A 14 year-old boy stabbed a 16 year-old girl about nine to 11 times at an Oklahoma high school assembly because she didn’t want a relationship with him beyond friendship, authorities told the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office on Friday.
The teen stabbed his fellow student earlier this month at Luther High School, but details on the name of the assailant and his victim have not been released, since they are minors, according to the Oklahoman. The girl didn’t see the boy as he moved to a seat behind her at the assembly. Then, silently, he stood up and began stabbing her with a 4-inch folding knife, creating wounds in her arm, upper back, wrist, and head, KFOR reported.
Luther Police Chief David Randall told the Oklahoman that the boy wanted a closer relationship with the girl, and that she declined, saying that “she liked him as a friend, not anything more and that they remained friends.”
Randall added, “She had no idea that he was holding any type of ill will towards her, so she was totally shocked that he would do this to her.”
The girl has been released from the hospital and is “doing fine” authorities told KOCO. Her assailant is in the Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center and his bail is set at $50,000.
This case is one of many in which boys and men have attacked girls and women for romantic and sexual rejection — attacks that sometimes leave women and girls dead. But there isn’t a “standardized format” for tracking this specific type of violence against women, Jennifer McCleary-Sills, director of gender violence and rights, told Mic in 2016.
Although the stabbing is particularly disturbing because the assailant is so young, he joins a long list of young men who have carried out attacks linked to their anger toward girls and women and abusive behavior toward women and girls in their lives. Nicholas Cruz, the 19-year-old who went on a shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, killing 17 people, had threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend.
In 2014, Elliot Rodger, a 22 year-old, went on a killing spree near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara, and killed six people. Rodger said his attack, which included a stop at a sorority house where he killed two women and injured another, was a “war on women,” motivated by sexual rejection.
This year, 25 year-old Alek Minassian drove through a crowd of people in Toronto and killed 10 people, most of whom were women. His social media posts revealed that he said he was part of an “incel rebellion,” which is known as an online community of men who hate women and believe young, beautiful women owe them sex — a community that worships Elliot Rodger.
And most recently, Cristhian Bahena Rivera murdered 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts after she threatened to call the police because Rivera was following her. Right-wing outlets and pundits have focused on his immigration status, which was disputed for days, as if violence against women would entirely be prevented if there were no undocumented immigrants in the United States. But Bahena Rivera was operating from the same entitlement that underlies most of these attacks against women. Bahena Rivera also made repeated social media advances on a woman who previously turned him down.
Although gendered forms of violence have long been a problem, online misogynist communities have brought many of these men together to organize against what they perceive to be oppression from women. There are challenges to tracking threats in the incel community, Vox explained after the Toronto attack this year, making it difficult for law enforcement to intervene and prevent future acts of violence. There’s no indication that the Oklahoma teenager was aware of or participated in this community.
In the meantime, following the stabbing, some Oklahomans are trying to get state lawmakers to pass a measure that would mandate that schools teach sexual consent and relationship communication. Stacey Wright, the founder of Yes All Daughters, told KOKH that this education is about “Healthy communication skills, healthy boundaries, teaching kids to control their emotions and how to engage in behavior that’s healthy.”
Wright added that if schools prioritized this education, “I think maybe that boy wouldn’t have taken it so personally … Girls don’t owe boys anything.”