Throughout 2012 and into 2013, House Republicans led the fight against a comprehensive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). They continually made excuses as to why they refused to take up the VAWA that passed the Senate in a big bipartisan vote in 2012. But finally in February 2013, House Republican "leaders" relented and VAWA became law (again).
However, that final vote wasn't without controversy. Earlier that month, Heritage Action (yes, that Heritage) announced it would lobby against VAWA renewal. And not only that, but it would negatively score House members who voted for VAWA. That's why most House Republicans ultimately voted against VAWA renewal last year.
What was truly disturbing about Heritage Action's campaign against VAWA was that it was couched in the language of the "Men's Rights Movement". The "Men's Rights Movement" has resorted to false claims and extreme rhetoric to decry laws aimed at protecting vulnerable women from abuse, rape, stalking, and "deadbeat dads".
Elliot Rodger had grown attached to the "Men's Rights Movement". He even posted on "men's rights" online message boards about the "revolution" he wanted to start. Last Friday, he acted on his wishes when he killed 6 other people and himself in Isla Vista.
We've said it before, and we must say it again. Words have consequences. Words have meaning. Rape culture, slut shaming, "man-o-sphere", and other forms of misogyny threaten more than just "blurred lines".
Another shooting occurred in Stockton last Saturday when 3 women turned down 3 men asking them for sex. One of them allegedly opened fire, and the women took shelter at a nearby restaurant to call police.
Meanwhile, a prominent "pick up artist" site predicted more Isla Vista massacres and Stockton incidents if women don't have sex with men like Elliot Rodger. This and other misogynistic responses to these recent violent acts of misogyny have prompted feminist activists to respond with #YesAllWomen. It's easy for so many of us to dismiss what we see as "boys being boys"... Until we see real girls hurt.
Yes, all women deserve respect. Yes, all women should have a chance to live lives free of violence. Yes, all women are still at risk when we fail to acknowledge the consequences of trying to shame and/or force them into submission. And yes, we need to take these risks and acts of misogyny seriously, especially in light of recent events.