(Victims of the Nova Scotia shooting. The RCMP has released only scant details about the Nova Scotia killer’s initial movements, except to confirm that his rampage began with a 'serious assault' on his girlfriend and escalated from there.)
Misogyny is often behind the acts we deem ‘senseless’
by Elizabeth Renzetti, Globe and Mail, April 24, 2020
There is now confirmation that the mass murder in Nova Scotia that left 22 people dead began with an act of domestic violence, with the killer’s assault on his female partner. This means that three of the deadliest mass killings in modern Canadian history – the 2018 Toronto van attack and the 1989 massacre at Montreal’s École Polytechnique are the others – had their roots in misogyny.
And yet, despite the mounting carnage, we fail to draw any connections between these crimes, preferring to see them as unfathomable, unpredictable and random. They’re none of those things. Violence perpetrated against women is widespread, exists in a spectrum, and comes with a whole series of red flags that we continue to ignore at our peril – until the next tragedy has officials scratching their heads again, wondering how such a horrible event could occur.
As of this writing, the RCMP has released only scant details about the Nova Scotia killer’s initial movements – the RCMP’s lack of public response has been a problem in itself – except to confirm that his rampage began with a “serious assault” on his girlfriend and escalated from there.
Global News, which broke the story of the initial assault, said the killer had assaulted his girlfriend and tied her up, but that she managed to escape and later call the police. The killer had reportedly been known for troubling and controlling behaviour around his girlfriend – serious warning signs to anyone who studies intimate partner violence.
There will be hesitance to draw links between misogyny and mass violence, as there always is; it feels too “political.” In the wake of the Toronto van attack, very little attention focused on the accused perpetrator’s adherence to women-hating “incel” ideology. After the Montreal massacre, news accounts focused on the killer’s troubled upbringing and emotional trauma, despite the fact that he literally announced his hatred of “feminists” before he murdered 14 women, most of them engineering students. ...