Mother's Daughter - The Roots to Femicide
In 2019, Angela Y. Davis used the word pandemic to capture the infectious legacy of gender-based violence. In the tough times of a medical epidemic, when a systemic malaise is no longer a metaphor, language testifies to the power of the horror inflicted upon millions. Gender-based violence is proof of this power's ubiquity.
To better understand my rant on Roe v. Wade from last month, it’s vital to recognize the universality of gender-based violence. To recap, Roe v. Wade is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle, with the completed picture placing white supramicsts in full control over state welfare and social equity. This framework thrives on maintaining race, class and gender hierarchies, which manifests into realities that we may be familiar with already. It’s like everyday on the news we hear about a missing or murdered Indigenous woman or another black youth at the wrong place at the wrong time. Patricia Hill Collins, a black female academic, uses the term “matrix of domination” to best theorize these normalized scenarios. Within this matrix, there are many distinct “axes of oppression” that are inextricably linked depending on one’s position in various societal structures. For instance, race, class, and gender become intertwined in the U.S. to oppress black women. Needless to say, not all suffer the same forms of oppression. To be direct, I’m calling out the Eurocentric and masculinist thought on oppression — a dichotomous way of thinking that you can be oppressed for your race or class, but not for both.
Now I am not trying to rile up anyone, but to urge you to take a revolutionary stance in confronting the matrix of domination. Uncovering the inherent misogyny in state structures allows us to collectively eliminate the horrors that’s associated with social hierarchies. Especially since vulnerable people are exposed to numerous and overlapping discriminations based on class, race, caste, sexuality, precarity, and other oppressive institutions. Women with disabilities account for one in every five women globally and are four times more likely than women without disabilities to be sexually assaulted. However, their demands are almost a fracture point for feminist movements. As it is, women are more likely to be sexually harrassed on the job. However, coloured workers are statistically more likely than white women to be subjected to workplace harassment. Now what does all this have to do with me and you? Our collective blind-eye towards such cruel realities comes at a heftier price, femicide.
In 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducted a global study of homicides, which revealed that 79% of all victims were men. At 9.7 per 100,000, the average male homicide rate was nearly four times higher than the average female rate. 43,600 women, or roughly 50%, of the 93,000 global femicides reported in 2012 were killed by intimate partners or family members, compared to only 6% of male homicides.
Femicide prevention refers to measures taken at the individual, family, societal, and community levels to reduce the probability that women may be murdered because of their gender. Depending on how we define femicide and the specific circumstances we're talking about, different preventative strategies should be used. For instance, preventing femicide in intimate partner relationships is distinct from preventing the murder of trafficked women or the enslavement and slaughter of young girls. These many femicides take place in various situations, entail various risk factors, and necessitate various preventive measures. Nevertheless, all femicides share a common motivation: according to the feminist perspective, femicide is the murdering of women just because they are women, regardless of whether it is carried out by the victim's spouse, ex-partner, or a non-partner. The deliberate murdering of women is an extreme act of power against them that is done to create authority. The impression that using violence to resolve conflicts, disputes, and other issues is appropriate grows as a result of this misogynistic, macho attitude on gender. It is feasible to spot recurring themes in femicides, such as the use of homicide as a last resort to denigrate, silence, and dominate women.
In other words, it's misogyny that leaves a girl on her deathbed after she was mutilated for the sake of her husband and purity. It’s misogyny that places a permanent bullseye on the back of Indigenous women. It’s misogyny that normalizes honor killings.
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