The murders perpetrated by Elliott Rodger in Isla Vista last Friday are horrific. His women-hating motivation is equally disturbing. We are rightfully outraged and, to express it, have turned to social media with a fast-spreading #yesallwomen hashtag intended to raise awareness and unify us in our dismay.
Yes, violence against women is rampant across the globe, and the murders in California further demonstrate that females are too often targeted by debased, sick and conscienceless men. There’s no denying that we’ve sadly been forced to view our world through a self-protective lens — park under street lights, buy home security systems, carry self-defense accessories, shun the kindness of strangers, keep that internal danger-radar active at all times. It’s a sad but necessary reality.
My fear is that the #yesallwomen (ie. “yes, all women are at risk”) hashtag-activism we’re seeing today isn’t conveying any solutions or demands. In its vagueness, it may also be communicating an implicit generalization that all men are the enemy of all women.
Even as the survivor of sexual abuse, I want to speak up for the men I know who are good, decent, women-honoring men. They stand for justice and care well for their wives, daughters, mothers, female colleagues and friends. They would lay down their lives to protect them against crazed gunmen and vile assailants.
Violence against women is a plague that must be stopped, in our country and others, with better parenting, more respectable models, societal change and so much more. (Let’s talk about rap lyrics, rape-pornography and famous women who voluntarily define themselves as vacuous sexual objects.)
But not all men are sexist, brutal pigs. On a day when women are rightfully standing up against males who threaten, harm and diminish women, I want to recognize and celebrate the men who don’t.
Please share (using the links below) and tag the honorable men in your lives. If you use the #butnotallmen hashtag, all the better.
If you’d like to join the conversation, use the comments space or email me and I’ll post your thoughts for you.