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Femicides: Women’s Death Trap

Updated: Dec 20, 2021


[Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay]


Young girls grow dreaming, wishing, hoping to one day find her ‘prince charming’: her knight in shining armour. They go through life with this idealistic expectation that maybe, just maybe their ‘other half’ is waiting, searching, yearning to be with them. The media romanticises love, confirming to the now young women that their future boyfriend, husband, partner will keep them safe and love them forever. ‘they won’t hurt you’, ‘they will protect and love you forever’. However, the same society that portrays these ‘happy ever afters’ fail to exhibit the dire truth: your lover could be the death of you.

What does the term ‘Femicide’ mean?


Femicide, as one may have guessed, is a term combined of the words: ‘homicide’ and ‘Female’. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), defines ‘Femicide’, in a broad sense, to be the “Killing of women and girls because of their gender”. 


Gender based killings have always been around, but in the recent years there have a been a global rise in the murders of women and girls because of them being female.


But who are the perpetrators? Who are the ones committing these crimes?

The men in their lives...


In theory, Femicide is the murder of women and girls because of their gender, but in practice it is:

“The killing of a woman by an intimate partner and the death of a woman as a result of a practice that is harmful to women. Intimate partner is understood as a former or current spouse or partner, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim.”

Yes, the ones that society has framed to be your ‘forever’, society has failed to provide a warning.


A warning that even your ‘forever’ can cut your life short. 


Context:


There are many forms that the act of Femicide can take. It can be due to the “result of intimate partner violence” or “their sexual orientation and gender identity” or it could be “connected with gangs, organised crime, drug dealers, human trafficking and the proliferation of small arms” (EIGE). [This is in NO way an exhaustive list. There are many more forms of Femicide, you can learn more here]


The origins of the term can be found within Latin America. As a translation of ‘Femicidio’, this term was used not only to describe the startling deaths of women and girls but also as a way to confront the lack of accountability of the state where said crimes are committed. Despite there being laws set in place on an international level by the United Nations, due to systematic impunity. 


Systematic impunity is the failure of both the system and the state to recognise the breach of human rights and dismissal of holding the violators accountable. 


So how does systematic impunity encourage violence against women and girls?

Latin America and its Femicides:


In 2016, after the report, ‘A Gendered Analysis of Violent Deaths ‘ by the Small Arms Survey (SAS) was published, it became unbearably obvious that Femicides is in an all-time high within Latin America. Shockingly, “among 25 countries with the highest rates of Femicide in the world, 14 are from Latin America and the Caribbean.” (you can learn more here). According to SAS, between the years 2010 and 2015, about “64,000 women and girls” were violently murdered globally, with Latin America having one of the highest rates of female homicides.


To help both you and I understand the depth of this, let’s take a closer look at one Latin American country in particular: Mexico. 


Recently, it has been brought to the attention of many that the inhumane killings of women and girls have soared within Mexico. Misogyny within Mexico is nothing new yet, the Mexican Institute for Family and Population Research (IMIFAP) believes that this could be the reason for the sudden spike of daily Femicides. With misogyny comes toxic masculinity (a topic for another article). Mexican men, like others, feel entitled and in some cases, they tend to feel entitled to having their way with women and women’s bodies. Additionally, the superiority complex of Mexican men tends to glorify violence against women and girls as an “expression of male power” and dominance. 


You would think that society would have moved away from this thwarted concept of male power and dominance and yet here we are. The Mexican government is just as bad, if not, worse. Here is how ‘Systematic Impunity’ plays its role. 


The Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador publicly refused to acknowledge the rise of Femicides within his state of governance. He claimed that “90% of [emergency calls in regards to violence against women]...are false, it’s proven”. The Mexican government has even failed to recognise that the ‘stay at home’ order in response to the Covid-19 outbreak earlier on in the year, has actually contributed to the gender based violence against women as they are forced to quarantine within toxic and domestically dangerous environments. With the lack of government action, the perpetrators of Femicides within Mexico are still walking free today. Free to live, free to kill another woman. 


When a government fails its people, the very ones that it is meant to protect above all else, what would be the obvious response from the public? 


Protests.


What is happening now?


Women across Latin America have protested and still are protesting the injustice that they must endure just because they are female. They have also held strikes, with Mexican women striking for 24 hours back in March. Their cries and shouts have brought the attention of across the globe and it is time that we as the public help put a stop this. 


We must collectively hold governments, like the Mexican government, accountable for their gross impertinence for turning a blind eye to the suffering of women to violent hands. 


Women, throughout history till now, have always been depicted a weak, fragile and docile. Women have been continuously objectified and dehumanised for the pleasure of their male counterparts. But it’s time that changes. 


And that change starts with us. 

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