While the details of the two cases differ significantly, experts suggest that the current available evidence points to a potential commonality: misogyny. And, in light of the two events, activists in Britain and in the United States have urged the authorities to treat misogyny as a greater threat to national security, even upgraded to the level of a hate crime.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that misogyny and gender-based violence are also correlated with broader threats. They are among the most reliable indicators of terrorism and conflict, according to a 2015 United Nations report, because a spike in gender-based violence — particularly domestic violence — correlates with “rising levels of insecurity in society more broadly.” A sudden disappearance of girls from schools, for example, could point to a rise of fundamentalist views. There is also a “robust symbiosis between misogyny and white supremacy,” according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that was founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism, and now fights a variety of threats of hate and extremism.
“There is enough data to know that men who kill women do not suddenly kill women, they work up to killing women,” Ms. Criado Perez added. “If only we were to listen to women and pay attention to the misogyny and aggression and violence that they deal with on a daily basis.”
As pervasive as sexism, misogyny and gender-based violence are, none are inevitable and they can be countered, said Jackson Katz, educator and author of “The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help.”
The first step, he noted, is changing the language used to describe violence against women and characterizing it instead as male violence. (The vast majority of abuse is almost always at the hands of men, as the W.H.O. noted.) “The term ‘violence against women’ is a passive construction — there’s no active agent, it’s a bad thing that happens to women,” he explained, but it’s as if “nobody’s doing it to them.”
That kind of language, he said, “shifts the accountability off of men and the culture that produces them and puts it onto women.”
The second step is recognizing that male aggression against women is a manifestation of a broader systemic problem. “There’s this impulse to pathologize the individual perpetrators — that somehow the individual perpetrator is some monster who just kind of crawled out of the swamp,” Mr. Katz said. “But if you accept the concept that it’s systemic, then there are policy implications and political implications and introspection that can be uncomfortable.”
Yes, it would be hard to classify a lot of misogynist behavior as an actual hate crime.
On the other hand, misogynist behavior is a hate crime.
It’s my view that sexism is actually deeper ingrained in American society than racism and I bow to no one in my belief that racism is pretty damn ingrained in American society. It’s also nearly universal. Women around the world are beaten and raped and murdered and the men often just flat out get away with it.
Law is hard. If violence against women should be considered a hate crime–and again, what’s the difference between beating a woman because she’s a woman and beating a person of color because they are a person of color–then you have to create the legal framework to make this happen. Actually punishing men for all sorts of behaviors that happen long before they get to the point of rape and murder would help. It would be a societal sea change. It’s one that needs to happen.