After the Webinar: Understanding Gender-Based Hate Crime. Q&A with the Presenters

Webinar presenters Michael Lieberman and Jessica Reaves answered a number of your questions after their presentation, Understanding Gender-Based Hate Crime. Here are just a few of their responses.


Audience Question: Is the comparison of FBI hate crime spreadsheet. Is that on the ADL website? 

Michael Lieberman: It is. it’s a chart that we prepared. It’s all FBI data, but we just made it as easy as possible to track and to compare year by year. Both charts that I mentioned both the hundred thousand and larger cities and they did not report or zero reporting and the chart going back to 2000 are both online.



Audience Question: Why is women-based hate crime or misogyny growing? Can you talk a little bit about those contributing factors?

Jessica Reaves: I mean I get I will give the perspective from the world of extremism and then Michael may want to weigh in from more from consumer rights and legal perspective. You know, we are seeing unprecedented equality for women. We are seeing women take on more jobs that have been traditionally male jobs and obviously that’s been happening to some extent or the other you know for decades now, but you know, we are starting to see more women graduate from college or starting to see more female, more women graduating from medical schools, law schools. And I think that you know with that with those gains, you know, there are going to be reactions from certain men. I also think that we are in an era where there is a there is sort of an explicit or implicit nod given to people who use really derogatory terms towards women. I just think that the atmosphere these days is particularly volatile and that has affected, you know, hate crimes across the board violence across the board towards targeted communities. We just have so much division. We have so much sort of extremist content being shared and disseminated. It’s just an extraordinarily unsettled time where people feel, some people feel empowered to speak out or act out on their prejudices, so that’s a very broad sort of dual perspective there Michael. Do you have any thoughts you want to share?

Michael Lieberman: Yeah, I think so. I think you use the word empowered. Sometimes we use the word emboldened to act on prejudice. This is a very uncivil time and I’m sorry both Jessica and I were involved in trying to figure out how best to respond in the aftermath of Charlottesville, in the aftermath of the murders at the Mother Emanuel Charleston Church, in the aftermath of the Tree of Life synagogue murders and always the number one thing that we say is that leaders should speak out against hate and bias. That’s the most important thing, law enforcement leaders mayors, governors, Attorneys General, civic leaders, the president and there’s been a failure on many different fronts to speak out on too frequently to frequent occasions. And I think the bottom line when you look at the numbers is also that the fact that the numbers of trans crimes, for example, is now up to 2.4 percent of all hate crimes is not necessarily a bad thing for people to feel empowered to report and to have an expectation that law enforcement will respond appropriately or respond at all is a good thing. So sometimes when the numbers go up, it’s not it doesn’t mean that the Klan has moved to town. It could just mean that a particular segment of society feels more empowered, more able to respond – that was my dog – more able to respond and that could be a good thing. So there’s not a one-to-one correlation between increased numbers and things going badly. But sometimes there is a trend that needs to be addressed.



Audience Question: How long has this manosphere MRA response been around again?

Jessica Reaves: I mean the MRAs have existed for a long time, men’s rights activists have existed since the 60s and 70s. The manosphere specifically are the online forums where these men congregate and share information. So, as long as the internet has existed these guys have found each other online. But again, these are ideas and this is rhetoric that has been around for millennia, you know, it’s the age-old  sexism. But specifically the manosphere, you know, we’ve just been tracking it more recently. We’ve seen a bit of an upswing but I think again that goes to awareness and people being, you know finding these communities online more easily, people spending more time online. So yes, it’s for many years. They’ve been around but certainly we’ve seen an uptick in the numbers of conversations.



Audience Question: Is there an incel group of females? 

Jessica Reaves: So there are incels who are women, but they tend not to congregate in the same places as the men. Generally speaking the women female incels or female-identifying incels tend, it’s a very different type of community again, it goes back much more towards the to the initial coining of the phrase, you know women who are involuntary celibate who want to find partners, romantic partners, sexual partners, but who can’t but it’s much more about finding each other and talking to each other about how to cope with the situation rather than turning the situation into an opportunity to perpetrate violence against women. The female incels and they are much fewer much. There are many fewer females than are male. They are generally talking about supporting each other and that’s a generalization, but we don’t see the calls to violence in the same way.



Audience Question: What impact has the Me Too movement has on hate crimes against women. 

Michael Lieberman: Yeah, I mean, I think that in exactly the same way that Jessica had talked about women’s equality and women being more in the workplace in leadership roles that perhaps has sparked some resentment and within this very strange and violent subcommunity more predilection or movement towards violence or violent action. I think also the Me Too movement would encourage women who are the victims of crimes to be able to come forward and not to suffer it. I think there’s a really important distinction to be made between rape, which is also a crime that the FBI tracks, the most underreported crime in America, but still well over a hundred thousand in the most recent years. Rape is not by definition a hate crime. Not in any state, not federally they are separate crimes. They should be reported separately. They should be treated separately. There should be different response by law enforcement obviously to rape and hate crime but it’s important not to be able to conflate what is you know philosophically maybe you could say that it’s a hate crime, of course, but from a criminal law perspective not. I think the more presence the more willing to speak out has the potential to encourage women or gender-based violence to be able to be reported. I hope that’s the case that people would not feel reluctant to report either domestic violence or rape or the fact that they are the victims of hate crime. Anything else Jessica?



Audience Question: For cities that are tracking hate crime. Do you know what programs have been implemented to address those hate crime issues? What successes are you seeing? What can you share with us?

Michael Lieberman: Yeah, so there are is like I said the there’s sometimes there are cities that are reporting a disproportionately high number of hate crimes and almost always it’s because they’re doing a really good job of letting their community know that they care about hate crime that they want to be able to respond. So I’m thinking about cities like Phoenix, Seattle, Columbus, Washington DC, these are all cities, Boston, that are well reporting way more hate crimes than much larger cities. And that frequently means that they’re doing a good job and good job means they could have a hate crimes unit or a particular training that is done. This is really a training issue for law enforcement executives. When you train your officers in how to respond, report, identify hate crime, you’re going to maybe have an increase in hate crime I’m but the community group should support you because they know that you take this crime seriously and you’re in a position to respond effectively to it. I think having on the individual departmental websites the fact that these crimes are taken seriously, maybe a link to a particular policy, inclusive policy. All those things can be helpful, but I think some of the leading cities are the ones that I mentioned, Columbus, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington DC, Boston.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of  Understanding Gender-Based Hate Crime.


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