Dear Rep. Yoho,
Earlier this week, you verbally accosted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of the Capitol. You stuck your finger in her face, calling her “disgusting” and “out of her mind.” After Rep. Ocasio-Cortez stated you were being rude, you stormed off, muttering loudly enough for everyone to hear that she was a “fucking bitch.”
Rep. Yoho, you then stood on the House floor and denied calling Rep. Ocasio-Cortez a fucking bitch, stating you were “very cognizant” of your language because you have women in your life. You said “I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.” You did not take responsibility for your vile and misogynistic language, choosing instead to use your wife and two daughters as shields, somehow believing that having women in your life means you cannot be a misogynist.
Rep. Yoho, Gary Ridgway was married. He killed at least forty nine women, all of whom were sex workers. Ridgway was able to do this because he did not view women as people. He viewed women as things.
With your attack on Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, and the lack of condemnation by your own party, it is clear both you and the GOP feel the same way about women as Gary Ridgway. We are not people, we are objects. Objectifying women allows you to call a woman a “fucking bitch,” then passionately deny you ever did that, even though you were heard by multiple people. Rep. Ocaso-Cortez is, in your eyes, less-than. Barely human. Undeserving of the most basic respect.
Encouraging, enabling, and participating in misogyny, often leads to acts of horrible violence. Elliot Rodger murdered seven people because he saw women as objects whose only purpose in life was to date and have sex with him. Scott Bierle, who entered a Florida yoga studio and killed two women, injured four other women and one man, hated women. He had hated women for decades, attacking and molesting young girls in grade school and in his time as a substitute teacher, and assaulting women during his time in the military.
Rep. Yoho, do you remember Brock Turner? He raped an unconscious young woman in an alley, and spent only three months in jail. Turner’s father wrote a letter to the presiding judge, lamenting his son’s lack of appetite for steak, and calling the violence Brock perpetrated against this young woman “20 minutes of action.” Would you write that kind of letter if Brock Turner was your son? Somehow I think you might.
The words you used to accost Rep. Ocasio-Cortez are words used by men to attack women every single day, both in person and online. Men send women rape and death threats, stalk us, harass us, threaten our families, publish our home addresses, and treat as if we are not human. Young men who spend time on misogynistic 4Chan forums, or “incel” Reddit, become Elliot Rodger and Scott Bierle.
Rep. Yoho, you were wrong to use your wife and daughters in an attempt to prove you cannot possibly be a misogynist. You were wrong to blame “God” and your “passion” for spewing hate at a sitting congresswoman. You were wrong to engage in the objectification of women, especially in a time when angry men who hate us often end up killing us.
If you have any sense of decency, you will issue a real apology, not just to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but to all women. You will champion the Violence Against Women Act. You will make a sizable donation to organizations that help women who have been the victims of violence at the hands of men. You will read studies and papers that prove the link between misogynistic language and violence against women.
And you will ask yourself this question: If your daughters told you a man had spoken to them the way you spoke to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, how would you feel? Would you be angry? Would you tell your daughters that language is never alright?
Or would you tell your daughters the man who called them “disgusting” and fucking bitches was just passionate about his beliefs?
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