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Mississippi Lawmaker Arrested for Allegedly Assaulting His Wife When She Undressed Too Slowly

These are the people legislating our bodies.

Rep. Doug McLeod poses for his mugshot.

Content warning: violence against women.

In many of the recent bills proposed and/or passed restricting abortion access, there is text included about how the bill “protects” women. Presumably, women are being protected from ourselves, since so many of us are out here saying no thank you to that offer of protection, but that’s still what many of the men and white women who write and vote for these laws say they are doing. Of course, as we know, this has never been about protecting the bodies of women and other marginalized people. It’s about controlling them.

Male politicians (on both sides of the aisle, although it does seem to be heavily weighted to the right) are constantly demonstrating their total lack of respect for the very woman whose bodies they insist on legislating. Just take Missouri’s House Speaker, Elijah Haahr, who clearly takes our reproductive health super seriously.

But the hypocrisy in Republicans’ need to control our bodies while continuously denigrating them has never been clearer than when Mississippi state Rep. Douglas McLeod was arrested this week for allegedly assaulting his wife.

Mississippi has the most heavily male-dominated statehouse in the country, with women making up just 14% of the legislature. Mississippi is one of the wave of states that recently passed extreme, restrictive abortion legislation. McLeod was one of the representatives to vote in favor of his state’s move to ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

According to the Sun Herald, McLeod was arrested after allegedly punching his wife in the face “when she failed to get undressed quickly enough when he wanted to have sex.” Another unnamed woman present reportedly helped McLeod’s wife lock herself in a bedroom, and says McLeod told her that if she didn’t open the door, he’d “kill her (expletive) dog.”

According to the police report, McLeod was intoxicated and holding an alcoholic drink when police showed up. When they told him they were there in response to a report of domestic assault, he replied, “Are you kidding me?”

A number of McLeod’s colleagues have supported his resignation, as they should.

McLeod isn’t fit for public service—he should not be making any policy (or, really, doing anything at all besides sitting in jail)—but the fact that he was able to cast a vote in favor of heavily regulating women’s and other marginalized people’s bodies, when he has so clearly demonstrated his level of disrespect and even loathing for those bodies, is incredibly disturbing and should not be tolerated.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has resources you can use. Call or visit 24/7: / 1-800-799-7233.

(via Refinery29, image: George County)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.