In a stunning exploration of the concept of “femicide”, Buzzfeed News Reporter Rossalyn Warren looks to the thousands of instances of violence against women worldwide, and argues that a series of gender-based murders in 2015 are forcing a recognition of a pattern that must be addressed.
In November, Warren writes, United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women, DubravkaSimonovic called on member states to establish a Femicide Watch, with its lens trained unyieldingly on gender-based killings. “Women and their children continue to die as victims of gender-related killing, often in cruel ways,” Simonovic said. “The weaknesses of national prevention systems, lack of proper risk assessment, and the scarcity or poor quality of data are major barriers in preventing gender-related killing of women and developing meaningful prevention strategies.”
Unlike homicides, these murders tend to “involve ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence, or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner,” writes the World Health Organization.
Warren lists a litany of shocking crimes — including a woman killed by her boyfriend when she refused to hand over her Facebook password, and a teenager in Turkey who said he killed a woman because she “insulted his masculinity” — but also the enormously inspiring and spontaneous forms of protest that followed some gender-based killings. Argentinians exploded with rage and took to the streets after 14-year-old girl Chiara Paez was buried alive at eight-weeks pregnant. In Mexico, five men were jailed for almost 700 years each for the gender-driven murders of 11 women — a historic sentence. In Colombia, femicide was deemed a legally defined crime, carrying a prison sentence of between 20 and 41 years.
While experts are calling for governments to properly monitor gender-based violence, women have also taken matters into their own hands, including tributes online and in the form of murals, in Turkey, Mexico and Argentina, and the “Counting Dead Women” project in Australia and the U.K.
Read the full story at Buzzfeed.