Yesterday and today the talk of the town was the attempted rapes. Two women were assaulted by the same man, and both of them fought him off. This must be a big story because the Sentinal covered it again today.
I went to a bar last night and a man there had the papet. We discussed the story. He said "I wish that just one of these times one of these guys would tangle with the wrong woman and who would just beat the crap out of him." I said, "I think that women should be armed and just kill the men who attack them. "
Thinking about all women being armed reminds me of the time in college when I interviewed Nikki Craft a few times when I was a writer at City on a Hill (back when it wasn't embarrasing to admit that you wrote for that paper.) Nikki lit the fire of activism in me. I never would have ever done anything in public to make the world better, safer, happier, before I met her.
Her art and activism doesn't quite show how inspiring she was (is?). I think the last time I saw her, or nearly so, was after she was arrested for destroying pornography at some liquor stores, sometime shortly before she left town in 1984. She wrote "Violence in the Media = Violence in Society = Violence in the Media...." over and over again on the sidewalk, from a liquor store on Mission St on the Westside all the way to a liquor store at the end of 41st avenue. It could be that she was arrested for just doing that, and tearing up porn but just doing the "vandalism." And she wrote it in chalk! It rained shortly afterward and was only visible for two days.
Anyway, I got a call from her, a collect call, saying that she was in jail. She just needed someone to pick her up as they released her from jail to give her a ride home. As soon as she left jail, she took chalk out of her bag of personal belongings and wrote "Violence in the Media = Violence in Society" on the sidewalk outside the jail on Water St.
But no, no, this is still not saying why she awoke a warrior in me. When I interviewed her in her attic room on California St (I think that she kept her home location mostly secret while she lived here because, well, because I get nasty phone calls when I write letters to local papers, I can only imagine what people threatened her with.) Anyway, we sat on her floor covered in newspapers, pamphlets, and porn. She showed me the most graphic porn I had ever seen up to that point, I saw the "meat grinder" issue of Hustler and other notorious features. I was worldly; I was a reporter; I was 23 years old. I had seen the world and I wasn't impressed. But Nikki cried when she looked at the the images in this kind of porn because she felt empathy for women being hurt. She saw all women as individuals, not types or models or The Other. She showed me so clearly how she loved women that she could not stay quiet while they suffered.
Nikki Craft told me about the Kitty Genovese Women's Project. that she and other women did when she was in Houston. They printed the names of rapists in the newspaper, local rapists who were still living in that town. The link is worth reading. Nikki also told me about another project, which is the one that I remember when I hear about women being attacked in my downtown. In this project, she advocated that all women should be armed at all times. I think it was more than just an advocacy, because this was Nikki. After all, in Texas, you can where a gun on your hip if you dn't try to hide it. Her point was, if men thought that women were armed with guns, they wouldn't attack us. They think we are vulnerable. Like I said to that guy I met at the bar, if every woman could kill the man who attacked her, how often would they try?