Since I can remember, I've heard various news pundits and read various opinion pieces expressing outrage that moderate Muslims don't condemn all acts of violence by other Muslims, especially acts of violence against westerners or specifically against people in or from the US.
Most of these folks subtly (or not so subtly) lump all Muslims together because those not committing acts of violence aren't visibly (visibly to popular western and US media) acting against those who commit acts of violence. These folks make a lot of noise. Not surprisingly, most of these folks are white and male, and most represent conservative points of view.
Last week, I was horrified by the news of the school shooting in Bailey, Colorado; the news reports all mentioned that the shooter chose girls.
Last night, when I got home, I saw the news about the Amish school girls killed in Pennsylvania; again the news reports all mentioned that the shooter chose girls, and released boys and women.
Why isn't the press focusing on the fact that these are acts against GIRLS, and not acts against random children? These men chose to kill GIRLS, and not boys. (Aunt B. at Tiny Cat Pants does a good job articulating the issue here.)
I know my feminist male friends share my outraged and recognize that the violence we've seen against girls in schools is only the latest most visible tip of the larger social violence against girls and women in our culture. I know many of them actively work to end violence against women, supporting feminist activities on campus and in the community, working to support the local domestic violence shelter, mentoring women.
But I want to hear is some public outrage. I want those same conservative pundits to recognize that as American men, they should hold themselves to the same standards they want to hold all Muslims to: they should be responsible for standing up and publicly taking a position against violence against women. I want all those preachers I see in the media to preach against the violence. They should take responsibility for the way their community acts.
If every man in the US took a stand and decided that he would never commit an act of violence against a woman, that he would never rape or condone rape, and that he would act to stop violence against women in his community, we'd pretty much end problems with violence against women. (Some violence is committed by other women, of course, but compared to the violence enacted by men, it's rare. And I'd be willing to take that on if we could get the men to do their part.)
I want the president to stand up and say that violence against women is unacceptable. I read today that the White House will be hosting a discussion about school violence; these recent shootings* aren't random school violence, they're violence against GIRLS. The president needs to recognize that.
He uses strong language to suggest that people against the US war on Iraq are somehow disloyal. I want him to use strong language about the violence against women. And then I want him and every single member of congress to back it up with real action, and I want every police officer, every prosecutor, every mayor and councilmember to take violence against women seriously.
I don't want to hear about women deserving violence or bringing it on ourselves. I don't want to hear that those Amish girls made the shooter execute them. I don't want to hear that the girls in Bailey deserved to be assaulted.
I want to hear the press actually analyze how violence against girls and women happens, and to be self-critical in their reporting of these acts of violence.
Terrorism should be defined as the inflicting of terror on others. Women are being terrorized by men. Men need to recognize it, take responsibility, and end it. NOW.
*The third shooting this week killed a school Principal in Wisconsin. I don't know what the shooter's intentions were. Violence all around is unacceptable, but we need to distinguish violence which focuses on females as females specifically because something different is happening when someone enters a school and selects only girls to attack and/or kill.