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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977
Page 14
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977 - Page 14. May 1977. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 6, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4096/show/4088.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(May 1977). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977 - Page 14. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4096/show/4088

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977 - Page 14, May 1977, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 6, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4096/show/4088.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1977
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 14
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Transcript Garcia fortably at a wooden confessional box to pour out our every thought, action, and desire as we remember them from the previous week, and as they emerge under the prodding of the faceless inquisitor on the other side of the metal grate. If we lie to him, it is a mortal sin: few Catholics brought up like Inez would doubt the truth of the rape she first confessed to her priest. And few Latinas could fail to believe Inez Garcia's inability to describe the experience of rape to the policemen who arrested her. We are painfully shy about our bodies and about sex. When she later complained of pains "down there" to a woman prison attendant, she was taken to a doctor who reportedly implied that Inez was upset, imagining things, and didn't examine her. As a Latina with a barrio experience of racism, I believe that a white woman in the same situation would have been properly questioned by the police and examined for sexual attack by a doctor. If the men involved were Chicanos, as in this case, a white woman might even have been released with little or no bail; acquitted or given a suspended sentence by a jury of her peers. We Latinas are not encouraged to be articulate about any part of our experience, much less about abuse. Our teachers are nuns who encourage our silence as an exercise in self-sacrifice. The Anglo "experts" who administered IQ tests to Inez found her to be mentally inadequate, yet her discussion of her own political situation was sophisticated e- nough to make many Anglo journalists suppose that she had been brainwashed by her white feminist supporters during the trial. Most of all, Inez expressed the fierce pride that is the strongest force in the life of a Latina. She was raped, dishonored by the men who, she says, continued to taunt her, and to promise future humiliations. She answered with the violence she had been taught was a just response; the only way to prevent a woman's humiliation in a macho culture. In fact, Inez's failure to resist the rape while it was going on, even if it had been at the cost of her own life, remains shameful to her. So in the courtroom, hearing her humiliation treated as irrelevant and her own word disbelieved or denied, this Latina pride burst forth. She could not listen passively to witnesses challenging the honor of her word. She shouted back. She would not say she was sorry She stormed out of the courtroom and no Latina will ever question that this was her statement of innocence: her pride. Anglo observers were stunned by this all-or-nothing fierceness, "We'll make you part of the news, as stories are developing for our 6 p. m. newscast." Dave Ward and Jan Carson Eyewitness News at 5: A brand new package. Dave and Jan co-anchor Eyewitness News at 5, and will bring you everything from live Instant Eye Reports to live interviews in our newsroom with reporters who were on the scene of the day's important stories. This innovative and exciting all-new 30 minute news package has a different twist. It's revealing, interesting and informative. A totally different look at reporting the news. And you're likely to see just about For an intriguing and different look at what you normally don't see during 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, join Dave Ward, Jan Carson, Bob Allen, Ed Brandon, Diana Fallis, Marvin Zindler, Dana Millikin and the entire Eyewitness News Team, Monday through |k Friday, for Eyewitness <::" News at 5. whether out of shock at her self- destructive behavior, or a racist assumption that she could not possibly be making her own decisions. Shana Alexander in Newsweek and other less famous journalists wrote about her as if she were a helpless victim, a Galatea who had been transformed into an angry self-destructive heroine by the radical women of her own Defense Committee. In fact, many women have had to face a dilemma in the case of Inez Garcia. We want her free, out of prison; yet we also want to respect her own chosen course of action. In the courtroom, she decided to defy the twin macho assumptions of Latin culture that a woman belongs to a man; and that a woman dishonored by belonging to more than one man is herself at fault, as sinful as Eve. She defied the shameful silence with which women, especially Latinas, are supposed to treat their own sexual enslavement. I am grateful to her. Like Inez Garcia, I was raped. Like Inez, I was too shamed and afraid to report it to the police. But unlike Inez, I did not strike back. I lived out the female, passive part of the Latin code of honor by trying to kill myself. And I never spoke of what happend — not until Inez freed me with her defiance, her shouted insistence on her own right to self-defense. She freed me, and untold numbers of other women, to speak of our own past without shame, and to finally put to rest the nightmare ghosts of our own memories. I believe the justic e in that California courtroom was both racist and sexist. But if justice were a woman and truly fair, she might be a Latina. And then she would understand what it is to be Inez Garcia. Maria Del Drago is Coordinator of Continuing Education Programs for Women, University Extension, California at Berkeley. She is also a Regional Coordinator of California Women in Higher Education, a member of its Third World Council; a member of San Francisco's Concilio Mujeres and ^f the In^z Garcia Defense Committee. "I'll have less fear Qf raping „ a woman than I did before. After Inez Garcia was convicted of second-degree murder in her first trial, Nan Blitman interviewed one of the jurors, Samuel Rhone, a 60-year-old black factory worker: Blitman: Could a woman ever get off on the ground of self- defense if she killed a man during the attack? Rhone: No, because the guy's not trying to kill her. He's just trying to give here a good time. To get off, the guy wi'l have to do her bodily harm and giving a girl a screw isn't doing her bodily harm ... Blitman: What part did rape play in your deliberations? Rhone: Well, some brought up the rape, but then someone threw up their hands and said, "You heard what the judge said — it's a murder trial, not a rape trial!" Blitman: Was the rape discussed a lot? Rhone: No. Blitman: Did you say anything about it? Rhone: When I was discussing, I was mostly fighting the women. I asked them .about the heat of passion, and they said they'd have cooled off. I told the women that when I leave here, I'll have less fear of raping a woman than I did before. At least f know that if I get shot, she won't get away. Blitman: What did the women say? Rhone: that." Blitman Rhone: They thought I was kidding. They said, "You don't mean t Did you mean it? I wasn't joking. They took it for a joke. I didn't. I was thinking of all the men out there reading it. I told them that." © Nan Blitman, 1974 Reprinted by permission from Ms. Magazine. CHRONOLOGY OF THE INEZ GARCIA CASE On March 19,1974 in Soledad, California, Inez Garcia killed Miguel Jimenez, one of two men who had just raped her. She failed in* her attempt to kill the other, Luis Castillo. Inez Garcia was convicted of second degree murder (the original charge had been first degree) in September, 1974 in Monterey, California. She was sentenced to five years to life in the California Institution for Women at Frontera. During her incarceration, she fired Charles Garry and hired Susan Jordan. Garry had begun work on her appeal, but Jordan filed it. Her appeal was successful. The State Court of Appeals found the judge's instructions to the jury on "reasonable doubt" were incorrect. A new trial was ordered. Garcia was released on $5,000 bond in December, 1975, after serving 15 months in jail. In February, 1976, Susan Jordan was dismissed from the case. Garcia hired and fired two other lawyers before her new trial began in December, 1976 in Monterey County,California. She was assigned a public defender and the same prosecutor as before was assigned. In January, 1977, Garcia dismissed her public defender and rehired Susan Jordan. The jury was selected and presentation of evidence began on February 14, 1977. On March 4, 1977, in a landmark decision, Inez Garcia was found innocent of murder. Her legal defense had been changed from "impaired consciousness" to "self defense" in light of her rape and the threats on her life. HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH • MAY 1977 • PAGE 13