United States: Killings in California Reveal Links Between Misogyny and Violence Against Women
Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:15 PM

The killing of six people near UC Santa Barbara by a young man who posted an angry video about women has ignited debate about the link between contempt for women, or misogyny, and acts of violence. Just before the attack in Isla Vista, California that left six people dead and 13 wounded, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger posted to YouTube a video expressing his rage and frustration at the women who had rejected his sexual advances and outlined his plan to “punish” women for their actions.

Many students at UC Santa Barbara are calling for public discourse about the societal implications of the attack and women’s fears of sexual violence. In interviews with The New York Times, many female students at UC Santa Barbara expressed concerns about their safety on a campus reputed for its “party culture” and about being subjected to verbal, physical and sexual harassment. One female student stated, “We don’t walk in groups because we like being in cliques; we have real concerns. We’re doing everything we can to be safe, but there’s no doubt that this is scary.” The discourse quickly expanded to social media, with hundreds of thousands of people using the hashtag #yesallwomen to express their views on violence against women and to share their personal experiences.

Rodger was reportedly involved with the online “men's rights” movement. The language he used in his videos and writings, such as calling himself an "alpha male," is common to the movement. During the attack, Rodger stabbed to death three men at his apartment, shot to death two women and seriously wounded another outside a sorority house at UC Santa Barbara. He then opened fire on bystanders as he drove through Isla Vista, killing one man and wounding 12 other people.

Compiled from: Medina, Jennifer, Campus Killings Set Off Anguished Conversation About the Treatment of Women, The New York Times (May 26, 2014); Valenti, Jennifer, Elliot Rodger's California shooting spree: further proof that misogyny kills, The Guardian (May 24, 2014); Lovett, Ian and Nagourney, Adam, Video Rant, Then Deadly Rampage in California Town, The New York Times (May 24, 2014).