Femicide is a term that refers to the killing of women because of their gender. Victims of femicide are often killed by their partners or ex-partners as part of abusive or violent behavior. It is a form of violence that is widespread around the world and is a major problem. In recent years, there has been growing awareness of the importance of femicide, but eradicating the deep roots of this form of violence remains a challenge.
What does femicide mean?
Femicide is a term coined by author Diana E. Russell in the 1970s to describe the killing of women because of their gender. Femicide differs from other forms of violence against women, such as domestic violence or sexual violence, because it focuses on the act of killing . Femicide is a crime mostly committed by men and is usually an expression of abuse, power and control. It can occur in connection with domestic violence or rape, but also in other circumstances, such as honor killings or armed conflicts. Femicide can be viewed as an extreme form of violence against women and girls, who are typically more vulnerable due to gender inequality and discrimination.
Reasons and risk factors for femicide
There are many reasons why femicide occurs, including cultural norms and stereotypes, poverty, unemployment and social isolation. Another important factor is the history of violence and abuse in the perpetrator's family or relationship. Women who are in an abusive relationship or who separate from a partner are at higher risk of becoming victims of femicide.
Types of femicide
There are different types of femicide, including relationship femicide, honour killing, femicide in war or conflict zones, and femicide by organised crime or human trafficking. Relationship femicide is the most common form of femicide and occurs when a partner kills their wife, girlfriend or ex-partner.
Comparison of femicide and androcide
Androcide is a term that refers to the killing of men because of their sex. However, compared to femicide, androcide is far less common. Femicide is an expression of abuse of power and control, while androcide is often the result of criminal activity.
Femicide in figures
In Spain, an estimated 45 femicides were committed in 2020, and in Italy, 60 cases were reported in 2019.
In Switzerland, a total of 23 women were killed by their partners or ex-partners in 2021. This number has fallen slightly compared to the previous year. Still, it means that every other week a woman is killed in domestic violence. In Switzerland, every third person has already experienced violence in a relationship.
In Germany the situation is even more dramatic. There were a total of 113 cases of femicide by partners or ex-partners in 2021. In addition, more than once an hour a woman is physically injured by her partner.
These numbers show that femicide remains a serious problem in both countries. It is crucial that more attention is paid to this issue and that appropriate action is taken to better protect women. However, reporting and recording of murders of women may vary from country to country, and data may be incomplete or inaccurate. It is also important to emphasize that feminicide is not a problem limited to Europe, but a global problem with devastating consequences.
Overall, femicide remains a global problem that urgently needs to be addressed. It requires broad societal awareness-raising, preventive action, and greater engagement from governments and law enforcement agencies. Women should be able to live without fear of violence or murder and it is everyone's responsibility to ensure that this is possible.