As noted yesterday, Marissa Alexander was released from prison yesterday. She has been, however, sentenced to two years’ of house arrest (after having spent three years in prison already), all for the crime of, nine days after having given birth, firing a warning shot at her estranged abusive ex-husband who was threatening to kill her (you can find this info, and the citations, on Wikipedia–I know we’re all pissed at Wikipedia right now, and for good reason, but I don’t see a reason not to trust the article). She had tried to escape through the garage, but the garage door wouldn’t open, at which point she got her gun out of her car and returned to the house, which is when her ex threatened to kill her. Her ex, Rico Gray and his son, who was present, corroborate every bit of this, and other women who have been involved with Gray confirm that he’s an abusive asshole.
Angela Corey’s vendetta, and decision to attempt to go for a sixty year sentence, has been documented already here. Angela Corey feels that Alexander fired the gun “in anger, not fear.” Apparently, if you’re a black woman in Florida, you are not allowed to let anger at being abused and threatened taint your fear of your abuser. Do we need to talk about how this plays into racist tropes of the Angry Black Woman? That what Corey is saying here is that as an Angry Black Woman, Alexander did not have properly ladylike emotions, and therefore should be punished?
Anger is a legitimate response to abuse. This is something I had to reiterate in very different circumstances, when I was running a petition regarding a friend who had been sexually harassed and her attempts at redress. Women are allowed to be angry. Black women are allowed to be angry. A woman can be angry and still need to defend herself.
Under you learn something new every day, I did not know that Alexander is required to pay for the ankle bracelet monitoring her movements and keeping her under house arrest. As the email that was sent to me by Free Marissa Now notes, this bracelet extends state surveillance and control into Alexander’s very home, and forcing her to pay for it is part of the privatization of the prison industry (please see Maya Schwerner’s article for more on the former, and Professor Beth Richie’s piece for more on the latter).
As far as I’m concerned, no matter what pieties the courts may mouth about this, they have no credibility. They have no place sitting in judgment on a woman trying to defend herself in her own home. That’s all I have to say right now. I’d like to find the text of Judge Daniel’s ruling/statement, but no luck so far.