Feminist idealistic cynic and professional Yorkshirewoman.
CEO of nia, a London-based domestic and sexual violence charity working to end violence against women and girls but writing here in a personal capacity.


2014 National Diversity Award square









logo EHMPTrustee at Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize


Maybe I was a feminist before I know it, this photo suggests that the thing I thought went best with a bridal veil was a pinny.

It appears that I was preparing myself to be a feminist before I even knew that the concept, let alone the word, existed.  What goes with a  bridal veil?  A  pinny of course! What I didn’t know then was that there were other choices.


46 thoughts on “About

  1. Regarding Jess Philips. We can always let things pass for the greater good. We really shouldn’t let things pass without full comment. This is how we got to this place.

  2. Hi Karen,
    We are staging a play at the Old Red Lion Theatre from 15th March to 2nd April 2022 that explores gender, power, consent and violence. We would like to invite you to watch the play, hear your thoughts and join the conversation. Please let us know how we might be able to send you more information about the play? Thanks!

  3. Hi Karen- I am an artist creating work that pertains to violence against women. In the search for information, I came across your blog and other articles. I am hoping it will be alright to use the data or numbers from your blog in a piece I am currently working on. This artwork will be on display in London during early March 2022 in an exhibit being held by a group of women artists. Our logo is based on (the hand) a portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi. I can share more details of the upcoming exhibit if it is of interest to you. Thank you so much for bringing this heart breaking topic to public awareness through the blog and other articles.

  4. Hello, Karen. It was good to see your important work in the Guardian today.
    I wonder if you are aware of a writer called H. G Tudor? He blogs about narcissism, it’s role in abuse and how it manifests in society. Many women, including myself, have found his work crucial in understanding and escaping their abusers.

    He blogs at http://www.narcsite.com and has written books. One of the testimonials to the efficiacy of his work is mine.

    Perhaps you might be interested?

    Kind regards,

  5. Just drawing attention to the Judge’s statement in the Sarah Everard Murder case. Lord Fulford said ,in his judgement regarding the sentence that he passed down to Couzens, that he did take into account the defendant’s guilty pleas when considering his punishment, along with his ‘his hitherto good character, and the fact that he is a father of two children’. Couzens had exposed himself “allegedly” to two Mcdonald’s workers, just a few days earlier. His number plate was caught on CCTV, so there is no confusion that it was him. I understand other allegations are coming to light. How, then, can a Judge say he is of previous good character without insinuating a man exposing himself to women is acceptable? Will he also be prosecuted for exposing these women, as it will have an impact on any parole hearings. How can we take issue with this?

  6. I wondered if you would be able to mention Brenda Venables on your Counting Dead Women account on Twitter?
    Brenda disappeared in 1982. Her remains were found in July 2019 and her husband David Venables has been charged with her murder.
    Thank you for all you do.

  7. Hi. I’ve just read your tweet about sitting in the shed with a glass of wine……please know there are women out there (obviously me included) who know somehow we were the lucky ones. For some reason, as bad as it got, neither me or my son are dead. My/our lives are massively impacted but we are alive so there is always hope. Recognising, acknowledging those who weren’t as ‘lucky’ is important. Thank you. Have your glass of wine. Take the moment. Let those of us who survive and are able do what we can to help others. You give recognition to those who weren’t ‘lucky’ and by doing so show where and what the real problem is….and remember these were all just ordinary women – sisters, mothers and daughters. They matter. Thank you

  8. Hi Karen.
    I have been inspired by your hard work and determination in collating information on Femicide in the UK. I have just finished my degree in Psychology and Criminology and I came across your efforts whilst doing research for my dissertation. I had decided early on that I wanted to focus on domestic violence against women as I felt that the issue is often framed as an individual problem but we, as a society, have a duty to all those affected to end violence against women. Whilst researching on your website, I recognised a familiar face. My close friend Mia Ayliffe-Chung was murdered whilst backpacking in Australia in 2016. At just 21 years old, Mia was cruelly taken from us. I know all too well the reality of losing a loved one to gendered violence. The efforts you have gone to to record these cases shows that they will not be forgotten and the fight to tackle mens violence against women is ongoing.

    The 2016 Femicide Census formed the basis of my dissertation and I focused on how the media’s representation of Femicide can impact upon women’s experiences. I have included the abstract of my dissertation below, if it would be of interest for you to read the full findings please let me know and I will be happy to share it with you.

    The research aims to investigate how media reporting on femicide can have an impact on women experiencing domestic violence. Although many organisations are working hard to raise awareness, the media raises cause for concern. A critical discourse analysis has been employed to uncover the power imbalance inherent in media reporting and underlying attitudes that may prevent women from seeking refuge. Using the 2016 Femicide Census, corresponding newspaper articles have been found whereby women have been killed by a current or former partner. In total, 47 articles have been selected from a range of UK national newspapers. An analysis of these articles uncovers a lack of understanding of domestic violence as cases are often reported as ‘one-off’ incidents whereby the male ‘lost control’ and killed his partner. Analysis of the articles has also revealed that the media often fails to direct victims to support or offer advice. It can be argued that the media has a responsibility to report accurately and work with domestic violence advocates to help prevent further victims.

    Thank you for all your efforts,

    • I would say the media supports male violence against women as part of a male supremacist ideology. Very often media portrays rape victims as ‘having sex’ with a man that is raping them, even when the victim is 16 years old and 100 men raped her. The language the media uses around child rape or women rape is a significant obfuscation of male violence and the political agenda it serves, that of male supremacy

  9. Hi Karen, thanks for your good work! After your appearance with India Willoughby, I started digging around about the Trans Day of Remembrance which is gaining prominence in UK. The organization behind it (Transgender Europe) has received huge amounts of foundation money, over $1m. I suspect that your work is done on a shoestring. I’d be most grateful if you could explain how (or if) your work as funded, as I think the contrast will be instructive. I will be writing this up. Thanks!

    • My work on Counting Dead Women isn’t funded. I do it in my own time because I think it is important.
      The Femicide Census, which is me and Women’s Aid (England) working in partnership operates on a shoestring budget from a voluntary donation but also receives pro bono support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Deloitte. We couldn’t have made it what it is without them.

  10. Hi Karen,
    Just wanted to say thank you very much for, firstly, this blog, but also for going on Good Morning and making such a good case for keeping women’s refuges women-only. Really respect and appreciate your calmness, bravery and insight (& hope you’re not getting too much backlash).
    Warm wishes,

  11. I would like to describe my horror, that John Worboys is getting out of prisson after raping 100 women. Clearly police hasn’t done their bit, which was checking all his clothes for epitheelcells. The cells would have given the DNA of the women raped. And would have given tools of finding them and their cooperation. If i could, i would come to UK and help you get a longer sentence. I’m 76 years old and a retired forensic scientist. But i have a spouse who depent on me because she is unable to move about.

  12. Karen Ingala Smith, I’m wondering if your statistics that you keep can tell how often or how likely it is that a man would stab a woman (to death – 33 times) in the face? My young, beautiful, sweet niece was murdered last week. Her best friend (a female) says that their male roommate they hardly knew just came in the room & started stabbing my niece. Her friend says she ran for help. I personally don’t believe her because to me 33 times says “rage killing” or “crime of passion” & I find it odd that a man would stab a woman in the face. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hello Tonja,
      Firstly, I am so very sorry that your niece’s life was so cruelly taken. My condolences to you and your family.
      Neither I nor the Femicide Census team have split stabbing into where on the body the woman was stabbed, so I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to your question.
      However, more generally ….
      You are right, men who kill women most often reserve their most horrific acts of violence for women that are or have been intimate with; but not exclusively so. Some of the women killed in the most brutal ways are elderly women killed by strangers in the context of robbery. This surprised me when I first noticed the pattern, probably for reasons similar to the one you expressed, ’Why such brutal and clear hatred for a stranger?’ I’ve since wondered whether that is because an elderly woman ceases to be what a misogynist sees as a valuable woman.
      I’ve read reports of men targeting specific areas of women’s bodies, usually heads, faces, genitals, breasts. Yes, a face is probably less likely to a place that is stabbed; her killer may have had his own perverse logic for this.
      When we were classifying the contexts in which women were killed for the Femicide Census, we came across a small number of women who were killed by strangers who had specifically sought to kill a woman because of an anger towards all women coming from (usually) an anger resulting from a specific woman or group of women. We termed this context ‘symbolic woman’. I wonder whether the killing of your niece fits within this context. This may explain what you termed the passion/rage.

  13. Hi Karen,

    Just wanted to say that what you do is a great public service, and please keep going even when it’s emotionally draining. It’s disgraceful that a private blogger has to provide this information. The government or an agency concerned with criminal justice should be issuing a full report every year, but until such time as they see sense, please keep going, so we can keep remembering.

  14. Must admit its not a bad idea, although isnt tas a bit cold and wind swept? However with no platforming of feminists for the sexism of pointing out sexist violence in home is a ‘gendered’ problem, people with penis’s calling themselves more female than people with vaginas and rotherham police admitting they didnt help children being raped because they thought they were prostitutes, 15 years after child prostitution outlawed in uk, makes you wonder whether the whole country has gone into a twitter rage than it may take years to come out of. How about bali? Ive always wanted to go there …

  15. Can Brett get us some pricing on properties in Tasmania?
    It’s probably a good idea to start looking..

  16. Hi Karen
    I work with a women’s legal advocacy centre in South Africa and I am also a big fan of the counting dead women project as a forceful advocacy tool. Originally from Australia I see the local version there is being deployed to great effect. We are interested in setting up a similar project in South Africa. 1), we don’t wish to plagiarise but rather form part of a growing international network and 2) we are very interested in any advice, pointers, lessons learned that would help us to establish something locally and in a context where the available data may not be as reliable as in countries such as the UK and Australia.
    Anyway, would love to hear from you and big big respect to you for the work you do.
    Liz Giles

    • If you believe this – why are you here? You are surrounded by rape monsters. Surely setting up a commune sealed off from the evil men-beasts is the only sensible course? Tasmania could be good; it’s going for a decent price and could happily contain the world’s population of feminists.

      Sealed off from all unbelievers – only the echo chamber – never a dissenting thought to unnerve you – sounds like Paradise!

      For us.

      Because we know that women rape, and women bash, and women kill, and we have seen daughters and sons, husbands and mothers and fathers suffer at their hands, and we have seen your kind erase the evil the lurks in women’s hearts, and the pain that those women cause, because it is inconvenient to your kind.

      Domestic Violence is reciprocal. This is not in contention in the scientific world – but feminism has nothing to do with science. It quotes it’s own members as support for it’s beliefs – a circular argument spinning in place. Who is seen as being an expert on DV? Feminists. Why? Because they can recite the mantras of other feminists. No testing. No criticism. Just Belief.

      Dv is reciprocal. She hits him. He hits back. She hits him. He hits back. She hits him. He hits back.

      You can see how that’s likely to end.

      Men are bigger. Men are stronger. Men who don’t hit back are beaten to the ground. Men who do are arrested for violent behaviour. There’s no way to win under Feminist law – under the Duluth Model, men are guilty the moment they are born. http://brettcaton.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/duluth-and-vawa-power-and-control.html

      And DV in lesbian relationships is higher than in straight – but oh, please, keep the faith, shut your mind against the facts, believe, believe, and tell yourself that’s it’s the wickedness of testosterone and not human nature that causes all the ills of the world.

      Please keep believing that, and march off with your Sisterhood into oblivion. March into your hugbox.

      We’ll watch as you eat each other alive.

  17. Hello Karen. I disagree with your statements about sexual harassment. Issues like that need to be taken neutrally. I am a male and my sophomore year I was sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by several individuals. It can happen to men, and it does every day

  18. Hi Karen,
    Brilliant brilliant blog and twitter campaign. I’m interested in how you get hold of the information about the women killed?

  19. Hi Karen,
    My beautiful niece Samantha Sykes is mentioned in one of your articles so I thought I would post a photo montage I made in her memory. I know my sister has been intouch with you as she directed me to your site. You are doing some amazing work, If I can help in anyway please let me know,
    Leanne x

  20. Hola Karen. I admire your hard work and I appreciate that you share with us your information and don´t let in silence the things that happens to woman. My best wishes for you from México

  21. Dear Karen ,I am very humbled ,by your work ,I am the mother of a murdered daughter , and it hurts that domestic homocide is reported and forgotten and too somewhat an acceptable crime with a bitter twist ,my 20 year 355 day old daughter 10 days short of 21 ,was supporting a friend who was ,moving on from dv ,and her life was ended along with her friend and her friends two babies . It worries me that women are threatened every day with their life ,that those threats are taken lightly ,by themselves and others around them .the perpetrator of this vile act ,is in prison ,with a record of no prior violence but this is a false stat ,bc he had it just wasn’t reported .
    What really concerns me is at what point does that threat turn to a sad reality .and this is what I want to shout loud and clear a threat is a threat a real danger no matter how many times you hear it .
    I might add this didn’t happen in the uk but in ROI ,but the story remains the same

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