As women’s movements continue to unravel across the globe, we are continuously defining factors that lead to unjust conditions, gender inequality and women directly and indirectly suffering from the consequences of patriarchal thought. Beside the silent kinds of male domination existent in society, women also face many harsh physical threats. “Femicide is on the extreme end of a continuum of anti female terror that includes a wide variety of verbal and physical abuse, such as rape, torture, sexual slavery (particularly in prostitution, incestuous and extra familial child sex abuse, physical and emotional battery, sexual harassment (on the phone, in the streets, at the office, and in the classroom), genital mutilation (clitoridectomies, excision, infibulations), unnecessary gynecological operations (gratuitous hysterectomies), forced heterosexuality, forced sterilization, forced motherhood (by criminalizing contraception and abortion), psychosurgery, denial of food to women in some cultures, cosmetic surgery, and other mutilations in the name of beautification. Whenever these forms of terrorism result in death, they become femicides” (Caputi 1992).
According to the World Health Organization, our understanding of what femicide encompasses is limited and expansive. It is generally understood to involve intentional murder and violence directed toward women, perpetuated usually by men, simply because they are women, “but broader definitions include any killings of women or girls.”
(Femicide differs from male homicide in specific ways. For example, most cases of femicide are committed by partners or ex-partners, and involve ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner” (WHO).) This however, is not limited to violence in the home- as we have read about gender violence is perpetuated in many realms of daily life and across the issues that face different regions- gangs, drug violence, poverty, neoliberal policyetc.
Though many countries in the world suffer from the issue that issue that is gender-based violence/femicide, it seems to be most prominent in developing countries–especially Latin America.
- Photo of pink crosses in Juarez. Source: Eastfieldnews.com, courtesy of Diana Washington Valdez
- •Caputi, Jane & Russell, Diana E. H., (1992) “Femicide: sexist terrorism against women” from Radford, Jill & Russell, Diana E. H., Femicide: politics of woman killing oo. 13-21, Buckingham: Open University
- •Stöckl H et al. The global prevalence of intimate partner homicide: a systematic review. (Forthcoming.)
- •World Health Organization “Understanding and addressing violence against women”