Mollie Tibbett’s Death is Not Your Political Game

Social media flooded with pictures of beautiful, and smiling twenty-year-old Mollie Tibbetts late July. Tibbetts, who comes from a small town in Iowa, managed to get her picture shared across America for over a month. Friends and family shared the news that she had gone missing. Repeatedly, pictures of Tibbetts were shared in hopes that someone had seen something and could help find the missing girl.

On August 21, police released that a body had been found and was identified as Tibbetts. Two days later, an autopsy performed revealed the cause of death as “multiple sharp force injuries” and was classified as a homicide.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera senselessly took the innocent life of a woman who should be returning for her sophomore year at Iowa State. Tibbetts went for a jog in the evening of July 18. According to CNN, Rivera “confessed to following her (Tibbetts) on her run.” He then claimed that he “remembered getting mad at her, and what happened next was ‘blocked’ from his memory.” The next part he remembers is “realizing he had put a bleeding Tibbetts in his truck, and then carrying her into a cornfield and leaving her there.”

It is easy to blame this murder in the legal status of the murdered, in fact, a lot of people have.

Politicians like President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, along with others have taken this event as a platform for their immigration beliefs. Trump’s famous “build a wall” was without a doubt included in his speeches about the murder.

Although the Tibbetts family have discouraged politicians from using their loved one’s murder for political reasons, people continue to do so, against the victim’s family’s wishes. Tibbetts’ father, Rob Tibbetts, has called out those who have turned his daughter’s death into a political game for their own use.

The New York Times reports that Mr. Tibbetts wrote a column in The Des Moines Register. He “encouraged the debate on immigration,” BUT he does “not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.”

Mr. Tibbetts wanted to call out the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., because he blamed Democrats for Mollie’s death and, “said claims that conservatives and Republicans were politicizing her death were ‘absurd.’”

How does Donald Trump Jr. call the politicizing of Tibbett’s death “absurd” when that is exactly what is going on? Mr. Tibbetts explained his reasoning to write an article. “I chose to call out the racists among us and asking people to aspire to higher American ideals,” The New York Times reports.

Mr. Tibbetts also “apologized to the Hispanic community for being ‘beset by the circumstances of Mollie’s death.” Mr. Tibbetts then went on to say, “The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people.”

“Let’s listen, not shout. Let’s build bridges, not walls,” Mr. Tibbetts wrote.

Unfortunately, no one is talking about the real problem from this horrific event: the harassment women face everyday. Whether on a run, walk, or just trying to get from place to place outside, women get catcalled and harassed by men all the time. Women are even encouraged to walk home with a male, especially at night because of instances similar to what happened to Mollie.

Men, talk to any woman. I bet my life that they have been catcalled or had discouraging comments yelled at them a handful of times in their lives. One time I left Dolson Hall to go out to my car in the arrival court, and I still got catcalled, even though the males in the vehicle were far away. I walked home a few weeks ago, stunned because a male (probably fifty) thought it was acceptable to look at me and say, “Well hi there, legs!”

Did I say anything when this happened? No. Why not? Because yelling something back and rejecting the harassment disturbs the fragile masculinity some males have. Mollie rejected her murderer’s harassment, and she ended up killed because of it.

People like Trump and Pence have so much to say about the illegal immigrant issue, but nothing about the rejection of harassment caused by men that gets women beat up, raped, and sometimes murdered.