Femicide

It’s nearly ten years since the most extensive European survey yet attempted on the extent of violence against women. The conclusion was basically: “every day and everywhere”. Has anything improved? The killing of a young woman has convulsed Ireland in recent days, and reignited a broader debate about male violence. The Irish prime minister and president attended school teacher Ashling Murphy’s funeral on Tuesday. She was strangled while out running at a popular exercise spot in daylight.

Most women who die violently are killed by male partners or ex-partners. Systemic culture change to address underlying misogyny is what’s missing, campaigners say. Tolerance of street harassment, online intimidation and other ‘entry-level’ abuses of girls and women feed the context in which extreme acts of violence are rooted.

The pandemic has exacerbated gender-based violence across Europe, even in societies where equality is advanced, such as Sweden. In 2020, 444 women in 10 EU countries were murdered. The murder of Sarah Everard last year caused outcry in the UK but 80 more women were killed in the subsequent months. In Greece a woman dies at the hands of a man every month. In 2021 female murder victims there were reported to have been shot, strangled, suffocated, beaten and drowned.

The term femicide is increasingly used to describe men killing women because of their gender, to distinguish it from other forms of homicide. But there are no agreed legal definitions and in many countries femicide is not recognised as a separate crime. Spain claimed a European first last month by broadening its definition of gender-based killings to include murders of women by men where was no prior relationship between the killer and the victim. “We have to repair the machista terror that kills women simply because they are women,” Spain’s equality minister Irene Montero said.

Clearly, there’s a long way to go, but being able to count all the dead women would be a start. (Catherine Butler, Associate Editor, The Guardian)

My comment: Epicurus was unusual for his time because he treated women exactly as he would men, inviting them to his garden, eating with them and exchanging views with them. I realized that women were quite as intelligent (if not more so) than men, with views worth hearing and ideas worth respecting. The idea of a patriarchy was anathema to him. Bravo! ( On this blog I have frequently advocated a female-run world, where we men could sit around all day drinking wine and eating chocolate, with no serious responsibilities. If women want to run the world, let them! Bravo!)

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