Calling Women to the Police Accountability Front: We Need You and You Need Us

It is a rather depressing fact that 4/5ths of our readership is comprised of males. Other trends also reveal that women are far less likely to be concerned with issues of police accountability. This leads me to wonder, is CopBlocking inherently a boy’s sport or are we failing to reach women with the importance of our message?

Women and Police AccountabilityOne simple explanation is that men are far more likely to be targeted by police misconduct, abuse and corruption. Not only are men more likely to have officers solicit interactions with them, they are also far more likely to receive more severe consequences and brutal treatment. Those who are most often arrested, beaten and/or killed by police officers are men. So it stands to reason that men would be highly concerned about these issues. Yet these men all have mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and other females who care for them and their well-being. When their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers are being beaten, killed and corralled into prisons, police misconduct becomes everyone’s issue.

The police state breaks up families and puts a burden on women who are left to raise children as single mothers. When generations of men are being shipped off to prison, the lack of their support begins to show. Especially in impoverished communities where men are even more likely to be targeted by police. This creates a cycle of poverty and cultural disarray that continues to destroy communities from the inside out. In turn, more unguided or desperate individuals turn to crime, making the streets less safe for everyone, women included. The safety and well-being of women are directly affected by these police issues, even when men appear to be the direct targets.

Women, Activism, PrioritiesThe second explanation is the predominance of ‘women’s issues’ in politics and media. Women have historically faced many institutionalized hurdles and walls in our society. It is of no surprise that women are drawn to issues which affect them directly, given the historical context of their society. Yet there are many issues which are political red herrings, used to distract women from more urgent matters. Abortion, birth control, and the wage gap are amongst these divisive and distracting issues. While I do not care to argue the importance of these issues in this article, I do simply wish to point out the obvious. It is time to prioritize. While the state and its enforcers kill innocents and non-combatants in foreign nations and in our very own streets, the highly politicized and media-inflated issues of women alone are relatively unimportant. I am not saying they are not important, yet they should not take precedence over the highly immoral activities that result in the deaths of thousands of people every year. Putting women’s issues before more pressing forms of activism is a petty distraction that endangers the long term health and safety of women, children and the men they care about.

There are undoubtedly many other considerations in understanding why police accountability is not of greater concern to women. Hidden complexities and underlying factors that do not appear on the surface, and which I have not considered or discussed, must also contribute to this gender gap in concerns about police misconduct. It is of great importance that we try to discover these factors by having open dialogues with female activists and the women in our lives. Only by discovering them can we foster an understanding which creates the first step in gender unity in police issues. It is of no doubt to this author that women are every bit as worthy as men of respect and equality. Helping us to fight back against the growing monster that is the police state is an excellent way for women to highlight their usefulness, strength and courage. And it will undoubtedly build them many powerful allies in future endeavors against inequality and discrimination. But first things first. First we must stand together beyond gender, race, age, sexuality or other political identities and stop the killing. All for one and one for all.

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Alia Atreides

Hi, my name is Trevor. Thanks for reading!