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The Wollaston rape should be charged as a hate crime

The suspect allegedly tried to kidnap another victim that same day and exposed himself to another last month.

How many women will be brutalized or die before we recognize the ways women are violently targeted?Jae C. Hong/Associated Press/Associated Press

A date is what he called it.

She does not know where she was taken, but he reportedly took his time torturing the woman, in her 60s, who was on her way to work.

Police say he kidnapped her from the Wollaston Red Line station at 7 on a Saturday morning. She was cuffed, eyes and mouth taped shut; he stole and broke bits of her. Rape does that. It sinks its violence into your psyche and spirit, violating your safety in ways that require healing as a lifetime practice.

Christian M. Lynch might be a monster. She said he strangled her and took her dentures. He allegedly raped and sexually assaulted her for hours. Then he threw her out of his car in a Brockton parking lot.

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“I thought I was going to die,” the woman told authorities through a translator, speaking Toisanese, a Chinese dialect.

We have lost so many women to men. I fear we will lose many more.

Nearly 1,800 women were murdered by men in 2019, according to a study by the Violence Policy Center. The Human Rights Campaign reports at least 32 transgender people have been killed in 2022 — most of them transgender women of color.

One out of every six women in America are survivors of a completed or attempted rape, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Most times, women are victims of men they know. But even when the violator is a stranger, it’s clear women are under attack in this country.

Lynch is being held without bail. He has not yet been charged with a hate crime. But he could be.

Hate crimes, as defined by the Department of Justice, are crimes motivated by bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.

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Near the Nickerson Rock walking trails in Quincy last month, he allegedly exposed his genitals to a woman.

And just 10 minutes before he kidnapped his 60-year-old Asian victim Saturday morning, he allegedly attempted to abduct another Asian woman at the Wollaston Red Line station. She escaped.

Police are still investigating, but there’s a possibility he is targeting Asian women. An FBI report found crimes against Asians rose from 161 in 2019 to 279 in 2020 — the largest jump of any group — a 73 percent surge.

Even if he’s not exclusively targeting Asian women, apparently he views women as prey.

He’s tired of online dating profiles, he said to authorities, according to police. Exhausted by women, he went out and took one.

“This is me going out into the world getting a date,” he told police. Arraigned on charges including rape, kidnapping, strangulation, and assault and battery on a person age 60 or older, Lynch pleaded not guilty.

In a country that struggles to recognize a woman’s right to her own body, it is rare we register crimes against women as anti-woman or hate crimes. Of course he thinks he’s innocent.

A woman has to fight to maintain control of her personhood each day, be it as small as the twist of her hair, catching an Uber, or as major as choosing if and when she wants to give birth. This is the country where you can be forced to carry a child and yet homicide, as Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers found, is a leading cause of death of pregnant women.

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There is little protection for a woman in America.

Surveillance footage shows, according to the police report, Lynch aggressively putting the woman in the back of his car at Wollaston Station on Saturday morning. She was purportedly kicking her feet trying to get away.

But Lynch’s narrative in the report is she got in the car voluntarily, telling police it was: consensual rough sex.

We teach boys and men that a woman does not belong to herself. Perhaps this is where the hate becomes intrinsically understood, where an anti-femme lens is established. I learned to separate myself from my body long ago and it’s taken a lifetime to put myself back together again.

Did it start with the trauma I endured as a child? Or was it that homework assignment with the boy from class?

He did not hit. He did not yell. He just took. And if my mind wandered far enough away, the guy I was studying with was not raping me. That couldn’t be his hands casually cuffed around my bony wrists holding me down. That was a 103-pound shell underneath him.

Me? I was somewhere in the air trying to cling to pieces of peace and bury it all in my mind.

I do not know if I was one or one of many. He did not call it rape. We do not call rape hate. It was him, out in the world, as Lynch would say, “getting a date.”

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It was just another day in his American life.


Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at jenee.osterheldt@globe.com. Follow her @sincerelyjenee and on Instagram @abeautifulresistance.