Is Rape a Hate Crime Committed Against Women?

According to the 2011 documentary When Strangers Click directed by Robert Kenner, when online dating, women most fear meeting a serial killer and men fear meeting someone overweight.

It seems that every morning when I am working my way through the daily news, there is some story to the right of all the “important” ones, tucked between tips about improving your resume and heartwarming local pieces. Woman gets raped after online date gone awry.

What’s sad is how desensitized we’ve become about this news that is hardly news, anymore. More horrifying, however, are the comments such a story elicits. While some Internet trolls sling hateful, misogynistic speech for their own amusement, I have to think that there is a deeper issue. More than just offensive jokes. If your first instinct is to comment about what a whore the girl is, or how stupid she was to expect not to be sexually assaulted, you should really reevaluate your views on women.

The irony of the whole situation is that those who say women shouldn’t put themselves in these sorts of situations, asking what did they expect, etc., are by extension saying that women don’t belong in this particular social sphere. If women didn’t participate in dating, online or otherwise, the heterosexual dating dynamic simply wouldn’t exist. Women are an integral part of the equation.

I don’t know what the solution is to this problem, but I do know that problems ensue from such a twisted point of view. If words beget actions, then the hatred that began as thoughts will only percolate and become more dangerous with time.

Micaela Gardner