A few weeks ago, Elliot Rodgers went on a killing spree in UC Sta. Barbara. He killed six people and injured 13 others before finally turning the gun onto himself. Upon investigation, the police discovered a 140-page manifesto and several YouTube videos wherein he rants that it’s an injustice that girls aren't attracted to him. "I'm the perfect guy," he says in the video, "and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman."
What's horrifying about this whole situation is that if you take a look online, there are a lot of comments that are actually agreeing with Elliot Rodgers. People agree that girls who reject guys deserve to die, and that there's nothing wrong with a society that continues to vilify girls for exercising their right to say no.
The #YesAllWomen hashtag is an online response to the argument that not all men are violent and abusive towards women. If everything in that hashtag seems familiar, it's probably because we've all had these thoughts at one point or another.
We understand #notallmen are horrible and scary, but enough men *are* that #yesallwomen live in fear of rape, assault, and violence.— #YesAllWomen (@yesaIIwomen) June 2, 2014
Because a man's biggest blind date fear is her BMI and a woman's is never making it home. #YesAllWomen— Jordan Krebsbach (@JordanKrebsbach) May 29, 2014
Because my dudefriends think I'm rude/overreacting when I don't want to talk to male strangers who are "just being friendly." #YesAllWomen— Betty Felon ◐ᴗ◐ (@bettyfelon) May 29, 2014
I shouldn't have to hold my car keys in hand like a weapon & check over my shoulder every few seconds when I walk at night #YesAllWomen— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) May 25, 2014
#YesAllWomen because we're taught "don't get raped" not "don't rape"— s (@sydshee) May 28, 2014
In light of the #YesAllWomen movement, here are 5 things we want all Candy Girls to know:
- If you've ever been a victim of harassment or assault, it was not your fault. It doesn't matter that you were out late at night, or that you were wearing shorts and a tank top. Society teaches us that girls need to dress and act in ways that won’t attract unwanted attention instead of teaching guys to respect girls no matter what they may or may not be wearing. It is not our responsibility to curb guys' inappropriate urges.
- If he's only nice to you because he wants to be in a relationship with you, he's not a nice guy. We are not obliged to return anybody's affections no matter how nice of a guy he thinks he is. If he thinks that being your friend is not as valuable as being in a romantic relationship with you, then he's not a nice guy.
- You deserve to feel safe. Don't ever let anybody tell you that your fears aren't valid or that you're whining and overreacting because "it happens to everyone." Sexual violence is not and should never be normal.
- "No" means "no." It is a full sentence. It does not need to be justified, nor is it synonymous with "convince me."
- You can change things. Reading these kinds of stories may be depressing but it’s in learning about tragedies do we begin to question the kind of society that we live in.
Do you have your own #YesAllWomen story to share? We're here and we're listening.