Guardian Op-Ed: Domestic violence, a Latina feminist perspective
San Francisco Bay Guardian / Myrna Melgar
28-Mar-2012 (15 comments)

Myrna Melgar is a Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and a mother of three girls.

Eliana Lopez is my friend. I have asked for her permission to put into words, in English, some observations, thoughts and insights reached during our many conversations these past few weeks about her experience with San Francisco's response to the allegation of domestic violence by her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. We hope this will lead to a teachable moment for law enforcement and anti-domestic-violence advocates about cultural sensitivity — and will lead to honest discussions about the meaning of empowerment of women.

We hope that Eliana's experience, and our shared perspective, will prompt some analysis among feminists, advocates, and the progressive community in general about the impact of the criminalization of low-level, first offenses of domestic violence on this one immigrant woman — and the implications for all immigrant women and other women of color.

Eliana Lopez came to San Francisco from Venezuela with hope in her head and love in her heart. She decided to leave behind her beautiful city of Caracas, a successful career as an actress, and her family and friends, following the dream of creating a family and a life with a man she had fallen in love with but barely knew, Ross Mirkarimi.

recommended by Nazy Kaviani


G. Rahmanian

Dear VPK:

by G. Rahmanian on

That was my thought as well. Why should Mr. Mirkarimi stay in SF when his family is Venezuela? If I were him, I would move there and turn this case into an international uproar against those who politicize every aspect of human life. Knowing the politics in Venezuela, he may even become a celebrity overnight.

I have read about your desire to move out of the US some day and live some place else. I wish you good luck. I have also read your comments about wanting to live a life cleansed of all politics.

Trust me, that is the most respectable way of living. Countless times, I have repeated a line from the movie, Dr. Zhivago, where Dr. Zhivago(Omar Sharif) is asked by a revolutinary what he was going to do, he replied: "I'm going to live!"

Do Not Shoot Me

Angry feminists on this site owe everyone an apology.

by Do Not Shoot Me on

Angry feminists on this site owe everyone an apology. 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Dear G, Rahmanian

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Yes indeed; she asked for immunity to testify and was not given it. Basically the deal was that she either lies and implicates her husband or gets prosecuted for not lying. Here cruelty is from SF politics not the world.

One thing I learned about the various "advocates" is they are often vindictive and nasty. They are so full of themselves that you follow the line or are "evil". They fail to differentiate between Mirkarimi and OJ Simpson. One accusation makes you the as bad as a war criminal. One person was comparing a bruise with murder of 6 million Jews. It is frighting to see these people advising women on their problems. 

At this point I will not at all be surprised if Lopez decides to remain in Venezuela. Might as well go back to her old acting career and give a nice finger to SF. But what about Mirkarimi and his son? If Lopez does not return he might as well move. Find something to do there and let SF fester in its own garbage.

G. Rahmanian

Dear VPK:

by G. Rahmanian on

One of the most amazing things about this case is Mr. Mirkarimi's spouse being threatened with criminal prosecution. It is indeed sickening.

There's a cruel and inhuman world out there.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Dear G, Rahmanian

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Yes it is a very litigation happy nation but this is a special one. Mirkarimi was lynched by a mob of his political enemies. They were helped by the politically correct so called victim rights types who jump on any accusation as fact.

The judges did nothing to protect his or his families rights. They all fell into line just like Salem witch trials. Only a few raised their voice and where brutally attacked by "anti violence advocates". Really funny thing is their self righteous posts on SFGate. One compared Mirkarimi's alleged bruising with Nazi war crimes. Another one writes on Huffington post about "Fight against violence". Very telling mentality which is unable to think in any way other than war even against violence. Moderators on Huffington Post have been removing most posts that question the attacks on Mirkarimi. This whole thing sickens me. 

Right now victim advocates are in SF padding each other's backs. Sitting on ashes of Mirkarimi family and gloating over their "accomplishments".  One sick bunch.

G. Rahmanian

A thought-provoking article!

by G. Rahmanian on

A thought-provoking article. But where are the people with the mental capacity to grasp the implications of its message in a country where using and abusing the legal system has become a pastime for millions.

Don't people living in the oldest and the most advanced democracy in the world ever wonder why there is such a need for so many lawyers? 1.2 million? That is one lawyer for every 275 citizens.

Reading the article above and having read some others about "high-profile" cases, it is not so difficult to see that in the US the existing legal system has created an environment where many people are constantly policing each other.

It's a shame!


I think I was one of the first readers of this article when it appeared on the main page. I don't always check the second page. I wrote the above comment, but did not post it. That happens a lot.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


It is amazing that an issue of such importance gets just 8 posts. 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Rastin Jan

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Thank you; I appreciate your words.

I never really left but just have not been around that much. Honestly I am really busy with other things.


Glad to see

by Rastin on

that you returned VPK-jan.  


'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory (courtesy of Bavafa)

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Political witch burning

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Mr. Mirkarimi has been the subject of a vile political persecution. If you go to SFGate and read the remarks you will see what his opponents are up to. Many of whom are SF police. 

When I read their sentiments I shuddered and thought I would be safer in deep south than "Liberal" San Francisco. Mirkarimi somehow got on the wrong side of Willie Brown gang and was persecuted for it. His persecutors include Ed Lee who got "elected" with massive voter fraud that put Bush to shame. Willie Brown who is afraid Mirkarimi may get in the way of his sweet real estate deals and so on. Much money and power is in play. 

What to do? Given our numbers in CA we are able to make a political difference. Next election is in November. Many of these people have bigger ambitions; my advise: let them know you will NEVER vote for them. Here are the names:

  • George Gascon - prosecutor
  • Ed Lee - mayor who has suspended Mirkarimi based on acts he may have committed *before* he took office. Mirkarimi is fighting back in courts.
  • Gavin Newsom - Lt. governor of California and former mayor of San Francisco. A Willie Brown protege who appointed Ed Lee.
  • Casa De Madres - the so called "Anti Domestic Violence" group who convicted Mirkarimi before he even got to court. Put up billboards to taint the jury pool and railroad Mirkarimi.
  • Judges; look up the names yourself- one who gave an order against the advise of Child Protection Services to prohibit Mirkarimi from even having *supervised* visitation of his son. Rule later overturned by another judge.

As I write this Mr. Mirkarimi is not even allowed to go to his own home. His wife was given permission by a judge to go to Venezuela where it is anybody's guess whether she will return. 

This is the justice of SF and it "convict first; never ask questions" so called "anti-Violence" groups. The misery they inflicted on this family is so over the top that will be for text books in years to come putting SF on top of hall of shame. 



by yolanda on

So the guy is disowned by his dad! Very sad story! Maybe it is one of reasons that he is testy and irascible!

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

No comment is the best comment.

Author unknown                                  Maziar


Suggested reading for author

by ILoveIran on

Mohammad Ala

My comment posted under the article by my name.

by Mohammad Ala on

The problem was not handled properly.  Thanks Nancy for your clarification.

 A number of people have exploited the situation and made it a disaster for the Mirkarimi family.
The powers in San Francisco did not want Mirkarimi for Sheriff.

Sheila K

Agenda: Bring down Karimi, Pronto!

by Sheila K on

This thing has been blown out of proportion and is totally political and I am sensing some kind of internal conflict or racism within San Francisco's own Police and Judicial systems. It looks like they want to bring down Karimi for some reason. The SF police is not so innocent when it comes to racism and violence. Remember the BART shootings?  This was a private matter and should've remained that way. This is not a story of an abused-incompetent-poor-little-immigrant-woman--Eliana is no where near that. This is interference in Karimi's private life as an excuse to destroy him.