Students march on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, on May 24 during a candlelight vigil held to honour the six victims of a mass killing in Isla Vista, Calif. The shooting, by a man who said it wasn’t fair for women to take interest in other men and exclude him, prompted an online uprising against the misogynistic actions of gunman Elliot Rodger and many other men.
"A man murdered seven people because women did not seek interest in him" is a phrase I never thought I would hear in my life.
On May 22, Elliot Rodger posted a video online of him explaining his plan to murder every girl in "the hottest sorority on campus." He declared that it was not fair for women to take interest in other men and exclude him.
A day later, Rodger’s so-called "Day of Retribution" commenced. He proceeded to take the lives of six innocent students and injure 13 others near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara, before taking his own life by shooting himself in the head.
Upon hearing this tragic story, millions of men and women took to social media and started an online uprising. The hashtag #YesAllWomen gained more than a million tweets over a week. Men and women of different ages expressed their feelings toward the misogynistic actions of Rodger and many other men throughout the world.
These powerful tweets shared stories of sexual abuse and harassment, as well as prejudice toward women, leaving women immensely inspired.
Our very own city of Brandon participated in this time of empowerment; countless young women shared tweets of their thoughts on these events or simply fought back against misogynistic comments or actions in the community. Many of these posts gained respect not only in our community, but from others around the country as well.
Multiple celebrities, including Lena Dunham, James Van Der Beek and Gabourey Sidibe, supported the movement, in addition to sharing personal stories and experiences.
It is definitely not surprising how much support this hashtag has received. More people globally are calling for women to be treated equally, not differently because they are not a "dominant member" of society.
Judging by the amount of tweets and strength demonstrated by the female gender, most would agree that women are certainly capable of being on the same level as men.
Other horrific events that made this movement far more crucial were those in foreign countries. A young Pakistani woman, who had chosen to marry the man she truly loved, was stoned to death by her own family because she did not marry who they chose. If this does not enrage you, this next story will. Two young Indian girls, aged 14 and 15, were kidnapped, then sexually abused, and finally, hung from a tree for the public to see.
These two gut-wrenching events represent only a fraction of what happens every day in all countries. With the movement spreading worldwide, rape awareness is becoming more prominent. Countless individuals often forget that even though women are being taught how to protect themselves against sexual abuse, men are not being taught how to respect women. Certain males must realize that they are not entitled to be with a woman, and if that woman says no, then no is the final answer.
It is quite disheartening that in order for the world to come together in this sort of way, something awful like a shooting has to happen. In a perfect world, everyone would fight together to help end rape culture, but sadly this world is far from perfect.
In all honesty, saying that #YesAllWomen will change a lot for women and eliminate misogynistic remarks, is sadly far-fetched. But what the hashtag will do is raise awareness for both men and women that treating each other with equality is critical.
» Dylan Peyachew is a Grade 10 student at École secondaire Neelin High School.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 9, 2014