Elizabeth Acevedo, Murdered and Devalued

Elizabeth Acevedo died on August 22.  She was only 38 years old, far to young to die.  Very little is known about her, but what the New York Post wants their readers to be aware of is that she had one leg, and that she was a prostitute. Throughout the brief article they only bother to refer to her by name twice. It seems that her profession did not entitle her to even the dignity of being assigned a victim status.

Apparently she was hit over the head with a heavy object after performing a sex act. It is a well known fact that prostitutes are  particularly vulnerable members of our society.  When they are attacked, raped or beaten society has a tendency to turn a blind eye.  Only pure women are worthy of social angst, and somehow it is deemed that sex trade workers bring this kind of violence upon themselves. 

When researching to see if I could find out more information about her tragic passing, I came across a post at Bossip wherein Acevedo is further demeaned. They have a mock picture up and refer to her murder as, “some pure comedy indeed.” Only in a world where women are routinely devalued could the death of a prostitute be referred to as  a joke.  Had a white male been killed it certainly would not be a laughing matter because their bodies count. 

Every time I hear someone speculate that we have reached a post feminist world, I think of women like Elizabeth Acevedo, Claudette Osborne, Emma Caldwell, Chantal Robertson and Stephine Beck.  As long as women continue to be slaughtered in cold blood, there can be no such thing as a post feminist world. Until such time as the violence against women is taken seriously, and not treated as fodder for tasteless jokes there will be a reason for feminism.

The devaluation of women is a world wide phenomenon. The patriarchy tries to assure us that we are not oppressed.  They offer the women of the middle east as examples of real oppression. The blood of Osborne, Acevedo, Caldwell, Robertson and Beck assure me that misogyny and violence against women is a real and ever present danger here in the so-called enlightened west. These women are no different than you or I, there only fault was to be born female in a world that is obsessed with phalocentric worship.

This is not a case of hysterical whining.  Yes women can vote, we even have the right to make seventy cents for every dollar a man makes, but now is not the time for complacency. Now is not the time to be lulled into the false belief that because some things have improved that we are living in a utopia of ovarian freedom.  The reality is that daily women are beaten, raped and murdered. We have not come close to dismantling male privilege.  We must stand up and demand justice.  It is not okay to slaughter us, and it is not okay to treat us as disposable bodies.  The blood of one woman is the blood of all.

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