The Nation

California Slayings Trigger Outcry at Misogyny

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Since the May 23 attack over a million people have written about their own experiences of everyday misogyny using the hashtag #YesAllWomen. A new Tumblr page, “When Women Refuse,” is collecting examples of violence that women suffer for rejecting sexual advances.

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Credit: Photo from Human Rights Commission 

 

(WOMENSENEWS)—In remembrance of the six U.C. Santa Barbara students killed May 23 in the beachside college town of Isla Vista, vigils will be held this week at University of California campuses across Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Elliot Rodger, a student at Santa Barbara City College, killed six students and wounded 13 others before taking his own life. In a video posted before the carnage—which YouTube has since removed along with all his previous videos--he documented his rage against women and recounted his sexual frustrations at being rejected by women, The New York Times reported. "I do not know why you girls aren't attracted to me but I will punish you all for it," he is quoted as saying in the video.
 
Rodger killed two women outside a sorority house but had planned to "slaughter" several more. He also detailed his hatred for women in a 137-page manifesto he emailed to his parents and two dozen others before embarking on the death spree. In it he blamed a “pretty blonde girl” for rejecting him in middle school. “She must have thought I was an ultimate loser,” Rodger wrote.
 
The New York Daily News reported May 27 thatthe father of the young woman says she is “devastated” and that he fears a “copycat” killer will now target his daughter. “The whole thing is so creepy,” the father was quoted as saying. “It’s scary. Even though he’s gone.” The story made the front page of the newspaper, which blurred the woman's face and said it would not be printing her name.
 
The New York Post, by contrast, not only plastered the woman's name and photo across its front page, The Huffington Post reported May 27, it also published a photo of the woman in a bikini.

Twitter Reacts

Right after the attack, Twitter subscribers began posting their own experiences of everyday misogyny using the hashtag #YesAllWomen. Over a million tweets decrying sexism, intimidation and gender violence have used the hashtag, Time reported May 26.
 
Here are some of the most recent of those tweets:
 
 
In parallel, a new Tumblr page called “When Women Refuse” is collecting examples of violence that women have suffered for rejecting the sexual advances of men, Think Progress reported May 27. “We still don’t view gender-based violence as a large cultural issue — we tend to think of these as isolated incidences,” Deanna Zandt, the feminist activist who started the Tumblr page, told Think Progress. “We still don’t view it as a larger problem within rape culture.”
 
The mass shootings once again highlight the threat that gun violence poses to women in the United States, said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which works against gun violence.
 
“In fact, women in the U.S. are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than in any other high-income country,” Watts said in an email interview with Women's eNews. In responding to the slayings, Watts quotes the father of one of the victims, Richard Martinez, who told the press "you don't think it'll happen to your child until it does."
 
“No parent should have to be part of an ever-growing group that has to bury their child when they are taken by gun violence,” said Watts.
 
Watts urges legislatives changes to keep guns away from dangerous people. “This means, closing the loopholes we have in our system and requiring a background check on all gun sales,” she said. “We know this works. In the 16 states that require background checks for private sales -- of which California is one – 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners and 39 percent fewer cops are killed with handguns.”
 
Hajer Naili is a New York-based reporter for Women's eNews. She has worked for several radio stations and publications in France and North Africa. She specializes in Middle East, North Africa and women in Islam.
 
 
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