READ THE WHOLE THING: Sexual Violence Is a Hate Crime - National Organization for Women
I strongly believe violence against women, and particularly sexual violence, is a hate crime – and that may surprise people, even feminists.
On October 2, 2006 a man walked into an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, County Pennsylvania and shot ten young girls. Charles Carl Roberts IV was 32 years old and apparently wanted to enact revenge against female victims because of an issue in his past. He walked in with three guns, two knives, and 600 rounds of ammunition. When he arrived at the school in the morning, he separated the boys and girls—children ages six to 13—and then allowed the boys to leave. He then lined the girls against a blackboard,bound their feet with wire tires and plastic handcuffs, and then shot them execution style. Five little girls were killed: Lena Miller, 7; Mary Liz Miller, 8; Naomi Ebersol, 7; Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12; and Marian Fisher, 13.
This is one of the most notorious, and horrific gender-based hate crimes, but it is not an isolated incident. While there are many large-scale gender-based murders, such as the Isle Vista shooting in 2014, most acts of violence against women are on the interpersonal level and are thus less likely to be viewed as a hate crime.
Hate crimes are defined as “crime, most commonly violence, motivated by prejudice, bias or hatred towards a particular group of which the victim is presumed to be a member.” Hate crimes are considered especially harmful because the perpetrator often justifies their violence based on societal prejudice and the act further normalizes violence against the subject. There is a heightened psychological trauma produced by a hate crime that affects an entire community, with members aware that at any time, they too may be targets for crime solely based on innate characteristics.