As thousands of people gathered at The University of California, Santa Barbara, to mourn the six people shot and killed by Elliot Rodgers on Friday, Twitter exploded with a discussion about women in a hostile world.
Women and men alike are calling for a safer society and safer world where children and women can live their lives free of fear for their lives.
Hashtag #YesAllWomen brought together women and men sharing their thoughts and feelings about women’s place in a society that “teaches girls how to not get raped instead of teaching boys not to rape.”
Apparently, some (male) users have been expressing the opinion that, after watching Elliot Rodger’s YouTube videos where he vented his rage against young women who refused him, the boy “snapped” because of the pervasive pressure society had put on him. A Twitter user asked at #YesAllWomen: “What if every raped woman ‘snapped’?”
A society where inequality between men and women is rampant forces women to find ways of dealing with injustice andpotential violence on an everyday basis, while men are often encouraged, by macho culture, to let their rage roam free.
Pleas for stricter gun control in the US were heard at The University of California, as thousands of students, parents and friends gathered to mourn the deceased, chanting: “Not One More.”
People who grew up in the decades before the 1970’s feel sorry for their children and grandchildren, who are being denied the feeling of safety as they go to their middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities. It is easy to forget, with prevalence of reports of shootings in schools in the mass media, that this is not normal. This is not how it is supposed to be. Schools are places of learning and individual growth – not battlefields.
And schools are certainly not places for misguided attempts at retaliation against persons of the opposite sex who supposedly have “spurned” someone one way or another.
Other trending stories in the world news today popped up in the Twitter feed. A pregnant woman in Pakistan was stoned to death by her own relatives for marrying a man she loved, and not the one her family had chosen for her. She is one of 869 women who were murdered in this mannerin Pakistan last year alone.
It is worth noting that after stabbing three people, shooting another three, and wounding 13, Elliot Rodgers killed himself. The family in Pakistan that murdered their daughter must now live on without her and the grandchildren she could have given them.
What better symbol can there be for the cyclical, ultimately self-defeating nature of violence. What better proof is there that ending a life never solves a single problem?
For life to become safer for women and children, born and unborn, we first need to make changes to the macho climate of our culture. A man must be valued as a provider and protector, rather than an aggressor and a bully. A woman should be able to marry whomever she wants to, and be able to give life to children without the threat of “honour killings” looming over her.
Yes, it is time for change, and change starts with you. With each and every one of us. We have to keep shouting until our voices are heard. We have to petition our political representatives. We have to turn our children away from violent video games and movies, sit them down and explain how precious life is. We have to raise the next generation with values unparalleled to our own – with respect for their fellow human being, man or woman, regardless of race or religious creed. We have to change. Because if we don’t, soon the six o’clock news will run out of time to address the staggering number of assaults, rapes, and murders plaguing our streets, and Twitter will be flooded with nothing but #death.
Article prepared by Mike Burd