Why the hierarchy of dead women and girls?

Like anyone else, I was saddened to wake up to the news that a body has been found in the search for 14-year-old Alice Gross, and that her disappearance has now become a murder inquiry; similarly, I felt sickened to hear about the rape and  murder of 23-year old Hannah Witheridge, just two weeks ago.

But since Alice went missing – and in addition to Hannah – at least ten other UK women have been killed through suspected male violence.  Why don’t we all know the name of Leighann Duffy, 26, stabbed to death in Walthamstow? What about Glynis Bensley, 48, who witnesses said was pursued by two masked men on bikes before she was killed? Perhaps some people will recall the name of Pennie Davis, 47, found dead in a field, stabbed as she tended her horse.  What about Serena Hickey, Dorothy Brown, 66; Nicola Mckenzie, 37; Davinia Loynton, 59; or Lorna McCarthy, 50?

The murder of 82-year-old Palmira Silva who was beheaded in London was also front page news this month, but few were aware that she was the third woman to have been beheaded in London in less than six months, after  Tahira Ahmed, 38, in June and  Judith Nibbs, 60, in April. Was this simply because beheading is big news at the moment due to the murders of David Haines,  James Foley and Steven Sotloff?

The killer of 15-year-old Shereka Marsh, shot in Hackney earlier this year, was found guilty of manslaughter this week.  Did we all mourn the 15-year-old school-girl, described by teachers as one of their “shining stars”, on course to sit 10 GCSEs this summer?  Wasn’t being accidentally shot by your boyfriend also big news, also international news, this month?

Men’s violence against women and girls, systemic, connected, has killed at least 11 dead UK women this month.  At least 111 UK women have been killed through suspected male violence so far this year, 111 women in 272 days is one dead woman every 2.45 days.

Older, black, usually but not all, killed by men they had known and loved – their husbands, boyfriends, ex’s and sons (8 women have been killed by their sons this year, 13 last year, 16 the year before) – why don’t we care so much about these women? Young, white and blond, killed by a stranger, hold the front pages – but don’t bother to make the connections with other women killed by men; talk about anything, immigration, terrorism, tourism, guns and gangs – talk about anything except male violence against women and girls.

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7 thoughts on “Why the hierarchy of dead women and girls?

  1. Reblogged this on winterdominatrix and commented:
    Here, in Mainland USA, a ‘modern’ country, that number is four women a day killed by domestic violence. A third of all men may be dangerous, but you are not allowed to talk about it openly. Any feminism has to begin with a big apology to all males that we are sorry we have to bring up the fact that socially, some of you are a danger to our safety and we need safe spaces to escape male violence, which everyone is supposed to look the other way- when it happens, which happens daily. I do not consent to be killed, and I hope my murder does not go unpunished no matter what our relationship.
    Crimes involving sexual jealousy are not as enforced in males as in females. Men feel like they are more entitled to take revenge on a female -than another male. Men get 2-8 years, and women automatically get 17years when a death occurs in domestic violence. Where is my equality?
    If this is Equality, give me liberation.

  2. I have read this blog post as it was linked by a friend and hope you don’t mind critical comments being left. It was interesting to read and I understand that you have an emotional reaction to these crimes. Every decent person does. And then you think to yourself, well it must be a pattern, it must mean women are being persecuted. The problem is it’s not true. The statistics show unequivocally that men are more likely to be murder victims than women.

    (See http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/feb/07/crime-statistics-england-wales-violent-sexual-offences
    It reports that: “Two thirds of homicide victims in 2011/12 were men.” I believe in the last few years the official figure has been given as something more around 60%. Crime statistics are notoriously flexible. Either way men are the majority of murder victims.)

    There are people who are adamant that there is an epidemic of black people committing crimes. They see stories in the newspapers of many particular terrible incidents, it validates their prejudices and world view, they want to believe it’s true and they get very angry, justifiably so, about some particularly hideous crimes, especially when the media doesn’t cover that story. But then should we start saying that just because black men commit a disproportionate amount of crime that this is symptomatic of “black violence” or that newspaper headline writers must stress every time a black man commits a crime that he is black? I hope you can see how unfair and unpleasant that is. Yet that is exactly what you are demanding regarding men.

    Of course men commit more crimes of every type than women (and the majority of their victims are men). Men almost always collect at the outermost deviations of behavioural patterns in far higher numbers than women; this is a basic fact of biology drawn from evolution. As the feminist Paglia once pointed out it is not a coincidence that Jack the Ripper and Beethoven were both men. It is neither good nor bad and covers many characteristics: Criminality, genius, obsession, gambling addiction, mathematical ability etc are all found more in men. As it happens the majority of the victims of murder are men. Your reaction to the news stories involving women victims is understandable and suggests you are a good person, we should all be repulsed by wicked crimes. But you need to put things in context, and not distort the statistics. Otherwise it has all the intellectual honesty and coherence of a Daily Mail reader ranting that too many black people murder white people and they have a collection of cuttings with cases showing it. Just because something appears that way to one person and aligns with their prejudices both good and bad, doesn’t make it true.

    Thanks again though for writing the post, it was well written and always interesting and worthwhile to read alternative points of view.

      • Thank you, an interesting read, and I think quite balanced. I must say I still question what solid inferences we can draw from the fact that a disproportionate number of women murder victims are killed by men they are/were in relationships with. Couldn’t the whole thing be turned around and it said there is a problem that so many men are killed by strangers and therefore must live in fear of that?

        Anyway I don’t want to seem like I am nit-picking. There are some horrendous crimes committed, in my family are two police constables so I have some second-hand inkling of the side of life most people never see and the details can shock, and I won’t argue against anyone drawing attention to some of the victims as you do.

        Thanks again.

  3. Exactly and Feminists have consistently analysed how and why mens’ malestream media consistently only focuses on women/girls men have murdered if these women/girls can be perceived as ‘conforming to mens’ misogynistic ideologies of appropriate femaleness.’ Virgin or Vamp by Helen Benedict analysed how and why mens’ malestream media have always focused on portraying female victims as ‘sexual deviants; mens’ dehumanised sexualised objects or the mythical virginal pure female!’

    Malestream media always seeks to sensationalise mundane pandemic male violence against women and girls because this maintains mens’ fiction that each and every act of male violence against women and girls is just ‘another isolated incident’ or the male perpetrator is that mythical monster with horns on his head.

    The only reason why malestream media is sensationalising mens’ latest method of murdering women by beheading them is because a token number of white men who were not poor or disadvantaged happened to have been murdered by other males. All the hype surrounding those white men who were murdered (no questions are asked as to why these men chose to leave their families and put themselves in danger. Clearly these men caused their own deaths because they didn’t ensure their own safety – that is if one believes mens’ lies that women are responsible for ensuring their own safety so therefore same applies to men!). These token men are being exploited by male politicians in order to justify their claims ‘UK is under threat of terrorism!’

    Not news to me or other women because daily we have to deal with the fact pandemic lethal acts of male terrorism against women continues and in fact is increasing and meanwhile mens’ malestream media continues to ignore elephant in the room. Malestream media is only concerned with profit and this is effected by sensationalising/dehumanising/exploiting female victims who have been cold bloodedly murdered by males.

    To date males in the UK have murdered 110 women and is this news??? Of course not because malestream media isn’t about reporting news – its other reason for existence is to publish endless male propaganda claiming male violence against women doesn’t exist because innumerable female victims of male violence aren’t ‘real victims’ since their race/ethnicity isn’t white/they are impoverished or they didn’t conform to that mythical ‘passive subordinate female creation men claim is appropriate femaleness.’

    Read Virgin or Vamp by Helen Benedict because knowledge is power and mens’ malestream media doesn’t want you to know their ‘news reporting’ isn’t ‘news’ or even objective but is 100% male propaganda.

    I now await malestream media sensationalising/exploiting the circumstances surrounding disappearance of Alice Gross, because I have no doubt that if evidence emerges a non-UK white male was responsible for the disappearance of Ms. Gross this will elicit pandemic malestream media xenophobia and claims UK is being swamped with foreign (male) criminals!’

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