MARKING THE LIVES OF THE WOMEN KILLED BY MEN THIS YEAR

From an original article in the Morning Star

MARKING THE LIVES OF THE WOMEN KILLED BY MEN THIS YEAR
25th November 2017

There is no official record or commemoration of women killed by men in the UK, so KAREN INGALA SMITH is taking to social media to remember them

IN JULY 1981, at the first Feminist Conference for Latin American and Caribbean Women in Colombia, November 25 was declared an annual day of protest in memory of three activist sisters Patria, Maria Teresa and Minerva Mirabel who had been assassinated due to their involvement in efforts to overthrow the fascist government of Rafael Trujillo.  

Eighteen years later, the United Nations designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

This year, as I have done for the last few years, I’ll commemorate UK women killed by men (or where a man is the principal suspect in the killing of a woman since many of the cases have not yet completed legal proceedings) over the last year.  

Starting at 8am, on the Twitter account @countdeadwomen, I’ll give the name and age of each woman and, where I have been able to find it, a photograph of her.

So far, I have scheduled the names of 127 women and girls. Tweeting their names every 10 minutes will take more than 10 hours.

I started the project that I came to call Counting Dead Women in January 2012 after the murder of 20-year-old Kirsty Treloar.

Kirsty had been referred to the charity where I work just a few weeks earlier. When I heard that she had been killed, I took to the internet to try to find out more.

What I found was report after report of women who had been killed by men since the beginning of the year.  

I started making a note of their names just in an attempt to count how many there were.

I found out that eight women had been killed in the first three days of the year: three shot, two stabbed, one strangled, and two beaten to death.

Once I started the list of their names, I couldn’t bring myself to stop. It feels like if I do, I’m as good as saying that the next woman doesn’t count. I’ve now recorded the names of over 800 women on my website.

There is no official record or commemoration of women killed by men in Britain, there is no international femicide or women’s remembrance day.

When people think of women killed by men, they usually think of intimate partner violence, and while it is true that women killed by partners or ex-partners usually make up between two-thirds and three-quarters of the women killed by men every year, it’s important that people realise that the problem of men’s fatal violence against women is bigger than that.

Every year, a number of women are killed by men who were never their partners, including but not limited to their sons, grandsons, brothers, burglars and sexually violent predators.

This year, for the first time since I started keeping the list, women killed in the context of terrorism will be included.

Leaving aside the argument that men’s violence against women is in itself a form of terrorism — after all, it is violence used to further an ideology — the patriarchal oppression of women is central, though certainly not unique, to religious extremism.  

We also know that histories of violence against women are now routinely identified in men who perpetrate terrorism.

It’s important to me that we look for the connections across the different contexts in which women are killed by men, because ultimately, I believe that the root cause is in society, in the structural inequalities between women and men rather than simply the pathologies of an individual or relationship outside a social context.

We have to recognise the roles of socially constructed gender and the objectification of women in creating the conditions for men’s violence against women and maintaining sex inequality.

Gender is a hierarchy, the concepts of masculinity and femininity are critical tools in maintaining the oppression of women by men.  

None of this means that individual men can escape taking responsibility for their actions and choices, but that if we want to end men’s violence against women and girls we will have to dismantle the structures that support inequality between women and men. Without this almost any intervention that we might make will have little impact.

Commemorating women victims of men’s fatal violence will not change the world, but I hope it might contribute to highlighting one of the most extreme manifestations of misogyny and inequality between women and men.   

Karen Ingala Smith is a feminist activist and CEO of nia, a charity supporting women who have been subjected to sexual or domestic violence. As well as providing direct services the charity is involved in ground-breaking legal cases to hold the government to account and improve the lives of marginalised women. If you would like to make a donation to support their work, please click here.

#CountingDeadWomen

FiLiA STATEMENT: in support of a woman's right to speak

FiLiA Statement: in support of a woman’s right to speak

Since the beginning of recorded history, women have been forced or coerced into silence.
 

If a woman speaks disrespectfully (?) to a man, her mouth shall be crushed with fired brick, and that brick will be hung at the main gate’

c. 2350 BC Urukagina’s Code
 

Women and girls have been fighting patriarchal oppression for thousands of years. Patriarchal state laws, religious instructions, institutional and cultural norms combine to quieten, shape or silence our voices. Where we make even small gains, the backlash is fierce.

We have a right to speak out on issues that affect us, and it is incumbent upon those in positions of power to ensure that we are listened to and heard.

FiLiA is concerned by recent attempts to prevent discussion of the Gender Recognition Act. It is not acceptable that individuals and women’s organisations are unable to openly and freely explore the impact of this potential change in law on our lives.

Mary Beard points out that ‘women, even when they are not silenced, still have to pay a very high price for being heard’. That price is being felt in the form of threats, actual violence, withdrawal of speaking opportunities as well as the fear of loss of funding, job security and reputation.

FiLiA stands by Heather Brunskell-Evans and others who have stepped forwards; determined to uphold the principle of democratic debate and healthy discussion.

FiLiA is proud to provide a feminist space for women from all over the world to come together and share their views, respectfully and with the recognition that in order to be effective in creating positive change for women and girls – we must immerse ourselves in those difficult discussions; not be prevented from allowing them to happen.

In sisterhood and solidarity,

FiLiA

 

FILIA LOGO.jpg

MATRYOSHKAS

MATRYOSHKAS

"We were willing, both of us, to give our lives for the Socialist Revolutionary party. That was a just punishment for the lives we tried to take. We dedicated ourselves to the movement, Manya, and we didn’t take that vow lightly. We didn’t flinch from the consequences.”

Angelina will be involved in the following FiLiA session:
Revolutionary Women            (Saturday Morning)

Extra lunchtime sessions for young women at FiLiA!

We're delighted to say that there are going to be two additional sessions at FiLiA 2017 over the lunch break with young women in mind! 

Session 1: Pornography and Young Women's Sexuality - How Porn Culture affects me

TIGER (Teaching Individuals Gender Equality and Respect) is a Bristol based workers cooperative who work with young people to provide education on topics related to gender equality. In this session, we will be exploring a range of issues related to mainstream pornography and the impact this has on young women and their partners lives. We will be asking questions such as - who is porn made for and who does it represent? What does it teach us about how and why we have sex and the impact this might have on our ability to form healthy relationships with ourselves and others? 

Session 2: Body Image

TIGER (Teaching Individuals Gender Equality and Respect) is a Bristol based workers cooperative who work with young people to provide education on topics related to gender equality. In this session we will be discussing body image. This is a huge topic for young people today who live in media saturated environments, which convey multiple and often contradictory messages about how we should look and how we should feel about this. In this session we will be aiming to create an open and supportive environment from which to begin to explore these ideas as a group.

CAPITAL L

What does Lesbian feminist art looks like? What are Lesbian feminist’s concerns in 2017? How do Lesbians visually illustrate and frame their experiences as Lesbians in a word where the backlash anti-Lesbians is rife?

The Capital L room displays a series of work by Lesbian feminists artists addressing these issue and highlighting the richness and diversity of the Lesbian feminist political view point on ourselves and our lives as Lesbians.

Beyond Control: Attending A Conference on Men, Patriarchy & Mental Health

Beyond Control: Attending A Conference on Men, Patriarchy & Mental Health

Men, patriarchy and mental health; feminism; taboo… Over the years, the Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR) has picked intriguing conference themes. This year’s event, held on 6 May 2017, was organised by Dearbhaile Bradley, “eco psychologist, counsellor and poet”, and Chip Ponsford, whose starting point for wanting to be involved was having tried to run a workshop in the northeast called Rip Up Your Man Suit. No one had come.

ACTION BREAKS SILENCE - creating safer communities

ACTION BREAKS SILENCE - creating safer communities

Debi will be running a Personal Safety talk and demonstration at the FiLiA conference

Gender-based violence is a global problem. In the UK, approximately 585,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted in England and Wales alone every year and 2 women die at the hands of their intimate partner every week. In India, 848 women or girls are either harassed, raped or killed every single day. And in South Africa, rapes are estimated to take place every 26 seconds and it is thought that almost half of all women will be raped in their lifetime.

"Nos quitaron tanto que acabaron quitandonos hasta el miedo"

"Nos quitaron tanto que acabaron quitandonos hasta el miedo"

Me he ofrecido a entrevistar a Gloria Vázquez, presidenta de la Organización Ve La Luz, para FiLiA.

Me pregunto si el nombre de Ve La Luz es también un juego de palabras con vela y con velar, tengo muchas preguntas además de esta, preguntas que he reflexionado desde mucho antes, desde el 8 de Marzo para ser más concreta, cuando me llegaron noticias de que había un grupo de mujeres haciendo huelga de hambre en La Puerta del Sol en Madrid. Qué valientes, pensé en su momento.

“THEY TOOK EVERYTHING FROM US, EVEN FEAR”

 “THEY TOOK EVERYTHING FROM US, EVEN FEAR”

I have offered to interview Gloria Vazquez, president of the Spanish activist organisation Ve La Luz (See The Light in English, but it can also be a play on words – vela meaning candle, or velar, to watch over).

Gloria transmits a sense of fearless urgency. I ask about the hunger strike I knew of (there have actually been four so far), the one in Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Gloria interrupts me to tell me the point she has made many times to the press and politicians: they weren’t on hunger strike – they were making visible the thousands of women effectively forced into involuntary hunger strikes by a government that only gives financial help to 26% of victims of gender violence.