I firmly believe that the small lessons that occur in everyday life accumulate and create the extreme cases. For example, when we allow little comments and actions about the right of boys to dominate or oppress girls, we create a culture, a sometimes-invisible wash of bias that lets outright hatred grow. In other words, the little things make a difference.
What am I really trying to say here? Well, I think I’m just trying to say that the little instances of power imbalance and gender bias are not received as “little” by the sick individuals who become predators. And that by allowing a culture of bias we create a rich environment for men like Ariel Castro to justify their horrific actions. I’m so thankful that Amanda, Gina, Michelle, and Amanda’s daughter are now out of his hands, but we cannot simply celebrate their freedom. Let’s be furious that in the past few decades, we’ve heard so many stories of men on the fringes stealing and destroying the lives of women: raping, beating, and degrading them. Let’s be furious that Castro has blamed Amanda, Gina and Michelle for their fate by saying they shouldn’t have gotten in his car. Let’s keep being furious until there are less men capable of this kind of crime.