Columnist 'impaired by sexism'

Dear Tyrone Henry:

I've been reading your column over the past year and have surmised that while you present race issues in a pretty fair manner, your ability to address issues of gender is impaired by your sexism, i.e., your ability to send the message that wife abuse is A-OK. This message is all the more dangerous since few readers on campus seem to contest it. So let me be one of the first.

In your diatribe on Jan. 13, 1995, regarding a double-standard in domestic violence in this country, you stated that "John Bobbit's only crime was not bringing his wife, Lorena, to orgasm." According to sworn testimony by Lorena and others who witnessed Bobbit's actions, she had been repeatedly beaten and raped by her loving husband, and he had even tried to push her out of a moving car. Is this your definition of how to bring a woman to orgasm?

Your defense of wife beaters continues in the little piece regarding your "notes" on the OJ trial ("Henry's notes on the O.J. trial card" Feb. 17). You "observe" that OJ was completely justified in breaking down Nicole's door and terrorizing her because she was "playing lollipop with a strange guy." Let me clue you in here. First, Nicole was separated from OJ, divorcing him and living in her own house. She can do what she wants in her own house. Second, OJ was and is well-known for his infidelity sleeping with everyone from suntan lotion models to the household staff while still happily married. Where does he get off accusing Nicole of any impropriety? And third, despite HIS indiscretions, at no time did Nicole take it upon herself to spy on him from the bushes, nor break down his door and threaten his life.

In a most astonishing manner, you add "so he grabbed his wife where the sun don't shine . SO WHAT!" If you truly believe it's OK to grab a woman like that in public, your social skills are as lacking as your understanding of sexual techniques.

Finally, you contend that this case isn't about batterers who kill their partners, because really "there are thousands (of batterers)" who don't. That's such a weak argument. For the thousands that don't kill their partners, there are those that do. And your condoning of wife abuse doesn't help the few, yet very dead, victims of abuse.

Lisa-Anne Culp

Doctoral Student in Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of English

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