Eva Wiseman – Observer Magazine: Domestic violence is everyone’s business – so let’s start noticing it
Polly Neate, Chief Executive, Women’s Aid
Women’s Aid supports this campaign because it is critical that government continues to show leadership in acknowledging the scale and significance of male violence against women. At the moment, the cases which, when taken collectively, demonstrate this scale and significance are too often buried in news reports and statistics which serve to minimise their collective impact.
We will never improve our understanding of violence against women, how to deal with it and how to prevent it, unless we first identify it, and this campaign is therefore an important step towards that understanding.
When it is left to individual feminist campaigners to highlight the problem of male violence, and its roots in the oppression of women and the culture of misogyny, the discourse around ending it will risk being lost in a polarised debate in which some claim that simply acknowledging the epidemic nature of male violence means that all men are being stereotyped as perpetrators. We call on the Government to take a lead and collect and publicise statistics on female victims of male violence to move the debate towards a purposeful search for solutions.
“The FWSA UK and Ireland supports this petition and urges everyone to sign and share. Male violence against women is at epidemic proportions and every woman lost is one too many. We call on the government to gather accurate data on these crimes. This knowledge will not only help dispel the myths and silence around male violence against women, but could help to end it in the future”.
Ending Victimisation & Abuse:
We’ve been in awe of the task taken on by Karen Ingala Smith in relation to women killed by men, and the monitoring of these statistics.
Karen has been doing this task for almost 18 months, and anyone who has read her blog can understand the frustration that we have; this information isn’t monitored by government, nor is it readily available.
It’s now time for this data to be collected & monitored, not because Karen isn’t able to do it, but because these women deserve their details to be given increased status.
We should not have to rely on the social justice actions of journalists to ensure that the details of these women are not discarded, or ignored.
We’re aware that the government record the women killed by men due to Domestic Abuse, but we must make this information more detailed.
We must join the dots between the issues of men’s violence against women, and in order to do that, we need a clear and detailed record of these crimes.
The women who have been killed are important – we should give them the respect they deserve, starting with an accurate record of the violence perpetuated against them.
Julie Bindel, Feminist journalist and political activist
I wish to give a heartfelt thanks to @K_IngalaSmith for her amazing work in documenting the women who have died as result of men’s violence
Writer Donna Navarro has written a piece in support of my campaign here.
Jean Calder, Director, For Our Daughters
For Our Daughters is delighted to support Karen Ingala Smith’s Counting Dead Women campaign. Such a campaign is long overdue.
For Our Daughters was founded in 2011 to commemorate women and girls whose deaths result from male violence or sexist abuse – and to combat sexist homicide and potentially lethal forms of abuse and discrimination. Our on-line memorial can be viewed on our website .
Since our inception, we have struggled to gain access to accurate statistics about lethal male violence against women and girls. The Home Office is fully aware that it is politically significant if one social group should kill another, but makes it extraordinarily difficult to discover exactly how many females are killed by males (or any other precise gender breakdown), still less the relationship of the individuals and the circumstances of the deaths. It is, for example, impossible to find out how many ‘whole family’ or group killings occur each year or how many involved sexual assault.
Government homicide statistics provide some information about motive for killing, such as revenge or burglary, but this does not include any reference to potential motives likely to be of specific relevance to the killing of women – such as domestic revenge killing following divorce or escape from an abusive relationship; lethal or sadistic sexual assault; or ‘honour’ killing. Still less is there any reference to sexist attitudes or misogyny as a potential causal factor. Given that acts of violence against women – unlike those against other target groups – are not monitored elsewhere as possible hate crimes, this is a serious omission.
Until gender-specific and detailed figures are routinely published, politicians of all parties will find it easy to focus on forms of male-on-male homicide – and avoid addressing the problem that a section of one social group routinely attacks, tortures and sometimes kills another. And in half the cases, the killing field is the family home.
The Home Office has acknowledged to us that there is a problem with the non-gender-specific way information is collated. Individual senior police officers, to whom we have spoken, have indicated surprise that they are not asked by the government for more detailed information – which in many cases they already hold.
What is needed is a firm political commitment to gather and publish all available information about male violence against women – most urgently detailed figures relating to homicide. We believe that only then will politicians start to treat the all too routine deaths of women as a political issue of central importance.
We hope this excellent campaign will receive widespread support across all shades of political opinion.
Frank Mullane Co-ordinator of Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse
My sister and nephew were murdered by the husband and father. Since then I have studied this area and am struck by the amount of death sentences handed down on women by men simply because the women would not cede to the men’s wishes. We need history to record these killings in greater detail because the criminal trials and inquests produce forensic narratives that include mostly the perpetrator’s voice. This narrative is being re-balanced in part, by Domestic Homicide Reviews but Karen’s suggestions will take it to the extent that morally we need to go to.
Catherine Harper – SWAP-Scottish Women Against Pornography
” “If I can’t have you, no one can.” Women are at risk of femicide from partners especially where there is a history of violence and when a woman has decided to leave.
The tradition of male ownership of women and male needs for power are played out to horrific violent conclusions. The message of femicide is that many men believe that control of female partners is a perogative they can defend by killing women. This message, and the danger to women, is obscured by most scholarship, media accounts and the criminal justice system.”
The very least the state can do in the face of such horrific levels of male violence against women and girls is to name the violence and commemorate the victims. I am angry at the prevalence of euphemistic language that deletes men from the picture (‘domestic violence’, ‘gender based violence’, ‘relationship violence’), rather than the clear naming of men’s violence against women and girls. Thank you for recording all these male-perpetrated femicides, thank you for commemorating the female victims, and thank you for this petition.