The online feminist community has been rocked by the news that one of their own has been arrested for second degree murder. Aleksandr Kolpakov, from YouTube channel The Skeptic Feminist, has apparently shot and killed one of his co-creators and intimate partners (yes, plural). Regardless of the eventual outcome of the criminal investigation, one life has been extinguished and another will be changed forever.
At times like this it is tempting to point to the irony: a vocal advocate for women’s safety (who divides his time between running a self-defence course for women and online activism) killing his intimate partner, but such events are not as unexpected as they might seem. On the contrary, these contradictions almost seem the norm; it’s the homophobic preacher who turns out to be gay; it’s the progressive class warrior who turns out to have a finger in every pie; and it’s the male feminist who turns out the be the sexual predator. These walking contradictions appear to be fighting their own inner demons, and then they project them outward to imagine that their own problems are indicative of society at large.
While a notably common occurrence, these individuals are not representative of their groups. They are only the more memorable cases for their contradictions.
Furthermore, leaping to the conclusion that his crime occurred because deep down he must truly hate women endorses the type of erroneous thought processes of modern feminism that has caused a growing number of people to reject what feminism has become. The mainstream feminist belief is that misogyny is the root cause of ‘violence against women’. Other factors are secondary, at best, or entirely unworthy of consideration: it couldn’t have happened but for the deep-seated hatred and disrespect of women. The suggestion that Kolpakov’s activism was conscious cover for his own misogyny is built upon this ridiculous assumption.
We know little of the exact circumstances and even less of his internal motivations, all we know is that a tragedy has occurred.
However, the greater tragedy is what constitutes a tragedy. Domestic violence occurs on a daily basis but it mostly goes unnoticed, contributing only to statistics. Occasionally a specific murder becomes the catalyst to further an ideology, but with no real solutions offered beyond the moral posturing. It takes an incident that involves the ‘right’ person before anyone cares, before they dig deeper than that broad feminist assumption. People will want to know how one of their own could have perpetrated such a crime. And, to be sure, there will be many reasons. The most obvious are access to guns and mental health. Kolpakov is ex-military and there have been suggestions he was suffering from PTSD. One of his co-creators reported that he was experiencing a drug-induced psychotic episode at the time of the dreadful incident.
Solutions to violence will only be found by raising awareness and openly discussing the true causes and contributing factors. This should have been part of the ongoing dialogue, but decades ago the topic was derailed by radicals who believe misogyny to be the only explanation with any merit. Countless lives have been lost in the interim while we were distracted by ideological nonsense, and our collective inaction is immeasurably worse than any single murder viewed in isolation.
But perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that this moment of introspection will prove all too brief. People will seek to understand this particular case, to explain the actions of their associate, to minimise blame or even generate sympathy for the perpetrator, but soon it will be forgotten and without the personal connection to moderate their thinking they will invariably revert to their old ways. The problem of domestic violence will default to ‘misogyny’ and society will cease searching for meaningful ways to mitigate interpersonal violence, contributing to evermore preventable deaths.