In light of the recent violent acts that took place in Santa Barbara, an area we frequent often, an area that is home to many of our friends, we felt it was important to take a look at what it all means.
First, I'd like to address mental illness. Depression is a very real thing to suffer from. So is Aspergers' Syndrome. It's a form of autism that I'm extremely familiar with after working in childcare. People with Aspergers have a lot of trouble reading social situations and as a result struggle to interact with people (they often come across as socially awkward) as they can't read your changing facial expressions as subtle hints in the way that people without Aspergers do. You could see how this could make life a little lonely or difficult. Kids are cruel, and growing up it might be hard to find friends that get you. Not every person effected by Aspergers has this problem, equally important- it's not an excuse to lash out, at anyone.
Elliot Rodger stabbed three students in his apartment, and continued in a shooting spree to kill three more before crashing his car and committing suicide. I won't watch the Youtube video he posted. I refuse to hear his words, I don't want to be haunted by them. Rodger's parents called the police on their own son a few weeks before, he checked out okay- that's all they can do- and he'd been seeing a therapist for years before this rampage. It's obvious that his family was doing everything they could to ensure that he didn't harm others or himself, I don't believe they failed, this blame shouldn't fall of them. They couldn't have prevented this. Gun laws might have.
Most importantly, I want to address misogyny.
m i s o g y n y:
the hatred or dislike of women or girls.
"Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women."
Rodger's targeted women because he felt bullied and rejected by them. Unfathomable that a man thinks that should a woman deny him, he can kill her. Society allows men to degrade us, calls out rape victims for being drunk, dressing in minimal clothing. Society allows girls to be thrown out of school dances because their dancing and clothing 'turns on' the male chaperones. Society allows women to be sexually harassed on the bus, on the street, in the workplace without consequence.
We are not "asking for it" by how we dress, look, or sit. We do not want to be raped.
Women are raised in fear, to fear men. We are terrified to walk alone at night. We take precautions to ensure we can simply get home okay. We are scared to look at men, incase they come up to talk to us, to touch us when we are not asking for it.
f e m i n i s m:
collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women.
A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.
There is so much wrong with this world right now. How have we not recognized these simple notions. How have we not yet changed our ways? Men and women alike, educate yourself.
We have got to change our habits. We are society. Change the way you think and speak out about these topics. We have got to stop joking about these very serious situations, for the safety of everyone.
(If you haven't already, check out the #YesAllWomen trending movement on twitter. Stand up and together with other women and men who want to end this violence.)