Warehouse E

Still Fighting For Equality

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Hardships Women Endure In A Male Controlled Society


By James Donahue


Remember the effort to file criminal charges against Jennifer Wilbanks, the Georgia "runnaway bride" that got cold feet and fled a planned church wedding? That issue is just one more example of the police state America has turned itself into.


Wilbanks apparently became overwhelmed by the complexities of the elaborate wedding planned by her family and the way it was taking priority over the biggest decision she was ever going to make…her commitment to spend the rest of her life with one person.


That is a powerful and sobering thing to think about when you are a young and single person, knowing you have a whole life ahead of you. I remember the thoughts that rolled through my head the night before I got married. As much as I loved Doris, and as sure as I was about wanting to be with her, the thought of a legal attachment to one person that lasted “until death do you part,” was a heavy one to commit to.


I spent that last night of “freedom” mulling over this move, alone, sipping beer in a local bar. How easy it would have been at that moment to jump in my old Chevrolet, parked in a rented garage just down the street, and flee the scene.


Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind.


While it would probably have been devastating to my bride-to-be and the relatives that were coming from several miles away to attend our little wedding ceremony, who would have considered it a crime?


Wilbanks unfortunately got herself entangled in a national media blitz that should never have happened. Seeing her picture the next morning on Fox News and hearing a news report that she was now the subject of a national manhunt must have shaken this poor girl to her toes.


Putting yourself in her shoes, what options would you have at this point? With police scouring the country in a highly publicized nationwide search, the choices were to spend forever in hiding or to go to a local police station and turn yourself in.


Wilbanks chose the latter and she did a somewhat irrational thing in the way she did it. Instead of telling the truth, she attempted an elaborate story about being kidnapped.


All-in-all, this woman did a brave thing. Her decision to try to escape the looming bondage she saw in her future was not wrong, nor was it a crime. Unfortunately, she yielded to social pressures and made a last-ditch effort to turn back.


Because she did what she did, the police charged her with a five-year felony, giving false information to police, and a misdemeanor, filing a false police report. She pleaded no contest to the charges and was sentenced to probation and several hours of community service. She could have gone to prison for up to five years.


If Wilbanks were a man, would we have even heard about this matter? Would television crews have bothered to show up at the parent’s door if the groom had chosen to run? And in the end, would he have been charged with anything?


That kind of authoritarian thinking by our police and the society in which we live is scary. It proves that men in America are still successfully keeping women in a form of social and spiritual bondage.


Similar foolishness was going on at about the same time in the life of Martha Stewart, who, as a former prison detainee, was still being hounded by the police and the courts, forced to keep stiff curfew hours and wear a thick ankle device that informs the cops where she was at all times.


Neither Stewart nor Wilbanks are a threat to anybody. In fact, the constant interference by authority was getting in the way of exciting new enterprises by Stewart.


Some disgruntled court workers even threatened to toss Stewart back in the clink for awhile because she was so busy at these new business interests she sometimes failed to get back to her house, and stay locked inside of it, at the appointed time of every day.


There is something wrong with a legal system that gets so tied up in rules that it forgets the purpose behind them. The curfew and ankle bracelet are devices used to assure that the so-called new parolee walks the straight and narrow and doesn’t return to the same bad influences that led him or her down the wrong path in the first place.


That doesn’t fit in Stewart’s case. She is clearly on the same dynamic path she was on when they stopped her cold with charges in the first place. And nobody should be concerned.


That Stewart succeeded in spite of the spanking she took from America’s male dominated courts must really stick in the craws of some of those portly old birds. Because she is a fighter, we find ourselves rooting for her with every new step she takes.


More women need to stand up like these two champions. And all the rest of the women in this country need to follow their examples rather than join their critics. Failure to do it puts all women at risk of similar persecution every day.