The hashtag #RIPBianca began trending on Twitter early Monday morning. My morning started with finding out the hashtag trend was for Bianca Devins, a 17-year-old girl from New York, who was murdered and had pictures of her dead body circulated through the online platform Discord. The most horrific detail I have come to learn about this tragedy was that her killer wasn't a stalker or an ex-boyfriend, but a friend close enough for her family to know. It has been highly speculated that the suspect, 21-year-old, Brandon Clark, was provoked to murder Devins because his advances to take their friendship further was rejected. Thus, the conversation of "rejection killings" has been brought into the light once more.
Saying "no" to someone's advances should never be a death sentence. The fear of a man killing me solely based on the fact that I rejected his advances has run through my mind more often than I would have liked. I was taught that if you are going out somewhere and a man persistently asks you for your number to the point where you are questioning your safety, you should just give them your number and block them as soon as you are alone and safe. Of course, you could just give a fake number, but what if he calls you right there in the middle of the exchange and comes to find out you were lying? They could be provoked easily. I stick with the "giving them my phone number and blocking them later" method, so that way I could simultaneously write down their description in my notes, just in case. It is an inevitable conversation all women must have at some point, but are the standards the same for men?
Is male entitlement the cause for all this? Toxic masculinity? Society not raising boys and girls the same? Possibly all the above? Some accounts -mostly online trolls- insisted she "had it coming" and continued to spread these vulnerable and explicit photos of Devins around various platforms after they initially appeared on Discord. Hate to break it to the men, but you are not entitled to anything in this world, and women do not owe you anything. Society needs to progress towards a future where rejected advances do not end up in a tragedy.
Bianca Devins had just graduated high school and planned on studying psychology in the fall, was an Instagram influencer with quite the following under the username "escty," and someone's loved one; daughter, sister, cousin, friend, etc. This hasn't been the first time I heard of a case like this. When I learn about tragedies in the news like this, it just breaks my heart. This could have been one of my best friends, or worse, me.
My condolences go out to her family and I hope they learn how to cope with this traumatic event. And I hope society can learn from this and prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again by recording data for "rejection killings," raising boys and girls the same way, and holding social media sites accountable for allowing posts with the explicit photos to circulate -despite their community guidelines- as rapidly and frequently as it did.