Resisting Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex

–An interview with Victoria Law

By Angola 3 News

Victoria Law is a longtime prison activist and the author of the 2009 book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women(PM Press). Law’s essay “Sick of the Abuse: Feminist Responses to Sexual Assault, Battering, and Self Defense,” is featured in the new book, entitled The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, edited by Dan Berger.

In this interview, Law discusses her new article, which provides a history of radical feminist resistance to the criminalization of women who have defended themselves from gender violence. Furthermore, Law presents a prison abolitionist critique of how the mainstream women’s movement has embraced the US criminal justice system as a solution for combating violence against women.

Previously interviewed by Angola 3 News about the torture of women in US prisons, Law is now on the road with the Community and Resistance Tour.

Angola 3 News: In your essay “Sick of the Abuse,” you write that “a woman’s right to defend herself (and her children) from assault became a feminist rallying point throughout the 1970s.” You focus on the four separate stories of Yvonne Wanrow, Inez Garcia, Joan Little, and Dessie Woods. All four women were arrested for self-defense and their cases received national attention with the support of the radical women’s movement. Can you briefly explain their cases and why they were so important for the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s?
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An Open Letter to “Men in the Movement” from POW David Gilbert

david gilbertFebruary 17, 2010
An Open Letter to Movement Men

To My Brothers in the Movement,

This open letter is a call, made both passionately and emphatically, for movement men to get fully involved in childcare. Childcare is one of the most demanding and most rewarding jobs in the world and is essential to advancing the struggle. I’ve been surprised to learn that in this day and age that responsibility still falls overwhelmingly on women. Men’s failure in this regard is not only unfair but also hurts our movement since it is a major impediment to women’s participation, to the full range of contribution they can make. But even more, if truth be told, this aloofness damages men the most because we cut ourselves off from the regular interactions that can enrich our lives in many ways. Children ask the questions that make us think more deeply about everything, exude the energy that buoys our spirits, embody the potential that gives us hope for the future.

It’s for the children that we fight to make a better world. Brothers, it is way past due to get fully involved in childcare.

David Gilbert