I’m writing this post on the day that Karen Ingala Smith and Women’s Aid launch their Femicide Census – a vital partnership project that reveals the pattern of UK femicide – women killed by men in the UK.
Since Karen established Counting Dead Women to record women murdered by men in the UK, these women have become a part of my consciousness. I recall how the media reports on the men who murder women: the “good father”, the “doting husband”, the “puppy farmer”. I remember how women’s lives and deaths were lost in coverage excusing the men who had killed them. Counting Dead Women has changed this. Since 2012, 420 women in the UK have been killed by men, women whose lives and deaths would have only been kept in the memories of their family and friends. Now these women are a part of my life – a part of ours. And we need to keep them with us.
It is convenient for society to ignore, dismiss and erase male violence against women. Since patriarchy implanted itself, females have been submerged, broken and murdered into oblivion. Those which survive are lost in the white noise of victim blaming, shame, disbelief and degradation. Yet some people are choosing to listen to and amplify the voices of women who are silenced.
Women murdered by men can no longer speak – their voices, their lives, their futures have been stolen by men. So it is with overwhelming gratitude that Karen and Women’s Aid have chosen to use their power to amplify the lives of women eradicated by men. We need to take notice of what is unfolding here. The Femicide Census reveals that over 2 women every week are murdered by men in the UK. No longer can society dismiss male violence as “isolated incidents”– we need to see the pattern and name the problem. Murdered women can no longer be ignored, their lives cannot be forgotten. Our government needs to accept that male violence against women is a problem and start working effectively to end it. For the sake of every woman let’s stop pretending that male violence happens in isolation and change our response to femicide. Let’s do it now.
Thanks to Karen for permission to include the Femicide Census header.