The case of the glued penis…huh?
September 11, 2009
I’m probably not supposed to laugh about this, but upon doing my usual news perusal this morning, I came across something that set me to giggling:
How can you avoid investigating that headline further?
At first, I was expecting some ridiculous scandal involving a bachelorette party and a “pin the penis on the naked man” game. Perhaps things got a little out of control and the girls ended up streaking the motel parking lot with paper penises glued to their foreheads, thought I. It could – and probably has – happen(ed).
Well, sadly, this is not a case of girls gone wild for fun. This is girls gone wild for revenge. This is the kind of story that would make for a great, albeit dark, comedy movie like Heathers, Jawbreaker or Death Becomes Her. In the case of each of those films, women – young and old – do deadly deeds in pursuit of something it seems most women covet: the right to call oneself “most beautiful” or “most popular.” In the case of the glued penis – that kind of sounds like a good book: Nancy Drew and the Case of the Glued Penis – four women pursued the right to call one of them “most likely to grow old with the world’s biggest loser husband.” How’s that for a superlative?
It seems that they don’t get much reality television in Wisconsin. Four apparently bored women including the wife of the “victim” concocted a scheme to trap a man who was sleeping with three of them indiscreetly. No, this is not the pilot episode plot summary for The Real Housewives of Calumet County.
Therese Ziemann claims that she met the man on Craigslist – I knew it was good for something – and fell in love with him. She allegedly payed for their hotel rooms and lent him $3,000.
Ziemann claims to have been contacted on the day before the assault by the man’s wife who confirmed that she was married to the man and was mother to his children; and that it was subsequent to that conversation that Ziemann, the wife, another girlfriend of the cheating husband, and Ziemann’s sister agreed to ambush the man at a Stockbridge motel and make him confess his treachery.
The man told police that he met with Ziemann for a sexual encounter at the motel, and she suggested that she tie him up and rub him down. She used bed sheets to restrain him and blindfolded him with a pillowcase. Then, according to the “victim,” she cut off his underwear with scissors and texted her accomplices telling them that he was tied up.
The four women asked the man questions about where his true affections lie. Then Ziemann slapped him and used Krazy Glue to attach his penis to his stomach, according to her testimony. The women took his wallet, car and cell phone and left him at the motel tied up. He then chewed through his restraints and called police.
My favorite line of the CNN article is: “CNN does not name victims of alleged sexual assault and will not name the alleged victim’s wife since they use the same last name.”
Why do I love this line? Because CNN is taking this man’s status as a victim very seriously – his identity is known. I put the word “victim” in quotation marks: this man made a series of deliberate choices (some illegal) that resulted in his uncomfortable apprehension. He’s not a victim like, say, children who find their genitals cut off in sadistic “circumcision” rituals in Africa et al. He’s not a victim like the Micheal Vick pit bulls who were riled up and used for sport. Nor, is he like the small rabbits and kittens that are used to bait such fighting dogs. And he certainly isn’t a victim like the millions of women and children who are beaten by abusive men in the United States and other countries around the world. No. Additionally, he did not find himself shot dead by George Sodini in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania or Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech. He did not find himself lying dead at the base of the fallen World Trade Center towers eight years ago today.
Can men be victims? Sure. And women have been known to beat their husbands and their children too. But, this man is not the poster child for penile rights! According to the article, this man “has a criminal record in Wisconsin dating back to 1998, (and) is in custody on unrelated charges of child abuse, theft and harassment.”
While CNN references its policy about not revealing the names of “victims” of “sexual assault,” I wonder at what point does this “victim” become the villain? At what point do his wife and his two unsuspecting girlfriends become “victims” of his treachery? At what point do his children become victims of his child abuse, the robbed victims of his theft, and the harassed victims of his harassment? As far as I can tell, this man is not a “victim” at all: he just got a little taste of his own medicine.
Now don’t go thinking that I am trivializing what must have been agonizing sexual assault for this man… No, you’re right, I am. Sexual assault in the form a Krazy Glued penis neither alarms nor horrifies me. Had they cut it off, then we’d have a serious crime on our hands.
Which brings us to the victims…eh perpetrators…of this incident: the women. At left is the image that CNN posted with its article. I assume these are the mug shots of Michelle Belliveau, Wendy Sewell and Ziemann (from left to right). That would make the woman on the right the man’s lover, loan shark and penis gluer. She doesn’t look too remorseful. Neither does her sister – who wasn’t sleeping with the man – on the far left. In fact, Belliveau looks rather pleased with herself. And the third cheated woman (Sewell in the center) just looks pissed off.
On the one hand, I want to say, “Good for them! They found a sisterhood and stood up for love and trust between sexual partners.” But on the other hand, I wonder what’s more pathetic: the fact that these women fell in love with and were duped by such a loser or the fact that they will stand trial and may go to prison for it?
Either way, I want to wear a t-shirt that reads “Release the Witches of Stockbridge.” For, even though they may have been tricked, they tricked back. In my book, “witch,” which is a term that has been applied to many women over the years including our esteemed – and often loathed – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is a great thing to be: it means you’re smart, angry and perhaps a bit tricky! (I’m sure I would have been hanged from a scaffold in Salem, 1692.) At what point do women cease to be victims? When they rise up alone or together and fight back.
This really isn’t a case of men versus women where one or the other are bad guys or good guys simply because of their sex. This is a case of a group of people getting angry at a person for lying to them, stealing from them, neglecting them, etc. And this is a case of that group making a united stance saying, “We are not going to take it anymore!” For all intents and purposes, it’s the same thing when men and women of employment unions stand together and fight the good fight for better pay and working conditions. In this case, a group of people has also stood up for better treatment from “the man.”
I wouldn’t be singing their praises if they had really hurt this man. He didn’t physically damage any one of them irrevocably. But if people learn of this story, as with the case of the cut off Bobbitt penis, there might be a few men here or there who think twice before lying, cheating and stealing. And that’s a step forward for the happiness of heterosexual women, right?
If women heed the same warning, isn’t that a step forward for humanity as a collective?