Guardian Op-Ed: Domestic violence, a Latina feminist perspective

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By Myrna Melgar

Myrna Melgar is a Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and the mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.

Eliana Lopez is my friend. I have asked for her permission to put into words, in English, some observations, thoughts and insights reached during our many conversations these past few weeks about her experience with San Francisco's response to the allegation of domestic violence by her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. We hope this will lead to a teachable moment for law enforcement and anti-domestic-violence advocates about cultural sensitivity — and will lead to honest discussions about the meaning of empowerment of women.

We hope that Eliana's experience, and our shared perspective, will prompt some analysis among feminists, advocates, and the progressive community in general about the impact of the criminalization of low-level, first offenses of domestic violence on this one immigrant woman — and the implications for all immigrant women and other women of color.

Eliana Lopez came to San Francisco from Venezuela with hope in her head and love in her heart. She decided to leave behind her beautiful city of Caracas, a successful career as an actress, and her family and friends, following the dream of creating a family and a life with a man she had fallen in love with but barely knew, Ross Mirkarimi.

Well-educated, progressive, charismatic, and artistic, she made friends easily. She and Ross seemed like a great match. Both were committed environmentalists, articulate and successful. They had a son, Theo. As they settled into domestic life, however, problems began to surface. The notoriously workaholic politician did not find his family role an easy fit. A bachelor into his late forties, Ross had trouble with the quiet demands of playing a puzzle on the floor with his toddler or having an agenda-less breakfast with his wife. Ross would not make time for Eliana's request for marriage counseling, blaming the demands of job and campaign.

On December 31, figuring that the election campaign was over and Ross would have a little breathing room, Eliana broached the subject of traveling to Venezuela with Theo. Ross's emotional reaction to her request led to the argument that has now been repeatedly documented in the press — and for which he was eventually charged.

According to Eliana, the context of what happened between them on December 31 actually started much earlier. Ross grew up as the only son of a single teenage mother of Russian Jewish descent and an absent Iranian immigrant father. Pressured by the opposition of her family to her relationship with an Iranian Muslim, Ross's mother divorced his father by the time he was five. Ross was raised on a small, nearly all-white island in New England, with no connection to his father. When he had the opportunity, Ross traveled to Chicago, where his father had remarried and built a new family with two sons. Ross's father turned him away. In Eliana's analysis, Ross's greatest fear is that his painful story with his father will be replayed again with Theo.

Eliana's version of what happened next has never wavered. She went to her neighbor Ivory Madison, as opposed to anyone else, because she thought Ivory was a lawyer and could advise her if her troubles with her husband resulted in divorce. Documenting Ross's reaction to her request to take Theo abroad would be ammunition — targeting his greatest fear. Making the video was Madison's idea, and Eliana agreed to it, thinking that it would be useful to her if a custody dispute ensued. But in Eliana's mind, the video was her property, her story.

Eliana insisted that Ivory did not have her permission to share the video or the story with anyone, that she was not in any danger, and that she was working on her marriage with Ross. Unbeknownst to Eliana, by the time Ivory called the police, she had already shared the story with Phil Bronstein, then the editor at large of Hearst Newspapers, the publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Let's stop for a moment to consider the question of the empowerment of women. The disempowerment of Eliana began on a very small level when her husband grabbed her by the arm during an argument. It was exponentially magnified by the neighbor in whom she confided, who decided that Eliana's strongly held desire to handle her problems with her husband herself was inconsequential. The disempowerment of Eliana was then magnified again and again, by the police, the press, the district attorney, and finally even anti-domestic-violence advocates.

How did it come to be that a system that was intended to empower women has evolved into a system that disempowers them so completely?

Unquestionably, there are women in deeply abusive relationships who need assistance getting out, who may not be able to initiate an escape on their own. Eliana's relationship with Ross did not even come close to that standard. Yet in the eyes of Ivory Madison, Phil Bronstein, District Attorney George Gascon, and even the Director of La Casa de las Madres, once her husband had grabbed her arm, Eliana was simply no longer competent and her wishes were irrelevant.

In other words, an action done by a man, over which a woman has no control whatsoever, renders the woman incompetent and irrelevant, and empowers a long list of people — most of whom are male — to make decisions on this woman's behalf, against her consistent and fervently expressed wishes. No one in the entire chain of people who made decisions on Eliana's behalf offered her any help — besides prosecuting her husband.

Eliana was only consulted by the district attorney in the context of seeking her cooperation in relation to the criminal charges against her husband. Eliana never gave her input or assessment in the situation, was never consulted about the plea agreement.

Now the disempowerment of Eliana has taken an even more sinister twist. In an opinion piece published in the Chronicle, Ivory Madison's husband, Abraham Mertens, charged Eliana with intimidation for allegedly pressuring his wife and himself to destroy the video that Ivory conceived and recorded of Eliana's moment of distress. The same day, Mayor Ed Lee announced that he was suspending Ross as sheriff, and the charges, as written up by the City Attorney, included the Mertens accusation. This had the effect of silencing and disempowering Eliana — but this time, she is being threatened with criminal prosecution. The victim has somehow become the criminal.

Mertens, the mayor, the D.A., the city attorney, and the newspaper editor are all men. All men acting on behalf of a very educated and articulate woman who has repeatedly, passionately, asked them to give her her voice back. And for that they are threatening to criminally prosecute her.

Kathy Black, the director of La Casa de las Madres, called Eliana twice. At the same time, Black and other domestic violence advocates were calling on Ross to step down, raising money to put up billboards, and mobilizing for the anti-Ross campaign, trying him in the press. Seeing all this, Eliana never trusted Black's motives and never took the call. Had Eliana thought assistance would be available her and to Ross without a threat to her family and livelihood, this all would have been a very different story.

During Ross's initial preliminary hearing, Eliana Lopez famously told judge Susan Breall "this idea that I am this poor little immigrant is insulting, it's a little racist." And yet, what middle class, successful, educated Eliana was exposed to is exactly what we as a city have forced victims of domestic violence to face by our emphasis on criminal prosecution.

In San Francisco, we concentrate on saving victims from domestic violence situations. Our efforts in communities of color, immigrant communities, and teens is geared to make sure that victims get away from their abusers.

It's inarguable that women in dangerous situations need to be provided options to get out. But concentrating on these alone — rather than on the array of options that are needed in less severe cases — is the equivalent of treating disease at the emergency room. In fact, this approach undermines prevention efforts because it puts women in the position of choosing between seeking help through counseling and therapy to modify the behavior of their partners — or exposing them to criminal prosecution. It has the unfortunate outcome of disempowering women, particularly low-income immigrant women and women of color, whose economic realities, position in society, and relationship to law enforcement both real and perceived is very different than for white middle-class women.

It's not hard to see that, for immigrant women and women of color, exposure to law enforcement is perceived as dangerous. Many immigrants fear law enforcement based on their experiences with repressive regimes in their own countries. In the past couple of years, the mandatory referral to federal immigration authorities has created panic and fear of police in immigrant communities across America. Immigrant women, already on the edge economically, face the real threat of the loss of their partner's income if the partner is accused of a crime and the boss finds out. Many black women understandably doubt the criminal justice system's capacity to treat black men charged with any crime.

So here is the challenge to domestic violence advocates and progressive folks who care about women: A more progressive approach to Eliana and Ross's particular situation, and to domestic violence in general, would be to work on emphasizing early, non-law enforcement intervention and the prevention of violence against women in addition to the necessary work of extricating women from dangerous situations.

Professor Laureen Snider at Queens University in Ontario has argued that criminalization is a flawed strategy for dealing with violence against women. Snider argues that feminists and progressives have misidentified social control with police/governmental control. In other words, we are substituting one oppressor for another — and glossing over the fact that in the judicial system, poor people of color fare worse than white middle-class people. We have punted on the hard work education, and of shaping and reshaping men's definitions of masculinity and violence, of the social acceptance of the subjugation of women, of violence against children. We have chosen to define success in the fight against domestic violence by women saved from horrible situations and incarceration rates for their abusers — rather than doing the difficult work of community and individual change necessary to prevent violence from happening in the first place.

Putting up billboards in Spanish telling women that domestic violence is never a private matter might make people feel like they are doing something useful, but it will do nothing to help Eliana, and it will do very little to prevent domestic violence against women in the Spanish-speaking community.

My own experience with the community's response to domestic violence was very different from Eliana's. My father was physically abusive. The most violent period of my life was during high school in the 1980's, shortly after we had immigrated to the United States from war-torn El Salvador. Our economic realities and shaky legal situation placed a level of stress on our family that made violence an almost daily occurrence.

I ran away from home, and eventually got connected with the services offered through the Redwood City YMCA. We entered family counseling, and the intervention was successful — my father was able to stop his violent behavior and our family survived. Had the police intervened, my father would have likely been charged, very possibly deported, and the whole family would have been sent back to El Salvador — back to the civil war.

In the case of my family, in which violence was a severe, everyday occurrence, there was a successful intervention. In Eliana's case, which was limited to her husband too forcefully grabbing her arm, the family was destroyed and it will take years before the victim and her child will be able to (maybe) put their lives back together.

I challenge the progressive community and anti-violence advocates to reexamine this criminalization-heavy approach and its impact on my friend Eliana's family, but also to examine how it affects all victims of domestic violence in San Francisco, particularly women in immigrant communities and women of color who rightfully have a distrustful relationship with law enforcement. Although it might make some feel better, all of this energy and effort spent demanding Ross Mirkarimi's resignation only serves to reinforce the dominant model of criminalization — to make an example out of him. It won't help Eliana, and it won't help people suffering from violence in their intimate relationships.

Myrna Melgar is Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and a mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.

 

Comments

Thank you Myma Melgar!

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

Well, Ms M can call herself a "feminist" all she wants but it should be noted that it is the least of her stated expertise on the issue. It's clear she identifies as a mother more than a feminist. I can call myself Mother Teresa, but it does not make it so. This was the worst sort of apology for abuse I can think of. This is worth of Nancy Garrido, who stood by her man and helped him keep Jaycee Duggar captive for years. Women have a sad tendency to sell out their sisters for male approval, and if Ms M is an example of Latinas, no wonder domestic violence is not considered to be a crime there! It's the worst sort of stereotyping, and demonstrates that you progressives are as forward thinking as a teapartier on acid. How much is Ross the Boss paying you?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

Nancy Garrido? Seriously. Get a grip.

Posted by alison on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

Are you seriously comparing a hand bruise to sex-slave captivity of a pre-teen by an adult male ?!! By this same reasoning, being a person of color, can i be forgiven for calling ALL white people racist, ignorant and violent just because this jerk at work called me a towelhead ?!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:00 am

The SF DA that was in charge of this case was Liz Aquilar Tarchi who has been a DA fof SF for more than 20 years and most of that time she has worked on Domestic Violence cases and I owuld bet that most of those cases involved immigrant women. She is a widely held authority and expert in Domesic Violence and has given many lectures on the topic. I seriously doubt that Ms. Myrna Melgar has any credentials to match hers. And here's a fact that is missing: DA Aquilar-Tarchi is a small woman "of color" who was an immigrant from Guatemala.

The point at which Myrna Melgar detours from the facts of this incident to her personal opinions supposedly presented as the "truth" is where this whole ed-op falls apart. Why did MM not continue on about the reason why EL felt that she needed some documentation of her abuse? I agree that EL wanted to "time" and "manage" her evidence against RM and is no doubt upset that her neighbor did not allow that to work for EL. I would have to believe that EL didn't make that clear. But the point of DV law is to make sure that the victim (in this case RL and Theo) would not be further abused and maybe eventually found dead or unconscious etc. and/or unable to testify against the perpetrator. But why did MM not stay on line with the facts and wander off into her own anecdotal musings and her opinions. Why not write the truth which is that this family unit already was unraveling and it was headed toward a divorce sooner than later and that is why EL wanted the documentation of the abuse.

The Sheriff's marks on her arm were more than one finger print. He is a much bigger and stronger person than EL. Why did he need to touch her in that manner at all. Who knows, not even MM, what might escalate into a more serious injury. Then MM and other posters would be posting about how the neighbor and the law enforcement and the DA and the Mayor had failed to protect EL and who knows maybe Theo too. This marriage is over and it was poorly conceived (double entendre) but now trying to put this out as if the system destroyed this ill-fated marriage is pure opinion on the part of MM and fiction too.. It is time for Eliana to tell the truth about why she went to her neighbor and clear her neighbor's name as someone who was trying to keep her and Theo safe. That is no reason to slay her reputation in the press and I admire the neighbor for staying as silent as she has been for the sake of EL and Theo and bot defending her actions as what any one should to when there is a potential for serious injury in DV, no matter who are the persons involved, a Latina and a Sheriff or others.

I agree that no one like RM should be a Sheriff.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

All this "but she's a hispanic" and "but he is a white male" just makes the progressive movement look like a bunch of stereotypers who think that membership of a class means anything or informs how we should think.

It would make zero difference to this has been a black woman assaulting an asian man. You throw away decades of progress on race when you resort to these stereotypes. We are, first and foremost, individuals. Race, as a concept, has largely been shown to be irrelevant.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

I would have thought that the events surrounding the Trayvon Martin case would make anyone with half a brain aware that race has become anything but irrelevant.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

And most impressive is your comment is well written and backed up with logic, facts and evidence.

Posted by MichaelSF on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

We have punted on the hard work education, and of shaping and reshaping men's definitions of masculinity and violence, of the social acceptance of the subjugation of women, of violence against children. We have chosen to define success in the fight against domestic violence by women saved from horrible situations and incarceration rates for their abusers — rather than doing the difficult work of community and individual change necessary to prevent violence from happening in the first place.

this is the important part of the bigger issue.the sherrif and eliana are a grain of sand when we consider how men all over the world treat women.
society needs to re train men and educate them early and often on issues re.dv..Thats the real issue.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

You might want to re-think that piece of stereotyping.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

Ditto. And all this citywide hysteria because a couple's argument resulted in a bruise on the wife's arm. What if it had been the other way around and she had slapped him and given him a boo-boo? Would the city have charged her with a crime?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

The reality is that the judge gave Ross mostly anger management (which anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing him blow his top knows he needed). So maybe there is some balance between an "extreme" case of domestic violence and this one.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 8:58 am

I think Myrna has made some very important points. I have found that as soon as any type of domestic violence complaint is made, that it is automatic that there is a referral to counseling...

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

The writer states: "I challenge the progressive community and anti-violence advocates to reexamine this criminalization-heavy approach and its impact on my friend Eliana's family, but also to examine how it affects all victims of domestic violence in San Francisco, particularly women in immigrant communities and women of color who rightfully have a distrustful relationship with law enforcement."

True, many have a distrustful relationship with law enforcement, whether they are women or men, people of color or not - but let's not forget that Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi IS law enforcement. How are we (people of color) ever going to feel trustful of sheriffs and police officers unless they are held accountable for their actions? And being Sheriff of San Francisco goes beyond what one person may want or feel is best for her family. The question is: do we in San Francisco want to have a Sheriff in office who was found guilty of this sort of crime? As far as I am concerned, Eliana Lopez can keep Ross Mirkarimi. I don't care if they remain married or anything else - but I am concerned about Mirkarimi remaining Sheriff.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

I agree 100% if this post. If she wants him back, take him - your choice!! However, he has NO BUSINESS being SF Sheriff!!!!

PS: as a latina - I take offense to the writer making this situation about race!!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 8:19 am

Every Latino I know, including myself, is aware that race matters in America. It is only white people who somehow believe that we live in a "post-racial" society because they aren't affected by racism in their daily lives.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

on race, they talk, any other opinion is factually wrong.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

Agreed, as a person of color, I find it appealing how white people can begin to even comment on an experience a person of color has. Its ridiculous, as if they really have no logic, no concept, and no understanding because they live in a different reality - especially if they believe we live in a post-racial world - which we absolutely do NOT live in. Everything that matters boils down to race - one's health, economy, incarceration rate, housing, job, and education are all highly related to one's race.

Lastly the, the power structures in place in SF saw an opportunity to take down a progressive, left-leaning Sheriff. It may have started with the neighbor, then to the editor of the SF Chronicle to all other levels of City Hall who gained from not having Mirkarimi in power. Mirkarimi was a threat to them and they took him down with this incident of DV - sadly his wife and child went down along with him. Moral of the story for Mirkarimi - no one is perfect, we all carry contradictions no matter if we're fighting for justice. This is a sad reminder to work on our contradictions before those who are against us figure them out and use them to their advantage.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

Guest, I agree with your point in the main, but would ask you consider that it *is* possible for a white person to have a clue regarding race. One needs only to have found oneself -- at some point in their lives, and for a variety of possible reasons -- to be visible to those in a majority group as one deserving of automatic derision or reproach. When a political gain is witnessed accompanying such treatment, the complete understanding is possible.

Again. I agree with your point in the main, and I suspect you are spot-on with regard to this particular thread.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

Right on! Sure white people are not affected by racism --THEY HAVE CREATED Racism, and they endure it as deeply as inhumanly possible. To know that even those who call themselves "white" are the result of mix races! oh people...

Posted by Guest-An on Mar. 31, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

Ross Mirkarimi plead guilty to grabbing his wife's arm. Let's not lose sight of that or equate it with the more virulent cases of wife battery which continue to exist throughout his suspension.

Mirkarimi plead guilty to a crime, but it isn't the sort of thing which neccessitates his remove from office under the city's ethics law. Recall him if you like: it is your right to try.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

Well said.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 06, 2012 @ 12:50 am

I stand with Eliana, and I agree with this 110%. This was a beautifully written, nuanced, and sorely needed perspective. This isn't just the best article I've seen on this case, particularly in light of the fact that Eliana finally gets to tell us her perspective, but this may just be the best article I've seen on the whole subject of domestic violence. Ever.

As a recent immigrant, I think Eliana underestimated both the viciousness of the political class, and the degree to which this whole country is brainwashed by a PC orthodoxy which allows for no nuance, no reason, no compassion. The combination of the two is a toxic brew that has led to a horrific miscarriage of "justice," if such a word can even be used to describe this mockery.

Contrast that with the approach outlined by Ms. Melgar. THIS is the approach we need. THIS is progressive. It cuts through the cheap rhetoric of self-serving political actors -debate by soundbites -and talks about real solutions in a way that recognizes the humanity of all involved.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

Something we agree on although I have to say that I associate PC'ness 100% with liberals.

The problem is that, if we're really going to reject PC'ness, then we should not be seeing articles like this that focus on gender, race and immigration status, all of which are PC labels that liberals use to divide and conquer.

There are male, non-hispanic victims of DV, but you'd never know it reading this. The author claims that DV is done to women and done by men. Yet I've seen stats showing that men are the victims 20% of the time, and probably more in a city with a large gay population.

And I really don't think it is helpful to focus on the victim here being hispanic. why would it be any different if she'd been asian or white?

The article is a nice try, but is dripping in an ocean identity politics, and therein lies it's critical flaw.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

I've actually seen stats that show men are the victims quite a bit more than 20% of the time. The case of Joanna Hayes-White's husband and Julius Turman's boyfriend are both case in point. But nowhere in the article did I see the author state that DV happens exclusively to women or to people of color. Eliana Lopez is a woman, an immigrant, and person of color, and the article is about her after all. And those things do matter in terms of how the legal system treats you. It's an undeniable point that people of color are treated differently by the legal system, and that immigrants have a particularly difficult time. Not only are immigrants usually people of color, usually less wealthy, but lack of understanding of cultural nuances also plays a big role. In Eliana's case, that last one is what got her in trouble. I'm an immigrant myself, but I and my whole extended family have all been in this country long enough to understand the American mentality, enough that if someone had some personal disagreement with a spouse, the absolute LAST thing anyone I know would do, would be to have a politically-connected neighbor make a video! Unfortunately, Eliana was a bit naive about how things work in this country. She thought that when someone represented themselves as an attorney, then that means they're an attorney. Or... perhaps she just thought that Ivory Madison was a friend... rather than some manipulative, self-serving ideologue.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

Joanne Hayes-White's EX- husband was lying. He had substance abuse issues and was out of control the night in question. That was kept out of the press at the request of Ms. Hayes because she did not want him or her children embarrassed. So instead she let people think poorly of her.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 11:58 am

Are you saying that he was so out of control that he hit a shotglass over his own skull? Twice?

Seriously?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

Why the fuck didn't you make a big deal about it then? Just because someone else got away with DV does not justify anyone else getting away with it, grow to fuck up!

Posted by Geroge Bosh III on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:41 am

"just because someone else got away with DV" isn't the point. (First of all, of course, Ross Mirkarimi plead guilty to grabbing his wife's arm to stop her from turning away from him; a bad action, but not domestic violence.)

No, the real point is that if city ethics law can be bent to allow any just about any pretext for a mayor to disenfranchise voters, then our democracy is showing some awful gaps.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

The nutty left just can't turn it off it seems.

All these buzz words have been used so arbitrarily over the last 45 years that they don't hold much meaning any more. The only people that these buzz words hold any meaning for are those who are trying to take advantage of situation by supposedly putting you on the defensive with all the meaningless yet charged language.

Yup, all these laws involve the state way to much in an issue this early on, something that would have best been sent to an anger management class.

I loath Mirkarimi and I think this was a bit over cooked from the beginning. But then he is an asshole, so, eh.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

Thank you

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 6:17 am

You do realize the PC agenda is pushed by the same people who are now circling the wagons in defense of Ross Mirkarimi, don't you? The so-called "progressives" are the ones defending Ross Mirkarimi, they are not the ones pushing for his removal.

Look, he committed a crime, and he was held accountable. He is the only one to blame for his situation, not his wife, not their neighbor, and certainly not the criminal justice system. That said, I do find it darkly amusing that a self-proclaimed "progressive" has been caught up in the same system he would support if it were prosecuting someone of a different political ideology.

As I said in my other post, this is not about Eliana or Theo. It is all about Ross, and the bare political desire of his morally bankrupt progressive allies. If Mr. Mirkarimi had been a conservative Republican who had roughed up his wife, then these same progressives pleading for forgiveness for him, writing letters supporting "victim empowerment," and criticizing the system for (god forbid) actually prosecuting a crime, would instead be demanding that Ross be locked up in prison with the key thrown away--and he immediately be removed from office.

It is just hilarious to see progressives who usually wield the PC cudgel against their political enemies now decrying the very "PC orthodoxy" they have created to serve their agenda.

Posted by Chris on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

does not a batterer make. simple.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:06 am

How did Eliana bruise herself?

Even Ross didn't try that lame line and he's tried almost everything to get off.

Ross has already amitted to the crime, so can we please stop speculating about how Eliana "walked into a door" and some such?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 8:09 am

Ross grasped his wife's arm as she unbuckling their son from his car seat in order to restrain her. Eliana reacted by yanking her arm away, leaving a bruise on her bicep. So she was partly responsible for the bruising of her arm. This is the couple's account of what happened, according to court documents. Eliana denies that there was ever any physical abuse on Ross's part. And there were no other witnesses besides Ross and Eliana. Here's a more detailed account:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/24/BA8S1NP2F2.DTL

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 11:47 am

And yet somehow Eliana felt the need to go to Ivory Madison and make a video of this so-called joint injury. Whatever.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

I despise the term "progressive". It was created because liberals got too wimpy and afraid of being called liberals.

I don't know Ross Mirkarimi. I've never met Mr. Mirkarimi, but I know a railroading when I see and smell one.

If this bicep pinch bruise, created by two people is worthy of the lynching of this man and the destruction of this family, then our collective approach to domestic violence lacks common sense.

Meanwhile, one wonders why Ivory Madison is kept silent in her ivory tower. Why did she wait four days to call the police if the bicep bruise was soooo
devastating?

Why did she consult with Mr. Bronstein, known for his particularly vicious custody battle against Sharon Stone?

Why did Matier and Ross have the story way before any arrest? Why did Matier and Ross wait for three weeks to come out with the highly exculpatory details of the bicep bruise? Why did they wait until a plea deal had been forced and Mr. Mirkarimi suspended from his position..

Is Ms. Madison now finally studying for the bar exam? so that her website puffery will have some substance?

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:21 am

I despise the term "progressive". It was created because liberals got too wimpy and afraid of being called liberals.

I don't know Ross Mirkarimi. I've never met Mr. Mirkarimi, but I know a railroading when I see and smell one.

If this bicep pinch bruise, created by two people is worthy of the lynching of this man and the destruction of this family, then our collective approach to domestic violence lacks common sense.

Meanwhile, one wonders why Ivory Madison is kept silent in her ivory tower. Why did she wait four days to call the police if the bicep bruise was soooo
devastating?

Why did she consult with Mr. Bronstein, known for his particularly vicious custody battle against Sharon Stone?

Why did Matier and Ross have the story way before any arrest? Why did Matier and Ross wait for three weeks to come out with the highly exculpatory details of the bicep bruise? Why did they wait until a plea deal had been forced and Mr. Mirkarimi suspended from his position..

Is Ms. Madison now finally studying for the bar exam? so that her website puffery will have some substance?

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:23 am

advocated for by 'liberals', self awareness is not something our liberals do.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:58 am

Agreed: hands down, the best thing I've read thus far on the subject.

Posted by Guest Paula on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 8:36 am

Many of which were voiced previously by countless men and women who were caught up in the judicial system after a DV complaint, are only taken seriously by the progressive community after one of their own was ensnared.

The progressive community and its allies in the feminist movement have marched on lockstep on this issue for decades. It's curious that it has taken the Mirkarimi saga to bring to the fore any questioning of the criminalization approach at all.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

I would've agreed with the article even before the Ross Mirkarimi thing. When the issue came up, I'd speak my mind. I've never been good at staying in neat boxes that people want to put me in.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

Well, I guess those women who were murdered by their partners after seeking help were asking for it, right? Had they shut their mouths and spread their legs, the men would have been nice to 'em right? So, let's go back to NOT doing anything about domestic violence! That oughta work, right? Well, sort of. What will happen is that more men will be killed by women who feel trapped and can't get out, because the % of men killed by women in DV situations have dropped since we got shelters etc ... but the % of women killed by men has remained steady. So, I guess let's go for parity, and for every woman killed by a man, let's have a woman kill a man, OK? That's fair, right?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

I don't think you and I read the same article.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

Thank you Myrna Melgar for shedding a bit of light and reason on a situation that has been so horribly distorted, putting it in a larger perspective and pleading for moderation. If some good is to come out of this, it will be along the lines of reforming the legal system's approach and installing and updating the systems of reformative, not retributive, justice, ideas that Sheriff Hennesy passed down to Sheriff Ross Mikarimi.

There is indeed a sinister side to this story, which is touched on briefly in Ms. Melgar's article. The coordination between the mayor's office and those who hover round it, the feckless DA, pro-Cunnie and pro-Miyamoto elements in law enforcement (both men are opposed to reform and pro-the racist prison/industrial complex; then there is Phil Bronstein, who left off working for Hearst at the Chronicle immediately the story broke---hmm?; then there is the neighbor snitch and her husband threatening legal action against Eliana for daring to speak the truth, and misguided elements in the anti-domestic violence establishment---put all these together and you've got the makings of the toxic brew now being served up to the public.
The truth will come out about the roles all these have played and continue to play in the attempt to rob Ross and the progressives of the office of Sheriff. They won't get away with it this time. We won't let them, because, beyond Ross' issues our city cannot continue to run this way. FIGHT THE MACHINE.

Posted by barry eisenberg on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

Again, Ross caused all of this himself. Snitch? What are you, a 5th grader? I guess you would have preferred the neighbor pay more heed to Ross's progressive credentials and not say a word.

Posted by greg on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

Fuck all you trolls.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

troll.

It's obvious because only you can be right.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 5:55 am

Yeah, you told them, didn't you.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 6:22 am

Indeed Barry Eisenbeeg is very ill-informed. Cunnie and Miyamoto are very pro-reform, both lifelong democrats & neither switched parties for a political run. Both highly respectable persons in their own right. Cunnie headed the Walden House and Ross Mirkarimi appointed Miyamoto to Assistant Sheriff, and currently oversees the Sheriff's jail and community Programs.

Being supportive of Ross, can be done without writing lies about others. In a sense, that would be hypocritical in your views of the posters who you may feel lie about Ross.

I believe this article is well written and states clearly that Ross was responsible for the bruise which makes him guilty of misdemeanor domestic violence. The level of abuse falls on the lighter end of the spectrum, but it is the law, unless it gets changed. It's a good thing he plead guilty for false imprisonment.

I wasn't sure, at first why he had to go to DV classes if the DA dropped the DV charge, but this article shed some light.

Now the question is, should Ross still or be Sheriff while on probation for false imprisonment and being sentenced in a jail that he is in charge of?

Posted by GuestOfNoOne on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 10:11 pm