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Media Review: MS Magazine, Volume III, Selected Articles
Reviewed by Jackie MacMillan
Feminist Alliance Against Rape Newsletter Apr/May 1975

Ms., Volume III, No. 11, May/1975: "Inez Garcia on Trial" by Nan Blitman and Robin Green, "But What Do We Do With Our Rage?" by Gloria Steinem, and "The Pride of Inez Garcia" by Maria del Drago.
Ms., Volume III, No. 12, May/1975: "Joanne Little - The Dialectics of Rape" (Forum) by Angela Davis

"Inez Garcia on Trial", an article by Nan Blitman and Robin Green, retraces the events leading up to the trial, the trial itself and an update of Inez' situation. While the article provides us with useful information about Inez' case, it is not explicitly feminist in its perspective. In typical Ms. fashion, it approaches the case with a degree of detachment. One senses that Blitman and Green are first and foremost journalists, and not necessarily concerned with feminist struggles.

This contrasts sharply with the article in June's Ms. by Angela Davis entitled "Joanne Little: The Dialectics of Rape", which is explicitly political. Davis goes beyond reporting the facts of Joanne's case by providing an analysis which deals in particular with the relationship between rape and racism. Also, Angela Davis is a political activist whose bias is evident both in her commitment to revolutionary struggle and in the tone of her article in which she concludes,

"As we gather momentum, we will become even more aware of our collective capacity ultimately to overthrow the capitalist institutions which breed and nurture sexism and racism alike."

Also, in contrast to the Blitman and Green article, is "The Pride of Inez Garcia" by Maria del Drago. Inez I story is told from a perspective which comes directly out of the experience of another Latina. From this perspective, del Drago explains how Inez Garcia has been misunderstood by Anglo society. For instance, Inez I "outbursts" at her trial were not the result of propaganda from white feminists, as the media has often asserted. Her own pride as a Latina accounts for her behavior. Del Drago further outlines racist myths that have affected Inez and her case.

"But What Do We Do With Our Rage?" asks Gloria Steinem, in another brief essay in the same issue. Steinem ties this question into our responsibility not to become imprisoned martyrs.

"We need to understand the current legal possibilities as well as precisely how we wish to change them. We want live activists, after all, not imprisoned martyrs.

Yet what do we do with the rage? It is clearly there-and, if combined with little faith in legal remedies, it seems sure to produce vigilantism. Our question must be: At what cost to women?"

According to Steinem, we must choose between these two inadequate solutions. But what are the alternatives? Where can we go from here?

To begin with, we can establish a defense fund for women accused of killing their attacker. Many women are already serving time for this act of self-defense. Such cases when publicized raise the consciousness of the public on the issue of self-defense. It is important to point out the contradictions publicly in order to gain mass support for the changes we want. Such cases also set legal precedents.

While individual acts of vigilantism may be foolish, we should also explore the possibility of working through alternative structures. Community tribunals, for instance, even when no action is taken, can serve notice to rapists that their acts are not condoned by the community. Another possibility is the development of networks of neighborhood crime patrols.

We must be positive about our ability to struggle against rape and know that there is something we can do with our rage.