Campus Killings Set Off Anguished Conversation About the Treatment of Women

ISLA VISTA, Calif. — A deadly attack by a gunman obsessed by grievances toward women near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has touched off an anguished conversation here and on social media about the ways women are perceived sexually and the violence against them.

“If we don’t talk misogyny now, when are we going to talk about it?” asked Nancy Yang, a second-year global studies major, as she stood a few feet from a memorial created in the wake of the rampage on Friday night that left six people and the gunman dead and 13 wounded.

“Yes, we have to have compassion, and we don’t know what this perpetrator was going through, but there are underlying issues here,” she said. “We can’t do that without thinking about the way we talk about and speak to women. This act does not represent our campus at all, but at the same time there’s a palpable sense that there needs to be more dialogue about the factors that led to it.”

Complete story in the New York Times

California shooting spree: further proof that misogyny kills

Attributing the rampage in Isla Vista to ‘a madman’ ignores a stark truth about our society

We should know this by now, but it bears repeating: misogyny kills.

On Friday night, (May 23, 2014) a man – identified by police as Elliot Rodgers – allegedly seeking “retribution” against women whom he said sexually rejected him went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, California, killing six people and sending seven more to the hospital with serious gunshot injuries. Three of the bodies were reportedly removed from Rodger’s apartment.

Before the mass murder he allegedly committed, 22-year-old Rodger – also said to have been killed Friday night – made several YouTube videos complaining that he was a virgin and that beautiful women wouldn’t pay attention to him. In one, he calmly outlined how he would “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut I see”.

According to his family, Rodger was seeking psychiatric treatment. But to dismiss this as a case of a lone “madman” would be a mistake.

It not only stigmatizes the mentally ill – who are much more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it – but glosses over the role that misogyny and gun culture play (and just how foreseeable violence like this is) in a sexist society. After all, while it is unclear what role Rodger’s reportedly poor mental health played in the alleged crime, the role of misogyny is obvious.

In his final video, Rodger opined:

College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure, but in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness, it’s not fair … I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it.

Rodger, like most young American men, was taught that he was entitled to sex and female attention. (Only last month, a young woman was allegedly stabbed to death for rejecting a different young man’s prom invitation.) He believed this so fully that he described women’s apathy toward him as an “injustice” and a “crime”.

You forced me to suffer all my life, now I will make you all suffer. I waited a long time for this. I’ll give you exactly what you deserve, all of you. All you girls who rejected me, looked down upon me, you know, treated me like scum while you gave yourselves to other men.

Rodger was reportedly involved with the online men’s rights movement: allegedly active on one forum and said to have been following several men’s rights channels on YouTube. The language Rodger used in his videos against women – like referring to himself as an “alpha male” – is common rhetoric in such circles.

These communities are so virulently misogynist that the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks hate groups, has been watching their movements for years.

Yet, as the artist Molly Crabapple pointed out on Twitter: “White terrorism is always blamed on guns, mental health – never poisonous ideology.”

If we need to talk about this tragic shooting in terms of illness, though, let’s start with talking about our cultural sickness – a sickness that refuses to see misogyny as anything other than inevitable.

Complete story

The Anti-Domestic and Sexual Violence Movement in Deaf America 1986-2013

Sesquicentennial Lecture Series – The Anti-Domestic and Sexual Violence Movement in Deaf America 1986-2013

In response to the murder of a Deaf woman by her abusive husband the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) started what is now considered the beginning of the anti-domestic and anti-sexual violence movement in Deaf America.

Assessing Dangerousness in Men Who Abuse Women

WHY DOES HE DO THAT? Book by Lundy Bancroft.

Article by Lundy Bancroft

A danger assessment should include taking these factors particularly seriously:

  • The woman has a strong “gut” sense that the man could kill her or her children, or could carry out a serious and dangerous assault against any of them or against himself.
  • He is extremely jealous and possessive. This characteristic becomes even more worrisome when even more worrisome when he appears to be obsessive, constantly keeping her at the center of his thoughts and appearing to be unable to conceive of life without her. He has, for example, made statements such as, “If I can’t have you, nobody will.”
  • He has a history of severe or very frequent violence toward her, or toward other individuals such as past partners.
  • He follows her, monitors her whereabouts, uses high-tech means to keep tabs on her, or stalks her in other ways.
  • He knows where she lives and works, knows names and addresses of her friend or relatives, or is in very familiar with her daily routines.
  • She is taking steps to end the relationship, or has already done so.
  • He was violent to her during a pregnancy.
  • There are stepchildren involved.
  • He has threatened to kill her or to hurt her severely, has strangled her, or has threatened her with a weapon (including making verbal reference to using a weapon, even if he did not actually brandish it)
  • He has threatened to kill the children or the whole family.
  • He has access to weapons and/or he is familiar with their use.
  • He is depressed, suicidal, or shows signs of not caring what happens to him. He has, for example, threatened to kill himself if she leaves him.
  • He is unemployed.
  • He isn’t close to anyone, and no current relationships with friends or relatives are important to him.
  • He has a significant criminal history and/or he has a history of using violence or threatening violence against other people.
  • He abuses alcohol or drugs heavily, especially if his habits involve daily or nearly daily intoxication.
  • He has been violent to children.
  • He has killed or in other ways been violent to pets, or has used other terror tactics.
  • He uses pornography heavily and/or has a history or perpetrating sexual violence or degradation against his partner or others.
  • He has exhibited extreme behaviors when his current partner or past partners have made attempts to leave him.

whydoesOrder the book – Why Does He Do That?