Survivor Zerlina Maxwell Defies Racist Death Threats After Speaking Out on Fox News
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Over the past week, political analyst Zerlina Maxwell has received racially fueled death threats for speaking out against rape. Maxwell, who is a rape survivor, appeared on a Fox News segment with Sean Hannity last week about the possibility of arming women to prevent rape. She said the responsibility should lie instead with men. In response to her remarks, Maxwell received a torrent of abuse on social media with commenters saying she deserved to be gang-raped and killed. Zerlina Maxwell joined Democracy Now! to discuss her ordeal and her refusal to be silent in the face of the threats against her.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to a story in the crosshairs of women’s rights and gun control. Political analyst Zerlina Maxwell is refusing to be silent after receiving racially fueled death threats for speaking out against rape. Maxwell, who is a rape survivor, appeared on a Fox News segment with Sean Hannity last week about the possibility of arming women to prevent rape. She said the responsibility should lie instead with men:
SEAN HANNITY: Women have been recommended that they use whistles and, what, pens, that they faint, fake faint, urinate, puke on people—the most idiotic things that have been said by these arrogant, ignorant politicians out there.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: Well, I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want women—I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear, how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. And in my case—
SEAN HANNITY: I didn’t.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: In my case, don’t tell me if I had only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped, because it’s still putting it on me to prevent the rape.
SEAN HANNITY: By the way, but you have—you have written about this.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: I have, yes.
SEAN HANNITY: That this happened to you.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: Yes. And I was attacked by someone I knew. So you’re required—if what you’re saying works out in reality, not in a theoretical scenario, you’re requiring that I shoot someone that I know?
SEAN HANNITY: No, no, no, I’m not—
ZERLINA MAXWELL: That is not the reality.
SEAN HANNITY: No, no, no. No, whoa, whoa, hold on.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: Two-thirds of women are attacked by someone they know.
SEAN HANNITY: Nobody is requiring that you do it. I have carried a weapon my entire adult life, and I’ve had license to carry in five—the five recent states that I’ve lived in. And I am trained. I’m a marksman in the use of a pistol. I have been since I’m 11 years old. I’ve been a good shot. Only if women choose to, they ought to have the right. That ought to be their choice.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: I don’t think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there with prevention.
SEAN HANNITY: Well, criminals are not going to listen.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: No, but we’re not talking about—we’re not—
SEAN HANNITY: So I agree with you, but—
ZERLINA MAXWELL: I mean, yeah, men are committing a crime. But many of the men that commit rape are people that we know.
SEAN HANNITY: But criminals are not going to listen to Sean Hannity.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: But you’re talking about—
SEAN HANNITY: No man should do that to anybody.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: You’re talking about it as if they’re some faceless, nameless criminal, when it—a lot of times it’s someone that you know and trust.