On Thursday a database will be launched online entitled Femicide Census: Profiles of Women Killed by Men. It is a project designed to force a recognition of the scale and significance of male violence against women and is the culmination of several years of work by Ingala Smith, who began a grim and time-consuming task of counting Britain’s murdered women and putting their names on her own blog back in 2012.And this is significant because..?
Ingala Smith says men and women have to confront the situation. “I want us to stop seeing the killings of women by men as isolated incidents: to put them together and to see the connections and patterns; to highlight what a big issue it is; and to make it feel real for people,” she said.But maybe there are no ‘connections and patterns’..?
The issue is not confined to women who have been killed by their partners or former partners in incidents of domestic violence, campaigners say, but extends to all women killed by men.Really? So it’ll include traffic accidents, as well?
When, in 2012, Ahmad Otak stabbed and killed Samantha Sykes, 18, and Kimberley Frank, 17, Otak was not the boyfriend of either of them but of Kimberley’s sister. Ingala Smith said it was this case that made her realise the issue was wider than domestic violence.Not really. The trigger there was indeed domestic violence, it was simply a case where a female friend of the victim was deliberate ‘collateral damage’, or a proxy, if you prefer…
Although she acknowledges that violence is perpetrated by women sometimes and that it should be taken seriously, it is not the major issue. “People are falling for the line that women can be violent too,” she said. “Men kill men, obviously. But nearly always when a woman kills a man, the woman herself has been a victim of his violence or abuse. When men kill women they tend to have been perpetrators of violence against that woman and other women for years. It isn’t good enough just to look at the police either. They are most definitely improving enormously in how they tackle domestic violence.
“If we had a perfect police force, men would still kill women. The criminal justice system should not be seen as the place where this has to be tackled. It’s deeper, right down in the way we raise our children, the girls dressed in pink and called princesses. Told by their parents that the boy hit them in the playground just because he secretly likes them. What sort of message is that? We need to send clear messages to boys and girls. We need to take a step back and look at how sexist our society is.”What sort of ‘message’ do you think setting up a group that focuses only on one sex killing the other, as if the sex and not the killing were the most important thing will send them, then?