elliot rodger: the misogyny behind the murders
In Santa Barbara, near the University of California, twenty-two year old Elliot Rodger launched a vicious killing spree that caused the deaths of seven people, including his own suicide. He used legally obtained guns and knives to inflict his ‘Day of Retribution’, an attack prepared and planned to enact revenge for ‘the crime of depriving me of sex’. ‘[Women] have starved me of sex for my entire youth, and gave that pleasure to other men,’ according to Elliot Rodger’s 141 page manifesto. Three of his victims were stabbed to death in his apartment, before Rodger took his rampage to the IV Deli Mart where the shootings took place.
Rodger had been visited by police only weeks before, due to a concerned call from his mother, but once arrived, they had simply been content with a spoken statement. Rodger later expressed great relief at the fact that the police didn’t search his apartment, otherwise they would have discovered the range of weapons and descriptions of his plans. Many are outraged about this revelation, especially since such a discovery would have stopped the killing spree from occurring.
The son of The Hunger Games assistant director, Peter Rodger, held a sadistic and strongly misogynistic hatred towards women. He claimed that throughout his entire life women had never shown any affection or want to be involved in sexual intercourse with him. Due to this, he began to believe that, ‘Humanity is a disgusting, depraved, and evil species. It is my purpose to punish them all. I will purify the world of everything that is wrong with it. On the Day of Retribution, I will truly be a powerful god, punishing everyone I deem to be impure and depraved.’ The young man wasn’t able to handle rejection. Rodger believed that as a man he was entitled to sex, it is a woman’s responsibility to offer themselves and that because women want their own right to bodily integrity, they are inferior, hateful beings who deserve to be put into their “rightful” place.
‘I cannot kill every single female on earth, but I can deliver a devastating blow that will shake all of them to the core of their wicked hearts. I will attack the very girls who represent everything I hate in the female gender: The hottest sorority of UCSB.’
The worldwide response to Rodger’s actions has been immense, as infuriated feminists and women took to social media to express their anger at the murders. Perhaps what has been the greatest retaliation has been the surface of the hashtag #yesallwomen on Twitter. This has come not only in response to Rodger’s actions, but to the hateful public comments by men who have sympathised and agreed with the murderer and berated the women involved.
These degrading, misogynist comments have left feminists astounded and disgusted in the wake of this recent tragedy. It’s in times of hardship and difficulty that a person’s true personality is revealed, and I’m proud to say to that the overwhelming response to this entire situation has been inspirational and awakening. #yesallwomen has exploded across Twitter and other forms of social media, as people recount the reasons why women still have reason to fear. It doesn’t matter so much that not all men would commit violence and abuse to women, but that every single woman still needs to fear those men who will.
As we mourn for the victims of Elliot Rodger’s rampage, we also need to remember that right now, although the world isn’t always the safest place for women, standing up and fighting for what we believe in can and will bring us into a world where we don’t need to fear for our lives every time we meet a man. The view that women are just tools to be used and an object that belongs to men, has been vividly and physically detailed through the actions of Rodger and the support that he has gained. But it’s also important to remember the third response that has surfaced, to show the true strength and independence of women and of feminists.
In memory of the victims of the Santa Barbara massacre.