Stop Killing Women
There has been a plethora of hashtags that took turns trending on various social media platforms – #ManAreTrash, #IamNext and so forth, with the intention to stop the madness and frightening numbers of women being killed each day, but the question remains. Are they stopping?
I find it nonsensical that there could be any reason that could lead one to kill a woman. Reverend Al Sharperton who spoke at the funeral of George Floyd, an African American who died after a white police man knelt on his neck for 8 minutes 46 seconds said something fundamental. “Breath is sacred, you cannot take someone’s breath if you can’t put breath into a person,” he said. These words makes a lot of sense in this era where femicide cases has surged and it seems like there is a war being waged against women, but for what reason exactly? Nobody seem to know and if there is any reason, I doubt if it is rational because nothing justifies the brutal murders of women. It is inhuman!
Statistics released by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has it that an average of 137 women across the world are killed by a partner or family member every day. These are documented cases, but truth be told there are so many cases of women being murdered every day and unfortunately they are never documented due to various reasons that are also enabling perpetrators to continue roaming around the streets looking for another prey to pounce on. In South Africa, the brutal murder of a 28-year old woman, Tshegofatso Pule who was 8 months pregnant, murdered and left hanging in a tree, in an open veld sparked outrage in the country as more and more women are also being found dead. Some even chopped like onions regardless of various calls being made to stop this inhumanity. Who does that? Who murders a pregnant woman and then hangs her in a tree for the entire world to see?
Now, women fearing for their lives and wondering what if I’M NEXT, couldn’t help but ponder what will it really take to stop this? South Africa has been ranked as the most dangerous country in the world for solo female travelers, intentional homicide of women as well as non-partner sexual violence according to the Women’s Danger Index 2019. When the hashtag #MenAreTrash was established, it was not insinuating that all men are trash as there are still good men out there who will not harm women, but the hashtag simply captures the justified anger of women who are tired of being at the bottom of the barrel, and are also tired of burying their own gender each day amid calls to end the culture of silence around gender based violence.
The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa also reflected in a statement that he is shamed by the surge in murders of women even though last year the country saw nationwide protests calling for justice for all women who were murdered, the situation seem to be getting out of hand – like a pandemic regardless. “The manner in which these defenseless women were killed points to an unconscionable level of barbarism and lack of humanity,” he said. As the globe is fighting tirelessly to combat coronavirus, it should be known that women in these Southern parts of Africa are fighting two pandemics, COVID-19 and Gender-Based Violence. And also not mentioning other social, political and economic inequalities that they have to also deal with.
Perhaps there are people who still doubt or underestimate the effects of these brutal murders of women to the African society, I suppose they are not paying attention. If they are paying attention, but still think “Oh well, it’s not that bad”, then I think they are delusional and aren’t anything better than the perpetrators of these murders. What will happen to the children of these women being killed? What about the trauma community members will have to bear while burying their own? What about parents who depend on their working class daughters whose lives are being taken away everyday? Surely there is a war being waged against women, but for what reason exactly?
Ever since the emancipation of women became a rallying cry world wide, the safety of women in all spheres was prioritized, ironically many years down the line African countries have not been able to put in place structures that guarantees and safeguard women. Women are indeed on their own! I’m anticipating to live in an era where the brutal murders of women will be a thing of the past, an era where women can leave their homes going to work and come back in one piece not in pieces! I stand with my opinion, no reason justifies the brutal murders of women. What’s your perspective?
Pet Charles / 22 June 2020
I read the article and I was so shocked by the statistics that I decided to go checkout the UN Statistics myself at the link below. I was even more shocked when the statistics (on page 15) show that 81% of global homicides are committed against men!! However, the statistics show that of the 19% female homicides 36% are committed against men and 64% against women. That is a rate of 1.78 times higher (64/36) for women relative to men. What was even more surprising to me is that it is the Americas, not Africa, which has the highest homicide rate in the world (see page 13 of report). Arguments that make morbidity a gender based issue have the potential to turn these things into a “victim olympics” in which nobody wins. I would like to believe that the intent of the article is to draw attention to homicides against women in intimate partner relationships. And the data clearly show that women are 1.78 times more likely to be victims of intimate partner homicide than men. However, men are 4 times more likely to be victims of homicides compared to women. However, if the intent is to portray women as somehow being singled out for homicides, then the statistics show that men are victims of homicides at a rate 4 times higher (80/20) than women.
Tangentially related, according to statistics published in the Washington Post (US) and Guardian (UK), between 2015 and 2019 there was 1,210 Black men killed by police and 50 Black women killed by police in that time span. So Black men are killed at a rate of 24 times higher (1210/50) than Black women. Yet, every time a Black man is killed by the police there is a subset of women who believe that women killed by the police are not given the same attention as men killed by the police.
The 64% factor for women killed in intimate partner violence is higher than that for men (36%). But the latter is not negligible either. Alas, all homicides matter! And no, this is not the same as me saying “All Lives Matter” as some do in response to “Black Lives Matter”.