By The Numbers: How The Santa Barbara Shooting Reflects A Culture Of Violence Against Women

A woman looks at bullet holes on the window of IV Deli Mark, where Friday’s shooting took place CREDIT: AP/JAE C. HONG
A woman looks at bullet holes on the window of IV Deli Mark, where Friday’s shooting took place CREDIT: AP/JAE C. HONG

On Friday night, Elliot Rodger allegedly killed six people and wounded 13 others near a Santa Barbara, California university campus. The rampage came after Rodger posted a YouTube video in which he said it was “an injustice, a crime” that women have never been attracted to him and that he was going to “punish you all for it” and “slaughter every single blonde slut I see.”

The video was the most recent evidence that Rodger had become involved with various deeply misogynistic groups on the internet. He was an active member of PUA Hate, a group supposedly against pick up artists who promise to teach men how to have sex with any woman they want but who repeat many of the same degrading ideas about women. He was also reportedly active on forums and subscribed to YouTube channels from the men’s rights movement, a community that is being tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

While the debate in the aftermath of the shooting will likely focus on gun legislation — lawmakers are already calling for a renewed focus on background checks and other measures — and mental health resources, it is also becoming a discussion about widespread misogyny. The hashtag #YesAllWomen became a venue on Twitter for women to share personal stories and experiences. As the country tries to reckon with the tragedy, it will have to grapple with a climate in which men perpetrate violence against womenon a daily basis, violence that is deeply embedded within our society.

Here are some facts that paint the picture:

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress
CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress
  • More than one in three women will experience rape, violence, and/or stalking at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
  • Eighty-five percent of intimate partner violence victims are women.
  • About three women are killed by their partners every day. One in 13 murder victims are killed by their intimate partners.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44. One in six women with bone or joint fractures is a recent victim of abuse.
  • Violence is often paired with controlling behavior: women whose partners are jealous, controlling, or verbally abusive are significantly more likely to report rape, physical assault, and/or stalking from their partners.
  • A domestic abuser who has access to a firearm is more than seven times more likely to kill his partner.
  • Between 2009 and 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with a shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife, or ex-wife. In nearly 60 percent of mass shootings during the same time period, the gunman killed a current or former spouse, partner, or other family member. In at least 17 incidents, the shooter had a prior domestic violence charge.
  • The leading cause of death for women at the workplace is homicide, most often at the hands of an intimate partner.
  • While the rate of intimate partner violence declined by 64 percent between 1994 and 2010, most of that decline came before 2001, and since then the fall has slowed and stabilized while the overall crime rate has kept dropping.
  • Domestic violence support services get more than 75,000 requests for assistance on a typical day, but last year they had to turn away more than 9,000 people thanks to tight budgets.