Today’s subject I’d like to talk about is “Femicide”. It’s a burning issue nowadays.
Almost on daily basis news announce something about femicide: “A wife killed by her husband”, “A young woman beaten and killed by her boyfriend because she wanted leave him”, “A man kills his partner with a kitchen knife”, and so on.
But, first of all, let’s see what does it mean “Femicide” and the origins of this word.
The word “Femicide” refers to all cases of murder in which a woman is killed by a man for reasons related to her gender identity, so because “she was a woman”.
We are not talking only of women’s murders committed by partners or ex-partners, but also about girls killed by their fathers because they refused the marriage that was imposed on them, or because their fathers didn’t accept their sexual choices. We’re also talking about the prostitutes infected by AIDS or killed by a client as a punishment.
The word “Femicide” was used already in 1801 in England to indicate “the killing of a woman”.
This word was used by the criminologist Diana Russell in 1992 in a book co-written with Jill Radford: “Femicide: the politics of woman killing”. What does link all these women? According to Diana Russell, the fact that they were killed is because “they were women”. Their “fault” was that they had transgressed the ideal role of women imposed by tradition, they wanted to be autonomous and indipendent, they removed from power and control of their partner, lover, father.
Marcela Lagarde, a Mexican anthropologist, who is considered the femicide theoretician, states that femicide covers all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence that are able to cancel the woman in her identity and freedom not only physically, but also in her psychological dimension.
This neologism rose to international prominence in the news thanks to the movie “Bordertown”, which tells the facts of Ciudad Juarez, a city on the border between Mexico and the United States, where since 1992 more than 4,500 young women had disappeared and more than 650 raped, tortured and then killed and abandoned on the edge of the desert, all with institutions’ disregard, with complicity between politicians and organized crime.
Unfortunately, this ugly image of humanity is present not only in peculiar areas of the planet, or in particular social classes, but you can find femicide all over the world: west Europe, east Europe, Asia, Africa, north America, south America.
Shortly, we will explore femicide in different environment…