Last Friday was a beautiful, summer day in Minnesota. After a long winter, bright blue skies and warm weather had finally arrived and I was looking forward to a lovely, three-day holiday weekend that would launch us into summer. Then I read the news and my heart sank. Another devastating killing spree had shocked our nation. Another disillusioned young white man by the name of Elliot Rodger had taken out his displeasure on the world by killing six innocent others near the campus of University of California in Santa Barbara . Yet this time, he had another motive: Misogyny, the hatred of women and girls.
His disturbing YouTube video illustrating his utter hatred of women has shocked and angered people across the globe. And his shooting rampage has sparked a global feminist outcry of anger, rage, grief and sadness in social media with many women sharing their own stories of harassment, sexism, violence and rape.
An exempt from the transcript of his video is enough to make you sick:
“Hi, Elliot Rodger here. Well, this is my last video. It all has to come to this. Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you.
For the last eight years of my life, since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, never to me. 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. I take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male. [laughs]
The social media hashtag #YesAllWomen that has been used on Facebook and Twitter since last Friday has been trending worldwide and continues to rush out a torrent of tweets at breakneck speed. On Sunday, the hashtag peaked at 61,500 tweets per Twitter and continues to run strong with continuous tweets about life in a sexist world. The hashtag which didn’t even exist before May 24th has been attached to over 1.2 million tweets and isn’t showing any signs yet of slowing down per Mashable. Similar to the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls that was invented as an outcry over the Nigerian school girls kidnapped on April 15th by extremists, #YesAllWomen has become a social media phenomenon as a way for people to use their collective voice to promote change.
Some of the most powerful tweets I’ve read on #YesAllWomen are a powerful reminder that women are not safe, no matter where they live. I’ve written extensively on my blog about women’s rights and violence against women in poor, developing countries however obviously violence against women and sexism continue to be blatant even in our own country.