The violent mass killing that happened in Isla Vista, California USA is disturbing enough but the reason behind it is even more terrifying. Six people were murdered and thirteen others were injured when Elliot Rodgers, 22, a student of the University of California Santa Barbara went on a shooting spree. In his manifesto and the equally disturbing video he posted on Youtube the night before the shooting happened, Rodgers ranted for nearly seven minutes against women who he said rejected him and popular kids who ignored him. Rodger stabbed his roommates, ran over some bicyclist and skateboarders on the street, shot at an innocent customer at a deli store and shot three college girls outside their sorority house just because he couldn’t get a girlfriend. Two of them are dead.
“You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because … I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman.” – Rodgers said in the last video he posted on Youtube. His manifesto obtained by CNN is just as terrifying. It also contains reasons why he hates all women and that he respects any man who can get a girlfriend so easily like his father.
Apparently, Rodgers saw women as objects that he is entitled to have. For him, a woman does not have the right to say ‘no’ to men. They exist to be his girlfriend. Women are just companions, lovers and friends who have to do whatever the supreme gentleman says. This is misogyny in its purest form and what’s worse is there are actually some people (mostly men) who are supporting Rodgers saying that “this is what women get when they friendzone nice guys” and that “they deserve it”.
This gave birth to the trending #YesAllWomen to raise awareness that this mass shooting isn’t the only incident of misogynistic murder around the world and ALL WOMEN have experienced being harassed at some point in her lifetime. In fact, according to the statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the USA, there are more women who got killed by men; their husbands or their boyfriends than there are soldiers who got killed in the war in Iraq (Figures from 2011-2012 only) .
To provide even more proof that this is happening around the world, a tumblr website called WhereWomen Refuse.tumblr.com collects all the stories of abused women around the world. And it’s shocking to know that there are a lot of cases involving women getting murdered for saying ‘no’ to a guy at a party, women who get beaten up by complete strangers simply because they did not flirt back and women getting killed by their own husbands or boyfriends for refusing sex. It’s horrible, it’s happening, it’s real and very few people are doing something about it.
And yet people still ask why we need feminism?
This issue here isn’t about the male agenda or guns; this is about women continually fighting for their right to be safe. This is about women having to carry pepper sprays in their purses everyday in case they get attacked.This is about women who have texted each other if they got home safe. This is about women who are afraid to wear short shorts or sleeveless blouses so men won’t say that ‘they’re asking for it. This is about women portrayed by the media as damsels in distress, as prizes and as objects of sexual gratification. This is about teaching your girls not to get raped instead of teaching your boys not to rape. This is about a war against women that has been going on for ages and still, there is not enough being done about it.
May this shooting spree open all of our eyes to what’s really happening around us. Let’s not turn a blind eye to those who are oppressed by this patriarchal society that shaped our morals and beliefs. As long as you are thinking that some people are superior to others because of their gender, race or ability, then you are thinking just like the killer and you are part of what is wrong in this world. The fight for equality should be everyone’s battle.