This past Friday the world saw the deadly actions of one man when he claimed the lives of six University of California, Santa Barbara students. The supposed reasons for his rampage (self-dubbed the "Day of Retribution") were outlined in a super long, super graphic 137-page document in which he states that he will "punish all females for the crime of depriving me of sex. They have starved me of sex for my entire youth, and gave that pleasure to other men." These chilling words not only led to horrendous actions, but point to a sentiment that has led to similar incidents in the past.
This shooting wasn't the first time a man violently lashed out against women for not reciprocating his romantic (or lustful) intentions. While not all as deadly, The Tumblr account When Women Refuse chronicles other acts of vengeful violence that are just as concern-inducing. Deanna Zandt, co-founder of Lux Digital and avid Tumblr user, began the Tumblr as a way to showcase stories of sexual assault and harassment following the refusal of sexual or romantic advancements. In less than 24 hours, a team of four—Lainna Fader, Kate Tull, Kathryn Peters and Shauna Gordon-McKeon—joined her. The Tumblr was born in response to the discussion that followed the Isla Vista shootings. "A lot of guys were doing this kind of othering exercise, saying that this guy was mentally ill and that this was an isolated incident, and it doesn't happen all the time." Zandt said. "To which many of us, who work in feminism and media said, 'Um, it actually does happen all the time.'"
Cringe-worthy stories featuring unbelievable forms of abuse fill the blog's page—a man who attacked a woman with acid when she refused sex. A man who threw his ex-fiancee's daughter's car seat into a creek after she broke off their engagement. House fires, thrown punches, and yes, even murder. The wide variety of stories on the site speaks to the severity of the problem—and the stories that go unheard. The site publishes both personal experiences and published accounts of these types of incidents. It was important to Zandt to include reports and links to pieces from reputable news outlets on the site, in order to offer solid, undeniable proof to those with doubts. "It literally says: 'she refused his advances, and was killed for it,' Zandt says. "Nobody can say 'Well, is that really what happened?'" Through sharing these horrific stories, people have been able to connect, Zandt says. In its short run, the site already has gained lots of attention. Zandt says that within their first day, the Tumblr hit 65,000 unique visitors.
Men aren't alone in experiencing rejection, but no matter the person or circumstance, no should mean no—and there's nothing wrong or "punishable" about saying so. Zandt hopes that women who have been victims of abuse can look to this Tumblr and know that "You are not alone," she says. The sad truth: #YesAllWomen will experience harassment at some point in their life, and that's just not acceptable.
Diana is a producer at ELLE.com. She previously wrote for MarieClaire.com. Diana is a Syracuse grad and a Chicago native, and therefore a pro at dealing with cold weather. She's also an Anglophile, which means she love all things British—especially Downton Abbey, London, and Will and Kate (and Prince George!)
EMILY's List President Laphonza Butler Has Big Plans for the Organization
Under Butler's leadership, the largest resource for women in politics aims to expand Black political power and become more accessible for candidates across the nation.
By Rachel Epstein
Want to Fight for Abortion Rights in Texas? Raise Your Voice to State Legislators
Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY's List and and former Minority Leader in Maine, says that to stop the assault on reproductive rights, we need to start demanding more from our state legislatures.
By Emily Cain
Your Abortion Questions, Answered
Here, MC debunks common abortion myths you may be increasingly hearing since Texas' near-total abortion ban went into effect.
By Rachel Epstein
The Future of Afghan Women and Girls Depends on What We Do Next
Between the U.S. occupation and the Taliban, supporting resettlement for Afghan women and vulnerable individuals is long overdue.
By Rona Akbari
How to Help Afghanistan Refugees and Those Who Need Aid
With the situation rapidly evolving, organizations are desperate for help.
By Katherine J Igoe
It’s Time to Give Domestic Workers the Protections They Deserve
The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, reintroduced today, would establish a new set of standards for the people who work in our homes and take a vital step towards racial and gender equity.
By Ai-jen Poo
The Biden Administration Announced It Will Remove the Hyde Amendment
The pledge was just one of many gender equity commitments made by the administration, including the creation of the first U.S. National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence.
By Megan DiTrolio
Kathryn Garcia Has Spent Her Career Cleaning Up Powerful Men's Messes
The former department of sanitation commissioner has jockeyed her way to the front of a very crowded, very loud, very sexist NYC mayoral field. Will she make history?
By Megan DiTrolio