Mysogyny and Victim Blaming: UCSB Shooter Edition

At this point, many know about the murder of 6 innocent people at the University of California Santa Barbara. In fact, at this point, many people have watched the UCSB shooter’s “Retribution” video about the reasoning behind the actions he took. However, not enough people are discussing the inappropriate ways in which people are reacting to this incident. There is a false sense that this incident was an isolated one, however as is explained in “Elliot Rodger and Illusions of Nuance” misogyny and victim blaming are nothing new. People may be shocked by the incident, but how could they be considering the way it’s being discussed is all too familiar… people are victim blaming and using misogynist language just as has been done as a reaction to other instances of violence against women.

The following are comments made on the YouTube video in which the UCSB shooter explains the reasoning for his actions:

Some people actually blamed women, and the fact that they didn’t have sex with him:

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Apparently, although 6 people died, it is still humorous to tell women that if they don’t “give themselves” or sexually appease men, they will be in danger. Essentially, this “joke” is “jokingly” placing the blame on the women who have been killed.


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Although this individual expressed some disdain for the UCSB shooter’s actions, he also works under the assumption that if the UCSB shooter had had sex, he would not have killed 6 people and injured another 13. This messaging is incredibly harmful, it validates the extremely hyper-masculine idea that if he had had a sexual release of sorts, he would not need to become physically violent- which is NOT true.


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Just another example of male entitlement, the same type of entitlement that propagates violence such as the one exhibited by the UCSB shooter and the same sense of entitlement that propagates rape culture. We’re supposed to think this is funny though… right? No.


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Then there was the one that blamed feminism… an entire movement of people (not just women), who strive for gender equality and the prevention of gendered violence (among a host of other human rights) for his actions. Not only does this post blame women for the murder and injuries inflicted on the people of Isla Vista, it also paints the UCSB shooter as a victim.


Some people insulted Elliot Rodger- by attempting to emasculate him…

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What’s interesting about this comment is that in order to insult a misogynist who planned and executed a mission to kill women because he felt rejected, he called him a “magnificent little girl”. This is interesting because, apparently, the best insult Fabricio Luiz Braga could come up with, for a man who killed, and disrespected women was “little girl”. His comment in, and of, itself is misogynistic; he puts a man down for hurting people, by insulting the very people whom were hurt.


Some people only showed concern for Elliot Rodger and shifted the blame away from him:

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It may be true that “America is a lonely place”, however, since when is loneliness an excuse for killing and injuring innocent people. The actions that took place were premeditated and calculated. It is important to understand where people come from before judging their actions, however, is it really appropriate to go a step farther and applaud honesty and justify such violent actions?


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This post altogether circumvents the fact that he harmed people and instead proceeds to explain how “sad” it is that people are having sex, and that the UCSB shooter looked “hurt” and “sad”. Then, more explicitly, he says that if his parents had paid a little more attention to him, he “wouldn’t be needing love”.  The blame here is placed on a culture in which sex is very important and the parents of the UCSB shooter- however, it is not the fault of those who refused to have sex with Elliot Rodger or his parents, that he chose to harm so many people. In fact, women are not to blame for not loving, being in a relationship with or having sex with the UCSB shooter. Additionally, the UCSB shooter’s parents tried to take steps to correct his behavior and protect others by calling the police to check on their son’s “wellness”- I can imagine this is not an easy thing to do to your own son, however they did take steps to prevent such a catastrophe.


Then were those who collectively did all of the above:Picture5

In this thread, RedPanther9 attempted to shift the blame off of Elliot Rodger, and wrote that he had done “a good job”- he congratulated the individual for killing 6 people and injuring another 13. Woodzy responded by insulting RedPanther9, although it is good that the inappropriate nature of RedPanther9’s comment was noted, the way in which it was inappropriate. Using the word “retarded” is hate speech- to find out more about why the R-word is hurtful, check out R-Word: Spread the Word, to End the Word. Also, by using the words “cunt” and “pussy” as derogatory terms, he is insulting a misogynist, murderer by emasculating him- by calling him variations of demeaning terms used to describe vaginas. Why would a body part be inherently insulting? Or is it the fact that vaginas are closely related to being a woman, and being feminine is the insult? Then, Shepot95 tops of the insulting comment by saying “stop being such a beta and find yourself a girl” as if finding a girl could stop any of the offensive behavior exhibited by the other people who commented and the UCSB shooter.

Have any ideas or reflections on how the conversation revolving this incident are reflective of the negative aspects of our society? Please let me know!

#AUNoMoreSilence Rally Pictures

These pictures were taken at American University. They are of a rally organized by the AU No More Silence Coalition. The goal of this rally was to put pressure on the school’s administration to act on behalf of sexual assault survivors. As a coalition, we demand justice for survivors, and we demand mandatory sexual assault bystander-prevention programs for faculty and students alike. If you would like to find out more about the group’s demands, check out the petition that was made on Change.org

Petition for Direct Action Against EI at American University

Petition for Direct Action Against EI at American University

Recently, at American University, a series of emails with triggering content about sexual assault, along with homophobic, misogynistic, racist language were leaked. These emails were linked to an unsanctioned, unaffiliated group of former and current AU students that self identify as “EI”. This group has been known to steal, be violent and is even considered a gang in Maryland. Above is a petition that was created by a group of American University students who are urging the school administration to learn from what has been exposed in the emails, and take a more proactive approach when it comes to preventing sexual assault on campus.

Sextivist Profile: Daniel Rappaport

Involvement with Sextivism: Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy

Degrees: M.A Mental Health Counseling; B.A. Psychology, Certificate in Women’s Studies

Preferred Pronouns: he, his, hers

Meeting Daniel Rappaport

As soon as I met Daniel Rappaport, at his office in the Wellness Center at American University, my first reaction was to feel at ease. His reputation preceded him, as everyone I talked to on campus who had dealt with him or was a member of PEERS (Peer Educators for the Elimination of Relationship and Sexual Violence) spoke very highly about his ability to be inclusive, understanding and passionate about his field of work. I was relieved to find out that this was all true, and was grateful for his eagerness to share his work with me and discuss his activism.

How did he get the job he has now?

As an undergrad student at the University of Maryland, Daniel Rappaport majored in Psychology and was a part of a social justice-themed living-learning community. Soon after, he joined a campus peer educators group that focused on issues relating to preventing rape and safer sex practices. Later he became a Victims’ Advocate and began to hone his expertise in helping survivors of sexual aggression cope and move forward after traumatic situations.

What does he do? What’s his role at American University?

Daniel Rappaport’s official job title is: Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator. When asked what this translates into, Mr. Rappaport says that this job title encompasses overseeing campus-wide events that provide inclusive, accurate education, assisting on-campus groups who are working with topics that relate to health relationships, and the prevention of rape and stalking. However, he pointed out that his role is much greater than that, as the only source on campus who is not obligated to report up information, in relation to sexual assault, he also serves as a victims’ advocate for students who are not sure, or do not want to press charges or officially report something that has been done to them. Lastly, part of his duties include meeting with his colleagues from universities in our consortium to discuss how to better serve students.

Important aspects of his work:

  1. Being available: Daniel Rappaport emphasized his effort to be readily available for as long, and as frequently as people request him because he feels that due to the fact that triggers affect individuals in different ways, at different times throughout their life.
  2. Protecting the rights of survivors of violence: He emphasized the role of preserving the agency  of individuals who have suffered violence. This entails supporting the decisions of survivors to prosecute (or not),  filing reports with public safety (or not), moving dorm rooms if necessary and helping provide them the resources necessary to heal and make educated decisions about the possible courses of action.
  3. Helping survivors of violence build skills for coping and healing.
  4. Enabling anyone and everyone who is interested in preventing sexual assault and violence to do so by disseminating resources and creating programming that allows them to easily get involved.

How does his being male effect his job?

When asked how being male effects his job, Daniel Rappaport notes that it adds a whole other dimension to his work. He says that on many occasions, he has been the only male in the room when discussing courses of action for campus-wide programming with his colleagues. However, he said that because he has so much experience as a Victims’ Advocate, and he is usually the person most readily available to students at AU (because he works on-campus), most survivors of sexual assault usually feel comfortable confiding in him and asking him for help. In all cases though, he offers to locate a female Victims’ Advocate (usually one of his colleagues that works at a school in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area) for students in case they will feel more comfortable discussing their experience with them.

Take Away

“We need to never settle, we need to never think the job is done. We need to constantly be improving and working until there is gender equity and the eradication of violence.” – Daniel Rappaport

Want more info on Sexual Assault Prevention, Resources and how to get involved?

Sextivist Profile: Amanda Gould

The following is a series of questions and answers from my virtual interview with Amanda Gould!

Q: Do you consider yourself a sextivist? Why or why not?

A: I’ve never actually heard the term sextivist. But I’m a feminist, LGBTQIAP activist, and body and sex positivity advocate, so I’d say so.

Q: What sextivist issue does your work address?

A: I’m on the AU Students for Choice Executive Board and the AU Queers and Allies Eboard. I’ve worked at transitional shelters for abused women. I’m a strong anti-rape activist. I’ve done events and campaigns for various women’s rights causes. I’ve done body positivity campaigns, trans awareness campaigns, anti-rape campaigns. I’m working on making the health center more trans inclusive. I write letters and call my congressmen regularly whenever a bill gets introduced in congress that pertains to women or LGBTQIA rights.

Q: How did you become involved with this type of work?

A: “I think it was a few different events. First of all, I had a very close friend who was raped at a party and then attempted suicide a week later and that got me really involved in anti-rape advocacy and through that I got involved the feminist movement . 2. I have an LGBTQIA twin which makes fighting for the queer rights movement personal. 3. I recovered from an eating disorder years ago and from there have been very big on body positivity. 4. My work with global human rights advocacy led me to become involved in international women rights struggles, with a particular focus on sex trafficking.”

Q: Are there any anecdotal success stories that further inspire you to do this work?

A: “Oh man so many. One little one, was one time I was arguing with a white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, boy who was trying to argue with me about why calling girls sluts wasn’t ok. I explained how it shames female sexuality, it ties to rape culture, contributes to victim blaming, the whole shabang (I’m sure you’re familiar with this argument). He just wasn’t getting it and the conversation was getting more and more hurtful and finally after an hour I gave up and went into my room and cried and was really upset about how the world was so fucking patriarchal and messed up. A girl came up to me the next day who had overheard the argument and told me that she was a rape survivor and how people using micro-aggressions like slut-shaming really hurt her but she never had the courage to stand up, and she really appreciated me saying what she didn’t have the courage to. I don’t know, little things like that make it worth fighting.”

Q: What forms of everyday activism do you suggest that people incorporate into their lives?

A: Calling people out on their micro-aggressions (i.e rape jokes, slurs, jokes or comments at the expense of an oppressed demographic, privileged comments, use of triggering words). And finding spaces in your community to get more involved.

Q: How do you incorporate sextivism into your life? Do you participate as part of your career? Do you intend to? Do you participate in addition to your other responsibilities?

A: I want a career in global women’s rights work.