Yes, All Women.

TRIGGER WARNING: extreme female-targeted violence, death, rape.

In Isla Vista, California, this weekend, six people have been killed in another act of mass violence perpetrated by a young white male. The shooter, Elliot Rodger, who apparently took his own life after being cornered by police, left behind a 140-page online manifesto detailing his motives. He talked of taking revenge on the ‘sluts’ who had sexually rejected him, who would ‘finally see’ that he was the ‘true alpha male’ when he took ‘great pleasure in slaughtering all of [them]’. After stabbing his roommates, he went to a sorority house and shot three women outside, killing two. He then drove around Isla Vista, shooting from his car.

The mindset that Rodger exhibited in his manifesto and his behaviour is not an isolated one. The kind of language he uses will be familiar to most internet users. Similar threats of violence, sexual and otherwise, are commonly deployed by (invariably male) opponents of (invariably female) feminists who dare to speak about their experiences and opinions online, such as Laurie Penny, Anita Sarkeesian, and others.

The idea that a woman owes a man sex in any situation is pervasive. The rape of a woman by her husband was only recognised as a crime in Scotland in 1982, and England in 1991. Statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that one in five women between the ages of 16 and 59 have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16, and Rape Crisis reports that only 15% of women who are sexually assaulted ever report it to the police. In the US, the cause of 37% of emergency room admissions for women is domestic violence. One in three women in Europe have been a victim of violence during their lifetime.

When, in the aftermath of the events in Isla Vista, women online pointed out the gendered nature of Rodger’s attacks, men rushed to point out ‘not all men’ commit violence against women. Although true, these men are missing the point by lightyears. The point is that all women are familiar with the sharp end of male violence. Yes, all women.

Mara Wilson: I don't think I've met a woman who didn't have a sexual assault/harrassment story, or hadn't had their lives affected by it. #YesAllWomen

On Twitter, women have taken to the hashtag #YesAllWomen to document their experiences with male harrassment and violence.

Michelle: #YesAllWomen because grown men started commenting openly on my body when I was 13 and holding my father's hand.

Bek Davis: Been verbally abused; publically groped by strangers; pinned against walls; date raped. And all of my friends can top that. #YesAllWomen

E. Catherine Tobler: I wish I could type it here. I tried all day. I still can't. #YesAllWomen

Edgar Allen Poe wrote in 1846 that “[t]he death then of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world … .” This year, an ad campaign for fashion label Marc Jacobs featured Miley Cyrus posing next to staged female corpses. These examples illustrate a toxic attitude towards women in western culture – an attitude that poses women, their sexuality and their deaths as consumable, as ownable, as something less than real.

All women are familiar with the restricted lifestyle ubiquitious male violence forces us to adopt – from holding your keys between your fingers when walking alone at night to desperately trying to appease capricious, abusive partners or family members. The overwhelming majority of my female and trans male friends have been sexually assaulted, and I suspect most people can honestly say the same. Female-targeted violence is epidemic, but god forbid it be pointed out or questioned, because not all men are like that.

#YesAllWomen is full of women who are no longer content to hold their tongues for the sake of men’s hurt feelings. It’s a cri de coeur from thousands of women who don’t care what apologia men have to present for the countless injuries inflicted at the hands of other men. Women who, faced by men like Elliot Rodger and those who defend him, refuse to acquiesce and be silent any more. They are part of a resistance movement stretching back through history and it is these women, and any others who raise their voices in protest, who are carrying it into the future.

I hope, together, we continue to be loud enough to drown out our opposition.

More on this topic:

Elliot Rodger is Isla Vista drive-by killer – US policeBBC News.
Elliot Rodger And Men Who Hate Women
The Belle Jar.
Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremismNew Statesman.

9 thoughts on “Yes, All Women.

  1. First lets face the truth women are as big of abusers as men. They lie about most things including about being abused in order to throw their spouse or significant other in jail when they don’t get their way. This happens everywhere all the time, let us not lie about this. I have personally known many women who start the violence and when the man tries to subdue the woman to keep them from hurting themselves or others guess what happen all of a sudden the wild out of control woman becomes a helpless defenseless woman, then the man goes to jail, really bullshit. I am calling out you man haters and you women that are abusive to us. Quit lying about it there are millions of you that do this quit blaming us men for when you get caught up in your bullshit. I have never met a woman that has ever tried to hold her tongue on anything except maybe on a guys dick other than her husbands. You women are not victims, I have seen your true sides and its sickening always blame a man for what you have done! Most reports of abuse are false! Fact! And really blame us men for you having to walk with your keys between your fingers for protection? I know many men who do the same. Get off your kick of blaming men for what happens to you it is bullshit. For those of you that’s have actually faced true abuse I do not mean this for you, I have found tho the ones making these outlandish accusations about all men are the women that manipulate our criminal justice system to have men thrown in jail when that have done nothing wrong but to disagree with a woman.

    1. First of all: if you’ve read the post, you know full well I never said anything about ‘all men’. Second, statistics from the Ministry of Justice put false reports of crimes at around 4% of all reported crimes, specifically stating that false reports of rape – the crime most people accuse women of lying about – are around the same level, possibly even as low as 1%, so there’s no evidence for your claim that ‘most reports of abuse are false’. Thirdly, all I see here is you trying to spin actual, specific crimes and reports of crimes against women into a whinge about how men are the real victims here, and why won’t we women just shut our mouths about our experiences because you, a man, say so. Which is kind of proving my point, isn’t it?

  2. Because I go to a bar and get called a creep just for wanting to fit in
    Because society considers me a useless retard
    Because I go for counseling and medical professionals would rather just give me a pill and make me go away
    Because I have to face every day alone and climb out of this social hole all by myself
    Because we hate ourselves because no one else wanted to love us
    Because hope is fleeting and life is miserable
    Because no one cares who I am, what I wear, just as long as I stay away.
    Because its all just angering, frustrating, and a consistent nightmare that I have to brave every morning to night
    I’m sorry but let’s not distract from what this reall is about. #Yes, all mentally ill

    1. I completely agree that the media wildly attempting to pin a mental illness upon Elliot Rodger is fucking disgusting and needs to be called out, loudly and often. I think that calling that out absolutely can and should happen alongside calling out misogynistic bullshit. However, what this is not about is women owing anyone affection/intimacy, as your language seems to imply. Am I reading you wrong?

      1. That’s not what i’m saying at all. I very much believe he did have a mental illness which escalated through his life, making him feel impotent. Being shunned by others, be they women are men didn’t help the mattr at all. I am an aspergers case, everything I mention i;ve been through for all of my 32 virgin filled years. I’m saying as a man, this makes you feel like shit. I understand that part of it. I understand the anger. I don’t approve of how he decided to hit back. I also never said women owe anyone affection either, it wouldn’t work anyway since people like me and elliot don’t even know the meaning of the word. I’m saying we live in hell, we have no chance, and he snapped. I’m saying the only thing that could possibly help us is mercy, something that at this point I think won’t happen.

        1. Okay, I think I understand what you’re saying now, thanks for clarifying. Actually, Elliot Rodgers had no diagnosed mental illness nor was he diagnosed on the autism spectrum, which is why I think the media’s attempts to claim otherwise are terrible examples of preconceived ideas about mental illness and its intersection with violence. I’m sorry you feel you lack affection, and wouldn’t dream of trying to tell you what you are or aren’t capable of. Prejudice toward non-neurotypical people needs to be fought wherever it’s found. However, I do dispute the implication that Rodger was a figure to be pitied. He was a boy who chose to do monstrous things from a hateful motive, and he deserved and deserves no compassion. His innocent victims are the ones we should be thinking about, not him.

          1. Actually he was going to see mental health professionals since he was 8 years old and i’ve seen numerous reports he is in fact a high functioning autistic. Possibly paranoid schizophrenic as well. I agree that what he did deserves no pity, the people he shot do. But the stigma this will attach to mental illnesses and the already growing number of women who will be encouraged to stay away from anyone who doesn’t fit their description of normal will be long lasting.

          2. I totally agree about the stigma – it’s completely irresponsible of the media to keep mentioning mental illness and Rodger’s violence as if they were meaningfully linked. I’d also like to have it on the record that prejudice about non-neurotypicality extends across genders, and isn’t just a thing women do to men. But yeah, attitudes to mental illness (I can speak particularly for the UK) are dreadful, and the current government’s negative propaganda toward people with invisible disabilities like mental illness is worsening the situation constantly.

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