936 women killed by men in 7 years: we owe it to all of them to make the most of today

Friday 25th November 2016

In these chilling times, when boasting of sexual assaults against women is no barrier to becoming the world’s most powerful man, we owe it to the women who suffer the most appalling effects of male violence to make the most of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and the 16 Days of Action which follow it.

The dangers of misogyny and gender inequality are clearer right now than they have been for years – and the voices of those trying to silence this truth are growing louder. Today, and during the 16 Days, we need to take a long, hard look at why the vast majority of victims of domestic abuse are women. And we need to state clearly what everyone can do to help.

That’s why, in the coming weeks, Women’s Aid and Karen Ingala Smith will be launching the Femicide Census – a ground-breaking piece of work that shows the true and shocking scale of male violence against women in England and Wales.

Just one of its horrific findings is that, between 2009 and 2015, 936 women have been killed by men. 598 (64%) were killed by their current or former partners, 75 (8%) women were killed by their sons.

The Femicide Census brings together a vast amount of data on women killed by men, painting a uniquely detailed picture of the most severe violence against women and girls. By looking at these women as a whole, and refusing to fall into the trap of treating every act of femicide as an isolated case, the Census will offer new insights into the causes of domestic abuse. Ultimately, it will help us to stop it.

The Census was first announced in February 2015, in partnership with Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of nia. It was built with support from both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, and Deloitte LLP. But it was started by Karen, working alone. She had the vision to develop a vital tool in our long-term quest to change the attitudes that let domestic abuse and other violence against women go unexamined, unanswered, and ultimately unstopped. We at Women’s Aid are honoured to work with Karen and to be launching the full report later on during the 16 Days of Action.

During the 16 Days, we will also be busting some of the myths that surround domestic abuse. It’s time to challenge the misconceptions that leave women misunderstood, isolated and unsupported. And, we are launching our Christmas campaign, Ailish’s story. It tells the tale of one survivor’s struggle through the difficult, devastating festive season, protecting herself and her family, before finding safety at a refuge. You can read her full story here. We know there will be many women in a similar situation to Ailish this Christmas. We want to make sure the help and support they need is there for them.

We are also asking everyone to write to their MP to ratify the Istanbul Convention to ensure our government commits to tackling violence against women. This work is culminating in a critically important debate in the House of Commons on December 16th. If 100 MPs attend this debate, we will be one step closer to ratifying it.

The next 16 days offer us an opportunity to make sure the people who make decisions are reading, hearing and talking about violence against women and children. Each of us has a voice: let’s use them together and drown out the voices of bigotry all around us. Everyone who listens, everyone who properly hears our message for the first time, is helping us to put an end to violence against women and girls. Thank you.

© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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