As we continue to process the events of last Friday, in which 22-year-old Elliot Rodgers went on an anti-woman shooting spree he deemed “the Day of Retribution” in order to punish those women who rebuffed him, one hashtag has been proliferating immensely on Twitter. With “#YesAllWomen,” many Twitter have been sharing their experiences as women in a culture where they do not feel safe.
In a break from our usual format, we are sharing some important writing on the shooting in Santa Barbara by a gunman who sought revenge against womankind for having refused to offer him sex and love.
Jessica Valenti writes at the Guardian about the mistake of identifying this incident as one person’s isolated delusion. Violence against women happens worldwide and every day on unfathomable scales. The gunman’s terrifying views have been shared so widely because they resonate with people. Shame from rejection is a powerful emotion, and is so often redirected as misplaced anger. And, tragically, fear of retribution for simply exerting our autonomy is a daily reality for many women, as the #YesAllWomen hashtag makes plain.
We will never stamp out violent incidents altogether, but it is a heartless mistake to continue ignoring the readily identifiable forces that drive violence against women. To be clear, nobody “owes” anybody else sex. Women do not exist for other people’s pleasure.