#YesAllWomen: Rebecca Solnit on the Santa Barbara Massacre & Viral Response to Misogynist Violence
Every woman, every day, when she leaves her house, starts to think about safety: Can I go here? Should I go out there? Do I need to take the main street? Do I need to be in by a certain hour? Do I need to find a taxi? Is the taxi driver going to rape me? You know, women are so hemmed in by fear of men, it profoundly limits our lives. And of course it’s not all men, but it’s enough that it impacts all women. And it’s pretty nearly worldwide. The tweets were coming from all over the English-speaking world and parts of the world that aren’t primarily English-speaking, to say that this problem impacts me, this problem impacts us, and we need to keep doing things about it. We need to escalate, and we need to address how deeply embedded it is. And we need to make visible what’s been invisible, and we need to change it. And I think this weekend we really started to do that.
That tweet, and the NFL’s entire approach to this question, demonstrates the difference between violence against women and what it means to have a culture of violence against women. The violence is what Ray Rice did to Janay Rice. The culture is a team—and a league—that thinks rehabbing the images of players who project the violence of their game onto women is no more than a public relations problem. This is no different than the connective tissue between the act of rape and rape culture. Just as “rape” is a crime and “rape culture” is when the crime is disregarded and mocked, violence against women excused is ensuring that violence will occur again. This is also why people who say “not all men” commit rape or violence against women don’t understand what it will actually take to resign these pathologies to the dustbin of history. It is a collective responsibility that men either take seriously, or risk becoming part of the problem.