“A former classmate from Bellbrook High School told BuzzFeed News that in 2011 or 2012, Betts made a ‘hit list’ that included mostly girls at the school. When teachers found the list, the school went into lockdown and Betts was later suspended, the classmate said. He tended to play threats off as a joke, the classmate added, and no one seemed to take them very seriously.” — Ellie Hall, Buzzfeed, Aug. 5, 2019
“The suspected gunman in the Dayton mass shooting was a member of a ‘pornogrind’ heavy metal band which sang about extreme sexual violence against women. […] Preteen Daughter P***y Slaughter, 6 Ways Of Female Butchery and Tilt Bench for Gynecology Or Total Rape are among the names of the albums produced by Menstrual Munchies. All the artwork on the album covers depicts highly graphic, sexualised and bloody violence against women. [quoting a band member] ‘Because I know, like, whereas I saw it as a joke — like, ‘Let’s play this and we’ll shock some people,’ and then the people that we know laugh — he didn’t see it as a joke. He was like, ‘F***, yeah. We’re gonna do this.'” — Tim Wyatt, The Independent, Aug. 6, 2019
Violence against women is not a joke.
It is the reason why I have four locks on two doors separating me from the outside world, and yet I still barricade my front door with a chair before I go to bed at night.
It is the reason why I wake up from nightmares thrashing around in my bed and screaming “NO.”
It is the reason why I cannot handle people I either do not know or do not trust touching me.
It is the reason why I am constantly on alert looking for threats and waiting for something bad to happen.
It is the reason why I jump and tense up whenever I hear someone speaking loudly, pounding on the walls or floor, or a slamming door.
It is why I am too many times unable to get out of bed and leave my house.
It is the reason why I first thought about suicide when I was 8 years old, and haven’t stopped since.
It is the reason why I have self-inflicted scars littering my arms.
It is one of the reasons why my mother chose to die.
Violence against women is not a joke. And, making light of violence against women is not free speech. Making light of violence against women – physical and psychological pain and suffering – is psychological violence. It is cruel and terrifying. It demonstrates at best a complete ignorance of the harm such violence causes, or at worst a lack of empathy characteristic of psychopaths and sociopaths. If you think that it is appropriate to make light of violence against women, you need to do some self-reflective introspective work and seek professional psychological help.
EDIT: 8/15/2019 – See also: