Speak Out—Santa Barbara Murders Open Up a Well of Pain and Oppression Women Face

June 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

"Yes All Women" speak-out, Chicago


"Yes All Women" speak-out, Chicago


"Yes All Women" speak-out, Chicago

Photos: Special to Revolution

In Chicago's south loop, at the major intersection of State and Jackson, a group of 14 people staged a speak out and rally in response to the Santa Barbara killing of six and wounding of others. These murders were carried out by a young man who posted on YouTube a manifesto of hatred toward women. Over a million and a half people have responded to this on the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen. A call went out from Stop Patriarchy to take the "Tweets to the Streets!"

At the speak-out/open mike, people were challenged to respond to the question of how long will women face violence, terror, rape and oppression? Many people gathered and then stepped up to the microphone speaking bitterness and outrage over the way women are brutalized and degraded in this society. Over 10 people of all ages and nationalities told their stories. A crowd of friends and others stood by on the street clapping, cheering and supporting the people as they spoke.

One Black woman, who was sitting in the area watching the whole event, spoke to how "It is getting worse and worse, it's getting to the point where something should be done." As groups of students crossed the street, they stood and listened to a young grad student talk about the killer's manifesto of hatred towards women and the killer's expressed desire to be the "alpha male." A young grad student spoke to how "This culture trains men in male entitlement." A women with 'prom queen' on her t-shirt said, "While I was going to college and getting a rape whistle, boys going to college are getting condoms." A young male student rode his bike right up to the mike and said, "I have to speak." When he got to the mike, he said, "My sister was raped on campus and not one thing was done about it and that was wrong." A man who was one of the organizers spoke about how he was a victim of rape, and said that "No matter what people's gender is, no one should have to go through that." Another woman spoke to how she was "outed" as gay in high school. She told how she was then harassed and taunted by young men in her high school. She spoke to the fear she lived through because of the threats and harassment. Other stories poured out of how men get Viagra but women can't get birth control, how women don't have control over their own bodies or to decide if they want to have children. All the people who spoke were met with cheers as people took turns on the open microphone.

One of the most moving moments was when a 30-year-old woman, who had stayed and watched people speak, stepped to the mic. She spoke to how her young daughter had been sexually assaulted by a caregiver, and how no one would help her find this guy. Her daughter has been scarred for life. She went on to say that women in this society define themselves in relation to men—but "Men are a dime a dozen" and "Women's worth should not be defined by men."

After an hour of speaking out, we marched down State Street chanting "Yes All Women, We Can Be Free, Break the Chains, For Humanity." One particular chant that was taken up with the sharp cadence of the crew was "I don't know but I've been told, Women are getting mighty bold. We won't shut up, we won't submit, We won't stand for this women-hating shit!" At each intersection, more people gathered to check out what was going on and we agitated around "How long will women face violence, rape, and oppression?!"

Over 500 fliers of the statement by Sunsara Taylor on the Santa Barbara murders were gotten out, along with 55 Revolution newspapers issue #240, with the front page calling for people to join the abortion freedom ride in Texas happening this August. Sections of the Stop Patriarchy mission statement were read, and tweets from #YesAllWomen captured the very real and deep well of fury and pain that has come out on the internet and which has surfaced at this rally and march.

Yes, there was one guy who walked by and said "Men rule, women should submit," religious people standing around on a corner holding up the bible, and a group of young men who said, "Can you believe what they are saying?" But many who we encountered took fliers and gave us ways to contact them to be part of Stop Patriarchy. 14 people signed up to be a part of taking on the degradation and brutality that woman face and fight forward.

What we were able to do, at this moment, when many people are being shaken by these murders, was to give women and men a place, a platform, and a community of people to be able to call these outrages out. There were many people who came up and thanked us for being there, for speaking out and for refusing to shut up and submit to the crimes against women.

As we came back to close the rally out, a revolutionary communist stepped forward and read the "Break the Chains" quote from Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party:

You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can't say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution. (BAsics 3:22)

This is a time to step up and speak out—and to not let this moment "defuse" but to build real resistance and opposition in the streets to the oppression of half of humanity, and to dig into the cause of all this, this capitalist system, and the solution to emancipating humanity and liberating women: communist revolution!

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.