Counting Dead Women

2016: January – July: 77 UK women killed by men or where a man is the principal suspect

2015:   127 UK women killed by men or where a man is the principal suspect

2014150 UK women killed by men or where a man is the principal suspect 

2013145 UK  women killed by men or where a man is the principal suspect

2012: 128 UK women killed by men

This short film clip introduces the Femicide Census 

Counting Dead Women in Other Countries

Intimate Partner and Domestic Violence Homicides*: Sex Differences April 2012 – March 2015 (3 years)

Domestic Homicide or Intimate Partner Homicide?

The ONS defines domestic homicide as including the following: spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriends/girlfriend, ex-spouse/ex-co-habiting partner, ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, adulterous relationship, lover’s spouse and emotional-rival as well as son/daughter, parent (including step and adopted relationships), which is broader than the generally understood partner or ex-partner to more closely align with the government definition of domestic violence.

Intimate partner homicides are a subset of this and are committed by cohabiting partner, boyfriends/girlfriend, ex-spouse/ex-co-habiting partner, ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, adulterous relationship, lover’s spouse and/or emotional-rival.

Domestic Violence – Who gets killed?

DV who.JPG

More women than men are killed in the context of ‘domestic homicide’, 315 women in 3 years compared to 117 men. Women were 73% of all victims of domestic violence homicide, men were 27% of all victims of domestic violence homicide.

Domestic Violence – Who gets killed by whom?

DV who by whom

Women killed in the context of ‘domestic  homicide’ are more likely than men to be killed by members of the opposite sex: Of the 315 female victims of ‘domestic  homicide’, 304 (97%) were killed by men. Of the 117 male victims of ‘domestic homicide’, 37 (32%) were killed by women

Domestic Violence -Who kills?

DV who kills

Intimate Partner Violence – Who gets killed?

IPV who

More women than men are killed by a partner/ex-partner, 243 women in 3 years compared to 60 men. Women were 80% of all victims of intimate partner homicide (243/303), men were 20% of all victims of intimate partner homicide (60/303)

Intimate Partner Violence – Who kills?

IPV who kills.JPG

Intimate Partner Violence – Who gets killed by whom?

IPV who by whom.JPG

Men killed by current or ex-intimate partners  are more likely than women to have been killed by someone of the same sex. Of the 60 male victims of intimate partner homicide, 27 (45%) were killed by men, 33 (55%) were killed by women. Of the 243 female victims of intimate partner homicide, 2 (1%) were killed by women, 241 (99%) were killed by men.

Of those killed in the context of intimate partner homicide by someone of the opposite sex, women were 88% (241/274) of victims, men were 12% (33/274), i.e. women are more than 7 times more likely to be  killed by a man, than men are by a women in the context of intimate partner homicide.

 

*Homicide  –   In England and Wales homicide is constituted of two offences: murder and manslaughter.  Murder is committed when a person (or persons) of sound mind unlawfully kills someone and had the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.  There are three exceptions which can make a killing manslaughter rather than murder: that there was intent but a partial defence applies, that there was not intent but  there was gross negligence and risk of death, or thirdly, that there was no intent but conduct that was an unlawful act which involved danger and resulted in death. 
Data from Office for National Statistics (2016) Focus on Violence Crime and Sexual Offences. London. Office for National Statistics

Statement from Pauline Tio (Mother & Next of Kin) on Georgina Kathleen Drinkwater (deceased)

I am hosting this heartbreaking piece by Pauline Tio.  Karen 

Georgina Kathleen Drinkwater (fondly as Georgy to Relatives & Family friends)

This is my (Pauline Tio’s) first public statement since the death of my only child & daughter, Georgina Drinkwater (aged 30) and her unborn son on 23 February 2014. Georgy was my beautiful daughter, the only love of my life. The loss of Georgina has been and continues to be totally devastating for family both in the UK & abroad. Her life was extinguished by a manipulative, abusive bully and coward. Today I want to set the record straight. This statement is her voice through me.

We know that for 18 months, Georgina suffered trauma, pain, mental, emotional, physical and financial abuse at the hands of her 2nd child’s father. To compound our loss and grief, immediately after her passing, certain individuals linked to the person responsible for her death fraudulently introduced themselves to the authorities as Georgina’s sister & circulated misinformation. The choice of babysitter on the night of her tragic death was not chosen by Georgina, but by the father of her second child. Contrary to media reports, she was not Georgina’s best friend. In last 12 months of her life, she was purposely isolated and surrounded by him and his friends. Only her trusted friends were introduced to her relatives/maternal family circle and they were at the funeral. The Authorities failed to check any of this with us, her mother & family to corroborate this misinformation & misrepresentation. As her mother, I know Georgina would have been appalled by the total lack of respect and decency, towards her grieving family & close friends who have (and are still) trying to mourn and come to terms with the pain and distress caused by her tragic death.

The Police & Social Services have failed in their dealings with my daughter especially during the homicide investigation into her death. They made a series of unfounded assumptions and judgements because they failed to understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and the different strategies used by perpetrators to control, manipulate and inflict violence on women, in this case it was my daughter. Despite a history of incidents involving physical, verbal and emotional abuse which were known to the Police and Social Services – there was a failure to conduct a full risk assessment of Georgy’s vulnerability as a young pregnant mother – as a victim of violence.

12 months’ prior her death, I told close friends that he is going to end up killing her as his power & control had increased and there was an escalation in the frequency in which he inflicted his rage and abuse on my daughter. For the first time in her life, as a consequence of this 18-­month relationship, we saw Georgina change dramatically. She was ashamed, embarrassed, and fearful of his verbal abuse and his constant putting her down robbed of her self confidence & self esteem. Georgina didn’t want to live with the violence anymore. Prior to her death, Georgina told me that she was attempting to make plans to move back to West Hampstead where her family and friends who grew up with her are located, and to get away from him. Unfortunately, she never made it. It was too late. Georgina underestimated the danger to her life and the escalation & severity of his cruelty & abuse upon her.

I made a vow to my daughter that I will have it on true record in respect to her suffering of abuse perpetrated upon her by the man, who has since walked away from being held accountable for her death. Yet, the Case Investigation Officer failed to have a one to one conversation with us about Georgina as a person, a daughter, a mother and to get an insight about Georgina’s life. As the investigation progressed, we have witnessed a catalogue of errors including breach of confidentiality, lack of professionalism, withholding of information despite continuous requests, speaking to wrong witnesses, pages missing from witness statements, delaying & obstructive tactics used to prevent her family from disclosures especially the Homicide Investigation Report. Despite his admission of holding her in the flat against her will, he is not being charged with false imprisonment. How can we call this an investigation when her family and close friends who truly knew and loved her for 30 years were never spoken to? The criminal justice system has failed her miserably before and after her death allowing the person responsible for her death to walk free without being held accountable, not because he is innocent but because CPS considered that there is insufficient evidence to proceed.

We want to know from Met Police the reasons: are their actions to cover for the mishandling of the murder investigation or to protect the man responsible or both? Whilst it will never change the fact that he inflicted violence, mental & emotional abuse on her that finally led to her death. I made a vow to my daughter that I will have the truth on record about the violence she suffered by the man, who has since walked away from being held accountable for her death.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the nurse & 2 friends travelling in a taxi that night who stopped to help, the 2 taxi-­drivers, London Ambulance Service, Air Ambulance and the 2 neighbours who rushed from the building to try and save my daughter and her unborn son. I would like to thank all my relatives (in UK & abroad), extended families, all close family friends & health professionals for their amazing support, help, empathy, patience, love and kindness in caring & looking after me since 23 February 2014.

I would want to give final appreciation and gratitude towards my solicitor, Bharine Kalsi and the Barrister Jake Taylor who came to my aid in my hour of need to try and seek the truth about the circumstances surrounding my daughter’s death. Thank you for your incredible help, guidance and advocacy.

Georgina was a beautiful, intelligent, articulate, funny, kind, independent, loving daughter, mother, niece, cousin, friend and woman. She is greatly missed by her loved ones. For myself, her mother I think of her each second of each day with each breath I take. Georgy was the love of my life and always will be.

2016

85-women

January –August 2016: At least 85 UK women killed by men, or where a man is the principal suspect. 85 women in 243 days is one woman dead every 2.86 days.

  1. 7 January 2016: Katrina O’Hara, 44, was stabbed to death by her ex-partner, Stuart Thomas, 49.
  2. 13 January 2016: Georgina Symonds, 25, was strangled with a rope/ligature. Peter Morgan, 53, was charged with her murder.
  3. 23 January 2016: Lisa Lyttle, 49, was strangled to death with a mobile phone charger. Her husband, Warren Lyttle, 50, has been charged with her murder.
  4. 29 January 2016: Andrea Lewis, 51, died suffering a fractured skull, broken ribs and 41 separate areas of bruising, inflicted by Rhys Hobbs 43.
  5. 30 January 2016: India Chipchase, 20, was found dead after having been declared missing. Edward Tenniswood, 51, has been convicted of her murder and rape. She died as a result of ‘blunt force trauma’ and ‘pressure on the neck’, 33 separate injuries were found on her body including haemorrhaging across her face, consistent with having been strangled.
  6. 31 January 2016: Guida Rufino, 38, was found dead with neck injuries. Her partner Anthony Roberts, is suspected of killing her before killing himself.
  7. 31 January 2016: Elidona Demiraj, 25, was stabbed/slashed in the throat. Arben Rexha, 31, has been charged with her murder.
  8. 2 February 2016: Geraldine Newman, 51, was killed by head injuries, her two children, Shannon, 12, and Shane, 6, were also stabbed to death. Her husband, and the father of the two children Paul Newman, 42, killed himself after killing his family.
  9. 4 February 2016: Caroline Andrews, 52, was strangled to death by her husband, Stuart Andrews, 54.
  10. 6 February 2016: Sheila Jefferson, 73, and her husband Dennis, Jefferson, were killed due to head and neck injuries before their home was set on fire. Norman Williams, 70, who was Sheila Jefferson’s brother-in-law, was suspected of killing them and died of injuries sustained in the fire.
  11. 8 February 2016: Kerry Gascoigne, 43, died of “pressure to the neck”. Her partner, Stephen Fretwell, 44, has been charged with her murder.
  12. 12 February 2016: Leanne Wall, 36, was head-butted them strangled. Her (ex) partner, William Mack, 39, has been charged with her murder.
  13. 12 February 2016: Jessica McGraa, 37, was found dead. Bala Chinda, 25, was charged with her murder.
  14. 13 February 2016: Maria Byrne, 35, was found dead. Her husband, Darren Byrne, has been charged with her murder.
  15. 21 February 2016: Lisa Reynolds, 31, was killed by multiple stab wounds. Her partner, Barry Knapper, 31, has been charged with her murder.
  16. 22 February 2016: Natasha Bradbury, 28, was found dead. Luke Jones, 33, has been charged with her murder.
  17. 26 February 2016: Julie Hill, 51, was found dead alongside her mother, Rose Hill, 75. Christopher Whelan, 20, has been charged with their murders.
  18. 26 February 2016: Rose Hill, 75, was found dead alongside her daughter, Julie Hill, 51. Christopher Whelan, 20, has been charged with their murders.
  19. 26 February 2016: Christine James, 65, was last seen alive. She was found dead in her home on 2 March. Kris Wade, 36, has been charged with her murder.
  20. 29 February 2016: Julie Archer, 49, died a number of days after being doused with petrol and set alight. Her brother, Stephen Archer, 50, has been charged with her murder.
  21. 2 March 2016: Dawn Green, 69, was found dead along with her husband Malcolm Green, 70. Police said they were treating her death as suspicious but were not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths.
  22. 3 March 2016: Gemma Stevens, 32, was found dead in a house fire in the early hours of the morning. Gary Tyson, 35, has been charged with her murder, arson and attempted wounding. He had also been accused of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to her on February 26.
  23. 11 March 2016: Lyndsay Smith, 42, was stabbed to death. Gavin Wilson, 41, of the same address, was charged with her murder.
  24. 14 March 2016: Robyn Mercer, 50, was found dead outside her home. Her head had been beaten so severely the police who found her ‘thought she had been shot’.
  25. 19 March 2016: Paige Doherty, 15, was killed through stab wounds to her neck. John Leathem, 31, has been charged with her murder.
  26. 21 March 2015: Carrie Ann Izzard, 47, was stabbed to death. She had split up with her boyfriend, Gerry Palmer, 50, only days before. He has been charged with her murder.
  27. 23 March 2016: Lynne Freeman, 46, was stabbed to death by her partner Alan Bennett, 34, he also murdered his ex-partner Jodie Betteridge, 30.
  28. 23 March 2016: Jodie Betteridge, 30, was stabbed to death by her ex-partner Alan Bennett, 34, who also murdered his partner, Lynne Freeman, 46.
  29. 23 March 2016: Joanna Trojniak, 29, was stabbed in the chest. Her partner, Pawel Sroka, 33, has been charged with her murder.
  30. 24 March 2016: Amina Begum, 47, was found outside her home with multiple stab wounds. Her son, Javid Ahmed, has been charged with her murder.
  31. 29 March 2016: Natasha Sadler, 40, was stabbed. Foster Christian, 53, has been charged with her murder and that of Simon Gorecki, 47, as well as two counts of GBH.
  32. 30 March – 3 April 2016: Laura Marshall, 31, was found dead on 4th Her partner, Gary O’Dowd had a long history of subjecting her to abuse and had threatened to kill her. He is currently on bail.
  33. 31 March 2016: Elizabeth MacKay, 60, was killed in what has been described by police as a “sustained and brutal assault”. Michael Taylor, 70, has been charged with her murder.
  34. 2 April 2016: Marie Johnston, 44, was found dead. Matthew Dean, 34, has been charged with wounding with intent and sexual assault.
  35. 2 April 2016: Norma Bell, 79, was found dead after a fire at her home, she had been killed before the fire started. Gareth Dack, 32, has been charged with her murder.
  36. 10 April 2016: Tracy Cockrell, 51, who had moved to a new area was found dead alongside Nigel McGrath. Police said that they were treating Tracy’s death as murder and were not looking for anyone else.
  37. 11 April 2016: Helen Bailey, 51, was last seen alive. Her body was found three months later in a sceptic tank in the grounds of her home. Her partner Ian Stewart, who had reported her missing, has been charged with her murder and perverting the course of justice.
  38. 12 April 2016: Leigh-Ann Mahachi, 22, was killed with multiple stab wounds. Tapiwa Furusa, 37, has been charged with her murder.
  39. 13 April 2016: Jean Ryan, 67, was stabbed to death. Her husband, Shaun Ryan, 61, has been charged with her murder.
  40. 17 April 2016: Coleen Westlake, 48, died of blunt force trauma and strangulation. Craig Bird, 31, has been charged with her murder.
  41. 18 April 2016: Nasreen Khan, 39, was killed by multiple stab wounds. Imran Khan, 39, has been charged with her murder.
  42. 24 April  2016: Laraine Rayner, 53, was killed by a stab wound to the neck.  Steven Stocks, 43, has been charged with her murder.
  43. 24 April 24: Faye Daniels, 30, was killed by multiple stab wounds. Phillip Barlow, 36, was charged with her murder.
  44. 26 April 2016: Xin Xin Liu, 39, was stabbed to death. Her husband Robert Kerr, 38, has been charged with her murder.
  45. 28 April 2016: Louise O’Brien, 36, was found dead and wrapped up in a carpet after having been strangled between 24 and 28 April. Her partner, David Anderson, 41, has been charged with her murder.
  46. 1 May 2016: Natalie Hemming, 31, was last seen. Her family reported her missing on 3 May. Her husband Paul Hemming, 42, was arrested on 4 May and later charged with her murder. Her body was found on 22 May.
  47. 1 May 2016: Becky Morgan, 17, was pulled dead from the sea. Michael Bowditch, 21, has been charged with her murder.
  48. 3 May 2016: Iris Owens, 75, was found dead. Her son, Robert Owens, 47, has been charged with her murder.
  49. 4 May 2016: Julie Cook, 44, died in hospital a day after sustaining a head injury. Daniel Bragg, 36, has been charged with manslaughter.
  50. 7 May 2016: Khabi Abrey, 30, was killed as a result of a fire in the flats where she liked. Lillo Toisi, 47, has been charged with her murder, plus arson with intent to endanger life, and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
  51. 8 May 2016: Anne-Marie Nield, 44, was found dead with multiple injuries. Richard Howarth, 41, has been charged with her murder.
  52. 19 May 2016: Maria Mbombo, 46, was stabbed to death. Her husband Jose Leonardo, also known as Jeff Mbombo, has been charged with her murder.
  53. 20 May2016: Marina Erte, 33, was found dead. Her ex-husband, Gytis Griskevicius, 32, has been charged with murder.
  54. 21 May 2016: Sonita Nijhawan, 38 was stabbed to death. Her husband Sanjay Nijhawan, has been charged with her murder.
  55. 2 June 2016: Dawn Rhodes, 38, was found dead. Her husband, Robert Rhodes, 42, has been charged with her murder.
  56. 3 June 2016: Sylvia Stewart, 69, and her husband Peter Stewart,73 were reported missing. Peter Stewart was later found stabbed to death. Ali Qazimaj, 42, fled the country and was arrested in Luxemburg in relation to the Stuarts’ death. Police have indicated that they have no expectation of finding Sylvia Stewart alive.
  57. 9 June 2016: Andrena Douglas, 53, was found dead when police went to her home to inform her that her partner, Henry Galbraith, 50, had been found badly injured in a caravan fire. Her death is being treated as murder. Police are said to be ‘not looking for anyone else’.
  58. 13 June 2016: Karen Hales, 53, and her daughter Jade Hales, 28, were killed by blunt force trauma injuries to the head. Anthony Showers, 42, has been charged with their murders.
  59. 13 June 2016: Jade Hales, 28, and her mother Karen Hales, 53, were killed by blunt force trauma injuries to the head. Anthony Showers, 42, has been charged with their murders.
  60. 16 June 2016: Jo Cox, 38, Labour MP, was shot and stabbed multiple times following a constituency meeting. Thomas Mair, 52, has been charged in relation to her death.
  61. 20 June 2016: Helen Fraser, 50, was stabbed to death. Her partner Stephen Bernard, 50, was also found dead with a self-inflicted stab wound. Police are not looking for anyone else.
  62. 20th June 2016: Jean Irwin, 83, was strangled to death. Her husband John Irwin, 77, was found hanged. Police are treating Jean’s death as murder and are not looking for anyone else in relations to the crime.
  63. 21 June 2016: A 61-year-old woman who has not yet been named was stabbed to death. Vaclovas Liubavicius, 61, who is believed to have been her partner, has been charged with her murder.
  64. 23 June 2016: Agnieszka Szmura, 30, was stabbed to death. Toryino Williams, 22, has been charged with her murder.
  65. 23 June 2016: Sarah Nash, 37, was strangled and beaten by her partner Lee Guntrip, 25. He had  attended a Building Better Relations Programme and a Domestic Abuse Programme after pleading guilty to charges of actual bodily harm and assault by beating. Guntrip also killed himself.
  66. 6 July 2016: Albertina Choules, 81, died of a head injury before her body was set alight. Tautuydas Narbutas, 23, has been charged with her murder.
  67. 12 July 2016: Allison Muncaster, 48, was shot dead. Her husband Stephen Muncaster, 47, is believed to have killed her then shot himself dead.
  68. 15 July 2016: Fiona Southwell, 60, was found dead. Daniel Edwards, 21, has been charged with her murder.
  69. 18 July 2016: Aimee Spencer, 27, died of her injuries after having been reported pushed/thrown to her death.
  70. 18 July 2016: Emma Baum, 22, died from severe head injuries after a “sustained attack”. David Davies, 25, has been charged with her murder.
  71. 18 July 2016: Claire Hart, 50, was shot dead, alongside her daughter Charlotte Hart, 19, by her husband Lance Hart,57, who then shot himself dead.
  72. 18 July 2016: Charlotte Hart, 19, as shot dead, alongside her mother Claire Hart, 50, by her father Lance Hart,57, who then shot himself dead.
  73. 19 July 2016: Tracy Gabriel, 40, was stabbed to death. Her ex-partner, Hugh Gallacher, 57, is thought to have killed her and a friend, before jumping to his death.
  74. 20 July 2016: Samia Shahid, 28, is believed to have been raped by her ex-husband Choudhry Shakeel and then strangled by Shakeel and her father Mohammed Shahid.
  75. 22 July 2016: Nicola Haworth, 33, was strangled to death. Gary Fletcher, 34, has been charged with her murder.
  76. 19-22 July 2016: Lenuta Haidemac, 28, was found dead. Casey Scott, 28, has been charged with her murder.
  77. 24 July 2016: Hannah Pearson, 16, was pronounced dead shortly after having been taken to hospital by emergency services. James Morton, 23, has been charged with her murder.
  78. 28 July 2016: Margaret Mayer, 85, was found dead after her husband Angus Mayer, had tried to throw himself under a train. He was later arrested and detained in relation to her death.
  79. 3 August 2016: Darlene Horton, 64, an American tourist visiting London, was stabbed to death by Zakaria Bulhan, 19.
  80. 4 August 2016: Gregana Prodanova, 38, was last seen alive. She was reported missing on 8th August and ‘human remains’ now confirmed to be hers, were found on 16 August. Her ex-partner Kostadin Kostov, 42, has been charged with her murder.
  81. 4 August 2016: Lynne Braund, 54, died of critical injuries after being taken to hospital with severe burns. Raymond O’Connell, 63, has been charged with her murder.
  82. 12 August 2016: Donna Williamson, 44, was stabbed to death. Her partner, Kevin O’Regan, 37, has been charged with her murder.
  83. 19 August 2016: Xixi Bi, 24, was found dead after being reported to police as ‘experiencing breathing difficulties’. Her boyfriend Jordan Matthews, 23, has been charged with her murder.
  84. 23 August 2016: Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, was stabbed to death whilst backpacking in Australia. Smail Ayad, 29, has been charged with her murder and that of Tom Jackson, 30, who died of injuries sustained when trying to save her.
  85. 25 August 2016: Shana Grice, 18, was found dead at home after failing to arrive at work. Michael Lane, 27, has been charged with her murder.

 

Counting Dead Women in Other Countries

Australia

Counting Dead Women – Australia  – Count by Destroy The Joint – counting every woman killed due to violence against women

Man Murders Woman 2015

Counting Dead Aboriginal Women 2015

Canada

Canada – Counting Dead Women  – Orla Hegarty

New Zealand

New Zealand – Counting Dead Women

Other femicide counts:

Spain

MUJERES ASESINADAS EN ESPAÑA POR VIOLENCIA MACHISTA en 2016

USA

Counting Dead Women USA

Please contact me if you’re aware of women in other counties who are commemorating women killed by men.

The Closure of Eaves

planet of the apes

October 30th, ten weeks after the death of its Chief Executive, Denise Marshall, Eaves closed down. In just a few weeks, the women’s sector has suffered a double loss, of Denise herself and then of Eaves, the organisation she shaped and led. 38 years of expertise in delivering services for women by women is simply gone.

I worked at Eaves from 2004 to 2009 before I  became the Chief Executive of nia.  Denise, like me, was a proudly working class feminist Chief Executive. Eaves, like nia, was a service provider with a political vision, supporting women to escape from and deal with the results of men’s violence whilst committed to policy and structural change for women. Eaves and nia were two of the few remaining women’s charities that were unashamedly feminist and unafraid to say it: feminist, secular and abolitionist. We recognise that men’s violence against women and girls is a cause and consequence of inequality between women and men and that religion, the law and the sexual exploitation and objectification of women reflect and reinforce sex inequality and contribute to a conducive context for men’s violence.

Feminist based services recognise that the ‘them and us’ between women who use the services and women who work and volunteer can be arbitrary and being a worker, volunteer or board member in a women’s organisation and victim-survivor of men’s violence are not mutually exclusive. Survivors of men’s violence against women and girls are present at all levels of nia, board members and staff, volunteers and senior management. Of course professional standards and boundaries have to be maintained but we’re in this together. This makes a difference, we don’t see victim-survivors as other.  This means that we’re better able to avoid the language and assumptions that pathologise women’s understandable reactions to men’s violence. We don’t diminish the women we work with, we don’t infantilise, we don’t blame. It’s not ‘those women’ or ‘those communities’, it is ‘us’ and it is ‘we’.

Austerity measures have hit women and the women’s sector hard. The cuts are a tool of an ideological agenda with the gap between who ‘Politics’ are done by and for and who ‘Politics’ are done to, becoming wider; and where conservative with a lower case as well as an upper case C is disguised as progressive. Eaves and nia both lost services that had been grown and created by women survivors and activists through the creation of contracts and the spread of competitive tendering to larger organisations with multi-million pound turnovers who are not specialists in providing services to women survivors of male violence and are not interested in the bigger picture of challenging inequality between women and men.

The lack of recognition of the value of the specialist independent women’s sector reflects the lack of value of women.  Victim Support, The Salvation Army and Hestia have been winning contracts for services for women (albeit increasingly with a gender neutral clause) through bidding low and offering commissioner rather than need and experience led responses and devoid of a feminist framework; all have male CEOs, only one has a female Chair of Trustees.  Generic services led by men can do the job just as well, or so some commissioners and policy makers believe.  Independent research tells a different story. This week, the same week that Eaves closed its doors, a study by the University of Suffolk showed that survivors of childhood sexual abuse felt most believed by Independent Sexual Violence Advocates and rated the services provided by independent specialist organisations – women run organisations – highest.  Victim-survivors know when you’re in it for the contract, not for them.

Feminist informed practice looks beyond the obvious and at the bigger picture.  Feminist informed practice considers unintended consequences, looking at how what we do in the here and now relates to the structural position of women. Those of us who provide feminist informed services ask ourselves whether our actions reinforce women’s assigned sex roles or challenge them? Whether what we do diminishes women and whether women who are disadvantaged by socio-economic, racial and other inequalities are excluded or further disadvantaged. A couple of weeks ago, a male CEO of a ‘domestic abuse charity’ proudly announced that the organisation where he worked considered the employment of men working in women’s services a good thing, because they act as positive role models.  He went on the say that men don’t do any of the supporting roles in the organisation and that the two men that the organisation employs are himself, the CEO and a maintenance worker. The boss and the ‘handyman’ are men,  those caring and supporting are women. Great. As a feminist, I don’t consider those role models; I call them sex role stereotypes.

At nia, resources are scarce, budgets barely balance, services are running at capacity, though often beyond and with waiting lists; staff are stretched and much of our funding for next year is unconfirmed.Last year, we provided face-to-face support to 1,060 women and girls and delivered 1,864 hours of counselling support, plus responded to 2,145 contacts to the East London Rape Crisis Information and Support Line and delivered training to 277 professionals. Eaves will not be the last women’s organisation to fall.  I remember the scene in Planet of the Apes, the 1986 version, when Astronaut George Taylor sees the Statue of Liberty in the sand and realises he has gone in to the future.  I don’t want future generations of women to have to rebuild the women’s sector, but I’d love it if they didn’t have to because because men’s violence against women, girls and children had ended.

The sadness and loss I feel at the demise of Eaves feels like a cruel aftershock of the believing disbelief I felt on 21st August, the day Denise died. We will miss our sisters at Eaves. The fight to end men’s violence against women and support women who have suffered men’s violence continues. It will continue as long as men’s violence against women and girls continues; in our work – paid and unpaid – and our activism, wherever we are, especially when women who have experienced men’s violence say that we’re the ones who best meet their needs.

If you would like to donate to support nia’s work with women, girls and children who have experienced sexual and domestic violence, please do so here.

A Tale of Six Johns

6 Johns

(Image: Top, L to R: Mathew Cherrington, Mateusz Kosecki, Michael Wenham.

Bottom L to R: Robert Fraser, Steven Mathieson, Nicholae Patraucean)

Prostitution is not safe for women. Women who sell sex face regular physical and sexual violence. More than half of women involved in prostitution in the UK have been raped and/or sexually assaulted – the vast majority of these assaults committed by sex buyers (Hester & Westmarland, 2004). Last year, 2014, six women who sell sex were murdered in the UK: Maria Duque-Tunjano, 48; Karolina Nowikiewicz, 25; Rivka Holden, 55; Yvette Hallsworth, 36; Lidia Pascale, 26 and Luciana Maurer, 23. They were all killed by johns, that is by men who buy sex.

Prostitution is often framed in the context of women’s choices, those of us who oppose prostitution accused of denying women’s agency, their capacity to choose and their right to do so.  But a choice based on necessity, on a lack of viable alternatives isn’t really a choice.  Five of the six women above were not born in the UK, coming from Colombia, Poland, Israel and two from Romania.  The only UK born woman had a problem with substance use.  Poor women, migrant women and women with problematic substance use are disproportionately represented amongst women who sell sex.  And whilst some men sell sex, women do so disproportionately. Men are also overwhelmingly, regardless of the sex of the seller, the buyers.

Mathew Cherrington had been exercising his consumer choices.  The 26-year-old man’s phone records showed he had contacted several women who sold sex before arranging for 26-year-old Lidia Pascale to visit his flat. She suffered at least 11 blows to her head and had injuries on her hands, where she’d put them on her head trying to defend herself.  After killing her, Cherrington put Lidia in a black bin bag and into a bin. The final insult, the bin, the destination of unwanted, broken, expended consumables, rubbish.

Mateusz Kosecki chose Yvette Hallsworth because she was “slightly built.”   At 18 he was already a predator who preyed on women in prostitution.  He had attacked at least three women who sold sex before he killed Yvette Hallsworth, luring her into a secluded  alley before stabbing her 18 times using a knife that he had taken out with him.  A judge described him has having a ‘fascination, if not an obsession” with prostituted women. His attack on Yvette was described as cruel and savage.

Habitual sex-buyer and frequent consumer of pornography Michael Wenham had spent £15,000 on trying to enlarge his penis but instead lost two inches.  He had been married eight years and had three children.  He phoned in sick to work and bought a Stanley knife, gloves and plastic sacks.  He contacted Karolina Nowikiewicz after the first woman he called wasn’t available. After asking Karolina to undress and get on all fours, he attacked her from behind, slashing her throat, cutting through her major arteries and spinal cord and almost decapitating her. In court, the attack was described as “premeditated, planned and clinically executed.” Karolina was a student, selling sex to fund her studies.

40-year-old ex-banker Robert Fraser was deemed an “ongoing and very real danger to women” by Judge John Bevan.  Diagnosed as suffering from paranoid-schizophrenia he is said to have believed that god represented men and the devil represented women.  He attacked a 27-year-old prostituted woman in January last year, convincing her that he was going to kill her, shoving her underwear in to her mouth before twisting her head as if he was going to break her neck. 10 days later he bludgeoned Maria Durque-Tunjano to death, she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head.  Colombian born British national Maria had been financially supporting her family in Colombia through prostitution.  She was still wearing a black corset and high-heeled shoes when her body was found.

Father of two, Steven Mathieson, was in debt due to the extent of his use of phone sex lines. His partner, who knew of neither the phone sex or the debt, was out for the evening and he made arrangements for three women to come to his home. Luciana Maurer was the first to arrive.  With his four-year-old son asleep in the house he stabbed her 44 times and cut her throat in an upstairs bedroom. When the other women arrived, he took them in to the room where they immediately saw her dead on the bed. He forced them to strip and to dance for him and raped them both.  The naked women were able to escape when Mathieson thought he heard his partner returning.  Mathieson dialled 999 and said “I’ve been high on drugs and killed a prostitute.” According to his legal advocate, before that evening, Mathieson had been of “impeccable character.”

Nicolae Patraucean, 21, like Michael Wenham, chose to use a Stanley knife to slit the throat of and dismember Rivka Holden after strangling her following his celebrations at having obtained a national insurance number.  Patrucean’s attitude to women in prostitution was illustrated in his statement to a friend “I killed a person … not a person, a whore.”

All women should be safe from men’s violence. With the exception of those whose misogyny infused denial runs so deep that their immediate reaction to that statement is anything on the continuum of ‘what about the men’ responses, there are few who would disagree.  Similarly, I don’t know any feminist with an opinion on prostitution that believes women who sell sex should face or fear violence. If abolitionists, harm-reducers and free-choice free-market celebrants of prostitution agree on one thing, surely it is this.

Having a market of women – whether we are selling sex or whether our modified and culturally idealised images are used to adorn adverts  of other products – commodifies women. It makes us into objects.  As objects we become ‘less than’, less than fully human, not equal. Our value is set by our worth as products on the scale of marketability. This affects all women, whether or not we are those for sale or those used to boost sales. It’s no coincidence that we talk about purchasing power.  Regulating the sale of sex doesn’t empower women, it further endorses men’s power over the women by giving them consumer status, rights and choices.  Women, on the other hand, become  commodities, interchangeable and disposable.

We need to change men’s attitudes to women, we need to eradicate the misogyny and entitlement that fuels men’s violence against women.  Inequality between women and men is a cause and a consequence of men’s violence against women. We simply cannot achieve equality between the sexes, let alone the liberation of women from men’s oppression, whilst one sex is for sale, the consumable, and one sex is the buyer, the consumer. Women’s rights to safety must always be greater than men’s rights as consumers.

Six men: A Nick, a Mick, a Steve, a Bob and two Matts. All Johns.  Six women: Maria, Karolina, Rivka, Yvette, Lidia and Luciana.  All dead. Women should not be for sale.

5 UK women killed with their daughters so far this year – I am sick of hearing about isolated incidents

The bodies of Lisa Anthony, 47 and her daughter Ava Anthony, 14 were found in their home in Surrey home, the day after a man believed to be the girl’s father was found dead in France. It is thought he died after them, the police have said that they are not looking for anyone else.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Preston has said:

 “We are in the very early stages of the investigation but we do not believe there to be any threat to the wider community. This is thought to be an isolated incident. We are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.”

Not only is Lisa Anthony likely to be at least the 60th UK woman killed by a man or men this year, she the fifth to be killed along with her daughter:

  1. Bernadette Fox, 57, was asphyxiated and her daughter Sarah Fox, 27, was stabbed on 16 April. Bernadette’s son, Sarah’s brother, Peter Fox, has been detained under the Mental Health Act in relation to their deaths.
  2. Shighi Kotuvala/Rethishkumar, 35, was found strangled with her twin daughters Niya and Naya.  Her husband, their father, Pullarkattil Rethishkumar, 44, is believed to have killed them before killing himself.
  3. Jan Jordon, 48, her partner and her six-year-old daughter Derin, were found stabbed to death on 23 May. Jan’s son Jed Allen is thought to have killed them all before killing himself.
  4. Amy Smith, 17, her baby daughter Ruby-Grace and friend Edward Greeen, 17, died in a fire. Peter Eyre, 44 and his sons Anthony, 21 and Simon, 24 have been charged with murder.

I am sick of hearing that there is no threat to the wider community.  At least 60 UK women have been killed by men this year. I am sick of hearing about isolated incidents. 60 women dead at the hands of men in 6 months is a pattern, not an isolated incident and women are my community, don’t tell me that we are not at risk.