All it took to incite the 17-year-old accused of Santa Fe Massacre to shoot ten people dead, was rejection of his advances by a girl. As per an article published in LA Times, the mother of one of the victims Shana Fisher has alleged that the boy had been making unwanted advances towards her daughter for past four months. She said, “He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no.” The boy apparently continued to become more aggressive with his advance until Fisher finally stood up to him a week ago and embarrassed him in class.

“A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she continued, “Shana being the first one.”

Columnist and author Jessica Valenti pointed out in her tweet, how men’s entitlement to women’s sexual attention – combined with rage over rejection was proving to be deadly to our society.

Toxicity of feeling entitled to a “yes”

The problem men have in dealing with rejection from women is not as evident anywhere else, as it is in our country. Numerous men stalk, harass and even abuse young girls in the name of love and romance. But when their advances go unreciprocated, or worse rejected, they resort to violence. The cases of acid attacks, stabbing, murder or rape at hands of aggressive pursuers are not new to us. While we are all shocked by what happened in Santa Fe, the cruel truth of our men being unable to handle rejection has been calling our attention since ages.

The reason why men resort to violence when their sexual or romantic advancements get refuted has nothing to do with love or attraction. It is just that their inflated ego.

Such a thinking is not just influenced by popular film and media. It has a deeper root in the brotherhood code which runs amidst men and in Indian context, the patriarchy which makes them think that they are entitled to “have” the girl they like.

To most boys and men, women are nothing more than trophies. The one who has “scored” more girls, is always looked upon with admiration. Thus, the failure to get attention from women gives birth to frustration and immense hatred.

Teach boys and men to handle rejection

Somehow men reach the conclusion that they can attain what they want with violence. Their entitlement leads them to believe that if they cannot have a woman then no one else should. In their minds a woman should pay dearly for rejecting them, because how dare she. It is sad that instead of blaming the patriarchy or toxic masculinity which creates false expectations, men hold women who have rejected them as culprits.

Rejecting unwanted advances is every woman’s right, and it is not her fault at all if a man’s head is full of entitlement and anxiety to prove his manhood. So teaching men that no means no, is just not enough. We must teach them to handle rejection as well. We have to rid their minds of toxic masculinity, which makes them desperate and aggressive to get a woman’s attention. That is the only way, we can neutralise the threat of macho aggression which looms over our head. So if we want to prevent such incidences, then we have to rescue our boys and men from their ego.

Photo Credit : dnaindia.com

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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