Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Femicide: A Global Problem


About 66,000 women and girls are violently killed every year, accounting for approximately 17 per cent of all victims of intentional homicides. While the data on which these conservative estimates are based is incomplete, it does reveal certain patterns with respect to the male v. female victim ratio in homicides, intimate partner violence, and the use of firearms in femicides—defined here as ‘the killing of a woman’.
This Research Note examines lethal forms of violence against women.
It relies on the disaggregated data on femicides produced for the Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011
(Alvazzi del Frate, 2011, p. 113).

The gendered dimension of homicide
When it was coined by the feminist movement in the 1970s, the term femicide referred exclusively to the gender-based killing of women by men. Since then, however, its definition has broadened to encompass any killing of a woman 

Diana Russel, an architect of the term femicide, indicates that the concept has been in use for centuries. In 19th-century Britain, for example, it was used to designate the ‘killing of a woman’ (Russel, 2008, p. 3). The feminist movement politicized the use of the word femicide in the 1970s, restricting its meaning to the killing of a woman or a girl based on her sex (Bloom, 2008, p. 178). 
With time, this definition has expanded to refer to any killing of a woman. While such an approach dilutes the political connotation of violence against women based on their sex, it facilitates the comparability of cross-national data on lethal violence against women. 
A number of recent studies and data collection exercises focus on the issue of femicide in a stricter sense. Qualitative studies of the killing of women in Latin America, for example, seek to assess the intent of the perpetrator. Furthermore, some countries in Latin America have implemented specific laws 
on femicide in recent years, such as Guatemala in 2008 and 
Chile in 2010 (Guatemala, 2008; Chile, 2010). These laws take into consideration the targeting of a woman for misogynous or gender-based reasons and foresee stricter penalties if there is evidence of such circumstances. Source: Alvazzi del Frate (2011, p. 116)

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