One day, people might stop asking me ‘What about the men?’ but that day isn’t here yet. This is the third time I’ve written a blog comparing sex differences in intimate partner homicide but it’s five years since the last time and so it’s time for an update.
This information is about people aged over 16 in England and Wales who have been identified as having been killed by current or former partners by The Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the 11 years ending March 2020. I’ve used ONS data because – although the Femicide Census data for women killed by men is much richer, we do not collect data on male victims or on women killed by women – it’s important to use consistent ways of collecting information for everyone. The ONS data doesn’t break down the data for victims of intimate partner homicide by the sex of the perpetrator so I requested this from them.
In the 11 years from April 2009 to March 2020, 1,027 people were killed by a current or former partner, defined by the ONS as when the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator falls into one of the following categories: spouse, common-law spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, ex-spouse, ex-cohabiting partner or ex-boyfriend or girlfriend or adulterous relationship. 890 (86.7%) of the victims were female, 137 (13.3%) were male. So, for every 2 men killed, there were thirteen women.
But there are differences in who is doing the killing too. Of 137 male victims, 109 were killed by women. Of 890 female victims, 884 (99%) were killed by men. There were 912 men who killed a current or former partner and 115 women. So, one in five men (20.4%) killed by a current or former partner were killed by a man; for women, approximately one in 147 women killed by a current or former partner were killed by a woman. Men who are killed by a current or former partner are 29 times more likely to be killed by someone of the same sex than women are.
There is a further important difference too, but this can’t be found in the ONS data. When the Femicide Census published our 10-year report on women killed by men in the UK between 2009 and 2018, we found evidence in 59% of cases that the man who killed them had been violent and/or abusive to them in the past. We think this is highly likely to be an undercount since it is not unusual for women to tell no-one that they are being abused, and also in many cases, this might not have been reported in publicly available information even if someone did know about it. The Centre for Women’s Justice looked at women who have killed current or former male partners. They found a very different picture, that in 77% of cases, it was the man who had been killed who had been abusing the woman who killed him.
So, in answer to that question: yes, sometimes women kill male current/former partners but there are four critical sex differences:
- 87% of people killed by current or former partners are women
- 89% of people who killed a current or former partner are men
- Men who are killed by a partner or ex are more likely to be killed by someone of the same sex (29 times more likely)
Women are likely to have been abused by the man who killed them in the years (or sometimes months) before their deaths, men who are killed by female partners are very likely to have been abusing the women who killed them in the years of months before their deaths
I overheard a discussion on Radio Four’s Today programme this morning (8 June 2021) that contained such a blatant piece of misinformation imparted by Benjamin Cohen, CEO of Pink News, that I felt compelled to transcribe it.
Justin Webb: Just on the point about abolishing legal provisions for single sex spaces, do you not accept that it is perfectly acceptable for women to campaign for those single sex spaces and to say that those who have changes sex should not be in them?
Benjamin Cohen…..[Evades question and talks about something else for a few moments] and goes on to say, over again, it’s a debate about trans issues without a single trans voice being heard
Justin Webb: Hang on number one, you don’t know anything about me; number two, I asked you a question, would you answer it?
Benjamin Cohen: Sure bit, I just, I’ve made a statement, is this a debate about trans issues with no trans voice?
Justin Webb: Yeah, you’ve made your statement, now could you answer the question?
Benjamin Cohen: You made the statement which is that the provisions around who hets access to single sex spaces has changed, that hasn’t changed, the EqualityAct was passed in 2010, there’s been no changes to that
Justin Webb: Yeah, hang on, what I’m suggesting is that Stonewall would like to change it, and a lot of women are worried about
Benjamin Cohen: Sorry, you just claimed that but that’s not actually true. So, Stonewall supports self-ID (Justin Webb : Exactly) which is about, simply about paperwork, so you’ve been able to self-ID for practical purposes for the Equality Act, since 2010,
Justin Webb: But not for instance to go to a safe space for women, like a women’s refuge, those a protected aren’t they
Benjamin Cohen: (speaking over Justin Webb): yeah, and they continue to be protected.
Justin Webb: And does Stonewall …
Benjamin Cohen: Can you answer me a question, Justin, has Stonewall said that those spaces should be open to trans people, I don’t believe they have
Justin Webb: Well, exactly
Benjamin Cohen: this is the problem,
Justin Webb: But hang on, I think we agree on this
Benjamin Cohen: It’s such misinformation
Justin Webb: Hang on, I think we agree on this in that case because, is it the case, or is it not the case that Stonewall, is campaigning for those safe spaces not to be women only?
Benjamin Cohen: They aren’t campaigning for that, that’s just misinformation being spread by a homophobic and transphobic media, I’m afraid.
The thing is, Benjamin, you’re the one that’s not telling the truth here. The extract below shows that Stonewall are campaigning or did campaign for the removal of the protection of women’s single sex spaces. This is from Stonewall’s submission to Women & Equalities Select Committee Inquiry on Transgender Equality submitted on 27 August 2015. Stonewall’s recommendations included:
““A review of the Equality Act 2010 to include ‘gender identity’ rather than ‘gender reassignment’ as a protected characteristic and to remove exemptions, such as access to single-sex spaces”
(Source Woman’s Place UK, Evidence of calls to remove single sex exemptions from Equality Act: https://womansplaceuk.org/references-to-removal-of-single-sex-exemptions/)
Saying that Stonewall hasn’t campaigned for the removal of women’s single-sex spaces looks a lot like misinformation being spread by a media that doesn’t acknowledge the need for women’s single sex spaces to me. Your move, Benjamin.
I’ve been Counting Dead Women, women killed by men in the UK since January 2012 and as one of the founders of the Femicide Census have access to records of women killed by men in the UK going back to 2009. From this, I can say that we know that on average since 2009, a woman has been killed by a man in the UK every three days. Because that’s an average, sometimes it is more frequently than that, and sometimes it’s less. It means that we know that the oft quoted statistic, that two women a week are killed in England and Wales by their partner or ex, is inaccurate. My work on this issue means I’m often well placed to have a sense when something unusual is happening, and as importantly, I have access to information to check out my hunches, The Femicide Census.
This – noticing something unusual was going on – happened last March, just after the first national lockdown. In the first week of lockdown, 10 women (and two children) were killed by men. That’s not one woman every 3 days, it’s one woman every 16.8 hours. It wasn’t two women a week, it was ten in a week. The oldest was 80, the youngest was 24 years old. For seven women, the suspect was her husband, partner or lover, for one he was her son, for another he was her father and one woman was killed by a stranger. The next week, three women were killed by men, and the same the following week. 3 weeks into lockdown, 15 women had been killed by men. So, it’s true, for the first three weeks of lockdown, on average, five women a week had been killed by men, through this was largely driven by the 10 women killed in the first week. This was the snapshot for a specific period in time, 23 March – 12 April 2020. This was three times higher than the average for the same three weeks since 2009 (five), though the actual numbers had varied between nine women in 2009 and two women in 2013, 2018 and 2019. It’s not the only time when for a short period of time there has been an atypically high number of women killed. Another example is January 2012, when in the first three days of the year, eight women were killed by men and don’t know if I’d have even started Counting Dead Women if that hadn’t coincided with the murder of Kirsty Treloar.
I shared this information at the time, there was a lot of interest. If I’m honest, I will say it pissed me off, why was one woman every three days barely worthy of mention? I wasn’t impressed by attempts to frame the killings of women in 2020 as ‘due to COVID-19’ and wrote this piece, Coronavirus Doesn’t Cause Men’s Violence Against Women about the suspected levels of men’s fatal violence against women and what might or might not be causing an apparent increase.
But the things I’m hearing now are at best: ‘it was five women a week during lockdown’, and at the most inaccurate: ‘it’s been five women a week killed by current or former partners since lockdown.’
Because of the work by The Femicide Census, we know that there have been patterns in the numbers of women killed by men over time. Between 2009 and 2018, on average, more women tended to be killed in April than in any other month, followed by December. I was able to use information from the Femicide Census database to compare how many women had been killed in the same time period (week beginning, 23 March, week beginning 30 March, week beginning 6 April and so on) for every week since 2009. I did that for every week of the initial national lockdown, or until 31 May.
By 31 May 2020, I was aware of 26 women who were suspected of having been killed by men in the 10 weeks since 23 March. The average for those same 10 weeks between 2009 and 2019 was 24.7 women, the highest was 30 women in 2010, the lowest was 17 women in 2013. In other words, the rates of women being killed by men had returned to pretty much an average level of unacceptable for the time of year and that continues for the rest of 2020.
I should mention that the numbers I used from 2019 and 2020 were based on media searches alone, we hadn’t analysed the Freedom of Information requests for the Femicide Census for 2019 at that point and we wouldn’t be sending those for 2020 out until 2021. I am expecting that the real numbers for 2019 and 2020 will be a bit higher. I am also worried about what might happen as we move on from the pandemic, if we move on from the pandemic, because another of the findings of the Femicide Census, is that 43% of women killed by their partners do so at some point during or after the process of separation. Will more women leave abusive partners as lockdown eases again? Will we see this reflected in lethal violence from jealous, possessive and controlling men?
It’s also important to mention that at both Counting Dead Women and the Femicide Census include all women killed by men. There are some important differences in the characteristics between women killed by current and former partners, for example the presence of coercive control, or, what would good support services look like? But there are some commonalities too. What’s the impact of the status of women? What’s the impact of the sexual objectification of women? What’s the impact of male entitlement? I believe that we can learn something about the role of such issues if we look at the killing of women by men, rather than restricting ourselves to current and former partners only, even though the latter make up the greatest proportion of femicides in the UK (on average 62%).
Data matters, but it’s important that we use it correctly. It’s important that we don’t extrapolate what was happening at a moment in time to what happens all the time. We should not need to exaggerate the numbers of women being killed by men to make people with influence address men’s violence against women. If we think 15 women in three weeks is unacceptable and worthy of outrage, surely, we’re not saying that the average number for three weeks, seven women, (one woman every 3 days) is fine and nothing to rise up against?
Am I naive – obviously I am – in the belief I had that facts were checked before use in the national media? Can those with editorial roles stop the use of ‘two women a week’ and respect the work of those of us who have tried to get accurate data? How does a claim that five women a week have been killed by current or former partners since lockdown, get through whatever editorial process is supposed to happen?
Most importantly though and as always, we must remember that dead women are never merely numbers, data or statistics. They were real living women once, most of them leaving family and friends who loved them shocked and in mourning, so many people left with a gap that they’ll feel the pain of for the rest of their lives. We should try to do the right thing by these women and try to make changes that will protect the women and girls of the future. What are we going to do to end men’s violence against women and girls?
No, Angela Crawley, in the UK, it’s not the same and it’s not a greater risk
In the Women and Equalities Select Committee on reform of the Gender Recognition Act on 21 April 2021, Angela Crawley, Scottish National Party MP for Lanark and Hamilton East and the SNP Shadow Attorney General asked
” Would you agree, and I think we can all agree on the prevalence of male violence, and the instance of how often this occurs and often it is a male perpetrator against a female individual, would you agree that individuals who perhaps, perhaps a trans female has transitioned*, they are also at equally and perhaps greater risk of the same violence and the same issues that you’ve expressed around patriarchy. Would it be possible for a women’s refuge to have a policy that is both inclusive provides that safety that provides those single sex spaces built also is able to provide a service that recognises that individuals who are transgender may also be the victims of the very same violence and they might also need protection from those very similar services that we’re discussing.”
(*It’s anyone’s guess who she means here? A trans female who has transitioned surely means female to ‘transman’, but I think she is so determined not to use words referring to maleness for ‘transwomen’ that she means a male who has so-called transitioned to ‘transwoman.’)
Firstly, let’s get this out of the way, you cannot be both single sex and trans inclusive, unless you mean women and ‘transmen’ together or men with ‘transwomen’. If you have transwomen in a women’s refuge it is not single sex. It cannot be.
Angela Crawley seemed to be trying to say that trans people are perhaps more at risk from the same men’s violence as women are. This isn’t true with regards to fatal violence. Men’s fatal violence against males who identify as transgender does not follow the same pattern as men’s fatal violence against women.
As far as I know, nine males who fall under the trans umbrella have been killed in the UK since 2009. I don’t know which of them would have described themselves as cross-dressers, transsexuals, transwomen, trans women, or even say that they are women but using Stonewall’s concept of the trans umbrella, there are nine. There have been over 1,800 women killed by men in the UK in the same time. These 9 people are
- Andrea Waddel, 29, killed by a punter (sex buyer), Neil McMillan, in Brighton in October 2009
- Destiny Lauren, 29, killed by a punter (sex buyer) Leon Fyle, in London in November 2009
- David/Sonia Burgess, 63, killed by Senthooran (Nina) Kanagasingham, a trans friend/associate (male who identified as trans at the time), in London in October 2010
- Lionel/Suzie Morl, 49, referred to in the press as a transvestite, who was killed by a couple with drug problems and who appear to have been exploiting him: David Hardman, 51, and Tracey Hurrell, 32, in Manchester in July or August 2011. Note the age difference between this couple, which is often (not always) an indicator of an abusive relationship
- Chrissie Azzopardi, 22, who was killed by a neighbour, Romy Maynard, possibly over drug debts, in London in April 2012
- Vanessa Santillan, 33, who was killed by husband Joaquin Hernandez in London in March 2015
- William Lound, 30, a gay man who occasionally wore clothes that have been described as women’s clothes, was killed by Lee Arnold. Arnold killed Lound after the two had had sex, in Salford in August 2016. The murder of William Lound has been described both as a homophobic murder and an anti-trans one
- Naomi Hersi, 36, who was killed by punter (sex buyer) Jesse McDonald after a drugs and sex hook-up in London in March 2018
- Amy Griffiths, 51, was killed by Martin Saberi, in Worcestershire in January 2019. The two have been described as friends.
None of those above were killed in Scotland, where Angela Crawley is an MP. None. Since 2009, at least 129 women have been killed by men in Scotland. 17 women have been killed by men in Scotland since the last known murder of a trans person in the UK. Why can’t you see or why do you turn your back on the violence done to women by men, Angela?
We know from the Femicide Census that 62% of women who were killed by men between 2009 and 2018 were killed by a current or former partner. In the year ending March 2020, the Office for National Statistics says that 46% of adult females and 7% of males were killed in domestic homicides. The ONS also said that 29% of female homicide victims recorded no suspect had been charged for the offence at the time of analysis. This will decrease as investigations proceed and the percentage of cases where a woman’s current or former partner is identified as being responsible for her death is likely to increase. The proportion of males killed by current or former partners is consistent with previous years. 8% of male homicide victims were killed by a partner in the year ending March 2019, 1% in the year ending March 2018 and 3% in the year ending March 2017. Note also that males are much more likely to be killed by a same sex partner, fatal violence is very rare in lesbian relationships.
Given the number of trans people killed in the UK, annual trends in the composition of their relationships with their killer isn’t possible. There have been nine over eleven years and none since Amy Griffiths in 2019. Only one was killed by their partner. Most women’s refuges work exclusively with women who are fleeing partners, ex-partners and in some cases, family members. That doesn’t mean other people don’t need places of safety or support but it does mean that their experiences are different and their needs are too. Women in refuges benefit from being able to place what was done to them in the context of the abuse that other women have been subjected to by men they loved. Sometimes it is through seeing that another woman was not to blame for what was done to her that they are able to begin to stop blaming themselves. Sharing with and listening to other women is a huge part of healing and moving on. Women don’t enter refuges for fun. For most there is no other choice and many are in fear of their life. The number of men who kill or attempt to kill their female partners shows that women’s fears are well grounded. I’ve written in other places about the importance of single-sex spaces for women who have been subjected to men’s violence, for example here, about the necessity of trauma informed services for women being single sex and here, more generally in a speech I delivered in Scottish Parliament in January 2020.
Looking beyond fatal violence and at childhood sexual abuse, prevalence is not equal or greater for males who identify as transgender than it is for females. We know that both girls and boys can be subjected to child sexual abuse and that grooming of younger gay males by older men is an established form of abuse normalised by some men. Prevalence studies for England and Wales suggests that approximately 15% of girls/young women and 5% boys/young men are subjected to some form of sexual abuse before they are 16 years old and that the majority of perpetrators – prevalence studies always indicate over 90% – are male. For women and girls, single sex space to address what has been done to them is vital. For males, who are far more likely to have been abused by someone of the same sex, the preferred or most beneficial sex of their therapist, counsellor, support worker or fellow therapeutic group members can be less clear. Sometimes but not always depending on the sex of their abuser, they may or may not have a preference for or therapeutic issues with the sex of who supports them. The needs of these men should be addressed but this necessary provision should not affect the needs of the majority of female victim-survivors and provision of single sex services to meet their needs; neither should the support and therapeutic needs of males survivors of childhood sexual violence and abuse who come to identify as transgender.
It should not be seen as, and it is not, an indication of disrespect to Andrea Waddel, Destiny Lauren, Sonia Burgess, Suzie Morl, Chrissie Azzopardi, Vanessa Santilan, William Lound, Naomi Hersi and Amy Griffiths to say that with regards to intimate partner homicide, the pattern of their relationships with the person who killed them is far closer to that of male-on-male fatal violence than that of men’s lethal violence against women. Of course what was done to them is abhorrent. But, the evidence suggests that the same services as those under short supply for women would not have saved the lives of most of these trans people.
By identifying the context of the sex industry, which inherently abusive; or substance use, I am not excusing what was done to these people any more than I would consider involvement in prostitution or drug use as an excuse for killing women, or any more than I would hold any woman responsible for abuse perpetrated against her. Prostitution turns people into products and abusive, predatory men who fully recognise the power imbalance in the transaction, into consumers. Prostitution puts people, mainly women, in situations where they are easy prey to murderous men. It is the twisted logic of sex trade advocates that creates a space for victim blaming and denies that prostitution is abuse.
Where fatal violence is concerned, the evidence is that the violence perpetrated against trans people, is not the same violence as that which is perpetrated against women. It’s not the same, it might be proportionate, there aren’t reliable statistics on the number of trans identifying people in the UK so we can’t calculate. Of course not all violence and abuse is fatal, but we can still learn a lot about violence from that which is. It is possible that rates of fatal violence against trans people by men are higher than those of males against women if we take population sizes into account, but this would make that violence more in line with men’s violence against other men, after all men kill more men every year than they kill women. This does not justify removing the single sex exemptions permissible under the Equality Act in the provision of services for women who have been subjected to men’s violence and more than any other form of men’s violence against other men.
Like most people, I do not want to see trans people suffering violence, harassment and discrimination. Universal human rights are an important principle. If we want to stop violence, including fatal violence against trans people, we would be better placed addressing the drivers of violence and abuse of people who do not conform to the gender stereotypes associated with their sex. As a feminist, I would say that we would be better placed dismantling sex-role or gendered stereotypes. Being abused and/or killed as or because you are a gender non-conforming man is not the same as being abused and/or killed as or because you are a women. We help no one if we don’t acknowledge who is doing what to whom and why, or by falsely claiming that that violence against trans people is the same as men’s violence against women.
Steve Reddy Liverpool Domestic Abuse Strategic Lead and mother-in-law jokes about women’s suspicious deaths
Steve Reddy, Director of Liverpool City Council Children & Young People Services and Domestic Abuse Strategic Lead tweeted the following ‘joke’:
“Friday [clown face emoji]. Mrs R still angry with me because I didn’t open the car door to help her mother out. But as I’ve said – I just panicked and swam to the surface! Compounded this somewhat by the wreath I ordered in the shape of a lifebelt – but it’s what she would have wanted…” (9 April 2021)
Angela Clarke, on twitter Angela Madigan, Liverpool City Council Domestic Abuse and Domestic Homicide Review Commissioner doesn’t seem to think so, if her response: “Back with a vengeance“ is anything to go by. And to which Reddy ‘oh-so-humorously’ responded “Cheers mate, I did it again.”
Liverpool’s independent specialist domestic abuse service, (LDAS), didn’t share the amusement and asked the Chair of the domestic abuse strategy group why he was using Bernard Manning humour about women dying.
After trying to justify himself, Reddy replaced the subject of his joke with his father-in-law, before also deleting this second version, shortly after he said that he apologised unreservedly for any offence caused, it was absolutely not his intention.
Mother-in-law jokes are or were a misogynistic trope of the UK mainstream cultural fabric. They position younger men as normative and socially valuable, whilst positioning older women as the antithesis to this, disdainful and other, whilst reminding younger women of their destiny as disposable objects of ridicule with patriarchal best-before dates and signalling to younger heterosexual men that they should be wary of what their female partner may become. As LDAS pointed out, mother-in-law jokes belong in the dustbin of entertainment from the 1970s when sexist, racist humour was a lazy prop for sexist racist comedians like Manning. But the stereotype endures.
The Femicide Census found that 13 women in the UK had been killed by the partner or ex-partner of their daughter between 2009 and 2018, (in other words, 13 men killed women who were or had been their mother-in-law or equivalent), just over one percent of all women killed by men in the UK. More extreme than mother-in-law jokes, certainly, but not unconnected. Societal norms and values can either create a conducive context for men’s violence against women or they can challenge and deconstruct. Mother-in-law jokes in particular and the normalisation of men’s violence against women and the perceived different social value of women and men (sex inequality) are the backdrop of these men’s murderous intent and actions.
Between 2009 and 2018, 43 women in Merseyside were killed by men. They include 28-year-old Jade Hales and her mum, Karen Hales, 53, making Karen one of the 13 women who were mother-in-laws noted above. In 2016, Anthony Showers, 42, broke into his ex-partner Jade’s home and killed and raped her and killed her mother, his ex-mother-in-law, Karen, who was disabled and needed a frame to walk, by bludgeoning both women to death with a hammer. This year, Merseyside MPs held an emergency meeting called by Labour MP Paula Barker, after three women, Helen Joy, Rose Marie Tinton and N’Taya Elliott Cleverley, were killed in one weekend in January. Surely, this alone should mean that Liverpool’s senior council officials recognised – for themselves – that women’s suspicious deaths were not an appropriate subject matter for humour. It is inconceivable that the person who commissions domestic homicide reviews in the city was unaware of this.
Merseyside police reported an increase in reports of domestic abuse of 10.4 per cent – equivalent to 18,782 victims – between April 1 and November 30 2020, compared to the same period the year before.Yvonne Roberts, writing for the Observer, reported that in the last year LDAS, Liverpool’s specialist independent service for women, has seen a 145% increase in demand for counselling and group-based support and the highest number of self-referrals in its 15-year history. Yet this specialist independent service of experts has increasingly found themselves frozen out by Liverpool City Council and council funded services for women victims of domestic violence and abuse in the city are provided by a national provider that does not have a specific focus on women victims of men’s violence. YSadly this commissioning pattern, ignoring decades of research that show that women victim-survivors of men’s violence are best served and feel safer using specialist independent local women-led services and moreover, ignoring that women are the vast majority of victims of domestic and sexual violence, has been seen across the UK for more than a decade. If a woman in Liverpool looks for domestic abuse support on Liverpool City Council’s website, the first ‘service’ she will see is that for ‘Ask Ani’, a national scheme much vaunted by the government, whereby women can approach any one of 2,500 pharmacies and ask for Ani. In contrast to the experience of Liverpool’s specialist service and those of specialist independent women’s charities across the country, the Ask Ani scheme, with its 2,500 access points, has attracted less that one woman a week across the entire country since its launch in January. Women who are subjected to men’s violence reach out to those they trust. It doesn’t look to me like Ask Ani is it. When abused women don’t access services, it doesn’t mean that abuse isn’t happening, it’s much more likely to mean that (if they know about the service) they don’t think it can or will help.
Men’s fatal violence against women isn’t the only reason that Liverpool has made the national news this year. Girls at Broughton Hall Catholic High School, in West Derby, Liverpool, were advised to wear shorts under their skirts after male pupils were allegedly caught taking photos up their skirts as they used a transparent glass staircase. The school had previously taken swift action to address its concerns that females were wearing inappropriate pencil skirts by sending them home. Evidently the school expects females to take responsibility for the male gaze and sexual harassment.
Steve Reddy, Director of Liverpool City Council Children & Young People Services and Domestic Abuse Strategic Lead, also has form with his regard to his antipathy to recognising the critical importance of sex differences with regards to sexual and domestic violence and abuse. In 2018, Steve Reddy’s first act, as Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy Lead was to propose that the VAWG strategic group was renamed because (to quote from his own email) the “remit and scope did not sufficiently capture the breadth of issues involved in domestic abuse – particularly in terms of male victims.”
The United Nations recognises that (men’s) violence against women in public and private life impedes the ability of women and girls to claim, realize [SIC] and enjoy their human rights on an equal foot with men. Is it enough if someone in a position of responsibility apologises for an offensive joke? One of the things I’d want to know is whether ‘the joke’ chimes or contrasts with their track record. We can all say or do things that we regret and don’t really mean when we reflect on them later. But it’s not the only question. What if that person has a lead role with regards to the protection of the demographic that is the subject of said joke? What if violence – including fatal violence – against that demographic has reached unprecedented levels? What if that person’s track record is one of undermining the human rights abuses of and specialist provision for that subjugated demographic? Then, no, whether causing offence was the intention or not, I don’t think it is good enough.
My name is Karen Ingala Smith and I prioritise women. I prioritise the well-being of women who have been subjected to men’s violence. I try to make sure I see the women that many others disregard. I’d like to contribute to ending men’s violence against women and girls. If I can’t do that, I’ll settle for helping ensure that women have access to specialist support from women, that victim-survivors’ needs are prioritised and wishes heard, and that more people understand the realities of men’s violence against women, girls and children.
Counting Dead Women is a project about women killed by men. I started it in January 2012 as a reaction to the murder of a young woman in East London. I watch out for media reports of women killed by men – and I record them. I record their names so that those women are never merely statistics.
Yes, I know more men are victims of homicide. You know that they’re killed by men, right? No, I’m not going to start counting dead men. Find someone who is interested in men’s violence to men to do that for you. Or, do it yourself. Yes, you’ll be busy. I know, because I’ve been Counting Dead Women for over 9 years.
Yes, I know that sometimes women kill men. Do you know that when men kill a female partner or ex-partner, the Femicide Census was able to find evidence of prior violence and abuse to the woman they killed in 59% of cases. And we’re sure this is an undercount because women so often tell no one about what an abusive man is doing to them behind closed doors. Do you know that the Centre for Women’s Justice found that when women kill a male partner or ex-partner, in 77% of cases there was evidence that he, the man who was killed, was the one with the history of violence and abuse and that she was the victim?
Yes, I know that sometimes men who identify as transgender or transsexual are killed. There have, as far as I am aware, been 9 since 2009. Unlike most people who faux-innocently ask me whether Counting Dead Women includes ‘transwomen’, I could name every one of them. Whether the fact that they rejected male gender norms played a part in their deaths, I don’t know. They were all killed by men, only one was killed by a current/former partner. Incidentally, trans identified males have killed 12 people in the same time period, four of them women and one a transgender male.
Yes, I oppose violence and discrimination against people because they reject sex-role stereotypes. There is an international movement to commemorate trans victims of murder. I don’t need to. Nor would I because I prioritise women victims of men’s violence.
No, I don’t believe that men who identify as transgender or transwomen are subjected to misogyny. I believe they are subjected to hate and discrimination because they dare to reject male gender norms. I support and celebrate (not actively) any man’s right to do that. No, I don’t believe people can change sex. I think gender functions to maintain male supremacy and female subordination.
I support universal human rights but you can do that and still prioritise women. There isn’t a single human right that excludes trans people. That’s the way it should be. No one has a human right to impose their belief system on another.
Prioritising women does not mean that I don’t care about anyone else, that I don’t recognise the humanity of males, or that I am incapable of empathising with, or liking individual males, including some who identify as transgender. It doesn’t mean that I don’t recognise the pain of someone who has lost a man that they love or care for to violence. It just means that I prioritise women. I choose to devote my energies to women. My time. My life. My choice. It really doesn’t have to be yours but I think the state of the world reflects that fewer people choose to prioritise women than prioritise men, or accept the status quo.
Since 2009, at least 1,691 women and girls aged 14 and over have been killed by men. This includes 1,425 named in the Femicide Census, killed between 2009 and 2018, plus another whose death has come to light since we went to publication. Plus 128 women killed in 2019 (Femicide Census figures, as yet unpublished) and 107 killed in 2020 (we haven’t got the FOIs back yet, so this includes women identified in the media only and so it will undoubtedly increase) and 31 women killed this year.
And we know there are more. There were 117 women and girls who suffered violent, premature and suspicious deaths between 2009 and 2018, where men were directly or indirectly implicated that we couldn’t include in the Femicide Census (for reasons explained in the 10-year report). Those are just the women we know about. We don’t doubt that there are more that we don’t know about.
My name is Karen Ingala Smith and I prioritise women. I count women killed by men. No, I don’t count men. No, I don’t include transwomen. And if that isn’t good enough for you, I really don’t care what you think about me.
At least 112 UK women have been killed by men (or where a man is the principal suspect) so far in 2021:
- 4 January 2021: Eileen Dean, 93, was found badly injured on her bed in a care home in South London. She had suffered injuries to her head and neck, some of which, it is reported, were inflicted with her walking stick. Fellow care home resident Alexander Rawson, 62, has been charged with her murder.
- 7 January 2021: Sue Addis, 69, died after being stabbed in her home near Brighton. A 17-year-old male who cannot be named for legal reasons but is said to be known to her, has been charged with her murder.
- 11 January 2021: Carol Hart, 77, was found dead in a house in Devon. Michael Robinson, 35, has been charged with her murder.
- 17 January 2021: Jacqueline Price, who was in her late 50s, was found unconscious and later died at her home in Andreas, on the Isle of Man Her son, James Price, 21, has been charged with her murder and the attempted murder of his father, her husband.
- 17 January 2021: Mary Wells, 21, was stabbed to death in Colchester, Essex. Adam Butt, 21, has been charged with her murder.
- 24 January 2021: Tiprat Argatu, 43, was found dead with head and neck injuries in a property in Whitechapel, London by police responding to calls of concern for her welfare. David Cheres, 19, has been charged with her murder.
- 27 January 2021: Christie Frewin, 25, was found with fatal injuries at her home in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Alex Staines, 30, has been charged with her murder.
- 28 January 2021: Souad Bellaha, 62, was found dead in a house in Maidstone, Kent. Abdelaziz El Msseyah, 57, has been charged with her murder.
- 29 January 2021: Ann Turner, 82, was found dead in her home in Herefordshire. A 56-year-old man, arrested on suspicion of murder, has been detained under the Mental Health Act. The police are not looking for anyone else in connection to the incident.
- 29 January 2021: N’Taya Elliott-Cleverley, 20, was found dead in a property in Liverpool. 19-year-old Mohammed Diakite, also known as Nigel Diakite, has been charged with her murder.
- 29 January 2021: Rose Marie Tinton, 77, known as Marie, was found dead at her home in Southport who were following enquiries after a man was hit by a train some hours earlier. He remains in hospital, under arrest for suspicion of murder.
- 31 January 2021: Ranjit Gill, 43, was found dead at home in Milton Keynes with significant injuries. Her husband Anil Gill, 46, has been charged with murder.
- 1 February 2021: Helen Joy, 54, was found dead in Wirral. Kevin Ashton, has been charged with her murder.
- 4 February 2021: Emma Robertson, 39, was stabbed to death, shortly before her daughter Nicole Anderson, 24, was also killed. Her estranged husband, Steven Robertson, 40, is thought to have killed them both before killing himself.
- 4 February 2021: Nicole Anderson, 24, was stabbed to death, shortly after her mother, Emma Robertson, 29, had also been killed. Steven Robertson, 40, her mother’s estranged husband, is thought to have killed them both before killing himself.
- 6 February 2021: Linda Maggs, 74, was found unresponsive and declared dead by ambulance staff in Pontypool. Her husband, David Maggs, 70, has been charged with her murder.
- 6 February 2021: Carol Smith, 75, was found dead by police who had been called to a home in Bexhill, Sussex. She had been shot. A 78-year-old man who was found with a serious injury, remains arrested on suspicion of murder.
- 7 February 2021: Sophie Moss, 33, was found in a critical condition but pronounced dead shortly later, in a house in Darlington, County Durham. Sam Pybus, 31, has been charged with her murder.
- 11 February 2021: Christina Rowe, 28, was found dead in the River Severn in Worcester. Charles Byrne, 24, has been charged with her murder and the attempted murder of another person.
- 11 February 2021: Susan Hannaby, 69, was found dead by emergency services attending a house fire in Wrexham, Wales. Her grandson, Kyle Ellis, 25, has been charged with her murder.
- 13 February 2021: Michelle Lizanec, 44, was found dead by police, in a house in Dundee after what has been described as a day-long stand-off. A 46-year-old man, thought to be her partner, has been charged with murder.
- 15 February 2021: Wieslawa Mierzejewska, 59, was found dead in a house in Cambridgeshire. Her son, Ernest Grusza, 40, has been charged with her murder.
- 16 February 2021: Christina Arnold, 71, was found dead at home in Pembrokeshire, Wales. She had been suffocated by her husband of 50-years, David Arnold, 81, before he killed himself.
- 17 February 2021: Bennylyn Burke, 25, and her 2-year-old daughter Jellica, were last seen at their home in Gloucestershire. They were reported missing on 1 March, with her other child who has since been found alive. Their bodies were found on 17 March, concealed in a house in Dundee. Andrew Innes, 50, has been charged with their murders.
- 20 February 2021: Judith Rhead, 68, was found dead in a property in Pembrokeshire, wales. Dale Morgan, 43, has been charged with her murder.
- 22 February 2021: Anna Ovsyannikova, 48, was found dead in a house in Ealing, W. London. Curtis Brown, 48, has been charged with her murder.
- February 2021; Tina Eyre, 62, is said to have been beaten to death with a shovel. She was from Gloucester but had retired to Bulgaria, where she was killed. Neighbours who were worried that they hadn’t seen her discovered her boyfriend digging a grave. He has since admitted to police that he killed her.
- 2 March 2020: Samantha Heap, 45, was found dead in a house in Congleton, Cheshire. David Mottram, 47, has been charged with her murder.
- 3 March 2021: Sarah Everard, 33, went missing when walking home in South London. Her body was found a week later inside a builder’s bag in woodland, in Ashford, Kent. Wayne Cuzens, 48, a serving police officer, has been charged with her murder.
- 4 March 2021: Geetika Goyal, 29, was found stabbed and dying in a street in Leicestershire. Kashish Aggarwal, 29, has been charged with her murder.
- 4 March 2021: Imogen Bohajczuk, 29, was found dead in a house in Oldham by police responding to a call of concern about her welfare. Daniel Smith, 41, has been charged with her murder.
- 5 March 2021: Wenjing Xu, 16, was stabbed to death in Wales. Chun Xu, 31 has been charged with her murder.
- 19 March 2021: Karen McClean, 50, was stabbed to death in Newtownabbey, N. Ireland, identifying her son Ken Flanagan, 26, as the assailant as she was dying. Flanagan also killed his partner, Stacey Knell, 30.
- 19 March 2021: Stacey Knell, 30, was stabbed to death by her partner Ken Flanagan, 26, in Newtownabbey, N. Ireland. Flanagan had also stabbed and killed his mother Karen McClean, 50.
- 23 March 2021: Smita Mistry (also known as Smita Saunders), 32, was found dead in house in Leicester. Frank Farrell, 36, has been charged with her murder.
- 23 March 2021: Samantha (Sammy) Mills, 31, died in a house fire in Huddersfield, in which a man was also killed and 4 other people injured. Craig Collier, 34, has been charged with arson with intent to endanger life.
- 25 March, 2021: Patricia Audsley, 66, was found dead in a house in Mirfield, W. Yorkshire. Nigel Audsley, 66, has been charged with her murder.
- 26 March 2021: Phyllis Nelson, 76, was found dead in her home in East London. Donovan Miller, 30, reported to be hr grandson, has been charged with her murder.
- 27 March 2021: Klaudia Soltys, 30, was found dead in a house in Hull. Amadeusz Sekula, 20, has been charged with her murder.
- 29 March 2021: Simone Ambler, 49, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in a house in Blackpool. Donald Payne, 62, has been charged with her murder.
- 1 April 2021: Emma McArthur, 49, died from her injuries after being found lying at a road junction near her home in Berkshire. She had been stabbed in the neck and chest by her former partner Christopher Minards, 35.
- 1 April 2021: Sherrie Milnes, 51, was found dead in a house of Weymouth with multiple stab wounds and also having suffered compression to the neck. Steven Doughty, 54, is believed to have killed her before killing himself.
- 4 April 2021: Constanta Bunea, 50, was found dead in the bathroom on a flat in Plumstead, S.E. London. Vasile Bratu, 39, has been charged with her murder.
- 6 April 2021: Jacqueline Grant, 54, was found dead in hr home in Glasgow with multiple knife wounds to her head and body. Michael Dorey, 46, has been charged with her murder.
- 9 April 2021: Loretta Herman, 85, was found dead in the bathtub of her home in East London. The cause of her death was compression to the neck. Her son, Mark Herman, 54, has been charged with her murder.
- 9 April 2021: Egle Vengaliene, 34, was found dead in a lake in a park in Suffolk. Her husband Andrius Vengalis, 46, has been charged with her murder.
- 10 April 2021: Sally Metcalf, 68, died of compression to her neck. Her husband, Johnathan Metcalf, 72, was found hanged. The police said Sally’s death was being treated as murder.
- 13 April 2020: Sarah Keith, 26, was found dead in a flat in Leeds. Her partner Carl Chadwick 35, has been charged with her murder.
- 18 April 2021: Peggy Wright, 83, died after jumping out of a window to escape a fire started in an arson attack on her home in Birmingham. Mark O’Brien, 46, has been charged in relation to her death.
- 23 April 2021: Charmaine O’Donnell, 25, died after being pulled from the water at Helensburgh Pier, Scotland. A 28-year-old man has been charged in relation to her death.
- 23 April 2021: Michelle Cooper, 40, died in hospital due to head injuries, after being attacked in Jaywick, Essex. Jordan Stanley, 20, has been charged with her murder.
- 25 April 2021: Kerry Bradford, 57, was found dead at home in Newport, Wales, by police investigating the death of a her husband, Nicholas Bradford, 57, who had fallen to his death in the city centre. Police believe he killed her before killing himself.
- 27 April 2021: Julia James, 53, was found dead with serious head injuries, in woodland in Kent, where she had taken her dog for a walk. On 10 May, Callum Wheeler, 21, was charged with her murder.
- 30 April 2021; Beth Aspey, 34, was found dead by police at her home in Reading, she had suffered blunt force injury to her head. Her boyfriend Ben Shand.45, has been charged with her murder.
- 2 May 2021: Susan Booth, 62, was found with severe injuries outside a house in Oldham, Lancashire. Stephen Booth, 63, has been charged with her murder.
- 3 May 2021: Maya Zulfiquar, 26, from London, was strangled and shot in Lahore, Pakistan. It is alleged that she had been threatened by men who wanted to marry her. No charges have yet been made.
- 4 May 2021: Maria Rawlings, 45, was found dead in bushes near Romford, Essex. She had head injuries and had been strangled, it is believed she was walking home from hospital. Valentin Lazar, 20, has been charged with her murder.
- 4 May 2021: Chenise Gregory, 29, from London, was found stabbed to death in a hotel in Harrogate, N. Yorkshire. It is believed she was killed by her partner, Michael McGibbon, 29, before he killed himself.
- 9 May 2021: Agnes Akom, 20, also know as Dora, was last seen in Cricklewood, London. Neculai Paizan, 63, has been charged with her murder. Her body has not yet been found.
- 10 May 2021: Wendy Cole, 70, was stabbed to death in her home in Cambridgeshire. Her son, John Cole, 35, has been charged with her murder.
- 11 May 2021: Caroline Crouch, 20, a British woman who lived in Athens, was strangled and tortured. Her husband claimed that three robbers had broken into their apartment and tied him up before killing her. On 17 June, her husband was questioned by police and confessed to her murder.
- 12 May 2021: Svetlana Mihalachi, 53, died in hospital, five weeks after being attacked in a house in Ilford, London. Nicolae Virtosu, 47, had already been charged with attempted murder.
- 12 May 2021: Nicola Kirk, 45, died in hospital in Dumfries, Scotland after allegedly being deliberately driven at. Ian Edwards, 35, has been charged with murder.
- 13 May 2021: A 32-year-old woman who has not been named, was found dead in a home in Ilford, London. Muhammad Ilyas, 40, said to be known to her, has been charged with her murder.
- 25 May 2021: Agita Geslere, 61, dies in hospital after being found with multiple stab wounds in a house in Barnsley, S. Yorkshire. Her son Renars Geslers, 31, has been charged with her murder.
- 26 May 2021: Lauren Wilson, 34, was stabbed to death in Renfrew, Scotland. Craig Walker, 39, has been charged with her murder.
- 27 May 2021: Peninah Kabeba, 42, was found dead at home in South London, with multiple stab wounds. Mohsen Saadi, 56, has been charged with her murder.
- 29 May 2021: Jill Hickery was found dead with stab wounds in a house in Cornwall. Donald Hickery, 84, has been charged with her murder.
- 31 May 2021: Bethany Vincent, 26, and her 9-year-old son, Darren, were stabbed to death at their home in Louth, Lincolnshire. Her ex-partner, Daniel Boulton, 29, has been charged with their murders.
- 1 June 2021: Esther Brown, 67, was found dead in her flat in Glasgow. Jason Graham, 30, has been charged with her murder and rape.
- 1 June 2021: Michaela Hall, 49, was found dead in a house in Truro, Cornwall. Lee Kendall, 42, has been charged with her murder.
- 1 June 2021: Mildred Whitmore, 84, was found dead in her home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Chase Kelly, 31, has been charged with her murder and burglary.
- 2 June 2021: Stacey Clay, 39, died in hospital after being found seriously injured in her garden in Nottingham on 19 May. Matthew Farmer, 42, had been charged with attempted murder and police are not looking for anyone else.
- 11 June 2021: Linda Hood, 68, was discovered dead at her home in Norfolk by fire crews. A post mortem found she had died before the fire from compression to the neck. Paul Kelly-Bridle, 58, has been charged with her murder.
- 16 June 2021: Marlene Coleman, 53, was found unresponsive by paramedics attending a house in S. London. She was declared dead on the scene. Franklin McLeod, 54, has been charged with her murder.
- 18 June 2021: Sophie Cartlidge, 39, was found dead in a property in North Lincolnshire. Police said the no weapons had been used but that she had suffered significant injuries. Andre Grimes, 37, has been charged with her murder.
- 18 June 2021: Gracie Spinks, 23, was killed in a paddock in Derbyshire as she tended her horse. Michael Sellars, 35, suspected of killing her was a former colleague who had been stalking her and against whom she had taken out a restraining order. He was found dead nearby.
- 19 June 2021: Kim Dearden, 63, was discovered by police in a house in Hertfordshire but died of stab wounds shortly afterwards. Her son, Charles Dearden, 31, has been charged with her murder.
- 19 June 2021: Michelle Hibbert, 29, and her husband were found dead in their home in Basingstoke. Stanley Elliot, 52, has been charged with their murders.
- 22 June 2021: Sally Poynton, 44, was found dead from knife wounds in a house in Cornwall. Jacob Poynton-Whiting, 22, has been charged with her murder.
- 23 June 2021: Catherine Wardleworth, who was in her 70s, was shot dead in Merseyside. Police believe she was killed by her husband Leslie Wardleworth, before he killed himself.
- 29 June 2021: Sukhjit Badial, 73, and her husband, were found dead in their home in Warwickshire. She died from ‘a number of injuries’. Police believe her killed her before killing himself.
- 3 July 2021: Elsie Pinder, 66, died after a house fire in Southend, Essex. Andrew Wilding, 41, has been charged with her murder and arson with intent to endanger life.
- 4 July 2021: Catherine Stewart, 54, was found dead in her home in Airdrie, Scotland. Colin Kennedy, 60, has been charged with her murder.
- 4 July 2021: Ishrat Ahmed, 52, was beaten to death and her husband was also seriously injured at their home in Lancashire. Mohammad Yaqub Malik, 58, has been charged with her murder.
- 7 July 2021: Tamara Padi, 45, was stabbed to death in her home in Greater Manchester. Aubrey Padi, 41, has been charged with her murder.
- Katie (Kathleen) Brankin, 37, was stabbed to death at a glamping site on the coast at Limavady, N. Ireland. Thomas Davidson, 53, has been charged with her murder.
- 13 July 2021: Sandra Hughes, 63, died in a house fire in Gorton, Manchester. Mark See, 34, has been charged with her murder.
- 23 July 2021: Beatrice Stoica, 36, was stabbed to death in S. London. Stony Stoica, 44, has been charged with her murder.
- 24 July 2021: Pat (Patricia) Holland, 83, was found dead at her home in Norfolk. Alan Scott, 41, who had been her lodger, has been charged with her murder.
- 26 July 2021: Louise Kam, 71, was last seen alive by a family member in Barnet, London. Her body was found on 1st August. Mohamed El Abboud (26) & Kusai Al Jundi (23) have been charged with her murder.
- 31 July 2021: Yordanos Brhane, 19, was found with multiple stab wounds in a house in Birmingham. Halefom Weldyohannes, 25, has been charged in relation to her death.
- 31 July 2021: Amanda Selby, 15, from Greater Manchester was stabbed to death in a holiday park in Wales. Her brother, Matthew Selby, 19, has been charged with her murder.
- 1 August 2021: Malgorzata Lechanska, 37, was found dead with a severe head injury at her home in Norfolk. Her husband Rafal Winiarski, 39, has been charged with her murder.
- 7 August 2021: Megan Newborough, 23, is thought to have been killed before being found dead the following day in a country lane in Leicestershire. Ross Macullam, 29, has been charged with rape and murder.
- 9 August 2021: Diana Nichols, 57, was found dead in flat in Hawick, Scotland. A54-year-old man has been charged in relation to her death.
- 12 August 2021: Maxine Davison (Chapman), 51, was shot dead by her son, Jake Davison, 22, who killed four other people (Sophie Martyn, Kate Shepherd, Lee Martyn, Stephen Washington) in Plymouth, before killing himself.
- 12 August 2021: Kate Shepherd, 66, was shot dead by Jake Davison, 22, in Plymouth. Davison killed four other people (his mother Maxine Davison/Chapman, Sophie Martyn, Lee Martyn, Stephen Washington) before killing himself.
- 14 August 2021: Bella Nicandro, 76, was stabbed to death in her home in London. Aaron Cook, 23, has been charged with her murder.
- 15 August 2021: Eileen Barrott, 50, was found seriously injured in her home in Leeds but died at the scene. Her husband, Mark Barrott, 54, has been charged with her murder.
- 19 August 2021: Sharron Pickles, 45, was found dead with an incised wound to her throat in a home in North London. Police are looking for Lee Peacock, 49, in relation to her death and that of another man who was found in a nearby property.
- 23 August 2021: Helen Anderson, 41, from London, was found dead in undergrown beside a slip road in Surrey. Dane Messam, 52, has been charged with her murder.
- 26 August 2021: Jade Ward, 27, was found dead in a house in North Wales. Her ex-husband, Russell Marsh, 29, has been charged with her murder.
- 27 August 2021: Maddie Durdant-Hollamby, 22, was stabbed to death in Kettering, Northamptonshire by her partner Ben Green, 41, who also killed himself. Whilst police were quick to state there was no evidence of a history of domestic abuse, friends have described Green as a misogynist who had sexual relationships with multiple women at the same time and showed them no respect.
- 2 September 2021: Fawziyah Javed, 31, from West Yorkshire ‘fell’ to her death from Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. Kashif Anwar, 27, has been charged with her murder.
- 11 September 2021: Ingrid Matthew, 54, was found dead in a house in Leicester. Her son Aaron Matthew, 18, was charged with her murder.
- 17 September 2021: Sabina, Nessa, 28, was killed in Kidbrooke, south-east London. 10 days later, Koci Selamaj, 36, was charged with her murder.
- 17 September 2021: An as yet unnamed woman was found dead in a house in Welwyn Garden City after the suicide of a man in the town centre. Police are treating her death as murder.
- 19 September 2021: Terri Harris, 35, was found dead in Derbyshire with her children John Paul Bennett, 13 and Lacey Bennett, 11 and a friend Connie Gent, 11. A man reported as her partner, Damien Bendall, 31, has been charged with their murders.
- 19 September 2021: Sukhjeet Uppal, 40, was stabbed multiple times and died in her home in Wolverhampton. Jai Singh, 50, has been charged with her murder.
- 20 September 2021: Norma Girolami, 70, was reported missing from her home in North London, she hadn’t been seen since mid-August. Serkan Kaygusuz, 41, has been charged with her murder. Her body still has not been found.
- 2 October 2021: Jekouki Jaboa, 31, who lived in Telford, was stabbed to death in Albania. Her boyfriend, Kliton Pira, 26, is thought to have killed her before killing himself.
- 9 October 2021: Nicole Hurley, 37, was stabbed to death in a flat in North London. Jason Bell, 40, who lived in the property, has been charged with her murder and false imprisonment.
Waiting for further information regarding the deaths of Unnamed woman, Aberdeen, unnamed woman, Doncaster, unnamed woman, Wolverhampton, Mollie Taylor, Dyanne Mansfield, A woman found dead in Leicester, Jackie Murphy, Leicester, Tracey McGrath, Liverpool, Diane Mitchell, Gloucester ,Woman, 89, Bexleyheath, Susan Denyer, Emma Cooper, unnamed woman, Nuneaton, Joanne Baird, Sarah Hussein, Bury, Woman, Southall Park , Jomaa Jerrare, Unnamed woman, Polperro, Charlotte Ford, Offerton,
Please let me know if you have information regarding the deaths of these or any other women/girls (aged 13 and over) where a man/men is/are the primary suspects in the UK or UK women killed abroad in 2021
Last updated 22 September 2021
For many women and girls, the boundaries between domestic and sexual violence and abuse, are very much blurred. For some this abuse includes prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation too.
It’s not unusual for women who’ve been subjected to men’s violence to develop a trauma response. These sometimes develop after a single incident of violence, particularly with regards to sexual violence, though sometimes it can develop after years or months of living in fear, walking on egg-shells, recognising that tone of voice, that look in the eyes, that sigh, that pause, that silence, that change in his breathing. Some women have lived this, with a succession of perpetrators starting from their dad – who may have been physically, sexually or emotionally violent, abusive and controlling or a mixture of them all – all their lives.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop in response to trauma that may have occurred recently or in the distant past. Those who have experienced sexual trauma, especially whilst young are at greater risk, with victims of multiple forms of childhood abuse and neglect most at risk of lifetime trauma[i] Women victim-survivors of child sexual abuse are at least twice as likely to experience adult sexual victimisation[ii]. 51% of adults who were abused as children experienced domestic abuse in later life and approximately one in six adults who were abused as a child had been subjected to domestic violence and abuse in the previous year[iii].
Studies of women involved in prostitution found that between 63-80% reported being subjected violence in the course of being prostituted[iv]. One study found that women in prostitution were murdered at a rate 12 times above that of non-prostituted women[v]. Many women in prostitution describe sexual encounters as non-consensual, coerced or economically coerced rape. Two-Thirds of women in prostitution suffer PTSD.[vi]
After trauma, the brain can be triggered by something that would barely register for someone else, interpreting something that for many people would be unthreatening as a serious threat or danger, for example the presence of a man, particularly where not expected.
PTSD/trauma responses happen in a part of the brain called the amygdala. The amygdala detects a threat or perceived threat and can activate a “fight or flight” response. This releases adrenaline, norepinephrine, and glucose into the body, and if the threat continues, cortisol. A part of the prefrontal cortex (an area in the front of the brain that processes emotions and behavioural reactions) assesses the threat and can either calm or reinforce the fight or flight response. People suffering trauma/PTSD have a hyper reactive amygdala and a less effective calming prefrontal cortex reaction. The brain becomes overwhelmed by the trauma (pre-frontal cortex shutdown) leading to disorientation and confusion as the higher brain functions of reasoning and language are disrupted. Thinking and reasoning can be drowned out by feeling and being. Prolonged stress can lead to permanent change in the prefrontal cortex.
A trauma-informed safe space creates space for action and recovery from violence and abuse and places the woman victim-survivor in control and in the centre. The trauma response described earlier is the antithesis of a space for action and recovery, so a trauma informed approach is based on understanding the physical, social, and emotional impact of trauma caused by experiencing violence and abuse. A trauma-informed service for women understands the importance of creating an environment – physical and relational – that feels safe to victims-survivors in all the ways I’ve just mentioned. For many women this means excluding men from their recovery space, and yes, this includes those who don’t identify as men. Their behaviour, the likelihood that they themselves may be abusive, is not relevant. If it is not women-only, it is not trauma informed for women who have been subjected to men’s violence.
We know that at least 80% of males who hold a gender recognition certificate retain their penis, but anyway, in almost every case, we don’t need to know what’s in their pants to know they are a man. Women experiencing trauma after violence and abuse will, like most of us – almost always instantly read someone who might be the most kind and gentle trans identified male in the world – as male; and they may experience a debilitating trauma response as a result. It’s not their fault, it’s not a choice and it’s not something they can be educated out of. It’s not hate. It’s not bigotry. It’s not transphobia. It is an impact of abuse and they need space, support and sometimes therapy – not increased confrontation with a trauma inducing trigger; not nowhere to go that offers a woman-only space.
To properly heal from trauma, in particular that caused by sexual violence, a course of counselling/therapy from a counsellor/therapist specially trained to deal with trauma/PTSD from sexual or domestic violence and abuse is often needed. Unfortunately, far too few women are offered this opportunity. Specialist women-led women-only organisations supporting victim-survivors of men’s violence are rarely funded to the extent that we can meet the levels of need that exist. All too often we’re contracted to do what commissioners value, this isn’t always what women want and need.
Women should not need to justify our desire for or the benefits of women-only space on the basis of violence perpetrated upon us or our sisters but we should recognise that some women need or benefit from it more than others. Not all women who are subjected to men’s violence and abuse will develop a trauma response. Not all women will be subjected to men’s violence and abuse, though globally one in three are at some point during our lifetime. Not all women who have been abused by men want women-only spaces but should they then take away the right of that space from those who do?
Of course, women who experience trauma/PTSD as a result of men’s violence are required to function in a world where men are present and for the most part, do. But women-only spaces in Rape Crisis Centres, refuges, women’s centres or women-only buildings or events, etc are spaces where women are not required to make all the mental self-adjustments to function in the presence of men. Women survivors and feminists (many of us both) created these spaces because we know how important this is. Somewhere we can function and feel OK, safe, maybe even relaxed and with our defences down and our vigilance switch turned low. Women who have been subjected to men’s violence deserve this down time, this head space. Women-only space for women who have been subjected to men’s violence and abuse is something that must be protected by those of us who don’t need it, for those of us who do.
I’m a feminist from a working-class background. I was social class conscious before I was sex-class conscious. I’d been a member, admittedly largely inactive, of the Labour Party for most of my adult life. I’d managed to hold my nose when Tony Blair changed Clause IV in 1995, and it was removed from membership cards, symbolising to me, a move away from the party’s proud socialist history. But, I resigned at some point about 10 years later when his promises to reform the House of Lords failed and I was angry that a party supposedly based on equality balked when it came to dealing with such a blatant example of inherited privilege. I can’t remember when I re-joined but I resigned for a second time in 2018 when the then General secretary, Jennie Formby, announced that all-women-shortlists would no longer be women only. The conflict between my feminism and the party’s commitment dealing with sex inequality felt irreconcilable.
I was devastated by the results of the general election in December 2019. I’d voted for Labour, of course. I was barely interested in the furore around Corbyn. Labour are a political party, not a cult, and it has always been the party’s principles and their manifesto that mattered to me more than the leader; and the 2019 manifesto set out objectives that I would want to see underpinning society. It seemed to me – as it still does – that a Labour Party that didn’t meet my feminist ideals offered better opportunities for ordinary women than any other party. I was gutted at the thought of another five-years of Tory rule, let alone the prospect of ten, so I applied to re-join within days of the defeat.
Just over three months after I had applied to join the Labour Party, I received a letter (carrying the Stonewall logo) by email saying my membership had been rejected because: “information brought to our attention is that you have engaged in conduct online that may reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility based on gender identity.” The letter contained no evidence to back this assertion, so I appealed against the decision and submitted a subject access request. 12 weeks later, I received an email with an attachment to a document containing 14 tweets that, I must conclude, illustrate my on-line crimes. I was invited to make a “statement giving your reasons why you should be accepted into membership of the Labour Party and your reply to the decision to reject your application.” I’ve decided to make my reply – and the reasons for their rejection – open. The tweets cover these eight issues:
- Men’s fatal violence against women
- Not all feminists are the same
- Fantasies of totalitarian regimes
- Women’s sport and human rights
- Jess Phillips and the smell of sexism
- Non sequiturs
- Lesbians’ right to set their own sexual boundaries
- Poodle kitten extermination and probable extinction
- Men’s Fatal Violence Against Women
The case against me
I spend a lot of time working on men’s fatal violence against women. I calculated that number for a blog that I wrote in 2018, available here. I updated that figure in 2019, see here . So as far as I am able to find, the most recent data for the UK suggests that between 2007 and 2019, there were 62% more homicides perpetrated by trans-identified males than there were homicides of people (who were all male) who identified as transgender.
I happen to think that knowing the truth about sex differences and fatal violence is an essential step towards ending men’s fatal violence against women. I would also say that the truth is also an important step in addressing violence against those who identify as transgender, or indeed men’s violence against other men.
2. Not all feminists are the same
The case against me
There are variations on an allegation regularly made by trans extremist ‘activists’ that UK feminist groups are allied to and indeed funded by the religious Right in the USA. It may be true of some women who consider themselves to be ‘gender critical’, some but not all of whom also consider themselves to be feminists. It isn’t true of any groups I’m involved with, any women I’m friends with and it isn’t true of me. It pisses me off. Don’t generalise from the beliefs or actions of some (and make) an assumption about the beliefs or actions of all of any demographic. I thought that was a pretty basic principle. Evidently not one that the Labour Party thinks is important.
3. Fantasies of totalitarian regimes
The evidence against me
My (partial) defence
1) I sincerely promise that I do not want to overthrow this fragile constitutional monarchy with a totalitarian regime that bans words. Actually, I’d love to get rid of the embarrassment that is the ‘royal family’, but it wasn’t what I was thinking about when I wrote this tweet;
2) Language is important, it shapes understanding as well as is shaped by it. Language is a propaganda tool and the word ‘transwoman’ needs unpicking on that basis.
3) I will admit that I think the phrase ‘gender-neutral’ is an oxymoron.There’s nothing neutral about gender, it’s a primary weapon of patriarchy functioning to enforce women’s sex-based oppression.
4) Who, over 50, isn’t irritated by the over generous peppering of ‘like’ in youth parlance, or ‘Best’ instead of ‘Best wishes’? That’s a rhetorical question by the way.
4. Women’s sport and human rights
The case against me
I absolutely stand by every word.
5. Jess Phillips and the smell of sexism
The case against me
Jess Phillips does important work on domestic violence and abuse in her role as an MP. I am particularly grateful to her for reading the names of all women killed by men (collected by me), on International Women’s Day every year for the last four years. I know this means a lot to many of the friends and families of women killed and I feel so very honoured to have played a role in getting their names recorded in Hansard. However, I strongly disagree with the opinions she expressed in Mumsnet and Penis News interviews. I also believe that some of the critique (at best), trolling and the death threats she has received are rooted in sexism and misogyny. It reeks. I can disagree with her on this issue (and others) and still respect and feel grateful for her work on men’s violence against women.
6. Non sequiturs
The case against me
I take full responsibility for this appalling non sequitur. What was I thinking? I’m sorry. Maybe it made sense at the time but it doesn’t now.
7. Lesbians’ right to set their own sexual boundaries
The case against me
I stand by every word. Lesbians are same-sex attracted women and I will defend their right to set their sexual boundaries on this basis. To require otherwise is lesbophobia. Can someone in the Labour Party or anywhere else justify this?
8. Poodle kitten extermination and probable extinction
The case against me
I really, really, really do not wish death upon poodle kittens. They’re such gorgeous little grumpy faced gremlins. I would never knowingly bring one to harm. Save the poodle kittens!
Sex and gender aren’t the same though. In the context that I was using the words, one refers to whether a human being is female or male. The other (as I have mentioned above) is a primary weapon of patriarchy functioning to enforce women’s sex-based oppression. It isn’t helpful to confuse the two.
Apparently, these tweets (and to be honest plenty more where they came from) make me unworthy of the Labour Party. From where I stand though, if the Labour Party defends the positions in opposition to them, I don’t think it is worthy of my support. I will, with reluctance accept eptance that we are mutually incompatible.
I would love to see a government based on socialist, anti-sexist and anti-racist principles in my lifetime. None of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats or Green Party are good for women, or poor people, or people of African, Caribbean, Asian or Arabic heritage. Labour, at the very least, is the least bad option. I’ll never vote for the Conservatives as long as I can draw breath. I can’t imagine voting Lib Dem cos their libertarianism is too often at the expense of women’s rights and dignity, and the Greens (as they are) are a lost cause. I’ll probably always vote Labour but where my vote could be seen as for a safe seat, I might be tempted to spoil my vote.
You win Labour. Good luck with the next general election – but I’m interested to see what you plan to do to end male supremacy and women’s sex-based oppression.
I’ve been tracking men’s fatal violence against women and commemorating the UK women killed by men for 9 ½ years through my work on Counting Dead Women and for The Femicide Census, the team I work with have submitted Freedom of Information Requests to the police about men’s fatal violence against women in the UK going back to 2009. From the work of the Femicide Census, we know that over the last decade, on average a woman has been killed by a man in the UK every 3 days. So, using the average over the last 10 years, we might expect to see 7 women killed by men in 21 days, but 14 women and two children have been killed by men in the first three weeks of coronavirus lockdown in the UK.
We have to be cautious about talking about increases in men killing women. Reality is more complex than 11-year averages, there are always times when the numbers are higher or times when they are lower, there might be a week or longer where no man kills a woman. But we can say that the number of women killed by men in the three weeks between 23 March and 12 April is the highest it has been for at least 11 years and is double that of a hypothetical average 21 days over the last 10 years. We don’t know yet whether this inflated rate will continue, it is possible that we will see a lower rate over the next few weeks.
The table below shows the actual numbers of women killed by men in the three weeks between 23 March and 12 April since 2009, and the relationship between the perpetrator and the woman he killed. [i]
Women killed by men 2009-2019 and alleged killings of women by men in 2020
If the two children killed by Robert Needham were included, we’d see 3 females killed by their fathers in 2020 and a total of 16 women and girls dead at the hands of a man.[ii]
We can see that over the same three-week period, annually the numbers of women killed by men ranged from 2 women (in 2013, 2018 and 2019) and was as high as 11 women in 2009, averaging at 5 women in this three week period between 2009 and 2019; but that in 2020, at least 14 women and two children have been killed. The reality may even be higher,for example, a man has been questioned regarding the killing of Natasha Melendez in N. Ireland on 1st April but as far as I know, no-one’s been charged yet, so I haven’t included her in the figures.
Looking back over pre-lockdown 2020, 32 days passed as 14 women’s lives were taken. [iii] So it isn’t that 2020 in general has seen higher levels of men’s fatal violence against women.
Lazy reporting mixed with a lack of understanding of the dynamics of abuse have led to stories about increases in the domestic abuse, with headlines about men’s fatal violence reported as being due to a man being pushed to kill because of financial concerns. Another report said that a man claimed he bludgeoned ‘his wife’ to death because she asked him to move out because he had the virus. I don’t believe coronavirus creates violent men. What we’re seeing is a window into the levels of abuse that women live with all the time. Coronavirus may exacerbate triggers, though I might prefer to call them excuses, lockdown may restrict some women’s access to support or escape and it may even curtail measures some men take to keep their own violence under control. But coronavirus doesn’t make a killer out of a man who has never been controlling, abusive and/or violent to the woman he is in a relationship with. And we must surely extend our concerns to the women and children who will live through the coronavirus lockdown with an abuser and survive. I am counting dead women, but I would never say that it is only the dead women who count.
We need to ask why it seems that only or mainly men are pushed to kill because of frustrations or fears triggered by coronavirus or related restrictions. When we do, we come to the same answers that we’d arrive at by asking why men kill women at rates way above those at which women kill men: sex inequality as expressed through male control and dominance both in society as a whole and in individual relationships, men’s entitlement and their expectations to be served and serviced by women, masculine sex-stereotypes and gender norms, the objectification of women, and so on.
It’s also important to remember that men’s violence against women is not restricted to women that they are in a relationship with. Most people have no idea about the levels of child sex abuse that happens within families, we don’t know whether lockdown may be giving men increased or decreased opportunities to rape and sexually abuse the children in their household, but if it is the former, these children and society as a whole will be paying the price and seeing the impacts for decades.
Perhaps, despite the far greater numbers of people being killed by the virus including the failure to provide adequate protection to those exposed through efforts to treat the sick and dying, and the failure of the state to listen and act on the advice of experts, we will somehow see the extent of men’s violence against women and children more clearly. Perhaps also, we will say that this, men’s violence against women, girls and children, is not inevitable, it is not acceptable and the authorities, or someone – or we – can and should do more. Perhaps we will get angry that the state does not pay heed to the voices of experts and take the actions that feminists have been calling for, for decades.
If we’re alarmed at an apparent increase in men’s fatal violence against women, why aren’t we equally alarmed at the numbers of women being killed by men all the time? We surely cannot say that the average number of women killed by men is acceptable. If 14 women and two children dead in 21 days at the hands of a man who chose not to curb his violence and aggression is too much, would seven dead women be fine? No, no it wouldn’t. Let’s recognise the ways that women’s lives are limited, diminished and controlled by men’s dominance. Let’s demand better for women and children. Let’s aim to end men’s sex-based violence against women. Let’s hold the state to account. Let us recognise that together, taking responsibility, we could do more and we could make a difference.
[i]The data for 2009 – 2018 is from the Femicide Census, 2019 is from Counting Dead Women. We collect data differently on the two projects, I do Counting Dead Women from internet searches (and people contacting my twitter account for the project) but the Femicide Census data is collected via annual FOI requests to all the UK police services. We haven’t completed the FOIs for 2019 yet so it’s possible that there are more women in the equivalent period in 2019 that I didn’t find with my internet searches.
|Name||Age||Date of death (2020)|
|15||Daneilla Espirito Santo||23||08-Apr|