Many thanks to Heart for the reminder about the injustice visited on seven New Jersey women who dared defend themselves against street harassment:

Buckle [the harasser] approached one of the women, Patreese Johnson, who stands 4′11″ tall and weighs 95 pounds, gestured toward her crotch and said, “Let me get some of that.” When she and the other women said they weren’t interested, they were lesbians, Buckle shouted, “I’ll fuck you straight, sweetheart.” At that point Johnson’s girlfriend shot back an insult, something about Buckle’s jeans and tennis shoes being cheap, Buckle then called one of the women an “elephant,” and yelled at another that she ”looked like a man.” Then there was a fight. Surveillance cameras show Buckle choking one woman and holding clumps of hair ripped from some of the women’s heads. The women said Buckle spit on them and hucked a lit cigarette at them; Buckle says one of the women spit at him.

During the course of the altercation, the woman Buckle had directly sexually harrassed retrieved a 99-cent steak knife out of her bag and went after Buckle with it in an attempt to defend the woman whom Buckle was choking.

. . .

Three of the women pled guilty to attempted assault and served six months in jail. Four of the women went to trial. None of the women had criminal records, and two are parents.

. . .

[The judge cracked] jokes with Buckle at trial about how expensive Buckle’s jeans and tennis shoes actually had been, yukking it up with the jury when a police officer, called to testify, donned rubber gloves while handling Patreese Johnson’s knife. No forensic tests were ever done on the knife and there was no evidence hers was the knife that cut Buckle, nor was there blood on it. In the clear absence of blood stains, the judge mocked the police officer for donning the gloves and cracked a joke about the officer seeing “germs” there.

. . .

Renata Hill [was] sentenced to 8 years. Patreese Johnson, 19, who wielded a steak knife against Buckle but did not stab him (video surveillance evidences Buckle was stabbed by a man who joined the fray later), was sentenced to 11 years. She, like the other women, had no criminal record.

Read more at Women’s Space: The Margins here and here, and at Queer Woman of Color here.

You can sign a petition to show your support for these brave women here. Information on how to support the New Jersey 7 here, here, and here.