The first thing I did after listening to Elliot Rodger's disturbing final video was transcribe it. There's something more tangible about the written word. People say stupid, meaningless things all of the time. It's easy to ignore a vocal tirade, but no one should ignore Rodger's words, which is why I felt it was important to write them down, word for word, so that they can be read again and again. His language was so precise. His delivery cold, calm, detached, studied, methodical. These aren't words that just came to him out of the blue.
For every alpha male out there who thinks it's all a game, there's a potential psychokiller or rapist who doesn't.
Rodger had been thinking these thoughts for a very long time. The world he lived in, our world, helped him image those mountains of skulls and rivers of blood. Of course, this young man was very, very sick, but it's not enough to approach this tragedy as though it's an isolated incident. For one thing, how many more shootings do we need before we take gun control seriously? Second, Elliot Rodger hated women because he felt they owed him something: Sex.
Men have been exacting violence on women who refuse to have sex with them for a very long time. It's usually called rape. This isn't an isolated incident. Earlier this year, the White House issued a 20-page report on the steps college campuses should take to help curb sexual violence among students. On the day the report was released, Vice President Biden said, “Colleges and universities can no longer turn a blind eye or pretend rape and sexual assault doesn’t occur on their campuses. We need to provide survivors with more support and we need to bring perpetrators to more justice and we need colleges and universities to step up.” The report was called Not Alone, and you can read it here.
What prompted the administration to create this task force is simple: "1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted while in college, usually in the first two years and usually by someone she knows." That number is frightening, but what's more frightening is the fact that many victims don't want to come forward about being sexually assaulted because they fear it will only make matters worse. We live in a society that thrives on slut shaming and slut shaming is one of the many disturbing elements of Rodger's video.
Rodger was under the impression that every woman is an object, trophies to be collected and displayed on the alpha male's mantel of manhood. What needs to be said is that this mindset isn't unusual. Many men are guilty of treating women as objects. We have reinforced these norms. They are perpetuated in popular culture, and even in the actions of our law enforcement. There are thousands of untested rape kits collecting dust in police precincts across the country.
1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted while in college, usually in the first two years and usually by someone she knows.
That's correct. Women are raped and then go through invasive, painful procedures to help collect evidence on their assailant, and then that evidence often sits on a shelf because rape, apparently, just isn't that big of a deal. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why men like Elliot Rodger think it's OK to hate women. This is the world we live and it can be pretty fucking terrible. Rodger wanted to know why he was still a virgin when sex is something that all men deserve, like it's a birthright.
I know not all men hate women, thankfully, but I hope listening and reading Rodger's words will give every man a reason to think more seriously about the ways they treat women. For every alpha male out there who thinks it's all a game, there's a potential psychokiller or rapist who doesn't. What's more, there are countless women who sit in silence and shame because they feel their voice doesn't matter. This isn't an isolated incident. My heart and prayers go out to the victims and their families.