Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them

It is infuriating to write what feels like the same piece. Multiple times, in way too rapid succession. But here we go again…a shooting, a white male perpetrator, a rejection, and victim-blaming.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis shot and killed 10 people and wounded more than a dozen at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas on May 18, 2018. Although there were, according to school officials, no “red flags,” there actually were, to the knowledgeable eye. I do not mean that to throw anyone under the bus but rather to illustrate that we have far to go before, as a society, we actually address what is known about school shooters and create appropriate prevention programs. Almost always, the shooters are white males who have issues with females, be it rejections or overtly abusive relationships. The red flag, then, was his persistent and increasingly angry pursuit of a young lady despite her lack of interest.

One of Pagourtzis’s targets was Shana Fisher, who, according to news reports, over four months repeatedly rejected his advances. Allegedly, she finally stood up to him in class, which was an embarrassment, supposedly, and some reports say, the final straw. That he targeted a girl who he was interested in, is, sadly and horrifically, normal in the U.S. Virtually all of the school shooters in modern times have targeted a dating partner or someone who spurned their advances. Nickolas Kruz, the Parkland, Florida school shooter, had abused both his mother and his former girlfriend. In March, Austin Wyatt Rollins shot a girl he had dated and another boy in a Baltimore school. In April, Alek Minassian drove a van into a crowd, murdering 10 people in Toronto. Minassian claims to be part of the “incel,” or involuntarily celibate culture, which aims to punish women for denying men like him sex, and was inspired by Elliot Rodgers’ attack May 2014 attack that killed six and wounded 14. Rodgers had recorded a video on YouTube in which he explained that he intended to punish women for rejecting him. These men imagine themselves to be the victims, and media plays along.

As is typical, mainstream media, when it covers this part of this part of the story at all, has reinforced the notion that somehow it was her fault for rejecting him. “Spurned advances provoke Texas shooting,” read one ridiculous headline. Similarly, Pagourtzis was described as a “sweet, nice boy.” Even trying to explain away these atrocities is problematic, as it presumes that something must have prompted these good guys to turn to the dark side. This “himpathy,” as Kate Manne has called it, is nowhere more clear than in the six-month prison sentence of Stanford rapist Brock Turner. Because of course his reputation matters. Hers, not so much. She should sacrifice. She should give in. She should protect his precious feelings.

Some sources outside the mainstream media, like Salon, have done way better, noting that we live in a culture in which women are to accept and even appreciate a man’s attention, even if it is unwanted. Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote in Salonthat this is about “getting called a bitch when you ignore a harasser on the street. About being passed over in your industry because your boss finds you too bangable or not bangable enough. This is about policing the attire of schoolgirls because they’re a ‘distraction,’ rather than teaching boys about maturity and respect in a world that contains females.”

Despite the clear linkage between hegemonic masculinity and lethal violence, school officials continue to disregard this warning sign. They look for “creepy” behavior, and fail to interpret incessant and aggressive pursuit of an uninterested girl as such. So, once again, I offer this advice. Please, please, please, can we include teaching about healthy and unhealthy relationships as a mandatory part of our school curricula? Can we please implore media to research or at least talk to experts on abuse and assault? And can we, as parents, vow to talk to our kids, especially our boys, about how to handle rejection?

More articles by:

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail