When Justice Isn't Served, Is Vigilantism The Way to Go?
Woman are treated really poorly in comics, specifically the superhero genre; they’re delegated to women in distress or, if they’re a hero, scantily-cladishness. But you know what? That doesn’t matter, because real life (ever heard of it? It’s really good) has a woman superhero that makes up for all of superhero fiction’s misogyny.
In Ciudad Juarez, sexual harassment and violence against women is a huge problem; one so huge that it’s become such a part of every day life that it’s almost forgotten. But one woman, dressed all in black but for a mane of blonde hair, hasn’t forgotten.
Calling herself “Diana, Huntress of Bus Drivers,” a vigilante is hunting down bus drivers supposedly guilty of sexual assault and rape and taking care of the situation… violently.
Two bus drivers were discovered dead, both having been shot–twice in the head, each–by “a woman dressed in black with blond hair, dyed or possibly a wig,” both on the same route, and during the same hour.
The woman, or someone claiming to be she, sent a message to several Mexican news outlets:
See, some of the sexual violence perpetrated in Ciudad Juarez is perpetuated by bus drivers. They’re put in a situation of extreme power: late-night working maquiladora women–women who work in factories–rely on the bus drivers to get them home, and “some disappeared after boarding buses, their raped and tortured bodies later found dumped in the desert.” Those bus drivers deserve punishment, but they exist within a corrupt government that won’t dole it out; that’s where Diana comes in.
Diana has taken out two bus drivers so far–it’s worth nothing, they are bus drivers whose guilt is never explicitly stated–and shows no sign of stopping.
Is what she is doing just? If the men are rapists: sure, of course it’s just – at least in my opinion. Yeah, it’s wrong to shoot a person in the head, but I don’t feel it’s wrong to shoot a rapist in the head, especially in an area where legal justice is so hard to come by. Killing a rapist is morally similar to eating meat; you’re ending the life of something less than human. But are they, the men who are shot, guilty? From the point of view of an outside observer, the bus drivers targeted were just bus drivers.
Authorities are on the look out for Diana, and activists were quick to point out the obvious: why aren’t they putting that energy into catching the obviously rampant rapists running around Ciudad Juarez?
Like any vigilantism, this is all very complex. Sure, despite any moral quandaries it’s obviously badass, but: what if the bus drivers aren’t guilty? What if future bus drivers are accused purely because of the existence of Diana? Is vigilantism ever the answer? Take into consideration totally innocent bus drivers who have to go to work every day worrying that they’ll be shot, with the counterpoint: take into consideration women that have to get on the bus every day worrying that they’ll be assaulted.
I, personally, am a huge vigilantism fan, but in a nerdy way. I love movies like Straw Dogs or Batman or Falling Down, and I constantly regale and overblow the story of the time I protected an ex from a potential rapist (non-violently, of course). I fantasize about getting almost mugged and kicking some ass.
Are you on Diana’s side? Talk about it in the comments!