Remembering Aileen Wuornos & Keeping Her Strong, Brave Spirit Alive

You sabotaged my ass!  Society, and the cops, and the system!  A raped woman got executed, and was used for books and movies and shit! ( Aileen’s words from source)

Minus books and movie deals, Aileen’s words sound fairly representative of the many, many silenced female voices who are blamed, punished (in all sorts of ways), and killed for being part of the prostituted class, a class that is hardly ever a free or real ‘choice’ for the choosing. 

Dear Aileen:

I think of you often and how you WERE sabotaged and so grossly, grossly failed by society; it sickens and saddens me so deeply.  I didn’t have the pleasure of personally knowing you, but I’ve watched all footage of you and had the privilege of chatting with your best friend Dawn Botkins a while back, who is a most wonderful woman.  I’m so glad you had her in your corner, and I look forward to reading the book documenting your letters between eachother during your imprisonment.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Aileen Wuornos, a beautifully humane woman who will forever hold a place in my heart for her strength and courage in living through the horrific life cards she’d been dealt and that were completely out of her control.  Though life and its many predators victimized her in endless ways, she did not have a victim mentality, and left this life loved and respected by many.  She is a bittersweet inspiration to all women who find ourselves in the face of male violence, showing us that we must do whatever it takes to survive.  It’s bittersweet because of the way her life played out, and how it so needlessly, prematurely and tragically ended.

Aileen was a white American woman who at the age of 46 was murdered via death penalty by the state of Florida.  This punishment was imposed upon her because she killed seven men who rented her body.  To really understand this, it must be known that pain, degradation, rape and sexual torture are the NORM for prostituted girls and women, and the murder of prostitutes is an all too common and chilling reality, so common that it’s non-news (source).  Aileen tried explaining this in court, only to be met with blank stares.  As she said in her initial confession:

I wanted to confess to you that Richard Mallory did violently rape me as I’ve told you. But these others did not. [They] only began to start to.

[underline bold by me].  Given the violent reality of prostitution, it’s a wonder Aileen didn’t kill more men.

Aileen did change her story and plea a few times, from self-defense to ‘cold blooded’ murder and back to self-defense.  In confidence and when she thought documentary cameras weren’t rolling, she told director Nick Broomfield that all the killings were indeed self-defense.  I have no doubt that all seven murders were self-defense, and that the incompetent idiots around her manipulated her into changing her story and plea until she was backed into an impossible corner.  She was grossly failed by opportunists, ignorant and incompetent lawyers and other “experts”, and greedy, fake friends.

Aileen didn’t stumble into this nightmare overnight, no one ever does, and it’s intellectually lazy to think otherwise, or to minimize all the life events that led to the murders.  Her family and virtually the entire wider community failed her ever since she was a child, abandoned, abused and neglected almost every step of the way.  Unsurprisingly, such an un-supported life led to prostitution, which is a very normal path to take for women with similar backgrounds (though not always, women from all walks of life end up in the sex trade; for those of us who haven’t, it’s largely to do with luck, which can run out anytime).

When will this dis-eased culture stop blaming victims for a) being victimized, and then b) courageously doing whatever they gotta do to survive?  Spotlights must be shone upon the forces at play that push people like Aileen to make the so-called ‘choices’ they do (i.e. child sexual abuse, other forms of abuse, neglect, poverty, homelessness).  But more importantly than that, the violence, inhumanity and woman-hatred that spurs men to rent female bodies to rape is the more pressing problem of the sex trade.  The forces behind the DEMAND driving the sex trade begs attention.  Aileen saved her life by murdering seven violent men who paid to rape and abuse her, and who very well could have killed her otherwise.  Instead of understanding her impossible predicament and helping her out of it, she was thrown to the wolves and murdered by one of the most violent pack of men in existence, The Colonist Government.

We must liberate ourselves from this colonial cultural nightmare that we’re all trapped in which has everyone fighting for our lives and fending for ourselves.  It’s wrong, it’s unnatural, and we must reject it in whatever way we are able.  Forming a healthy, respectful tribe may be the first step out of this hell.

We’re all inching our way closer to death, and I think what matters is not so much when or that we die but who we are, how we live our lives, and the meaningful relations we have while living.  How we die is so important, and the colonist culture so often grossly fails at making our transition to the Spirit world a peaceful, natural and respectful one.

Much respect and compassion to you Aileen, and the many other, not-so-well-known Aileens of the world.  May you be resting in the peace that was never given you during your short life.

Here is part of a brilliant spoken word piece by Lydia Lunch called Why We Murder which so perfectly fits Aileen’s story:

To learn more about the realities of prostitution that the mainstream stubbornly refuses to acknowledge and spins lies and smokescreens around, check out the work of some leading experts on the issue that can be found here, here, here and here.

Lastly, I liked what commenter “nomnomOm” had to say in this article about Aileen by Jennifer Wright:

[Aileen's] inevitably adopted-out baby was the product of incest on the part of the grandfather who was (violently and alcoholically) raising her. No little girl leaps into sexual proclivities without some prior introduction to it.

As far as I remember, it had been alleged that her brother Keith was also sexually abusive toward her, despite her deep and lasting love for him. His death from (I believe) throat cancer very early left a lasting impression on poor Aileen and likely caused the break in her psyche as she likely felt she had no one left who loved her.

While I think she was ultimately guilty, I find difficulty in holding a very obviously traumatized and mentally ill woman accountable for her actions, and think ill of executing people in such circumstances when no attempt at rehabilitation or cognitive behavioural therapy has been made. [What Aileen needed was more intensive and long-term therapy than cognitive behavioral (CBT) -- CBT is all the supposed "evidence-based" mental health hype these days because it's short and cheap, and unfortunately a bandaid solution at best which rarely touches, solves or heals core problems.]   I believe that we are, as a society, too quick to condemn those who have simply had the worst possible upbringing. There but for the grace of God go I. I DO find myself having sympathy for her, as clearly she had no resources with which to take care of herself, or for anyone else to do it for her. In fact, I doubt she could have trusted anyone else to let her be their burden, thus her reasoning for delving into prostitution in the first place. And while not the safest of professions, it did offer her a sort of financial freedom and the ability to fund her lifestyle and addictions, but certainly not a way out of it all. I’m sure she knew it was illegal and amoral, but likely felt it was an honest living, moreso than, say, robbery.

I’ve always felt that Aileen was ultimately a good person. That she became a victim of circumstance; be it of her own doing, or just the way life worked out for her. Surely, she wasn’t equipped with the tools to be able to solve her own problems, and hadn’t been nurtured in a way where she could have even tried to care about herself. She will always be a tragic figure for me. Just another victim of the American Dream.

I also feel bad for Tyria, who is left behind to carry this dark legacy, and who no doubt bears the shame of it. I hope she has managed to find some peace.

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31 thoughts on “Remembering Aileen Wuornos & Keeping Her Strong, Brave Spirit Alive

  1. Joan says:

    Rest In Peace Aileen Carol Wuornos. (0ctober 9th 2002 – October 9th 2012)
    Today marks the 10 year anniversary of Aileen’s execution.
    Thank you so much, for sharing your thoughts on Aileen. I couldn’t agree more with what
    you have written. Ever since I first learned about Aileen, I have felt a great deal of sympathy
    for her, and everything she went through. So many people don’t understand her.
    I hope she’s in a better place.

  2. Feminist Rag says:

    I hope so too Joan, and I reckon any place is better than this one for the misunderstood people of this world. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Nathalie says:

    Dear Aileen, i hope that you have peace now and that the angels are watching over you. I wish that i could have helped you but it s to late and that hurts inside of me. No one can hurt you anymore and that i m glad. You are my hero,my angel and my light in the dark. I will never forget you! I hope i ll see you in heaven. You don t miss a thing in this world,it s a cold world with so much bad people. Take good care of you Lee,rest in peace,Nathalie D.

  4. Kim says:

    My stomach churns when I see Aileen’s name listed as a “serial killer” alongside names like Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgeway, and John Wayne Gacy. I’ve never believed she did anything but defend herself.

    In my state, we had a similar case. A 14-year-old girl was arrested for the murder of a 50-something man. It came out that he picked her up on our main prostitution “stroll” and took her to a deserted place in the desert. Her family had been brought to the attention of Child Protective Services several times since she was 9 years old. Abuse (sexual and physical), neglect and alcoholism (of child and parents) were all well-known and documented. Yet, she was left in the home. She eventually left and started working the streets. One night, this creep picks her up. She said he got violent, and she fought back. She was caught the next day, still driving his truck. (Criminal mastermind there, of course.)

    She was convicted of 1st degree murder and given life. She was put in our maximum-security adult prison. At 15.

    The children of the creep who picked her up kept going on TV talking about what a “great dad” and “good man” he was, and what a big loss to the world. Sorry, but any human garbage who picks up a child on a well-known prostitution stroll is NOT a “great dad” or a “good man”. He’s a pedophile piece of shit, and no loss to the world.

  5. Feminist Rag says:

    Hi Kim, thanks for your comment, I agree 120% with all of it. I study serial killers and sadists/sociopaths too and they are VERY different from Aileen, definitely different categories, different worlds.

    What a horrible story about that 14 yr old girl in your state, and an all too familiar one. (lol @ her being a criminal mastermind). These kind of stories break my heart and boil my blood and are a constant reminder to me of how deeply dis-eased the colonist patriarchal culture is, and how much work we have to do to heal it. It’s all so overwhelming sometimes, so many broken families passing on their sickness from one generation to the next, failing at protecting and nurturing kids into becoming whole, healthy adults, lather rinse repeat. Speaking the Truth and doing whatever it takes to survive means a lot and serves to put a dent in the lies and smokescreens…plus it constantly amazes me how resilient the human Spirit is…though for fuck sake all this is so unnecessary and preventable.

    I hear you @ the “great dad” / “good man/husband” statements, they are disturbing to hear, especially when the horrific things these so-called good men did is not acknowledged in any way. Though I’m sure there’s some truth to these statements for the people saying them, it’s just too bad they can’t see past themselves. But you’re right, someone that picks up a prostituted child (or woman) is not a good man or great dad, if he was, he would see his daughter/sister/mother/wife in the woman he buys. I also don’t think it’s all or nothing/black & white/good/bad; like XLondonCallGirl says on her blog: some people are mostly good with some bad in them, and some are mostly bad with some good in them. Though this whole good/bad concept is a moral/religious one, I look at it more like dis-ease vs. health, and the dominant culture is so deeply dis-eased….what gives me hope and keeps my fire burning is strong, clear and coherent voices and hearts who Know and Speak the Truth and fight for true freedom and embody the Change we want and need.

    Peace & Respect

  6. K says:

    Angered and saddened by her story and always will be. What a tragic waste of a life at the hands of her environment and society. She needed help not killed, sickens me. Love your article.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      Thanks K. So true, she needed help, not to be murdered! Her life really was a tragic waste, she was so passionate and intelligent, if only she had more people in her corner that saw these things and helped her get a leg up when others tried to endlessly chop her legs off, so to speak. The depth and breadth of hatred, coldness and inhumanity in this world is daunting. But we can’t drown in it. We must rise up, gain strength from eachother, and support the living Aileen’s of the world as well as other sisters and brothers who are suffering under the tyranical thumb of the industrial ruling class!

  7. Becca says:

    R.I.P Aileen, you was a strong woman through it all and are still respected by many, sweet dreams, see you on the other side x

  8. [...] Feminist Rag remembers her fondly as “the beautiful Aileen Wuornos” and calls her “a hero and inspiration to all women in the face of male violence”, quoting Aileen’s own words, “You sabotaged my ass!  Society, and the cops, and the system!  A raped woman got executed, and was used for books and movies and shit!” [...]

  9. Christina says:

    I’m glad there are people out there who do think Aileen was a victim. I honestly think that maybe if her first “victim” hadnt been free to roam the streets after his first rape she might have never been “set off” like she was. So many people failed that woman from childhood and its a shame that people don’t know the real story.

  10. AReyoukddingme says:

    Holy shit you guys are fucking dumb.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      Thank you for a shining example of deep, coherent, critical thinking. Bravo to you! *slow applause*

    • Dentist Mike says:

      Here’s a more intelligent version of, “Holy shit you guys are fucking dumb.”

      In your article you raise the question of when we will stop blaming the victim for what has happened to them. Aileen wasn’t convicted of being raped. She was convicted of murdering multiple people and YOU are BLAMING the men that she killed (the victims).

      If this was a man that killed six women, not a single one of you would say a thing. Ted Bundy was abused as a child. Ed Gains as well – are we to excuse them of their crimes?

      Her DEFENSE was that she was in the process of being raped and there was no evidence of this because every one of those men was dead because she killed them.

      Most seriously violent offenders have the exact same kind of background that she did and that is the same for men as for women. Men who are sexually abused as children grow up to be killers, abusers, etc, just like she did.

      In all honesty, is your mad love for this admitted murderer about actual unfairness in the system, unfairness towards people who are victimized or is it just that you hate men and cannot accept that there are female monsters, same as there are male monsters?

      So – Holy shit, you guys are fucking dumb, you don’t know enough about yourselves to realize all of your bullshit is just your hatred of men. Until you realize that, you’ll be stuck where you are at – in hatred. And that’s hell.

      • Feminist Rag says:

        “Dentist Mike”, you are speaking as though the colonist ideas of crime/defense/evidence are the be all end all of Truth. You are so off the mark.

        There is a big and important difference between excuses and reasons. That is, if we want to prevent such tragedies from happening, we have to understand the reasons behind them. So to this end I absolutely acknowledge that the Ted Bundy’s and Ed Gains of the world did the things they did because of horrific upbringings, as well as having a couple screws loose in the psyche, because not everyone with horrible upbringings becomes a rapist or killer, you have to have the genetic makeup to begin with, and the abusive/neglectful upbringing is the trigger that sets it off).

        There is no excuse for murder EVER, for anyone, but there are reasons. Just like the reason Aileen killed all those men, because the street smarts she developed over the years had her knowing well ahead of time who was dangerous and likely to cause her harm. I do not “madly love” Aileen, I just feel very strongly that she was and remains horribly misunderstood and maligned by mainstream society and people like you. I do not hate men at all, and I fully accept there are female monsters out there, they are usually experts at emotional, verbal and mental violence while men are typically experts at the physical and sexual kind of violence, but of course exceptions exist. The dehumanizing, predatory colonist culture creates all sorts of monstrous values and behaviors which affect us all.

        So make no mistake, none of this is hatred, it’s just understanding of a very misunderstood woman who was abused all her life and who finally snapped and did what she needed to survive. It’s no excuse, it’s a reason. Just because there’s no “evidence” she was being raped or about to be raped, doesn’t mean it wasn’t true (and how the hell does one produce “evidence” of such a nature? It’s an impossible demand of the misogynist courts to make in their incredibly myopic idea of justice). I analyzed Aileen’s interviews very carefully and have no doubt in my mind that she acted out of self-defence each and every time.

        The whole thing is a huge tragedy.

  11. Linda says:

    Aileen Wuornos didn’t stand a chance in this world from her sad and tragic beginning to her sad and tragic end. Her life story is one of the saddest I’ve ever heard. If she had been born into a loving and supportive family, it wouldn’t have been like this. She was bright and had great potential that she had no way to realize or carry out. What a terrible waste and a loss, as I believe she had a lot of good that she could have shared, if only she would have had the chance.

    I’ve studied crimes, killers and criminal justice for decades. Aileen Wuornos isn’t a typical case at all. It took her 36 years of living in a hopeless and brutal life to get to the point of retaliating against those who were using and abusing her. All things considered, I’m surprised it took so long.

    Her family failed her and society failed her. I pray that she’s at peace now and in a better place.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      Totally agree. Support is everything, Aileen was never given the chance to shine like the star she was, and yeah, her good shone through and was evident through her essence. Her actions were totally understandable, I’m sure I would do the very same thing, and probably a whole lot more, if I were in her shoes. Its too bad she was in Florida and not a non death penalty state. I am pretty confident that wherever she is, she’s in a better place, because hell is what humans create right here on earth.

  12. Joe says:

    While I totally agree that Aileen had a terrible life; it still cannot be denied that she killed seven men which I fail to understand how she can be ‘the wind beneath our feminist wings’. Is that to say you are condoning the murders of men who were paying for sex, which Aileen was advertising?
    I certainly believe the first court case she should have been acquitted from on the grounds of self defense, that man was a monster but why was the evidence that he had served time not brought forward to the jury? That makes me very angry.
    However the next six were cold blooded murder; she was doing it for the financial gain and this cannot be disputed. Furthermore her girlfriend should have been put on trial too; she totally betrayed Aileen.

    All this aside, Aileen did have a terrible life and right to the end she was exploited by people who were meant to be on her side. This born again christian who adopted her should be ashamed to have so obviously used her.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      Hello Joe, thanks for stopping by.

      I agree with all that you said except for the part about her killing the last 6 men in “cold blood.” Prostitution is paid rape, so that right there is a huge factor to take into consideration; along with the fact that most, if not all prostituted women fantasize about killing the men who pay to fuck them. Why? Because it is paid rape.

      Secondly, Aileen herself admitted to documentarian Nick Broomfield (when she thought the cameras weren’t rolling) that those last 6 murders were all self-defense, but because of her idiot lawyer and parasitic christian “adopted mother/friend”, she didn’t follow through with this defense. I doubt it would have helped though, because she was a woman, and a prostitute, up against the world — two categories the colonist male supremacist culture despises in a human being.

      I agree that her girlfriend Tyria should have been put on trial, but for what? It was all because of her that they busted Aileen. And Tyria was the one pushing Aileen to prostitute with strangers, outside of her ring of (safer) “regulars”, which is what put her in more danger, which made her kill. See, I think at the base of this whole thing, is the fact that most people don’t understand how horrifically violent and terrifying prostitution is. As I said in the post, due to this fact, its a wonder she didn’t kill more than 7 men, because the vast, vast majority of “men” who buy sex, are sadistic woman-haters.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      “Perhaps it was her own trauma that triggered her assumptions and her violent reactions, and that would then lead her to kill six more men over the course of the next year. Yet, despite Wuornos’s apparent mental health problems, her assumptions weren’t totally off-base. In studying the habits of serial killers who prey upon prostituted women and girls, it is clear how disposable these women and girls are seen to be. A Canadian commission found that women in the sex industry are 40 times more likely to be murdered than other women. Another study put the estimate as high as 130 times more likely to be murdered.”

      From this article:

  13. Steve Corner says:

    Why are you honoring a murderer? Are you people sick?

  14. Marty says:

    Think people. Switch the genders and have the guy killing women. Would you still be glorifying him? Would any of these Excuses justify the murder of your mother, sister or friend? Look at the woman who you love and is most important in your life and see someone glorifying the person who murdered them. That person is you.

  15. Greg Allan says:

    So if I were to go forth and butcher the aunt who molested me when I was seven and eight years of age I could count on Feminist Rag to write a blog piece supporting and justifying that retributive action?

    • andrew says:

      What a scumbag misnadrist piece of shit this article is defaming men WHO have been found not guilty of rape. The biggest hypocrisy of feminist bigots – when a woman kills seven men, oh she must have been raped by the men (despite no evidence found by anyone) but when elliot rodgers a lunatic man kills 2 women and 6 men its all the fault of MRAs! I am happy that MRAs are highlighting this article and exposing the hypocrisy of male hating feminist assholes

    • Feminist Rag says:

      As I’ve explained numerous times in the comments section, I do not justify murder, ever, there is no justification, but I do believe in REASONS because reasons are how we understand things, if we care to prevent them in the future. If you killed your aunt who molested you when you were a kid, I would not think you were a monster or judge you for it, I would understand it and feel compassion for you and think the whole situation was a tragedy, and then if the government went on to murder you for it, like they did Aileen, I would think it was a double tragedy, just like with Aileen.

  16. Ralf M. says:

    This is so much feminist hypocis here that everybody with a brain can see that this is just typical feminist mantra that women are victims not matter what they do, and men and perpetrates now matter what has been done to them.
    And it does not matter if there is evidence for the one or the other. The word of women that makes her a victim is always more valuable then any evidence of lack of evidence.
    Who needs evidence when you KNOW that women are always victims and men are always perpetrates?
    And women NEVER lie about murder, DV, rape etc ect. Never. So why do you even ask for prove when you have the word of a women, which we know is the divine trues, because it is from a women.
    Just skip the process, let her run free, lock up the guy and save some tax money.

  17. Beverly says:

    I’m so glad I found this site. Thank you for sharing this. I still think about poor Aileen and how unfortunate her life was and still can’t believe that this one person endured so much pain and manipulation in one life time.
    I hope she is at peace.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      Thanks for your comment Beverly, it’s a refreshing one after getting a slew of angry, ignorant men commenting here in the last week. Aileen sure did endure so much, and was such a strong woman. She had her dignity right til the end, for those who bothered to really SEE this woman. I think wherever she is now, has GOT to be better than what her life was here.

  18. Nathalie says:

    Aileen you will always be loved. You have your peace now and love you deserve. Most people don t understand why, because they don t have been threw that life you had. I love you in every kind of way. May the angels protect you,may the sadness forget you,may goodness surround you and may god always bless you. People they don t understand it, have no sympathy at all. I love you with all my heart! Rest in Peace my Angel.
    Your Nathalie.

  19. You people are disgusting and should be ashamed. This murderer is a hero for murdering seven men? So, as feminists, you feel that it is okay to kill men because some men have been violent to some women? Doesn’t that make all of you just as horrible as the wife beaters that roam our streets? I understand an eye for an eye, but that’s not what this woman did. She murdered innocent people because she was angry for what other men had done to her. What if one of the murdered men had been your father, your brother, or your son? Would you still call her a hero.

    shame on you all. You’re not feminists. You’re violence and testosterone disguised under the falty premise of “feminism.”

    I believe in equal rights FOR ALL PEOPLE. I believe in empowering women. I believe in justice. I don’t believe in murder, hatred, violence.

    Apparently, you all do.

  20. Rick Cundiff says:

    Aileen Wuornos was no hero, and in her own words — which I recorded in a face-to-face interview with her — was no victim. While working as a newspaper reporter, I interviewed her in June 2001. She denied being mistreated by ANY of her victims, Including Mallory. She freely acknowledged she wanted to kill, and would kill again if given the opportunity. She had no reservations about killing seven men in cold blood. Did she have a terrible life? Yes. Was she acting in self-defense SEVEN times? In my opinion, not at all.!topic/alt.true-crime/zITSQCSf42I

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