She Had Every Right, but Now She is Dead

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Angelina Jolie was holding the audience enthralled in her television interview on Inside the Actor’s Studio, when the host James Lipton, in his faux offhand tone, asked, “What turns you on?”

With only a hint of hesitation, Angelina flashed her famous smile and responded, “Something raw.”

Lipton’s eyebrow rose suggestively. The audience of aspiring actors waited nearly breathless with anticipation for more. Pausing after all, timing is everything Jolie finally repeated, “Something raw.”

Earlier in the interview, Jolie was inspiring in her passion for refugee children. Now, though, she reassured her fans that beneath the surface despite the glamour, fame and fortune there simmered a wild and dark side of someone who was no saint.

With that carefully chosen phrase, Angelina Jolie conveyed a persona with a strong appetite for sexual experimentation born out of adventure and excitement.

Something raw, indeed. The audience roared its approval.

But “raw” needs a warning label.

Don’t forget Natalee Holloway. We still don’t know what became of her, but her disappearance on a senior trip to Aruba seems all the more tragic because of her youth, beauty and aspirations, and the exotic location.

These sorts of tragedies bring us grief but our grief is mixed with rage that such a thing could happen. We want answers; we demand justice.

Now, New York City is embroiled in another story with a similar plot line.

In late February, a beautiful graduate student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice was found murdered in lower Manhattan. The crime was so grisly that it shocked even jaded New Yorkers.

The victim and a close girlfriend had been bar hopping. After a brief argument about whether to go home, the friend left around 3 a.m., but Imette St. Guillen went on to another bar and didn’t leave until after 4 a.m. We don’t yet know who she saw after leaving the bar.

Her naked body was found covered in a cheap, flowered blanket; she had been raped repeatedly, suffocated and strangled. Her sadistic assailant had chopped off her gorgeous, long black hair, stuffed a sock in her mouth, bound her hands and feet and covered her head completely with clear plastic packing tape. Police theorize that her attacker wanted to freeze her horrified expression as part of his sick enjoyment of her pain and terror.

The physical evidence indicates that Imette fought back, but that her attacker violently overpowered the petite young woman.

Predictably, this gruesome crime has created a controversy over women’s rights.

Boston radio host John DePetro said, “As tragic as it is, your first reaction is she should not have been out alone at 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning because look at what can happen.”

Women’s advocacy groups responded to DePetro’s remarks with fury, claiming that such views “blame the victim.” On television, Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor who often comments on crimes, argued with frightening intensity:

I think one of the most grotesque things I’ve heard about this case is people suggesting that she shouldn’t have been out that late. . . . And no one should judge this woman because the fact that she was out is her constitutional right. She has the right to drink. She has a right to walk around . . . and that doesn’t give anybody the right to take advantage of the fact.

Just because a person has a “right” to do something doesn’t mean that it is “wise” to exercise that right.

Just think about it. There is a conflict of freedoms because Imette’s killer also had a “right” to be out that night. The worldview that holds that women should be able to do anything they want, whenever they want also contends that sex offenders should not be locked up indefinitely or even monitored after they are released. This worldview insists that mentally ill people have a right to walk the streets. Those who demand women’s freedom don’t seem to recognize that those “freedoms” collide with the sickos’ freedoms.

Imette’s attacker is described by criminal profilers as “a sexually sadistic, psychopathic serial killer looking for anything that will inspire his fantasy.” Further, “He likes to get his hands on a victim to control her, dominate her and watch her horror increase. . . . It’s just one horror after the other, and that’s what he gets off on. That’s how scary this guy is.”

Investigator Pat Brown described sexual sadists. “They like to spend a great deal of time with their victims. They have an absolute love of the bondage of the victim, the torture of the victim, watching their fear escalate.”

I can understand those who don’t want to blame these young women; they have paid with their lives. But, shouldn’t we at least warn young women about their vulnerabilities instead of making them foolishly daring and assertive by indoctrinating them about their “rights”?

And, it really makes me angry when young women are encouraged by books and movies to indulge their “dark side.” Jane Valez-Mitchell, a guest host on CNN’s Nancy Grace show, disingenuously sugar-coated the roots of this tragedy, saying: Imette St. Guillen was merely “out on the town for a night of fun last Friday.” Fun . . . alone at 4 a.m.?

Valez-Mitchell’s attitude is reflected in an attention-riveting poster dotting the streets of New York this week. The caption? “Life = Dismantling Inhibitions.” Were these victims seeking “something raw”? Were they “dismantling their inhibitions”?

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, is in New York this week for the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women.

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