Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Growing Trend... Blaming Women to Justify Violence

The Memorial Day weekend began with horrific murders in Isla Vista, California. Elliot Rodger, a misogynistic 22 year, turned his anger towards sorority women who he felt rejected him decided he would “punish” women who he felt a sense of entitlement to their bodies went on a mass killing spree. He killed six individuals, severely wounded nine others and committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to his head.


On Friday, Rodger sent a one hundred and forty page manifesto to family and friends detailing how he would extract “retribution on reckoning day.” Prior to his manifesto, Rodger a college student at Santa Barbara City College, posted messages on forums and You Tube sprouting his delusional views, his lonely existence, and constant questioning why women were not interested in him. Rodger could not understand why a good looking “Eurasian with a shiny black BMW” could not get a date in a town filled with pretty blondes who rather spend time with a Black man instead of him.

Rodger had been in counseling since the age of eight years old. Rodger’s father was the assistant director of Games of Thrones and his mother once dated George Lucas and worked with Stephen Spielberg. Rodger was the very essence of white privilege. A young man who seemed to have it all, had bottled up rage that intensified over the years and he blamed women for it. Rodger’s indignation against women led him to plan to kill all of the members of the Tri Delta sorority house located near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Crime scene from Isla Vista shooting.
After stabbing to death his roommates, Rodger left his home on Friday evening determined to kill the sorority women. His attempts to get inside of the sorority house was foiled so he turned his hate on three women walking by and shot them several times at point blank range. Two of the three he shot, died outside of their sorority house. 
UCSB students gather at candle light vigil.
After he shot the sorority women, he drove around firing from his BMW while using his car as a weapon as he drove over anyone that was in his way. The hatred oozing from one man towards women has left six families struggling to comprehend losing a child away at college in such a senseless planned attack and a college community stunned at the rage that was inflicted on the innocent.

Rage against innocent women is being played out internationally as well. As we enter the sixth week of the Nigerian kidnapped school girls by terrorists, Boka Horam, the helplessness of their parents can be felt around the globe. Men with guns decided to burn a school to the ground and carry off young women and girls who were being educated as a show of masculine power to world leaders. Men with guns did not rage war against other men with guns, another country, their government or other militia. No, Boka Horam, which means Western education is sinful, decided to show what their definition of brute force by taking young women and girls in the middle of the night. To the dismay of the world, the Nigerian government and other countries have not been as quick to look for them as countries were willing to comb the bottom of the sea for months to search for passengers on a missing plane.
  
Nigerian School Girls in video provided by Boka Horam
To further torture the families of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls, Boka Horam videoed their kidnapped victims to proclaim that the young women and girls would be sold into slavery or married off to the lowest bidder if Boka Haram political prisoners were not released.  The young women and girls were the focus of violence; not the military, not the government, or other factions but the females in the countryside were targeted to accomplish the sadistic will of a terrorist organization.
  
Violence towards women is not just committed or cheered on by men. Bravo TV has help perfected violence-for-entertainment that pay great dividends to the network. The Real Housewives series have been steadily ramping up the friction between the women on the scripted show. Each year, the antics of the cast have continued to include more and more physical confrontations. In March at a taping, members of the Real Housewives of Atlanta took their personal grievances to another level that was aired in April. Porsha Williams after being taunted by Kenya Moore, assaulted Kenya Moore in a moment that was deemed “the weave snatch seen around the world.” Porsha decided to put an end to Kenya’s put downs and literally drug her by the hair across the floor while kicking and clawing the entire time. Instead of many condemning the attack, social media weighed in and many believed Porsha was justified in her actions. Bravo condemned the attack but continued to replay the show over and over every weekend since the initial showing of the reunion show in April. The network has been rewarded handsomely for continuing to show the violent profanity laced episode. The ratings of the Real Housewives of Atlanta netted Bravo it highest ratings since debuting the franchise and has spun off a number of ‘pundit style’ shows where the cast member discuss the fight. Each spin off or follow up show was heavily advertised and all have been highly rated. The demographics of viewers of Real Housewives of Atlanta are ages 24-54 year olds. There is no denying that the majority who watch the show, often called Sunday’s guilty pleasure, are women.

In order to address the ever increasing violence towards women that can take the form of revenge perpetrated by the misogyny ranting of an obsess sexless fiend, to political kidnappings around the world, to degrading reality shows disguised as entertainment, women must be willing to denounce all violence towards women. Women must stand united and strong in the narrative and not cherry pick one violent act over the other. Women must be the first to come to the aid of another woman. Often, that starts right in the places we often overlook; women groups, our communities, on the job, and in our places of worship. Until women condemn violence toward women first, violence towards women will continue to escalate and will be used to justify entertainment, political grandstanding, or a mass killing spree.


Photo credits: LA Times, New York Times, Gif Bravo TV 

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