Friday, January 11, 2008

Man Kills Daughter, Wants Son : Women's Rights Groups Silent

If you have been reading this site for a while, you probably know I am not a fan of the Women’s rights movement here in the United States. I target specifically the movement here because it seems like the National Organization for Women and other similar groups have lost their way. Don’t get me wrong: I support women having the same rights as men. However, I think NOW tends to forget why they are around in the first place. I found a good example of this today. Check out the following article from Fox News:

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A Polk County man is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of his baby daughter.

According to a Polk County Sheriff's Office report, Marcos Gomez-Romero told investigators he beat Ariana Rodriguez Romero to death because he wanted a son, not a daughter.

Investigators say he told them the beatings had gone on for months.

Romero is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. His daughter died Christmas morning.

I saw this and was outraged. This article was on the Fox News front page. At the same time, I made a bet with myself that this article wasn’t even on the radar for the women’s rights groups. So, I did a quick google search and found myself on the NOW website. Here is a quick rundown of articles on NOW listed as “Hot Topics” as of the writing of this post:

The first is a notice that the National NOW Family Law Advisory Committee has been compiling information for women that face divorce or child custody suits. Important, but really a hot topic?

Next is an article entitled “Engaging Women Project Effectively Makes Connections between Voter Participation and Policy Change”. Um, you think?

The third “hot topic” from NOW: Hilary Clinton is the first women to win the New Hampshire Primary.

I have a wife and a daughter I love very much. Because of that, I am very frustrated when I see these supposed women’s rights groups sound more like political action committees and less like real Women’s rights groups. If I can get outraged and appalled by this article, an organization claiming to want equal rights for women should recognize that a man killing his daughter because he wants a son is a problem. And if they can't, then I can recognize a problem with the women's rights movement.


Jayne d'Arcy said...

I am a woman and I've never supported any woman's rights groups, woman's advocate committees etc. Kind of odd since several of my ancestresses were right in the thick of such things as the Womens Suffrage Movement.

I think that those women and what we have today are a joke. Stories such as this one only prove that. This is horribly outrageous that something like this still happens, all over the world; it's worse to know that it has happened here in the US.

Bun-Girl said...

There are a few (VERY few) womens rights movements out there that I would support, but they're not the ones getting the headlines these days. They're the ones working to keep young girls out of brothels in East Asia and bring education to girls in Africa and the Middle East. Course, I suppose they're really more easily classified as human rights groups with a focus on women's issues. Groups like NOW are very much like most of the other really behemoth rights groups out there (PETA for example). They're more about the publicity than the cause.

David Weisman said...

What is it the woman's rights movement should be protesting? The man is being tried for first degree murder, as he should be. He won't care about protests, and the government is trying him for first degree murder, as they should.

Andy D said...

I don't think anyone should go protest him, or the police. However, if you run an organization that is dedicated to women's issues, this seems like something that is important. This same thing happens all over the world. I would think at a minimum the women's rights groups would cover the story and speak out against it. Even use the fact that it occurred in the United States to show that it can happen anywhere.

familyman said...

Andy - A large part of the women's movement is a political struggle. So I don't see what the problem is if an organization like NOW chooses to focus it's efforts in that area.

Women's rights covers a lot of ground. Every women's rights group can't cover every aspect of it. So to shoot them down because they didn't cover this one story doesn't really make sense.

That would be like saying PETA is failing in it's mission to help animals because they didn't report the story of an abused dog in Missoula Montana. (And don't tell me I'm equating a dead girl to a dog) I'm just trying to make the point that an organization like NOW is often focused on the bigger picture. They are focused more on policy issues.

bun-girl – I disagree about these organizations being more interested in the publicity than the cause. I think they just realize that in today's world, the cause isn't going to get much traction without the publicity. If PETA for example were to simply picket a store that sells furs, how much news coverage do you think that would get? But if they put naked people in small cages outside the store, then the news cameras show up.

Just because an organization has gotten good at attracting attention to itself doesn't mean they've forgotten what they are fighting for.

Anonymous said...

Here's a blog post you'll no doubt run next:

"U.S. and Iraqis Kills Hundreds of Thousands of Innocent Iraqis: Right to Life Groups Silent"

It's the same logic, Andy.

I'm not a big fan of the so-called "right to life" groups (though I agree with them on some important points) but I don't expect them to protest the Iraq war *as a group* because thousands of innocents are being denied the "right to life." I feel the same way about women's rights groups and single crimes that are being addressed by the legal community.

Bun-Girl said...

familyman, my beef with PETA lies a bit deeper than that. You can read all about it here if you care to.

Andy D said...

I think the problem is that the women's movement has chosen to focus on political issues and has forgotten very important issues like this one. Killing a daughter is a rare occurrence in the U.S., but it is a lot more common in foreign nations. NOW lists as one of its issues "Violence against Women". Are you going to tell me that this doesn't qualify under that heading?

Griffen said...


I have to agree with Anon here. I wouldn't have expected to see this story highlighted on a womens' rights website. To me, this is more of a mental health issue, or a child advocacy issue. A man that kills his daughter because she isn't a son is a mentally ill man. When the girl was being abused "for months", her surrounding community should have been advocating for her safety.

As much as I don't care for the Martha Burke's of the world, I can't hold womens' rights organizations accountable for missing this story. That said, I am not a father yet, and can only imagine what kind of horror you feel for this death having a daughter of your own.

Kram said...

Andy... I kind of agree that this might not be a Womans Rights Issue. The little girl was not old enough to vote or contribute to their organizations so they're not going to care about her. I am curious to know if the guy is a practicing Muslim. If he's not, then like Griffen said, he's got some serious mental problems.

Bun-Girl said...

Wow Kram -- you do know that there are plenty of places where baby boys are kept over baby girls, right? I mean, just look at China. Hardly a Muslim issue.

Kram said...

Yes, I know that. It was just a question. The name seemed to be more Latino than Asian and I have read that Islam is slowly becoming popular in Latino communities.

Andy D said...

This is a very troubling topic to write on. I did some research to find out how common this is. The term for it is Sex Selective Infanticide. It is closely related to Sex Selective abortion. Many of the sites that I visited looking for statistics lump the two together.

This practice appears to be quite common in China and India, and less common in other countries. While searching for an estimated number of girls killed this way, the only number I could come up with was a minimum of hundred of thousands a year. Realistically, no one knows. An article I came across in Newsweek from 2004 states that in some villages, a family can pay 80 cents to have a woman help deliver a baby. For an additional 80 cents, if the baby is a girl, the women will, "...take a newborn girl, hold her upside down by the waist and 'give a sharp jerk,' snapping the spinal cord. She will then declare the infant stillborn." Practices like this and sex-selective abortion further muddy the waters as to any real number of deaths.

This practice is as wrong as anything can be. To have it happen in any nation, whether it be China (the home of the next Olympics), or the United States is a crime against humanity. If NOW can't be outraged that this happens in the U.S., I can't take any of their other claims seriously.

Today NOW has on their website a recap of the first year of over the counter emergency contraception. In NOW's words, "Easing access to EC was a major victory for millions of women, but the FDA's politically-influenced process, and the unjustifiable limitation that women 17 and under will continue to need a prescription, leaves unsettling questions." Perhaps NOW just has bigger fish to fry.

Griffen said...


In the case of China, the sex-selective infanticides and abortions would be a result of their population control policies, right?

China's population control policies are still active through 2010, according to what I have read.

So China's situation is a national policy issue to me...and it is outrageous. NOW still gets a pass on this one from me.

Andy D said...

Griffen, this isn't quite national policy. China simply limits the number of children a family is allowed to have. The infanticides are still the families choice in a quest to get a son. Daughters just arn't good enough.