In August 2009, Bob Herbert wrote an article in the New York Times questioning why people were not more enraged after the 2006 rural Pennsylvania hate crime against a schoolhouse full of women and girls, nor after the 2009 Collier Township shooting. Herbert remarked, “We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected.”
After a Not In Our Town screening at American University, graduate student and former high school and journalism teacher Mandy Toomey raised the question: why don’t we hear more about hate crimes against women?
On the American Association of University Women blog, Toomey reflected, “One thing I noticed that was missing from these examples [the screening] and other videos on the site were hate crimes committed against women. According to [Not In Our Town Executive Producer] Patrice, crimes against gender are classified by law as hate crimes by some states; in general, however, communities don’t generally rise up against such crimes. This made me stop and wonder: Did anyone rise up in outrage when George Sodini opened fire on a woman’s aerobics class in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania?”
Toomey raises an important question: are we paying enough attention to hate crimes against women?