THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED:
He has pleaded guilty to dozens of charges, including sexual assault and murder.
Today, the world was subjected to the grim details, including the fact that he videotaped the death of two of his victims -- Jessica Lloyd, 27, and his comrade-in-arms Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38, right.
We all knew Williams was into stealing his victims' lingerie and then filing and cataloging all his ''trophies.'' What we didn't know is that this decorated officer liked to wear the stuff and shoot himself masturbating into it. (The Star has a photo gallery. Keep the eye bleach handy.)
If Twitter is any indication, many are grossed out by the details, and are questioning why we need to hear them, especially since Williams has already admitted guilt.
But maybe there's a good reason to pay attention. That's because the media are referring to his "fetish" an awful lot. Elizabeth takes issue with that. Here's why (and I added the boldface):
1. Because we need to see and understand how impossible it is for the mainstream media in general to report these kinds of cases fairly, accurately and KNOWLEDGEABLY.
For instance, I keep hearing that his fetish for underwear escalated into break-ins, photo sessions whilst modelling the undies and masturbation on camera, leaving the evidence of such behind. Now that is not a women's underwear fetish. Such fetishes are perfectly harmless.
This is the escalation of PREDATORY behaviour!
The point is not the underwear. The point is that it belonged to a girl or woman who wore it and kept it in her dresser drawer. To break into the house, the bedroom, the dresser drawer of a girl or woman, try on her underwear and spend hours taking pictures of yourself wearing it while masturbating isn't a fetish, it's a VIOLATION of the personal space and the sexualized belongings of the girl or woman. To masturbate all over her bedroom is a VIOLATION. To tie her up and take pictures of her while masturbating and taking pictures is a VIOLATION. To do the same and then kill her is a VIOLATION. This is escalating predatory behaviour, not fetishism.
2. Because we need to know that if the cops were educated about such behaviour and able to categorize it properly and make predictions on the basis of that information, THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO STOP PEOPLE LIKE COL. WHAT'S IT. And ought to have caught him before he sexually assaulted four women or, at the very least, before he killed two of them.
3. Because we need to know how easily predatory men get along in our misogynist culture and particularly in the most macho aspects of that culture which would certainly be THE MILITARY! If I wanted to be a raping serial killer I would be in the military or I'd be a cop.
Elizabeth links to this documentary by CBC's the fifth estate as well as a column of mine
from back in February, when this whole story broke. I wrote it when I picked up how the police discounted the report of the first Tweed break-in and assault.
Here's a snippet:
According to Tweed resident Larry Jones, 62, who lives next door to Col. Russell Williams, 46, now charged with two murders and the two sexual assaults, the police did not believe that first victim when she reported the attack.
"They said her boyfriend had broken into her house, to try to get back at her for leaving him or something,'' he told me Tuesday. "So two weeks went by. Not a word was said. Nothing in the media. Nothing in the news. And we had an animal running around.
"Then, (Victim B) down the road from me, she gets broken into and it's the same crime. They should have put the word out. They could have been looking for somebody.''
Interestingly, according to Victim B, Laurie Massicotte, with whom I have kept continuous contact, both she and Victim A, a young single mother, had what you might call "domestic problems." Massicotte was going through a bitter divorce while Victim A had had conflicts with the father of her baby. In the latter case, as I was told by Jones, police suggested that her boyfriend was ''playing tricks on her.''
Needless to say, I could never get a local cop to confim that. But I have no reason to doubt it either. And it does serve to back up what Elizabeth is saying.
Right now, thousands of people are going through the photos on the Star's website, maybe laughing, maybe feeling revulsion, maybe both.
But, as Elizabeth wants you to remember, Williams did not get that lingerie by ordering from Victoria's Secrets. He got it by raping the personal and private space of 82 women and girls -- and there's nothing titllating or amusing about that.
P.S. I refuse to post any of those underwear photos here.
P.P.S. I notice the mods are not posting some comments, even though they are great. Something about our policy regarding comments and ongoing court cases.
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: Sabina Becker, another Facebook friend, picks up this crucial thread:
A fetishist isn't generally interested in controlling a person; s/he is content to play with an object or collection of objects, and obtains sexual gratification that way. This activity usually doesn't escalate.
A predator collects human victims as trophies, rendering them into objects to be controlled. When he grows tired of taking easy, inanimate trophies--stolen jewelry, underwear or other personal effects--he begins to entertain the notion of taking humans themselves as his trophies. He escalates his violations over time, in both frequency and intensity, as an addict will increase his dose of drugs when he becomes habituated.
Fetishists are rarely violent. Many are quite odd, but this is beside the point; their oddity generally harms no one. They tend to respect the dignity of others.
Predators are increasingly violent. Often they do not stand out as odd on first glance; their cultivated façade of normality IS the point. It enables them to escalate their crimes until they die or are caught, whichever comes first.
So, we can see that a fetishist ≠ a predator. If anything, they are diametrically opposed.
This is why I get so angry when I see the media falling into the trap of fixating on Williams's alleged sexual fetishes, instead of understanding that he is a predator, one who sexualizes power-over. The media's job is to clear up our confusion, and instead, they are adding to it. And in so doing, they hang women and children--the persons most likely to become a predator's victims--out to dry.
(H/T Queer Thoughts)
UPPERMOST DATE: Note that, according to the agreed statement of facts, it appears that police did conduct a throrough investigation when Victim A in Tweed called them.