Sisterhood Blog

Why Santa Barbara Rampage Is Terror Against Women

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share

University of California students at a vigil for the shooting victims. Getty Images

I spent the holiday weekend at my alma mater in Vermont at a writer’s retreat. On our last night in town we were reminded to walk home in numbers, especially if we were women.

Independent in my comings and goings, you’d think that I would scoff at such recommendations, but not this weekend. Not after the mass shooting in Santa Barbara reminded me that there are people out there who hate women enough to inflict random violence on us.

There are misogynist terrorists. There are those who would hurt me because I am Jewish — as tragic incidents in Belgium and Kansas this year show — but the truth is it’s far more likely I’d be targeted because of my gender.

As many writers have noted in the past few days, this weekend’s shooter left screeds online detailing his intent to kill women as punishment for their rejection of him. His horrible act has sparked a national conversation, not just about gun violence, but about murderous misogyny — a specific strain that lurks in movements of “Pick-Up Artsts” and “Men’s Rights Advocates” who congregate online.

Jaclyn Friedman described this hate-fueled “movement” last year in a piece that is now re-circulating.

One of their tactics is to put out a cash bounty for personal information — including home addresses, places of employment, email addresses, and phone numbers — of feminists who upset them. The deluge of hate mail, rape and death threats for those on the receiving end of these witch hunts is hard to describe.

There’s also a more generalized strain of dangerous male entitlement and hatred beyond these organized groups. On the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen conversations about why women feel they must give out fake numbers or wear fake wedding rings abounded — the former because men who are rejected, flat out, might be more prone to violence, the latter, because “I belong to another man” can effectively set a boundary, while “I’m not interested” can provoke ire, and danger.

Sally Kohn is one of several writers who has made the key point that white men who commit such premeditated acts of mass violence get treated by society as nice guys with mental illness. In fact, she notes, most folks who go through with terrorist acts are probably mentally ill. But their ideology is blamed along with their circumstances.

The people who commit mass acts of violence are crazy. Some are also ideologically motivated. We call them terrorists. And yet while in America we’re quick to recognize and politicize the broader implications of Islamic extremism, misogyny is treated not as an ideology but simply a sub-category of crazy.

There will be women now who are even more afraid than they were before to congregate in groups, to leave the house alone, to go out and have fun. If that kind of fear isn’t the price — and the goal — of terrorism, what is?


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: terrorism, Santa Barbara, Jewish, Elliot Rodger

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.