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Elliot Rodger And the C-Word

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ELLIOT RODGER
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Less than 24 hours after Elliot Rodger made sure that all those women who so "unjustly" kept him a virgin got what they "deserved," a 25-year-old colleague of mine had something small and inconsequential happen to her that was actually neither small nor inconsequential.

She was leaving a party at a Hollywood bar on Saturday evening, hurrying toward the exit to meet her boyfriend. As she rushed past the bar, a group of men tried to engage her in conversation; they came on to her, plain and simple. In a genuine rush -- and not the least bit interested -- she sidestepped them and kept on walking. But one of the men, angered by her apparent rejection, unleashed his rage on her. He let it rip, screaming out that she was a "C*NT!" in a voice so loud that it electrified the room. It startled her, jolted her to her core. My friend was caught in that split-second moment of disbelief, caught between the crosshairs of anger and fear. She actually slowed her pace and looked over her shoulder to do a reality check. Had this stranger in a bar really just called her that word because she wasn't flattered by his unwanted attention?

Yes, yes he had. And realizing that he had, she did what any sane woman would do: She picked up her pace, running the last few feet to her car with her keys poised to unlock the door as quickly as possible.

It was one of those icky moments that, if you are a woman, you have likely experienced. It may have been years ago, but it might as well have been yesterday because you still remember it in vivid detail -- including how vulnerable you felt, how powerless you must have seemed. It's one of those moments that stays with you, long after the c*nt-caller has jerked off to the memory of your stunned look and forgotten you. It festers like a sore in your gut. You replay the scene in your mind and you think about how you wished you had kicked him in the balls or thrown a bar glass at his sneering face.

Three days later, back in the office after the long holiday weekend, the brush with the man's uncontrolled anger still rang in my young colleague's ears. How do I know this? When I asked her what she did over the weekend, it was the first thing she told me about.

"It's still so bizarre to me that someone would do that," she said. Bizarre among normal people, yes. As CNN noted in a story about the killing spree that left six college students dead and 13 injured at Rodgers' hands, "No, not all men channel frustration over romantic rejection into a killing spree. But yes, all women experience harassment, discrimination or worse at some point in their lives."

No, not every c*nt-caller creates a digital footprint detailing his intentions to "destroy everything I cannot have," and blaming the "cruelness of women" for his "day of retribution." And no, not every c*nt-caller stabs three people to death, mows down innocents on bikes and shoots at sorority sisters because he feels misunderstood and unloved and unable to get laid when he wants. But there is a connection. It is the same rage, the same misogyny. And women, they get it.

It was what inspired Twitter users to tweet the hashtag #YesAllWomen. As Huffington Post reported, "women have been sharing stories of what they've had to put up with, from discrimination to sexual assault, while pointing out the many ways misogyny has become almost acceptable."

And that's the point: Calling someone a "c*nt" fellas? It's just not acceptable.