On Friday night, Elliot Rodger allegedly killed six people and wounded 13 others near a Santa Barbara, California University Campus. The rampage came after Rodger posted a YouTube video in which he said it was “an injustice, a crime” that women have never been attracted to him and that he was going to “punish you all for it” and “slaughter every single blonde slut I see.”
The killings in Santa Barbara this past weekend have ignited a social-media conversation about everyday misogyny, harassment and rape culture, under the hash tag #YesAllWomen. Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS Executive Director joined Leigh Kjekstad on Global News BC1 yesterday to talk University of California, Santa Barbara shooting rampage, twitter storm #YesAllWomen and how misogyny kills in BC in Canada and around the world.
The following is a rush transcription of the interview:
Leigh Kjekstad: The killings have ignited a social media conversation about everyday misogyny, harassment, and rape culture under the hashtag #YesAllWomen. For more on this we are joined from our Downtown Vancouver Studio by Angela Marie MacDougall, she is the Executive Director of Battered Women’s Support Services. Angela Marie, thank you for joining us!
Angela Marie MacDougall: Thank you, Leigh.
Leigh Kjekstad: What was your reaction to these killings, in these so called “manifesto” issued by the suspect?
Angela Marie MacDougall: Leigh, as you know, we have been really acutely aware of the number of women that have been murdered both here and in British Columbia through domestic homicides and of course hearing so much about missing and murdered indigenous girls and women all across Canada. When I heard about the women that have been murdered in Santa Barbara, I of course felt a level of sadness and anger. The sense of feeling outreached by the amount of the domestic violence and domestic homicide and gender based violence that women are navigating on a daily basis both here and in British Columbia and all across the world.
Leigh Kjekstad: Do you think that the attitudes toward women are changing? It seems that there have been an awful lot of cases recently which make it sound like we are going backwards.
Angela Marie MacDougall: I guess it seems like that, doesn’t it? In part, I think in some ways we are experiencing the result of social media, the result of more media coverage. I think that we are seeing the fact that more women are reporting, that there are more dots connected. I’m not sure, if there is actually more gender violence or more domestic homicide. Of course, this kind of violence that we saw in Santa Barbara, where it was a mass killing of women specifically, that is unusual, we don’t see women being killing at that number at one time. The last time when we saw that, that we note, of course, was the Montreal Massacre that happened over twenty years ago. The fact that he came out and spoke directly of wanting to kill women is something that is quite alarming; it’s on the farther spectrum of what we see in terms of gender violence on the daily basis. I think that’s the part why the hashtag #YesAllWomen has been really important to draw attention to this horrific mass murder and draw attention to the micro aggressions and larger than micro aggressions that happen every day for women all across the world.
Leigh Kjekstad: Some of the stories that have been shared online with that hash tag are pretty colorful statements. I want to go through a few of those now just to give people an example. Emily writes:
Because every single woman I know has a story about a man feeling entitled to access to her body. Every. Single. One. #YesAllWomen
— Emily (@emilyhughes) May 24, 2014
And some else says:
Because I used to tip car drivers 40% for “not raping and killing me” when I was in high school. #YesAllWomen — Michelle Wiss (@michellerwiss) May 25, 2014
A third one:
I’ve spent 19 yrs teaching my daughter how not to be raped. How long have you spent teaching your son not to rape? #yesallwomen
— Deanna Raybourn (@deannaraybourn) May 24, 2014
And finally, the last one we share:
BC when my husband asks me to slow down when we walk together I realize he hasn’t spent his life avoiding street harassment #YesAllWomen — Soraya Chemaly (@schemaly) May 24, 2014
Do sharing these stories make any kind of positive difference?
Angela Marie MacDougall: Absolutely. It makes visible that which is rendered invisible. And that is how endemic and how much of an epidemic gender violence is. And how many girls and women navigated every day and the ways in which they do navigated. It is extraordinary important for us to make visible which is rather invisible. I think that we have been expected to remain silent given the amount of violence, harassment and sexual harassment that we deal with in a daily basis, so this is incredibly important. And the other thing that makes it really-really important is that there are a large numbers of men, through twitter, through viewing the hashtag that are becoming conscious of that they are not conscious of what men don’t deal with. Male privilege actually makes it possible for men to not experience levels of fear, degradation and humiliation, and violence that women are dealing with. So I think that the hash tag is extraordinary important. And any time that we, as women can raise our voice and stand in our power and share our experiences is a good thing, because this is a horrible reality for so many girls and women. At our organization in 2013 we responded to over 13,000 requests for direct service from women, and this is up 3,000 from the year before. And we are a small women organization here in Vancouver. We are astounded by the numbers. More then ever women are speaking their truth and it matters, it matters very much, because we have to see the change, and speaking of the truth is the change. We just had Pamela Anderson speak her experience publicly, and now it’s really important. Every time that a woman tells her story, tells her truth we be have to shape the culture, and it matters.
Leigh Kjekstad: Now you’re saying that the killings in Santa Barbara, the kidnapping of women in Nigeria and the murders of aboriginal women in this province are all connected. Explain it for me.
Angela Marie MacDougall: I think that we have to understand that we are talking about misogyny, we are talking about the hatred of girls and women and of course this is also racialized. We have to understand that for women of color, for indigenous women there is a particular kind of experience where the violence is not only gendered but it’s also along racialized, and could also be around class lines. So, yes, the murders and the disappearances of indigenous girls and women in Canada, RCMP have just reported that over 1,100 girl and women gone missing or have been found murdered in Canada speaks to an extraordinary amount of gender based violence that’s targeted at indigenous women. When we think about what happened in Nigeria, where we have 300 young African girls who have been abducted, we’re also talking about another form of gender-based violence. And how we have tears where there are reported 200 missing girls and women among that stretch of highway between Prince Rupert and Prince George on Highway 16. The vast majority of those girls and women are indigenous. We have to connect these dots around gender-based violence, race, and class.
Leigh Kjekstad: Before we let you go we always like to make sure that people know how to get in touch with your organization, please tell us if someone needs some help, where they can go.
Angela Marie MacDougall: Thank you very much. Battered Women’s Support Services is based in Vancouver, and a great way to reach us for anybody around the province of British Columbia is through our website, which is www.bwss.org. We can also be called toll free at 1-855-687-1868.
Leigh Kjekstad: Angela Marie MacDougall, the Executive Director of Battered Women’s Support Services, thank you for your time!
Angela Marie MacDougall: Thank you Leigh.
If you could do something to end violence against girls and women, wouldn’t you?