No one disputes the facts of the case. After a brief marriage, a 60-year-old California business owner filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. He allowed his wife, Catherine Becker, to remain in his condominium while the divorce was finalized.
But Becker apparently became consumed by a jealous rage over the man’s new-found romantic interest. So last Monday she drugged the man, lashed him to a bed, severed his penis with a 10-inch knife, and tossed the appendage into a garbage disposal.
Most were appalled and outraged. “It’s hard to believe what would motivate a person to do this sort of thing,” said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. “It’s one of the worst things you could do to a person short of killing him.”
Ali Ammar, who handles hundreds of divorce and domestic disputes a year with Orange Detective Agency in Irvine, commented, “I’ve seen people with their heads blown off, but this story makes me cringe,” Not surprisingly, Judge Debra Carrillo ordered Becker held without bail.
But for some, the incident was cause for merriment and glee.
Veronica Roberts of California made light of the incident, headlining how Becker made “mince meat” of her victim’s appendage. “Another women performed a ‘Bobbit’ and goes for the cleaver,” she wrote cheerfully.
Leigh Moody, anchor at KSPR-TV in Springfield, Missouri, prefaced her blog entry with the words, “Revenge Attack.” Apparently Ms. Moody was not troubled by the notion of vigilante justice implicit in her headline.
At SodaHead News, the attack was cause for ribald hilarity. “What’s up with all these severed penises? It’s like the new go-to punishment for unruly husbands.”
The blogger at Hegemony Heights was inspired to pen this light-hearted limerick:
There once was a woman called Becker
who cut off her poor husband’s pecker
On her way to divorce
she used drugs and some force
to become the ultimate home wrecker
But some dispensed with the façade of facetiousness.
At The Stir, Maijken Brence wrote, “some men deserve things like this happening to them.” And over at the Online Dish, Kim commented, “the jaw dropper is the garbage disposal part…hahaha.”
And the inevitable Facebook page offering approving “You go girl!” call-outs for Becker: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Catherine-Kieu-Becker-Fan-page/111461202282860
When Wendy Williams was asked about the incident, the TV personality quipped,
“When you cross a woman, all is fair.” Finding humor in the garbage disposal, Williams joked, “It was more efficient than throwing it in a field, where they could pick it up.”
Over at ABC’s The Talk, Sharon Osbourne decided it was time to goose her audience ratings. So after averring she didn’t know the circumstances for his decision to file for the divorce (did the reasons really matter?), she described the incident as “hysterical” and summed it up with the remark, “it’s quite fabulous.”
A couple days later Osbourne issued an apology, stating, “I do not condone genital mutilation and I didn’t mean any harm by laughing about it and I’m sorry that I offended people ‘cause that’s not my intention or the intention of the show – it’s not what we are about.”
But that apology misses the mark. The issue is not whether Osbourne intended to offend her viewers or whether people were in fact offended. The point is, Osbourne indulged in grossly inappropriate behavior in a way that minimized the grotesque incident and ridicule men.
Let’s call it woman’s inhumanity to man.