The name Elliot Rodger has become synonymous with misogyny and fear. Bringing further to light the hate and aggression that women suffer on a daily basis, Elliot Rodger took violence against women to the extreme. Women live in a world where they refuse to walk home alone after dark. When going on a first date, men are typically afraid of being rejected, and women are typically afraid of being raped. The society we live in perpetuates violence against women, and that is the society wherein we place our daughters and sisters.

However, walking home alone after dark, you are more likely to be attacked if you are a man than if you are a woman. Here is a link to the Indicators of Well-Being in Canada website that shows that the total of all violent offenses against men (including sexual assault, physical assault, and robbery) is higher than against women: http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=61

Of course, sexual assault is higher against women, surprise surprise, but overall violence is more likely to occur if you have a penis than if you don’t.

So why are women terrified when they are actually safer than men? Well, that society we live in also perpetuates fear. The term “rape culture” gets thrown around in feminist dialogues every now and then, and what that means is that the predominant culture is one that seemingly allows, or even endorses, rape through its imagery and popular dialogue. For example, that US senator who spoke about “legitimate rape”, or images in the media of sexual abuse against women, all these things combined create a culture where violence against women is seen as the norm. A culture like that is bound to make anyone just a tiny bit afraid of going out alone after dark.

The overwhelming response against the massacre that Elliot Rodger’s committed plays into that fear. Women are coming forward on twitter with the hashtag #YesAllWomen to tell stories of the abuses that they’ve suffered. I’m not saying that these women are lying, nor am I saying that what happens to women on a daily basis is horrible. What I’m saying is that the celebration of victimhood and the perpetuation of fear is the wrong approach to actually solving these problems.

So I bet you thought I was going to get all “Men’s Rights”, and “We need to focus on The Mens!”  when I mentioned that men are attacked more often than women. And I am, kind of. In keeping with the anecdotal tradition of #YesAllWomen, I asked all the guys I work with if they had ever been in a fight. I was met with shock; not that it was an offensive question, but because the answer was so obvious that I shouldn’t even have needed to ask. Yes. They had all been in fights. One guy answered, “Yeah, a couple” and another alluded to having been in many. Violence among men is SO STANDARD that asking about it is meaningless.

So in regard to our boy Elliot, let’s focus on The Mens. Instead of asking, “Why are women being assaulted?” let’s ask, “Why are men assaulting women?” Let’s include men, even just the term, in the dialogue when it comes to violence against women.

Let’s look at Elliot Rodger without mentioning anything feminine. He is a man, he is socially isolated, feels humiliated, and has access to guns. Doesn’t that look just a teeny bit similar to every instance of a school shooting? Of, you know, most mass killings?

There is a common thread between violence against men and the violence against women, and that is that it is violence being committed by men. This is the issue that needs dealing with. Not making women terrified so that first dates are even harder for us guys than necessary, but getting to the root of why men are committing violence.

The first question that I asked about why women are being assaulted. The #YesAllWomen trend. Most media dialogue regarding violence against women. They all ignore men. It seems as though women are the issue here, and the old gun logic of “If everyone had a penis, then none of this would have happened!” becomes the somewhat facetious solution to these problems.

Or you could look at what actually caused this violence in the first place. Maybe let’s curb access to guns, develop a more socially inclusive society, have easier access to mental health therapy, or maybe adjust our culture to one that doesn’t glorify violence in masculinity.

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