typically such measures are thought to be reserved for military conflicts involving complex, multi-tiered, counter-insurgency campaigns, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Throughout the first and second Palestinian uprisings, Israeli intelligence forces regularly recruited Palestinians for collaboration after first documenting them in precarious sexual situations. Classically, Israeli handlers would observe and record a Palestinian engaging in extra-marital, homosexual, or otherwise ‘deviant’ sexual behaviors and then leverage the publicity of these filmed vices in exchange for actionable intelligence leading to the capture of wanted Palestinian fighters and activists.

Though such methods may be more familiar to students of ‘traditional’ warfare, the collection of intelligence through the exploitation of trusted social network is a common domestic policing strategy as well. A 2014 study demonstrated that 81% of “law enforcement professionals” use social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) in their investigations, and that 80% agree that the creation and management of fake social media profiles is an “ethical” practice in law enforcement. In 2011, the British press was made aware of several undercover police agents who were infiltrating protest movements throughout a 40-year period. Of the seven undercover officers initially exposed, five were found to have had sexual relationships with women. Often times these were women the officers were tasked with monitoring. These sexual liaisons between cop and activist were the product of misrepresentation. Subsequent investigation into the actions of these officers exposed 10 individuals, nine of which who had sexual relationships with activists.

The following will provide brief biographical profiles of these individuals. In doing so it is my hope that movements can learn from these examples and improve our resistance to infiltration and disruption. The purpose of these methods is to reverberate distrust, fear, uncertainty, suspicion and divisions amongst our friendship circles, our communities and our wider social networks.

Bob Lambert

bob-lambert-recentBob Lambert, posing as Bob Robinson, infiltrated leftist and animal liberation networks, using a job at Greenpeace London as an activist cover, and targeting activists affiliated with the ALF. Between May 1987-November 1988, Lambert was engaged in a sexual relationship with a 24-year-old female, not affiliated with political activism, whom he met at a party. Lambert reportedly maintained the relationship for 18 months to create the background of a personal life for his projected activist persona. To this end, Lambert even arranged to have his own home raided by police to show that he was a ‘known activist.’ In total, Lambert spent 26 years in the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch (including the Special Demonstration Squad), and recently issued an apology for the relationship stating:

I also apologise unreservedly for forming false friendships with law abiding citizens and in particular forming a longterm relationship with [the woman] who had every reason to think I was a committed animal rights activist and a genuine London Greenpeace campaigner.

Not only was Lambert involved with the unnamed 24-year-old, but a year or so prior, he also had a sexual relationship with a second female whom he fathered a child with before disappearing. Lambert met the female activist whom he was meant to spy on in the “mid-1980s” and had a son with her in 1985 before breaking up in 1987. When the child was two years old, the female activist married a second man and Lambert surrendered his paternal rights. The woman came forward in early 2013 after seeing Lambert’s 1980s picture in a newspaper and recognizing it as that of her long lost ex-boyfriend and the father of their son. The woman reports that she met Lambert in 1984, and became involved in animal rights and involving herself in direct action networks. In 2013 Lambert admitted to having relationships with four women while undercover. Throughout this infiltration, Lambert was also legally married. Lambert is one of at least two UK police infiltrators that fathered a child with a female activist who was targeted for surveillance.

debenham-fire-lambertIn addition to his service as a police agent and sexual infiltrator, Lambert also served as an agent provocateur carrying our acts of property destruction, including the use of arson, and attributing such actions to the ALF. According to Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas, in testimony given to Parliament, Lambert was responsible for placing and detonating an incendiary device in the Harrow, northwest London branch of the Debenhams department store in 1987 in protest of its selling of fur.

Lambert is also said to have admitted his involvement in the arson to a female activist. The arson was part of a three site simultaneous attacks with only two perpetrators arrested. According to testimony from one of the convicted arsonists Caroline Lucas as well as other evidence, Lambert was the third participant. Lambert, as expected, has denied these accusations but proudly asserts his role in providing intelligence that led to the arrest of the other two arsonists. The fires caused £7-8 million in damages and according to some, were instrumental in motivating the chain to cease the selling of animal fur. The purpose of the attack was for Lambert to garner credibility amongst his ALF community and convince them he was a committed activist.

Lambert played other key roles in the animal rights community penning an ALF leaflet explaining the group’s philosophy and even co-writing the infamous McLibel leaflet in 1986 which defamed McDonalds and led to the longest civil trial in UK history. During his dating and sexual exploits, Lambert also used his role as the boyfriend of an activist to encourage more militant action. According to “Charlotte,” one of Lambert’s sexual partners, “He would tease me for not being committed enough…he got me to become more involved in ‘direct action.’”

Mark John Kennedy

Mark-Kennedy-007Police Constable Mark Kennedy, posing as Mark “Flash” Stone, infiltrated environmental and leftist networks for approximately eight years (~2001-2009) in the area of Nottingham (sometimes working alongside a female spyplaying the role of an “eco-activist”), hosting meetings with activists in up to 23 countries including the United States, and participating as an activist in illegal actions including blockades, site occupations and sabotage, sometimes playing key logistical roles such as transport. In numerous accounts from activists, Kennedy is portrayed as a provocateur, encouraging activists to commit acts of violence including attacking police. For his work, stone was paid £50,000 annually, plus an additional £200,000 annually given for “bribes, drinks, accommodation, a vehicle and travel abroad to meet other anarchists.” During this time, Kennedy presented himself as an “avid rock climber and former drug smuggler,” maintained a four year relationship with a 26-year-old, female activist named Anna who reports having sexual intercourse with Kennedy more than 20 times. After Kennedy’s true identity was revealed, Anna spoke to the news media stating, “‘If somebody was being paid to have sex with me, that gives me a sense of having been violated.”

In addition to this relationship, Kennedy reports sleeping with a second female Welsh activist, though testimony from “those who knew him best” suggests that more female activists were likely victimized. It was this second female that exposed Kennedy after discovering his legitimate passport while on vacation with the spy in July 2010. Anna, Kennedy’s first activist girlfriend, stated to The Guardian that there were “several other women within the protest movement who Kennedy slept with,” but that while she knew he was sleeping with these additional women, “there was never any type of romance involved.” After his police handlers became aware of his “erratic sexual conduct” he became the subject of surveillance, wherein police officials videotaped him having sexual contactwith female activists. While Kennedy joked about his use of “horizontal interrogation techniques” with activists, he maintained a second life with his wife Edel, and their two children. Kennedy defended his actions, stating that sexual promiscuity was common within the protest movement. “It was a very promiscuous scene. Some people had five or six lovers…Girls on protest sites would sleep with guys in order to entice them to stay in these horrible places: Cold, wet, with bad food and nonexistent bathroom facilities.”

Since the exposure of Kennedy as a police spy, international activists have compiled an open-source, online, database attempting to document the host of protests, meetings and convergences in which he attended. Using the Powerbase platform, activists have linked Kennedy to at least 68 incidents, some covering multiple years. According to Kennedy, he was one of 15 police spies who had infiltrated environmental movements; at least four of these spies remain embedded in UK protest movements. After Kennedy’s infiltration became public knowledge, and he left law enforcement, he used his wealth of insider knowledge for personal financial gain, establishing a series of companies (e.g. Tokra Limited, Black Star High Access) thought to be private consulting firms. In a report by The Guardian, Kennedy used the privileged access he gained in police infiltration campaigns to act as a “corporate spy” while still maintaining his Mark Stone alter ego. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that Kennedy was working for a second spy firm in the US, Densus Group, targeting “anti-capitalist demonstrators.”Kennedy claims that during his sexual exploits, his police handlers “sanctioned” his actions, stating that some echelons of British policing was aware of his sexual relationships. Acpo president, Sir Hugh Orde told Members of Parliamentthat “he had no knowledge of the [Kennedy] case until the Guardian disclosed the prosecution of six activists…collapsed because of Kennedy’s role in it.” According to Kennedy, he was one of 15 police spies who had infiltrated environmental movements; at least four of these spies remain embedded in UK protest movements. While the UK’s infiltration efforts targeting social movements date back to at least to anti-war campaigners in 1968, the pervasiveness of establishing sexual partnerships appears to be a newly intentional strategy.

Andrew James Boyling (aka Jim Boyling)

Jim-Boyling-008Detective Constable Jim Boyling, 28-years-old, posing as Pete James Sutton or Jim Sutton 34-years-old, infiltrated pro-bicycle movement Reclaim the Streets for five years (1995-2000) as a lead organizer, as well as having contact with additional environmental and hunt saboteur campaigns. During this time events were organized within the activist community designed solely to collect information on attendees. During his time within activist movements, Boyling married Angharad Bevan, the 28-year-old activist he was tasked to monitor, and fathered two children with her before divorcing. Boyling only made his superiors aware of his relationship in 2005 by informing a single senior officer close to the time he married Beven. His relationship with Beven was one of two sexual relationships Boyling had with females in activist networks while undercover. Both relationships were described as “serious.” At times Boyling worked directly under Bob Lambert, with Lambert acting as his handler.

Following Boyling’s exposure, Chief Constable Jon Murphy of Merseyside (NW England) told newspapers that sexual conduct between police agents and activists was “never acceptable…under any circumstances,” further stating in relation to the police infiltrators that “something has gone badly wrong here” and calling the undercover agent’s actions “grossly unprofessional…a diversion from what they are here to do…[and] morally wrong.”. Despite such grandstanding, Boyling’s ex-wife stated in an interview with The Guardian that superiors were knowledgeable of these incidents, stating:

Jim [Boyling] complained one day that his superiors said there was to be no more sexual relations with activists anymore – the implicit suggestion was that they were fully aware of this before and that it hadn’t been restricted in the past…[Jim Boyling] was scoffing at it saying that it was impossible not to expect people to have sexual relations. He said people going in had ‘needs’ and I felt really insulted. He also claimed it was a necessary tool in maintaining cover.

Boyling also reportedly perjured himself in court in 1997, giving evidence under oath (as Pete James Sutton) while concealing his true identity as a police spy during his prosecution alongside protestors arrested after occupying a government office.

Boyling was also present during legally protected conversations held between defendants and their lawyers, as the police spy was represented by the same legal firm. This action has led to a legal challenge where protestors have argued that Boyling’s presence during such conversations violated the defendants’ right to protected communications with council, and that Boyling thus obtained information through protected, private correspondences. Investigations by The Guardian revealed that “police chiefs [had] authorized undercover officers to hide their identities from courts when they were prosecuted for offences arising out of their deployment.”

Mark Jacobs

Mark Jacobs, 44-years-old, posing as 29-year-old Marco, infiltrated anarchist, anti-globalization, animal rights, and other social justice networks for five years (2004-2009) in the Cardiff area. Jacobs was known for taking on logistics and financial roles in his circles, and used the reputation he built within the Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) to infiltrate the Dissent! anti-G8 planning committees. During 2008, Jacobs maintained a sexual relationship with a female movement activist, and reportedly was responsible for encouraging CAN to engage behaviors to increase division and inebriation. On organizer with CAN reported to press:

He changed the culture of the organisation, encouraging a lot of drinking, gossip and back stabbing, and trivialised and ran down any attempt made by anyone in the group to achieve objectives. He clearly aimed to separate and isolate certain people from the group and from each other, and subtly exaggerated political and personal differences, telling lies to both ‘sides’ to create distrust and ill-feeling. In the four years he was in Cardiff a strong, cohesive and active group had all-but disintegrated. Marco left after anarchist meetings in the city stopped being held.

Following Jacobs’ exposure as a police spy, his activist girlfriend stated, “I was doing nothing wrong, I was not breaking the law at all. So for him to come along and lie to us and get that deep into our lives was a colossal, colossal betrayal.” According to additional testimony, a second female also maintained a dating relationship with Jacobs but littler more information is available.

John Dines

John-Dines-010Sergeant John Dines, posing as “John Barker” infiltrated London Greenpeace as well as unnamed anti-capitalist groups from around 1987-1992. He worked with the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad and began infiltrating Greenpeace following the departure of Bob Lambert. In 1990, Dines began a relationship with Helen Steel, and abandoned her in 1992 feigning a mental breakdown. When Steel sought to track down the whereabouts of her boyfriend, she discovered that John Barker was really Sgt. John Dines who had stolen the name of Phillip John Baker, a child who had died of leukemia years prior. Steel also discovered that Dines has been married since 1977.

The Dines/Barker case is said to be one of at least 80 similar occurrences organized by Scotland Yard over a 30 year period wherein police adopted the names of dead children in order to produce false identities and documents with verifiable back stories. Other police spies utilizing sexual infiltration, including Bob Lambert, also used the identities of dead children to create false names and documents. According to Lambert he adopted his identity from that of a seven-year-old child who died of a heart problem, and stated to media sources that the UK Home Office was aware of this practice, and that it was widespread.

Mark Jenner

Mark Jenner, the police spy who went by the name of Mark Cassidy for six yearsMark Jenner, presenting himself as “Mark Cassidy,” infiltrated UK protest groups from 1994-2000 as an officer in the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad under the direction of Bob Lambert. During his tenure, Jenner was married yet maintained a five year relationship (1995-2000) with a 29-year-old female activist, living with her in a London apartment and rarely returning to his family. After their lengthy cohabitation, the woman explained that she thought of themselves as “man and wife” having “completely integrated [Jenner] into my life.” Jenner met the woman’s family and even appeared in her mother’s wedding photographs and videos from other family events. The woman explained that Jenner used her as an “excellent cover story.”

Jenner used the woman’s credibility and trusted social network to insure his own cover story, as she explains, “People trusted me, people knew that I was who I said I was, and people believed, therefore, that he must be who he said he was because he was welcomed into my family.” Given this history, the woman was motivated to investigate his identity after Jenner disappeared in 2000 from their shared apartment stating that he was depressed. In testimony given to a Parliamentary inquiry, the woman, speaking via the pseudonym “Alison,” spoke of the deception stating, “It has impacted seriously on my ability to trust, and that has impacted on my current relationships and other subsequent relationships. It has also distorted my perceptions of love and my perceptions of sex.”

Further Inquiry

According to activists, at least two additional undercover informants were also present and had sexual relationships with activists. They have been named as Rod Richardson and Simon Wellings. According to Evans and Lewis, Richardson was not sexually involved with activists. While it is unknown if Wellings had relations with activist women, his behavior mirrors that of other informants, collecting and reporting on the personal details of activists such as their friendship circles as well as sexual preferences and partners. It is reported by the BBC that Wellings infiltrated anti-capitalist group Globalize Resistance from 2001-2005.

Source: Loadenthal, Michael. “6 Ways Cops Have Used Sex to Infiltrate and Disrupt Protest Groups“. Green is the New Red. 20 January 2015.

A genocidal smörgåsbord for Thanksgiving Day

Family feasting on Thanksgiving, with the results of genocide beneath the floorThanksgiving to me represents a day of opportunity — the opportunity to expose a history of genocide and white-supremacist domination of Native American and African peoples. First, let’s take a look at the history of Thanksgiving:

‘[What is erroneously considered to be] the first feast was not called a “Thanksgiving” at the time; no further integrated dining occasions were scheduled; and the first, official all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” had to wait until 1637, when the whites of New England celebrated the massacre of the Wampanoag’s southern neighbors, the Pequots. […]

Having subdued, intimidated or made mercenaries of most of the tribes of Massachusetts, the English turned their growing force southward, toward the rich Connecticut valley, the Pequot’s sphere of influence. At the point where the Mystic River meets the sea, the combined force of English and allied Indians bypassed the Pequot fort to attack and set ablaze a town full of women, children and old people.

William Bradford, the former Governor of Plymouth and one of the chroniclers of the 1621 feast, was also on hand for the great massacre of 1637:

‘Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.’

The rest of the white folks thought so, too. ‘This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots,’ read Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. The authentic Thanksgiving Day was born.’

Glen Ford, “The End of American Thanksgivings


That is, Thanksgiving is not only a holiday that hides or ignores the Native American holocaust, but was actually created to celebrate it. The fact that millions of people celebrate such a holiday each year is thoroughly disturbing:

‘In recent years I have refused to participate in Thanksgiving Day meals, even with friends and family who share this critical analysis and reject the national mythology around manifest destiny. In bowing out of those gatherings, I would often tell folks that I hated Thanksgiving. I realize now that “hate” is the wrong word to describe my emotional reaction to the holiday. I am afraid of Thanksgiving. More accurately, I am afraid of what Thanksgiving tells us about both the dominant culture and much of the alleged counterculture.

Here’s what I think it tells us: As a society, the United States is intellectually dishonest, politically irresponsible, and morally bankrupt. This is a society in which even progressive people routinely allow national and family traditions to trump fundamental human decency. It’s a society in which, in the privileged sectors, getting along and not causing trouble are often valued above honesty and accountability. Though it’s painful to consider, it’s possible that such a society is beyond redemption. Such a consideration becomes frightening when we recognize that all this goes on in the most affluent and militarily powerful country in the history of the world, but a country that is falling apart — an empire in decline.Thanksgiving/Genocide -- Which crime are you thankful for? Rape? Colonization? Torture? Theft of Land?

Thanksgiving should teach us all to be afraid.

Although it’s well known to anyone who wants to know, let me summarize the argument against Thanksgiving: European invaders exterminated nearly the entire indigenous population to create the United States. Without that holocaust, the United States as we know it would not exist. The United States celebrates a Thanksgiving Day holiday dominated not by atonement for that horrendous crime against humanity but by a falsified account of the “encounter” between Europeans and American Indians. When confronted with this, most people in the United States (outside of indigenous communities) ignore the history or attack those who make the argument. This is intellectually dishonest, politically irresponsible, and morally bankrupt.

In left/radical circles, even though that basic critique is widely accepted, a relatively small number of people argue that we should renounce the holiday and refuse to celebrate it in any fashion. Most leftists who celebrate Thanksgiving claim that they can individually redefine the holiday in a politically progressive fashion in private, which is an illusory dodge: We don’t define holidays individually or privately — the idea of a holiday is rooted in its collective, shared meaning. When the dominant culture defines a holiday in a certain fashion, one can’t pretend to redefine it in private. To pretend we can do that also is intellectually dishonest, politically irresponsible, and morally bankrupt.

I press these points with no sense of moral superiority. For many years I didn’t give these questions a thought, and for some years after that I sat sullenly at Thanksgiving dinners, unwilling to raise my voice. For the past few years I’ve spent the day alone, which was less stressful for me personally (and, probably, less stressful for people around me) but had no political effect. This year I’ve avoided the issue by accepting a speaking invitation in Canada, taking myself out of the country on that day. But that feels like a cheap resolution, again with no political effect in the United States.

The next step for me is to seek creative ways to use the tension around this holiday for political purposes, to highlight the white-supremacist and predatory nature of the dominant culture, then and now. Is it possible to find a way to bring people together in public to contest the values of the dominant culture? How can those of us who want to reject that dominant culture meet our intellectual, political, and moral obligations? How can we act righteously without slipping into self-righteousness? What strategies create the most expansive space possible for honest engagement with others?

Along with allies in Austin, I’ve struggled with the question of how to create an alternative public event that could contribute to a more honest accounting of the American holocausts in the past (not only the indigenous genocide, but African slavery) and present (the murderous U.S. assault on the developing world, especially in the past six decades, in places such as Vietnam and Iraq).

Some have suggested an educational event, bringing in speakers to talk about those holocausts. Others have suggested a gathering focused on atonement. Should the event be more political or more spiritual? Perhaps some combination of methods and goals is possible.

However we decide to proceed, we can’t ignore the ugly ideological realities of the holiday. My fear of those realities is appropriate but facing reality need not leave us paralyzed by fear; instead it can help us understand the contours of the multiple crises — economic and ecological, political and cultural — that we face. The challenge is to channel our fear into action. I hope that next year I will find a way to take another step toward a more meaningful honoring of our intellectual, political, and moral obligations.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I’m eager to hear about the successful strategies of others. For such advice, I would be thankful.’

Robert Jensen, “How I Stopped Hating Thanksgiving and Learned to Be Afraid

Thanksgiving Day is not a day for celebration or rejoicing. Find another day for that. Thanksgiving is a fundamentally racist and genocidal holiday that we should utilize as a chance to inform people about white supremacy and the history of the colonization of the Americas.

“I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

U.S. soldiers posing over the mass grave at the Wounded Knee Massacre
U.S. soldiers posing over the mass grave at the Wounded Knee Massacre

Dangerous Intersections

(via INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence)

Women of color live in the dangerous intersections of sexism, racism and other oppressions.

Within the mainstream anti-violence movement in the U.S., women of color who survive sexual or domestic abuse are often told that they must pit themselves against their communities, often portrayed stereotypically as violent, to begin the healing process. Communities of color, meanwhile, often advocate that women keep silent about the sexual and domestic violence in order to maintain a united front against racism.Therefore we must adopt anti-violence strategies that are mindful of the larger structures of violence that shape the world we live in. That is, strategies designed to combat violence within communities (sexual/domestic violence) must be linked to strategies that combat violence directed against communities (i.e. police brutality, prisons, racism, economic exploitation, etc). In addition, as will be discussed later in this report, the remedies for addressing sexual and domestic violence have proven to be inadequate for addressing the problems of gender violence in general, but particularly for addressing violence against women of color. The problem is not simply an issue of providing multicultural services to survivors of violence. Rather, the analysis and strategies around addressing gender violence have failed to address the manner in which gender violence is not simply a tool of patriarchal control, but also serves as a tool of racism and colonialism. That is, colonial relationships are themselves gendered and sexualized.

Within the context of colonization and racism, sexual violence does not affect men and women of color in the same way. However, when a woman of color suffers abuse, this abuse is not just attack on her identity as a woman, but on her identity as a person of color. The issues of colonial, race, and gender oppression cannot be separated. Women of color do not just face quantitatively more issues when they suffer violence (i.e. less media attention, language barriers, lack of support in the judicial system, etc.) but their experience is qualitatively different from that of white women. Hence, the strategies employed to address violence against women of color must take into account their particular histories of violence.

Historical context

Colonizers have long tried to crush the spirit of the peoples they colonize and blunt their will to resist colonization. One of the most devastating weapons of conquest has been sexual violence. In the eyes of colonizers, the bodies of people of color are considered inherently “dirty.” For instance, as European settlers of California described in the 1860s, Native people were “the dirtiest lot of human beings on earth (Rawls 1984, 195).” They wear “filthy rags, with their persons unwashed, hair uncombed and swarming with vermin (Rawls 1984, 195).” The following 1885 Proctor & Gamble ad for Ivory Soap also illustrates this equation between Indian bodies and dirt.

We were once factious, fierce and wild,
In peaceful arts unreconciled
Our blankets smeared with grease and stains
From buffalo meat and settlers’ veins.
Through summer’s dust and heat content
From moon to moon unwashed we went,
But IVORY SOAP came like a ray
Of light across our darkened way
And now we’re civil, kind and good
And keep the laws as people should,
We wear our linen, lawn and lace
As well as folks with paler face
And now I take, where’er we go
This cake of IVORY SOAP to show
What civilized my squaw and me
And made us clean and fair to see (Lopez n.d., 119).

In the colonial worldview, only “clean” and “pure” bodies deserve to be protected from violence and these concepts are always already racialized. Violence done to “dirty” or “impure” bodies simply does not count as violence. Because the bodies of women of color are also seen as “dirty,” they too are considered “rapable.” The practice of mutilating Indian bodies, for instance– both living and dead –makes it clear that colonizers do not think Indian people deserve bodily integrity. This attitude dates back to the earliest periods of westward conquest, as these examples from history illustrate:

I saw the body of White Antelope with the privates cut off, and I heard a soldier say he was going to make a tobacco-pouch out of them (Wrone and Nelson 1982, 113).

One more dexterous than the rest, proceeded to flay the chief’s [Tecumseh’s] body; then, cutting the skin in narrow strips…at once, a supply of razor-straps for the more “ferocious” of his brethren (Wrone and Nelson 1982, 82).

Andrew Jackson…supervised the mutilation of 800 or so Creek Indian corpses–the bodies of men, women and children that he and his men massacred–cutting off their noses to count and preserve a record of the dead, slicing long strips of flesh from their bodies to tan and turn into bridle reins (Stannard 1992, 121).

Although Native men have also been scarred by abuse, Native women have often been the primary focus of sexual violence because of their ability to give birth. Control over reproduction is essential in destroying a people; if the women of a nation are not disproportionately killed, the nation’s population can always rebound. This is why colonizers such as Andrew Jackson recommended that, after massacres, troops complete the extermination by systematically killing Indian women and children. Similarly, Methodist minister Colonel John Chivington’s policy was to “kill and scalp all little and big” because “nits make lice (Stannard 1992, 131).” Symbolic and literal control over their bodies is important in the war against Native people, as these testimonies of colonization attest:

Two of the best looking of the squaws were lying in such a position, and from the appearance of the genital organs and of their wounds, there can be no doubt that they were first ravished and then shot dead. Nearly all of the dead were mutilated (Wrone and Nelson 1982, 123).

One woman, big with child, rushed into the church, clasping the alter and crying for mercy for herself and unborn babe. She was followed, and fell pierced with a dozen lances. . .the child was torn alive from the yet palpitating body of its mother, first plunged into the holy water to be baptized, and immediately its brains were dashed out against a wall, (Wrone and Nelson 1982, 97)

I heard one man say that he had cut a woman’s private parts out, and had them for exhibition on a stick. I heard another man say that he had cut the fingers off of an Indian, to get the rings off his hand. I also heard of numerous instances in which men had cut out the private parts of females, and stretched them over their saddle-bows and some of them over their hats (Sand Creek Massacre: A Documentary History 1973).

The history of sexual violence and genocide for Native women is illustrative of how gender violence functions as a tool for racism and colonialism for women of color in general. As with Native women, African American women have also been viewed as inherently rapable. Whereas colonizers used sexual violence to kill of Native populations, however, white slave owners used rape to reproduce an exploitable labor force. Because the children of Black slave women inherited their slave status, it was economically profitable to systematically rape Black women in order to reproduce their slave labor. Because Black women were seen as the property of their slaveowners, their rape at the hands of these men did not count. As one southern politician declared in the early 1900s, there was no such thing as “virtuous colored girl” over the age of fourteen (Davis 1981, 182). The testimonies from slave narratives and other sources reveals the systematic abuse of slave women by white slaveowners.

For a period of fourth months, including the latter stages of pregnancy, delivery, and recent recovery there from…he beat her with clubs, iron chains and other deadly weapons time after time; burnt her; inflicted stripes over and often with scourages, which literally excoriated her whole body; forced her to work in inclement seasons, without being duly clad; provided for her insufficient food, exacted labor beyond her strength, and wantonly beat because she could not comply with his requisitions. These enormities, besides others, too disgusting, particularly designated, the prisoner, without his heart once relenting, practiced…even up to the last hours of victim’s existence. (A report of a North Carolina slaveowner’s abuse and eventual murder of a slave woman) (Genovese 1976, 72).

He was a good man {my master} but he was pretty bad among the women. Married or not married, made no difference to him. Whoever he wanted among the slaves, he went and got her or had her meet him somewhere out in the bushes. I have known him to go to the shack and make the woman’s husbands sit outside while he went into his wife. …He wasn’t no worse than none of the rest. They all used their women like they wanted to, and there wasn’t nobody to say anything about it. Neither the woman nor the men could help themselves. They submitted to it but kept praying to God (a slave testimony from South Carolina) (Johnson 1969, 90).

Immigrant women as well have endured a long history of sexual exploitation in the U.S. For instance, women were often lured into the U.S. with the promise of a stable marriage or job, only to find themselves trapped in the sex trade. Financially impoverished Chinese families were often forced to sell their daughters into prostitution and in other cases, racially discriminatory employment laws forced thousands of Chinese immigrant women into prostitution. By 1860, over 23.4 percent of the Chinese in San Francisco (all female) were employed in prostitution (Almaguer 1994, 174).

In these histories, while women of color suffered from routine sexual exploitation in the process of racist and colonial expansion, men of color become stereotyped as sexual predators. Prior to colonization, Indian societies tended not to be male-dominated. In fact, many societies were matrilineal and matrilocal and Indian women often served as spiritual, political, and military leaders. When work was divided by gender, both men’s and women’s labors were accorded similar status. Violence against women and children was rare — in many tribes, unheard of (Jaimes and Halsey 1992). Consequently, through the proliferation of “captivity narratives” in the 1800s, the message was spread that sexual predators were not white men, but were Indian men bent on capturing and raping white women.

Similarly, black men were targeted for lynching for their supposed mass rapes of white women. White women needed to be protected from predatory black men, when in fact it was black women who needed protection from white men. Anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells calculated in her investigations of lynchings that between 1865 and 1895 over ten thousand Blacks had been lynched, whereas no white person was ever lynched for killing a Black (Davis 1981, 184). In addition, while the ostensible reason for these lynchings was to protect white women from black rapists, Wells discovered that only a third of those lynched were even accused of rape. And of those accused of rape, most were obvious consensual sexual relationships with white women (Giddings 1984, 28-29).

Present day context

The historical context of rape, racism and colonialism continues to impact women of color today. This legacy is most evident in the rates of violence in American Indian communities – American Indian women are twice as likely to be victimized by violent crime than women or men of any other ethnic group. In addition, sixty percent of the perpetrators of violence against American Indian women are white and Asian American women are most likely to be victimized by whites as well (Greenfield and Smith 1999). Rates of violence against African American women as well are higher than the national average (Rennison 2001). In general, forty-three percent of women will be raped (including marital rape) and one-half of women in the U.S. will be battered in their lifetime (MacKinnon 1987, 23-24).

Not only has sexual and domestic violence has become internalized within communities of color as a result of this sexual colonization, but women of color continue to be targeted by racialized gender violence in a number of ways. Within U.S. popular culture, Stuart Kasten marketed a new video in 1989 called, “Custer’s Revenge,” in which players get points each time they, in the form of Custer, rape an Indian woman. The slogan of the game is “When you score, you score.” He describes the game as “a fun sequence where the woman is enjoying a sexual act willingly.”

During times of heightened tensions between Native and white communities, sexual violence remains prevalent as is evident in some of these events I was involved in. During the Chippewa spearfishing controversies in the 1980s when Chippewa spearfishers were being harassed by white racist mobs for exercising their treaty-protected rights to spear fish, one white harasser carried a sign saying “Save a fish; spear a pregnant squaw.” During the 1990 Mohawk crisis in Oka, a white mob surrounded the ambulance of a Native woman who was attempting to leave the Mohawk reservation because she was hemorrhaging after having given birth. She was forced to “spread her legs” to prove she had given birth. The police at the scene refused to intervene. Two women from Chicago WARN went to Oka in Mohawk Territory, Canada to videotape the crisis. They were arrested and held in custody for eleven hours without being charged, and were told that they could not go to the bathroom unless the male police officers could watch. The place they were held was covered with pornographic magazines.

Trafficking in women from Asian and other Third world countries continues unabated in the US. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, 45,000 to 50,000 women are trafficked in the US each year (Brinkley 2000). In addition, there are over 50,000 Filipina mail-order brides in the US alone (Tadiar 2000). White men, desiring women they presume to be submissive, procure mail-order brides, who then, because of their precarious legal status, are vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence in their homes. Neferti Tadiar, scholar of Philippines history, reports the promotional material for procuring mail order brides: Filipinas have “exceptionally smooth skin and tight vaginas. . .[they are] low maintenance wives. [They] can always be returned and replaced by a younger model (Tadiar 2000).”

Women of color are also targeted for sexual violence crossing the U.S. border. Blacks and Latinos comprise 43% of those searched through customs even through they comprise 24% of the population (Bhattacharjee 2001). The American Friends Service Committee documented over 346 reports of gender violence on the US Mexico border from 1993-1995 and this is just the report of one agency, which does not account for the women who either do not report or report to another agency. The following case illustrates the kinds of abuse women face at the border:

A Border Patrol agent, Larry Selders, raped several women over a period of time. Finally one of the rape victims in Nogales, Arizona had to sue the United States government for not taking action to investigate her rape. Selders demanded sex from the woman in return for her release. When she refused, Selders drove her out of town to an isolated area, raped her and threatened her not to say anything to anyone. Her defense describes in great detail the horrible trauma that she continued to suffer after the incident. Although the rape took place in 1993, it was only in October 1999, that the court finally arrived a decision in favor of the victims. ‘The government guarded information about Selders’ prior acts. It took more than three years of legal battles to uncover that at least three other victims were known to the government,’ declared the victim’s attorney, Jesus Romo (Bhattacharjee 2001).

Undocumented survivors of violence face many barriers to accessing services as a result of their legal status. They are often reluctant to report crimes because their partners threaten to report them to the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) for deportation. Many programs for domestic and sexual violence survivors in the U.S. do not provide services in languages other than English. In one case reported by a Chicago rape crisis center, a Latina was raped by a prominent businessman. During the trial, the basic line of defense taken by the defense attorney was to ask her repeatedly, “You’ve been in this country for a long time. Why don’t you speak English yet?” Her attacker (who was a friend of the judge) was acquitted.

Meanwhile, the media generally ignores this pervasive violence and focuses on the individual acts of violence by men of color. Examples include the media hype of their murder trial of O.J. Simpson (an African American celebrity charged with killing his ex-wife), Clarence Thomas (U.S. Supreme Court Justice accused of sexual harassment) and Mike Tyson (an African American boxer tried and convicted for rape). In the public discussions over these cases, women of color continued to be marginalized. That is, communities of color often focused on the racism directed against the men in these cases, neglecting to see how their female victims (in the Tyson and Thomas cases) are also victimized by racism. The response by many communities of color to these cases was to blame the victims for breaking silence around violence. Meanwhile, the white women’s anti-violence movement made these figures the symbols of male violence against women rather than white perpetrators. For instance, William Kennedy Smith (a white prominent figure who was tried for rape) was acquitted, no public outcry resulted even among activists in the anti-violence movement as it did when O.J. Simpson was acquitted. In fact, the outcry was so tremendous among white people after OJ Simpson’s acquittal that many publicly called for an end to affirmative action programs because of his acquittal. The thousands of white men who batter and rape women have failed to attain the same public scrutiny as have men of color. This demonization of men of color as the real rapists, from whom white women need protection, ironically hinders white women as well from securing real safety from violence. That is, white women fear violence from men of color and consequently are less likely to protect themselves from those most likely to perpetuate violence against them – white men whom they know.

Remedies

Because violence against women of color cannot be separated from racism and colonialism, it is necessary to develop remedies for violence that also counter racism and colonialism, particularly as they are manifested in state violence. Unfortunately, the remedies that have been pursued by the mainstream anti-violence movement have often had the effect of strengthening rather than opposing state violence. The anti-sexual/domestic violence movements have been critical in breaking the silence around violence against women and providing critically needed services to survivors of sexual/domestic violence. However, these movements have also become increasingly professionalized around providing services, and consequently are often reluctant to address sexual and domestic violence within the larger context of institutionalized violence. As a case in point, many state coalitions on domestic/sexual violence have refused to take stands against the anti-immigration backlash and its violent impact on immigrant women, arguing that this issue is not a sexual/domestic violence issue. However, as the immigration backlash intensifies, many immigrant women do not report abuse for fear of deportation. However, it is impossible to seriously address sexual/domestic violence within communities of color without addressing these larger structures of violence, such as militarism, attacks on immigrants’ rights and Indian treaty rights, the proliferation of prisons, militarism, economic neo-colonialism, and institutional racism. Consequently, it is critical that those interested in combating sexual/domestic violence adopt anti-violence strategies that are mindful of the larger structures of violence that govern our world. In other words, strategies designed to combat violence within communities must be linked to strategies that combat the violence directed against communities of color.

As a case in point, increasingly, mainstream anti-violence advocates are demanding longer prison sentences for batterers and sex offenders as a front line approach to stopping violence against women. However, the criminal justice system has always been brutally oppressive toward communities of color. In 1994, for instance, one out of every three African American men between the ages of 20-29 was under some form of criminal justice supervision. Two-thirds of men of color in California between the ages of 18 and 30 have been arrested (Donziger 1996, 102-104). It is problematic for women of color to go to the state for the solution to the problems it has had a large part in creating. Consider these examples from reports from rape crisis centers from around the United States:

An undocumented woman calls the police because of domestic violence. Under current mandatory arrest laws, the police must arrest someone on domestic violence calls. Because the police cannot find the batterer, they arrest her and have her deported (Tucson).

An African American homeless woman calls the police because she has been the victim of group rape. The police arrest her for prostitution (Chicago).

An African-America woman calls the police when her husband who is battering her accidentally sets fire to their apartment. She is arrested for the fire (New York).

In fact the New York Times recently reported that the effects of the strengthened anti-domestic violence legislation is that battered women kill their abusive partners less frequently, BUT batterers do NOT kill their partners less frequently (Butterfield 2000). Thus, ironically, laws passed to protect battered women are actually protecting their batterers!

In addition, as Beth Richie notes in her study of Black women in prison and Luana Ross describes in her study of American Indian women in prison, women of color are generally in prison as a direct or indirect result of gender violence. That is, for instance, women of color, often become involved in abusive relationship in which they are forced to participate in men’s criminal activities (Richie 1996; Ross 1998). In addition, over 40 percent of women in prison are there because they murdered an abusive partner (Jurik and Winn 1990). Thus, the criminal justice system, rather than solving the problems of violence, often re-victimize women of color who are survivors of violence. And in fact, Luana Ross notes the criminal justice system actually criminalizes the attempts of women of color to resist and survive violence (Ross 1998).

The basic problem is that the premise of the justice system is that most people are law-abiding except for “deviants” who do not follow the law. However, given the epidemic rates of sexual and domestic violence in which 50 percent of women will be battered and 43 percent will be raped in their lifetime, it is clear that most men are implicated in our rape culture (MacKinnon 1987, 23-24). It is not likely that we can send all of these men to jail. Addressing rape through the justice system simply furthers the myth that rape/domestic violence is caused by a few bad men rather than acts which most men find themselves implicated in. Thus, relying upon the criminal justice system to end violence against women strengthens t a criminal justice apparatus that has been historically racist, while providing little more than the illusion of safety to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

At the same time, however, many of the alternatives to incarceration that are promoted under the “restorative justice model” have not developed sufficient safety mechanisms for survivors of domestic/sexual violence. In addition, anti-prison activists often uncritically support restorative justice programs as alternatives to incarceration without considering how to ensure these models provide safety for survivors. “Restorative justice” is an umbrella term that describes a wide range of programs which attempt to address crime from a restorative and reconciliatory rather than a punitive framework. That is, as opposed to the US criminal justice system that focuses solely on punishing the perpetrator and removing him from society through incarceration, restorative justice attempts to involve all parties (perpetrators, victims and community members) in determining the appropriate response to a crime in an effort to restore the community back to wholeness. These models have been particularly well-developed by many Native communities, especially in Canada, where the sovereign status of Native nations allows them more an opportunity to develop community based justice programs. In one program, for instance when a crime is reported, the working team that deals with sexual violence talks to the perpetrator and gives him the option of participating in the program. The perpetrator must first confess his guilt and then follow a healing contract, or go to jail. The perpetrator can decline to participate completely in the program and go through normal routes in the justice system. Everyone (victim, perpetrator, family, friends, and the working team) are involved in developing the healing contract. Everyone is also assigned an advocate through the process. Everyone also holds the perpetrator accountable to his contract. One Tlingit man noted that this approach was often more difficult than going to jail:

First one must deal with the shock and then the dismay on your neighbors faces. One must like with the daily humiliation, and at the same time seek forgiveness not just from victims, but from the community as a whole. . . [A prison sentence] removes the offender from the daily accountability, and may not do anything towards rehabilitation, and for many may actually be an easier disposition than staying in the community (Ross 1997, 18).

These models seem to have much greater potential for dealing with “crime” effectively because if we want perpetrators of violence to live in society peaceably, it makes sense to develop justice models in which the community is involved in holding him/her accountable. Under the current incarceration model, perpetrators are taken away from their community and are further disabled from developing ethical relationships within a community context. As Rupert Ross, an advocate for these models notes: “In reality, rather than making the community a safer place, the threat of jail places the community more at risk (Ross 1997).”

The problem, however, with these models in addressing sexual/domestic is that they work only when the community unites in holding perpetrators accountable. However, in cases of sexual and domestic violence, the community often sides with the perpetrator rather than the victim. So for instance, in many Native communities, these models are often pushed on domestic violence survivors in order to pressure them to “reconcile” with their families and “restore” the community without sufficient concern for their personal safety. Thus, we face a dilemma: one the one hand, the incarceration approach for addressing sexual/domestic violence promotes the repression of communities of color without really providing safety for survivors. On the other hand, restorative justice models often promote community silence and denial around issues of sexual/violence without concern for the safety of survivors of gender violence under the rhetoric of community restoration.

Thus, our challenge is, how do we develop community-based models of accountability in which the community will actually hold the perpetrator accountable? While there are no simple solutions to violence against women of color, it is clear that we will not develop effective strategies unless we stop marginalizing women of color in our analysis and strategies around both racial violence and gender violence.

To answer this set of challenges, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, was organized to combat violence against women of color in all its forms. This organization arose from the Color of Violence: Violence Against Women of Color conference held in Santa Cruz, California in April, 2000. The primary goals of this conference were to

  1. develop analyses and strategies around ending violence that place women of color at the center;
  2. address violence against women of color in all its forms, including: attacks on immigrants’ rights and Indian treaty rights; the proliferation of prisons; militarism; attacks on the reproductive rights of women of color; medical experimentation on communities of color; homophobia/heterosexism and hate crimes against lesbians of color; economic neo-colonialism; and institutional racism, and
  3. encourage the anti-violence movement to reinsert political organizing into its response to violence.

Originally designed to host 100-200 participants, over 2000 attended the conference while 2000 had to be turned away because of space limitations. Due to the overwhelming response at this conference, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence was formed. INCITE! is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and their communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing. This organization complements the work done by domestic and sexual violence agencies which focus on social services by emphasizing a grassroots, political mobilization approach toward ending violence. By supporting grassroots organizing, we intend to advance a national movement to nurture the health and well-being of communities of color. Through the efforts of INCITE!, women of color and our communities will move closer towards global peace, justice and liberation.

Police domestic violence nearly twice average rate

Via SF Gate:

Law enforcement officers beat their wives or girlfriends at nearly double the rate of the rest of the population, and trying to control that is not only difficult for the victims but potentially deadly, experts say. […]

Even advocates for battered women are reluctant to dive into domestic violence cases involving police for fear of alienating the agencies they rely upon for help in other abuse cases. […]

“The biggest problem for a woman reporting that she’s been abused by her police officer husband or boyfriend is that nobody believes you,” said Diane Wetendorf of Chicago, who wrote a nationally used victim handbook, “Police Domestic Violence.”

“If you do speak up, the police are very good at turning the accusations around,” Wetendorf said. “The women get terrified, too, so the crime is very under-reported. There is a legitimate fear of retaliation.” […]

Several studies, according to Gandy and Wetendorf, indicate that women suffer domestic abuse in at least 40 percent of police officer families. For American women overall, the figure is 25 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. […]

Aside from the fear of violent retaliation, women abused by police can also have trepidation about costing their husbands their jobs and jeopardizing their own economic future, Wetendorf said. Often, they also encounter skepticism from the same law enforcement system they are complaining to.

“A big part of police culture is the code of silence,” she said. “The prosecutors depend on police for their cases, the police depend on each other – it’s a very insulated system.”

[…]

(Read the full article here.)

Question: Considering that police are actually more violent and abusive than most people in society, why would people expect that they are going to protect us from violence?

See “Drunken off-duty deputy tried to arrest woman at bar when she resisted his advances“, from Police State USA

The Invisible War: New Film Exposes Rape, Sexual Assault Epidemic in U.S. Military

“On the heels of a new military survey that the number of reported violent sex crimes jumped 30 percent in 2011, with active-duty female soldiers ages 18 to 21 accounting for more than half of the of the victims, we speak with Trina McDonald and Kori Cioca, two subjects of ‘The Invisible War,’ a new documentary that examines the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the U.S. military, which won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. […]”

Via Democracy Now!: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/1/30/the_invisible_war_new_film_exposes